Less Than Lethal Self Defense Blog

For Women

Women Show a Significant Increase in Purchase of Less Lethal and Self-defense Weapons

For WomenLance MurrayComment

Women’s safety has consistently been a major cause of concern for civilians.  In a bid to improve their safety, companies in the North America less lethal and self-defense weapons market provide a large array of women-specific self-defense measures in categories such as stun guns, Taser devices, lighting devices, and pepper sprays. Over the recent past, the sales of these products, especially through the female population, has increased significantly, even making it a major driver for the market.  Also, companies are working to improve the size, weight, and response time of each less lethal weapon aimed at women to improve their effectiveness and consequently, the player sales figures.

As a complementary fact to the high sales of less lethal self-defense weapons by women, the category of pepper sprays is expected to continue its lead over others in the North America less lethal and self-defense weapons market.  Pepper sprays were already the most-purchased item in this market in 2014.  Owing to the increasing female owners of less lethal weapons and the convenience of carrying and using pepper sprays as an effective deterrent, this segment is expected to retain its dominance past 2020

The North America less lethal and self-defense weapons market is not dominated by individual players.  It rather shows a list of top companies that specialize in specific less lethal weapon types, finds Transparency Market Research in a new study.  Sig Sauer, Walther, and Crosman are currently the three biggest manufacturers of air-powered less lethal weapons.  FOX Labs, MACE Security, SABRE are the leaders in pepper spray manufacture.  Force Heavens, Surefire, Streamlight, and Tigerlight are the top contenders for manufacture and sales of flashlights and others lighting devices. The Taser devices segment, on the other hand, contains TASER International, Inc. which is now Axon, as the only major player.

This information was gathered from Transparency Market Research

Why do so many women wait to come forward?

For WomenLance MurrayComment

Why do so many women wait to come forward?  In October, Donald Trump’s senior campaign adviser, A.J. Delgato, told MSNBC that the women accusing the now president-elect of past assault and harassment couldn’t possible telling the truth because “these allegations are decade old.  If somebody actually did that,,, any reasonable woman would have come forward and said something.”  The same why didn’t you say something-earlier question has been asked during almost every headline-making sexual-harassment scandal.  Earlier this year it was lobbed at former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson when she complained about her then-boss, Rodger Ailes.  Paula Jones got it in 1994 about Bill Clinton.

Veiled character attacks aside, many women do, quite reasonably, assume they would come forward immediately if they were in that situation, says Louise Fitzgerald, professor emerita of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, who specializes in the psychological effects of sexual harassment,  “But that’s not what happens.”  She says.

In a landmark study published in 2001 in the Journal of Social Issues, psychologist Julie Woodzicka and Marianne LaFrance interviewed 197 women about what they would do if they were confronted with inappropriate or aggressive sexual provocation in a professional setting.  The women said that they would get angry and refuse to put up with it.  But when Woodzicka and LaFrance subjected 50 of the women to inappropriate comments in what they believed were real job interviews—the interviewer asked if they wore bras to work, if they felt they were sexually desirable—every woman, without exception sat through the interview and answered the questions.  None reported the interviewer’s behavior.  Later, they said they hadn’t been angry.  What they’d felt was fear.

“We really didn’t think the difference between their assumptions and their behavior would be so stark,” says LaFrance, a professor at Yale.  “My first response as a scientist was,  “Wow, this data is so great!’  my second thought was,  ‘Oh God, this is awful for women.’ ‘’

When the women were being harassed, their most common reaction was to smile.  It was this fake placeholder smile that they plastered on their faces, “says Woodzicka, a professor at Washington and Lee University, “and then just left there for the duration of the job interview.”

It’s like they were literally grinning and bearing it,” LaFrance says.  In a follow-up study published in 2004, the psychologist showed the footage of women’s interviews to men and women and found that men were most likely to misread the smiles as genuine.

Woodzicka and LaFrance studied only in-the-moment reactions, however.  After the incidents, Fitzgerald explains, rational considerations about whether and how to respond come into play.  A woman who’s been harassed might consider who did it and how important that person is to the company.  Will she be believed?  Can she afford to lose her job or burn a professional bridge?

Quitting is not an option for people who are living paycheck to paycheck.  But Fitzgerald says highly paid women with prestigious careers also put up with harassment, because “the higher you go up the employment ladder, the more difficult it is to find a job to replace the one you’re leaving.”

During Anita Hill’s testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee about the sexualized atmosphere she experienced while working for Clarence Thomas in the 1980’s, she was criticized for having kept in touch with him and for following him across two jobs (one ironically, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).  You might “You might need to call on this person for references,” says Hill, now a professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University.  “Unless you’re willing to explain to future employers why you’re not speaking to this person, there is an understanding that if this is someone you worked for, someone that holds a key to your future in his hands, you’re going to have to maintain some kind of relationship.

“I like to believe that now we understand these kind of situations better,” she adds.  “But people should remember that even if it takes them years, or they don’t come forward at all, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

I got the information for this post from Bloomberg Business Week Nov. issue 2016

Women military personnel get attacked and raped too

For WomenLance MurrayComment

Women in our military need protection against sexual assault too.  Although everyone goes through some defense training and know more about how to prevent a personal attack than most of us, it still can happen, and you need to be prepared.  Here's a story of a young girl that was attacked and raped on her base while doing her job.

Megan was observing the night flight operations on base one night when she realized she had been followed by an intoxicated man from the barracks. “I felt a hand on my shoulder. At first I thought it was someone I worked with...But I got turned around and thrown to the ground. I realized I was in trouble,” said Megan. “When he was done I just stayed there. I watched him walk back to the barracks. I remember sitting there thinking, what just happened? This doesn’t happen: not in the military, not in the Marine Corps, not to me.”

Megan didn’t open up about what happened to her right away. “My shop (co-workers) noticed the bruises on my thighs and arms, but I brushed it off and explained it away,” she said. “I didn’t want to be that girl. I didn’t want to be sent home,” she remembers.

In the months that followed, Megan struggled with depression and found it difficult to perform everyday tasks, even basic tasks at work. “I would sleep with my lights on, my curtains open, and my doors open. I became suicidal. I didn’t want to keep on living like this.” After a trauma like sexual assault, it’s common to experience psychological, emotional, and physical effects like sleep disturbances and suicidal thoughts. When Megan realized the severity of these effects, she knew it was time to reach out for help.

Since she enlisted in the military, sexual assault briefs had been included in regular safety trainings and meetings, so Megan knew exactly where to go when she decided to file a Restricted report. “A Restricted report is kind of like a baby-step. When you file Restricted, you can get all the medical help and mental health care you need and still remain completely anonymous. Your CO (commanding officer) won’t even know your name.” She later converted her report to “Unrestricted,” allowing an investigation to occur.

“You can push it out of your mind, but eventually the depression and the anxiety creeps up on you. So I reached out to my roommate and told her what happened.” Megan was overwhelmed by the support she received from her roommate as well as the rest of her team and command.

Today, Megan is happily married and expecting a child. She still deals with challenging days and tough memories, but she feels better equipped to handle those thanks to the mental health care she received and support from her spouse. “It took a long time for me to realize that it’s alright to feel not-okay some days. I just need to be real with myself and say, ‘Okay, today isn’t going well, what can I do to feel a little bit better?’ Sometimes it’s as easy as getting my nails done and feeling pretty—because for the longest time I didn’t even want to feel pretty.”

She proudly shares her story to let other survivors—especially those in the DoD community— know they are not alone, and that help is available. “The more I speak out, the more positive responses I get. I hear from people all the time that this happened to (their) wife, partner, or mom. It made me realize I’m not the only one with this skeleton in the closet.”

If you are a member of the DoD community and have experienced sexual assault, know that you are not alone—and support is available. Safe Helpline is a 24/7 confidential crisis service specifically designed for survivors of sexual assault in the military. Safe Helpline is free, anonymous, and secure.

I got this information from a RAINN post

20 minutes of rape article

For WomenLance MurrayComment

In March of 2016, 20-year-old Brock Turner was convicted of three felony counts: sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object; sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and assault with an intent to commit rape. Despite the finding of guilt and the brutal details of the crime—which involved a college party, an incapacitated and unconscious victim, and bystanders intervening when they discovered the victim behind a dumpster not far from campus—Judge Aaron Perksy decided to impose a sentence of only six months. This sentence was far less than the six years recommended by prosecutors, and only one-quarter of the normal two-year minimum sentence. Persky avoided minimum sentence by finding that “unusual circumstances” existed.

The short sentence shocked many, as did a statement written by the perpetrator’s father defending his son’s “20 minutes of action.”  Bringing national attention to the case, CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield spent more than an hour reading the survivor’s full statement on air. The survivor’s eloquence and and emotion led the story to be carried by media worldwide.

Former Judge Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) spoke to fellow members of Congress about the case. “Mr. Speaker,” Rep. Poe said, “I was a criminal court judge and prosecutor for 30 years, this judge got it wrong.” Poe, who as co-founder of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus has led efforts to protect and support victims of sexual violence, continued: “As a country, we must change our mentality and make sure that our young people recognize sexual assault and rape for the heinous crimes that they are… As a grandfather, I want to know that my granddaughters are growing up in a society that has zero tolerance for this crime.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) led a one-hour “special order” on the floor of the House of Representatives, during which members of Congress took turns reading the survivor’s statement. “People must understand rape is one of the most violent crimes a person can commit,” said Speier.

“This event, which was bipartisan and included both men and women, was unprecedented and demonstrates a rising awareness about these crimes and their devastating impact on survivors,” said Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president for public policy. “This case focuses the national spotlight on ongoing challenges and the continued need to teach the difference between criminal acts and ‘20 minutes of action’; the need to support survivors when they bravely come forward and pursue justice against the odds; and the need to get to a place where rapists receive punishment that fits the crime.”

In her statement, the survivor spoke to not only to the crimes themselves, but what happened after: “He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.”

This article is from RAINN.org

#ActWithRAINN to support survivors and join the fight against sexual violence.

Safety tips for attending graduation parties

For Students, For WomenLance Murray2 Comments

Hi everyone, Here's a few tips you might want to pay attention to when attending parties celebrating graduation.  A lot of celebration destinations are at peoples apartments or houses that have decks to hang out on and enjoy the outside air.

Tip #1 is to be cautious about to many people on the deck. There are a lot of injuries and fatalities due to over loading the deck structure and the deck collapsing, leaving everyone on the deck to fall off and get injured or die, so please be CAUTIOUS about over crowding on the deck and keep yourself safe, now some decks are built to withstand a lot of people on them but a lot are not.  Check out these links about injuries and fatalities due to deck collapse.

http://www.today.com/id/48647770/ns/today-today_news/t/rossen-reports-many-backyard-decks-collapse-experts-warn/#.V0Sow1QrIzE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Chicago_balcony_collapse

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/16/berkeley-balcony-collapse/28797145/

Tip #2 is be mindful of what you're drinking.  Often people will put a roofie in your drink when you are not looking so that they can take advantage of you later.  Never let your drink out of your sight, even if you are among assumed friends, just play it safe and fill your own drink and keep it in sight. If you see someone spiking someones drink call the authorities. Thousands of women are drugged and sexually assaulted every year.  Check out these links about people spiking your drinks and sexually assaulting you and be safe.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/dr-laura-berman-on-love-and-sex/how-can-you-tell-if-your-drink-has-been-drugged-new-product-line-helps-to-detect-roofies-and-prevent-date-rape/

http://ie.reachout.com/inform-yourself/alcohol-drugs-and-addiction/alcohol/drink-spiking/

https://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/womens-health/victim-spiked-drink/

Tip #3 is, carry some kind of personal protection like a pepper spray device that has a good rating and that you feel comfortable using, or a key chain lanyard that you have your keys on and can swing at an attacker to defend yourself.  There are a lot of less than lethal self defense options out there so find one that is effective and that you feel comfortable using.  That's it, so HAPPY GRADUATION, be aware, and stay safe so that you can fulfill your life's dreams.

The Hard Facts: Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

The Hard Facts: Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

By: Trey Dyer

Author Bio: Trey Dyer is a writer for DrugRehab.com and an advocate for substance abuse treatment. Trey is passionate about sharing his knowledge and tales about his own family’s struggle with drug addiction to help others overcome the challenges that face substance dependent individuals and their families. Trey has a degree in journalism from American University and has been writing professionally since 2011.

Sadly, legal and illicit drugs and alcohol are commonly used to facilitate sexual assault. Also known as date rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault is one of the most commonly occurring types of sexual violence. Crimes of this nature are frequently committed by someone the victim knows, as 47 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim. Additionally, 75 percent of acquaintance rapes involve drugs or alcohol. Despite these numbers, there are steps that can be taken to prevent drug-facilitated sexual assaults. For victims of these atrocious attacks, there is help and treatment available.

Drug-facilitated sexual assaults most commonly occur in drinking environments, such as a house party or bar, where are commonly used to facilitate sexual assault:

  1. Rohypnol- also known as “rufilin” or “roofies,” Rohypnol may cause individuals to appear drunk or inebriated. Common side effects include slurred speech, loss of motor functions, confusion, disorientation and loss of consciousness.
  2. GHB- taking effect in less than 15 minutes, GHB has similar effects to Rohypnol and is often slipped into a victim’s drink. GHB is extremely potent, and a small amount can cause severe side effects.
  3. Ketamine-popular in rave culture, ketamine is a fast-acting substance that causes dissociation from reality. Other side effects include distorted perceptions of sight and sound, hallucinations, feeling out of control, impaired motor function and slurred speech.

4. MDMA- also known as “ecstasy” or “molly,” MDMA causes individuals to feel intense                          emotions and decreased inhibitions. MDMA is often mixed with other substances, and the                  majority of users have no idea what they are taking.

5. Alcohol- alcohol is the most commonly involved substance when it comes to sexual assault.               Drinking too much causes the inability to think clearly, set limits, and make good                               judgement. Memory loss is also a common side effect when drinking at excessive levels.

Victims Taking the Blame

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, 68 percent of all sexual assaults are not reported to police, and 98 percent of rapists never serve time behind bars for their crime. Victims of sexual assault often experience feelings of guilt or shame and try to claim some kind of responsibility for the perpetrator’s crime, most of the time as a way to cope and take control of a situation that they had no control over. These feelings cause many sexual assaults to go unreported.

Studies show that other reasons victims do not report sexual assaults may be the following:

  • Feelings of shame or embarrassment
  • A desire to keep the assault a private matter
  • Fear of what others will think
  • Fear of not being believed or being accused of being responsible for the crime
  • Lack of trust in the criminal justice process

Additionally, many victims —and sometimes even law enforcement — try to place blame on themselves as a result of drugs or alcohol they were using at the time of the sexual assault. Eliminating this notion is critical. No matter what a victim was doing at the time of an attack, sexual assault is the never the victim’s fault.

Protect Yourself

There are steps people can take to protect themselves from drug-facilitated sexual assaults. These precautions include the following:

  • Do not accept drinks from others, especially people you do not know
  • Open all drink containers yourself
  • Keep your drink on your persons at all times, even in the bathroom
  • Do not share drinks with others
  • Do not drink from community drink containers (Punch bowls, water coolers)
  • When ordering or receiving a drink, make sure to watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself
  • Do not drink anything that tastes unusual or odd. For example, GHB may cause drinks to taste salty
  • Go to social outings with a sober friend
    • Pour out any drinks that are left unattended, even if only for a small amount of time
    • If you feel intoxicated and have not had any drinks — or if you feel like the effects of drinking alcohol are stronger than usual — stop drinking and seek help immediately
    • Do not use illicit drugs that may be laced with unknown substances, such as ecstasy

Being aware of your surroundings is also a crucial step to avoid being a victim of drug-facilitated sexual assaults. Trust your instincts; if something feels out of the ordinary or odd, it probably is.

Help for Victims

Victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault often have difficulty recalling details of the attack or the attack altogether. Frequently, it can take victims hours or even longer to realize a sexual assault occurred. Additionally, date rape drugs leave the body quickly and may leave a person’s system before the proper medical professionals have a chance to test for their presence. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a possible drug-facilitated sexual assault may have occurred.The following signs could be an indicator of drug-facilitated sexual assault:

  • You feel drunk and you have not had any alcohol
  • The effects of alcohol feel stronger than usual
  • You wake up very hungover and disoriented
  • You have no recollection of a period of time
  • You remember having a drink but cannot remember what happened after that
  • Your clothes are torn, disheveled or put on a different way than you remember
  • You feel like you had sex, but you cannot remember it

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, follow these steps to receive the proper medical attention and help:

  • Seek Medical Attention Immediately- Call 911 or have someone you trust take you to the hospital emergency room. Do not urinate, clean yourself, bathe, brush your teeth, wash your hands, change clothes or eat or drink before you receive medical attention. These things may yield evidence of the sexual assault.
  • Call the Police from the Hospital- Tell the police exactly what you remember. Be honest about all and every one of your activities. Remember, nothing you did, including drinking or illicit drugs, justifies rape or sexual assault. Ask the hospital to take a urine sample that can be tested for date-rape drugs. Date-rape drugs leave your system quickly. The sooner you receive medical attention, the higher your chances of catching the potential presence of date-rape drugs in your system. Rohypnol stays in the body for several hours and can be detected in urine up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. Do not urinate before going to the hospital.

Do Not Clean the Room in Which the Sexual Assault Occurred - make sure to leave the area or room in which the sexual assault occurred exactly the way it is. Leaving the scene of the crime in the condition you find it in after the assault has occurred is important to the investigation process, as it could evidence to investigators

Seek Counseling and Treatment- Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are common for victims of sexual assault. No matter what you did before the attack, sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. A counselor can help you work through these emotions and cope with the trauma. Calling a crisis center or a hotline, such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, can help victims find the resources they need to get through this troubling time.

Sources:

FRIS. (n.d.). Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault. Retrieved from http://www.fris.org/SexualViolence/DrugFacilitated.html

National Institute of Justice. (2010, October 26). Rape and Sexual Violence. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/Pages/welcome.aspx

National Institute of Justice. (2016, March 18). Untested Evidence of Sexual Assault Cases. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/investigations/sexual-assault/Pages/untested-sexual-assault.aspx

National Institute of Justice. (2010, October 26). Victims and Perpetrators. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/Pages/victims-perpetrators.aspx

Network of Victim Assistance. (n.d.). Date Rape Drug- Ecstasy. Retrieved from http://www.novabucks.org/daterapedrugs_ecstasy/

Office on Women’s Health. (2012, July 16). Date Rape drugs fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/date-rape-dugs.html#f

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d.). Statistics. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/statistics

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d.). Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/drug-facilitated-assault

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This guest post was provided by: Angela Hilty at https://www.drugrehab.com/

To my readers;  Did you like this post, and was it helpful?

Lady Gaga was sexually assaulted and shared her story to help others

For WomenLance MurrayComment

Lady Gaga was sexually assaulted and has shared her story to help others.  Here's her story. http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/12/lady-gaga-shares-how-she-survived-her-sexual-assault  Please share your story here so that it may help others. Check out http://itsonus.org/ for some great information and to take the pledge. This pledge is a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It is a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution. You are not alone and it's terrible that it happens to so many so please check out this site  https://www.notalone.gov/ NotAlone.gov includes information for students, schools, and anyone interested in finding resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault.

Help overturn Ohio anti-victim ruling

For WomenLance MurrayComment

(January 20, 2016) --- In a rebuke to a victim who waited years for her rape kit to be tested, an Ohio court has ruled that prosecuting the alleged perpetrator unconstitutionally violates his due process rights. RAINN has joined with partner organizations to file an amicus brief, asking the Ohio Court of Appeals to overturn the decision. “This decision, if it stands, could have a devastating impact for countless victims seeking justice in the courts,” says Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president for public policy.

Last summer, a panel of judges in the 8th District Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the charges against the defendant, Demetrius Jones, in a 1993 rape case. Jones was charged with the rape of rape of a 23-year-old woman who told law enforcement she was held at knifepoint and raped while visiting Jones at his mother’s apartment. Following the assault, the victim went to the hospital and had a rape kit taken.

Jones maintained that he had a consensual sexual encounter with the victim and that his mother, who was home at the time, could corroborate his story. The case was closed, after police deemed the victim “unreachable” after two attempts to visit her at her home.

In 2012, the case came to the attention of a state sexual assault kit task force, which sent the previously unanalyzed rape kit for testing. The kit was returned to Cleveland police in June 2012. In July 2013, after evidence from the kit resulted in a “hit” in the national DNA database, CODIS, the police re-opened the case and indicted Jones on August 30, 2013, one day before the 20-year statute of limitations ran out. (Note: Ohio’s statute of limitation was recently extended to 25 years.)

Jones’ lawyers argued, successfully, that the delay in prosecuting Jones led to “actual prejudice” against their client, citing the fact that his mother, who could have offered him a statement affirming his innocence, had passed away in interceding years. Appeals judge Larry Jones agreed with the defense, despite longstanding precedent that required a defendant to prove that not only did a delay in prosecution render evidence unavailable, but also that that evidence would ultimately have been of value to their defense.

In his decision, Jones said, “[T]he record here demonstrates that the state merely failed to take action for a substantial period. After this inaction of the state, requiring Jones to demonstrate that any missing evidence or unavailable witness testimony would have been exculpatory is simply violative of his due process rights.”

RAINN disagrees, says O’Connor. “Ohio state law, in 1993, was clear: the state had 20 years to pursue a claim in the criminal justice system in this case. Now, as we sort through backlogged, untested rape kits, a single judge has decided to go against state law and the precedent set by the Ohio Supreme Court. The decision is a blow to survivors who have already endured so much and goes against the public interest in putting the justice system to work as intended to take sexual predators off our streets.”

The amicus brief, which calls on the higher court to overturn this decision and allow charges to go ahead against Jones in the 1993 rape, was filed by attorney Kevin Martin, of the firm Goodwin Procter, LLP, pro bono counsel to the Joyful Heart Foundation. Also signed on in support are the organizations AEquitas and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Be part of the solution: Visit RAINN's Action Center and sign up to stay informed about RAINN’s work to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits, as well as other key policy issues.

This article is by RAINN

Maybe I should have,,,,

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

Survivor Spotlight: Aspen Matis2

Aspen

“Maybe I should have kicked him. I should have screamed.”

It was Aspen Matis’s second night of college. She had invited a few new friends over to her dorm room to watch the classic movie "The Breakfast Club." When the movie was over, two of the three people left, leaving one guy in her room.

He didn’t leave. She told him to stop, but felt frozen. He threw her clothes on the floor, and raped her. “I felt shame,” said Aspen, thinking back to that time. She eventually decided to visit an on-campus resource for sexual assault, where she was encouraged to report what happened. After the school’s campus mediator found the case inconclusive, Aspen found herself needing to get away and find some solitude in order to process what her college experience had turned into. She decided to walk 2,650 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, all the way from Mexico to Canada. “The literal route of the long journey felt symbolic,” says Aspen. “Walking toward the pain, into it—facing it, feeling it hotly—and passing through it.”

Aspen decided to raise money for RAINN along the way, in support of other survivors who are making their way through the healing process. Aspen said, “When I called the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the staffer listened and stayed on the phone for hours as I spoke and cried. Her presence softened my sharp pangs of pain. She repeated that my rape was not my fault, that I should feel no shame, that—simple as it may sound—I hadn’t caused it. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. It was true. And it hadn’t been obvious to me. But hearing it from someone else, a professional, someone who should know, helped me believe that soon I would believe it.”

After Aspen returned from her successful hike, she decided to write a memoir about her journey. Girl in the Woods, released on September 8, 2015, explores Aspen’s physical and emotional survival story, and reveals how she came to terms with an experience that many of those around her did not understand. “I met myself, my future self, learned who I was and what I needed and wanted, and earned massive respect for myself and my strength. I showed myself how strong I was. I became the hero of my own story,” says Aspen.

“We’ve followed Aspen’s remarkable journey since 2008, when she first contacted us about her courageous plan to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to support survivors,” said RAINN’s Director of Development, Chelsea Bowers. “Aspen’s sincerity and openness in sharing her story has already helped so many to know that they’re not alone, and Girl in the Woods will reinforce for thousands more that there is hope, and that recovery is possible.”“I want other girls to tell their stories, and be free of them,” says Aspen.

Learn more about Aspen at her official website. Aspen is donating 5% of royalties through the sale of her book to RAINN: Order your copy here. You can also help Aspen raise money for the National Sexual Assault Hotline by donating here.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español:rainn.org/es.

Stalking Awareness

For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

January Survivor Spotlight: Stalking Awareness

  • 1 in 6 women – and 1 in 19 men – have experienced stalking at some point during their lifetime
  • 66% of female stalking victims are stalked by someone they know
  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next
  • 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop
  • 1 in 8 employed victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization
  • 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization*

For survivor Marianne Bezaire, these aren’t just statistics – she experienced it all personally when an acquaintance became her rapist, and then her stalker.

Marianne was drugged and sexually assaulted at a friend’s party. When she woke up the next morning and drove herself home, her attacker followed her and discovered where she lived. This was the beginning of an awful ordeal that involved the stalker breaking into her home, blackmailing her with information he found while reading her personal journals, hacking into her computer and email, and more. Marianne says she lived in fear of what he would do next, and “one of the worst parts of the situation was dealing with how hard it was to get support.”

Those around her often minimized the danger Marianne faced, or blamed her for not protecting herself more effectively. “I felt very ashamed and responsible, but also helpless to make the stalking stop,” she says. Even when she was able to go to the police in her town, she says they were unhelpful, suggesting that she simply replace her computer or move to a new address. “I felt as though no one would understand how unsafe I was, or what I had to go through to make myself feel safe again.”

Marianne says that in the 10 years since her experience, the perception of stalking has changed significantly. “There’s more awareness now of how serious a crime it is to stalk someone,” says Marianne. Stalking, generally defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear,” is a crime in all 50 states and Washington, DC, and January is recognized as National Stalking Awareness Month.

Marianne wants those with similar experiences to feel supported. “Please do not be hard on yourself. Stalkers often purposely try to confuse you and make you feel as though you are responsible for their behavior. Don’t let anyone talk you out of taking proper care of yourself.” To overcome the after-effects of being stalked, Marianne began seeing a therapist, and also started meditating and journaling. She advises others to try a healing physical activity, such as dance or yoga.

Marianne also recommends identifying resources you have available should you discover or suspect you’re being stalked. For instance, whom would you feel comfortable talking to? Do you know where your local police station is? How much of your personal information is shared on social media? “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be your own best advocate,” says Marianne.

Find more information about stalking here, and at the National Center for Victims of Crime's Stalking Resource Center.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.

*All statistics via The National Center for Victims of Crime.

Most women experience worse victim blaming

For WomenLance MurrayComment

'It was painful - but most women experience worse victim blaming': Lena Dunham details the critical reaction to her alleged assault during Today show appearance

By ERIN CLEMENTS FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

PUBLISHED: 13:08 EST, 7 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:38 EST, 7 January 2015

Lena Dunham has responded to the media backlash surrounding her account of having been sexually assaulted by a college classmate in her recent memoir, but also acknowledged that she didn't experience the level of 'victim blaming' that many other woman do, due to her celebrity status.

During an appearance on the Today show Wednesday morning, the 28-year-old told Savannah Guthrie: 'It's a very, very painful thing to share an episode that personal and receive criticism, but what I received was only a small percentage of the doubt and victim blaming that most women who are sexually assaulted in this country experience.

'I am a celebrity with a platform and a lot of incredible support. Most women who come forward with accusations of sexual assault don't have those benefits, don't have my legal and emotional and financial supports. And so for me, I really feel that it enhanced my understanding of the cause and hopefully will make me a better advocate and activist in the future.'

Blaming the victim: Lena Dunham described the 'painful' media response to her account of sexual assault during an interview on the Today show this morning

Blaming the victim: Lena Dunham described the 'painful' media response to her account of sexual assault during an interview on the Today show this morning

In her book, Not That Kind of Girl, the Girls creator used a pseudonym to identify her alleged rapist, but her publisher, Random House, was forced to change the name from 'Barry' because of claims that the name and description fit an actual man who attended Oberlin College with Miss Dunham.

She subsequently penned an essay for Buzzfeed, in which she said she wished readers had honored the 'sensitive nature' of the subject rather than attempting 'to reopen these wounds' or 'deepen her trauma'.

'I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information,' she wrote.  Celebrity status: Miss Dunham also told Savannah Guthrie that it took some time to adjust to her newfound fame after the success of her hit HBO series

Miss Dunham also told Ms Guthrie that it took some time to adjust to her newfound fame after the success of her hit HBO series, which is now entering its fourth season.  Once she came to the realization that 'anyone was paying attention', the scrutiny made her more restrained.

'I was so used to making my weird videos and prose poems in a bubble. I was just a weirdo college girl wearing neon leggings and doing my thing,' she said.

Hit series: Miss Dunham attended the fourth season premiere of Girls in New York City on Monday

'It definitely took longer than a moment to adjust to the idea that what I said had any kind of impact. I think all of us girls on the show have really tried to find a way to channel our voices into causes and issues and projects that matter to us, so that we can make the attention matter and count, and that's the most important thing.'

The actress had more to say about the criticism that comes with fame in her newly released cover story in the February issue of Elle.

'I realized early on that I was not going to be able to have a comfortable relationship with celebrity if I didn't feel like I was using it to talk about things that were important to me,' she said.  'It was always going to make me feel gross, for lack of a better word. I was like, "Oh, this attention is something I'm going to figure out how to use in a way that feels productive, healthy, and smart. And not just like as an excuse to collect handbags." Although...I love handbags.'

Read more:

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2900737/It-painful-women-experience-worse-victim-blaming-Lena-Dunham-details-critical-reaction-alleged-assault-Today-appearance.html#ixzz3OAFtEba9 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Crime Statistics Against Women. Did you know,,,,

For Women, In the NewsLance MurrayComment

Crime-Statistics Against Women

The crime-statistics show that about 31 million total crimes are reported in the United States annually. That's about one crime per second. Victim rates of violent crimes have increased. Without warning, a situation can turn from safe to sorry; turning you not only into a victim, but the top news story of the day.  And, most people who are victimized never imagined that crime would happen to them. It always happens to the other person.  

The crime-statistics indicate that in the next hour, somewhere in the United States, the following will happen:

  • 900 Thefts
  • 189 Violent Crimes
  • 124 Assaults
  • 66 Robberies
  • 24 Sexual Assaults
  • 12 Rapes
  • 2 Murders

Do you have the necessary knowledge and skill set to protect yourself against one of these crimes and not be counted in the next crime-statistics? Do you know what to do if confronted by an attacker? Do you have a game plan to deal with violent crime?

This article is from Woman's Self-Defense Institute

Women's self defense ABC's

For WomenLance MurrayComment

Do you know your self-defense A,B,Cs?

 
People try very hard in life to complicate things that aren't that complicated.

Women's self-defense is one of those areas. Lots of folks spend time trying to "scare" women into taking classes instead of just addressing a basic fact: you can't defend yourself if you haven't learned your self defense ABCs.

A is for Awareness & Avoidance

Sounds pretty simple, right? The reality is that if we pay more attention to our surroundings and our "women's intuition", we can very quickly highlight potentially dangerous situations and/or individuals. By using color coding methods and awareness strategies, we are able to provide ourselves with escape routes to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios. Awareness & avoidance training is all about survival and not having to engage in a violent encounter.

B is for Body Language & Boundaries

How we carry ourselves says a lot about who we are. Predators are looking for prey and the last thing you want to do is to appear as prey. So how do you not look like prey? By making eye contact, shoulders back, and walking with purpose you send a clear signal that you are aware and not an easy target. Boundaries are tough for women given that we are trained as caretakers. But the reality is that you need to feel comfortable in saying "NO" and setting a clear boundary as to how close someone gets to you and what you allow them to do. Body language & boundary setting is all about using your body and voice to send a clear signal that you are not easy prey.

C is for Contact & Confidence

Contact is simply being able to deal with a violent situation with confidence in your own personal power. Do you have the personal protection and self defense skill sets to fight off, if you have to, a violent predator? Are you confident in your skills? Are you confident in your ability to control your fear and act? Do you have a game plan if confronted with violence? Contact & confidence training teaches you the multitude of self defense options you have available to you.

The ABCs of women's self defense aren't that tough. They do, however, require some training. None of us are born with all knowledge. We all train and learn to better ourselves and to keep ourselves safe. Have you completed your women's self defense ABC training? www.self-defense-mind-body-spirit.com

Teen girls can protect themselves.

For Students, For WomenLance MurrayComment

Dallas Jessup on how to turn anger at injustice into a movement for change

From the front lines of youth activism,  17-year-old Dallas Jessup delivers a how-to guide for any teen who  wants to change the world. She shares inspiring stories of teen  activists and her own community service project, which grew into a  worldwide revolution against predators. An excerpt.

Americans love a good Revolution. In fact, Thomas Jefferson once said, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

Maybe  one starts with dumping tea in a harbor to start a Revolution for  Freedom; perhaps another starts with an inspiring speech, challenging  the citizens of a great nation to judge people by the content of their  character and not the color of their skin in a Revolution for Civil  Rights; and just maybe a new revolutionary change in the world starts  today in this library, in this study, in this living room, in this cozy  chair by the window — with you reading this book, one page at a time.

Revolutions, after all, aren’t always fought  by large armies or entire nations. They don’t even require gunfire,  violence or bloodshed. In fact, the most important revolutions start  small; one person at a time. An idea, an observation, a thought or even  just a feeling can all give rise to the power of a revolution.

That’s  why I’m here: I want to challenge you to start a Revolution of your own  and to let you know just how to make that happen. Anybody can be the  catalyst to a fundamental change in our society, even kids.

Young Revolutionaries Who Rock

The  younger you are the more power you actually have to act on your  thoughts, feelings and emotions. Think about it: you grow up, get  married, buy a house, have kids of your own, and get bogged down with  bills and responsibilities. How are you going to start a revolution  then? We have the freedom, the power, the energy, the dreams and the  courage to start revolutions. All we need is a little push. I’ve met  about ... kids that have done just that with a hundred separate causes  and I’ve heard about, and that doesn’t include the few thousand I  haven’t heardabout.

If  you’ll join us I think we’ll see a very different and far better world  five years from now; a better world created by Revolutionaries like you and me.

You have the right to take back your power Since I started the Just Yell Fire Revolution  a few years ago, I’ve met a lot of rape survivors and near-rape  avoiders. They’ve all told me horror stories that I hope you never have  to hear or experience. And the one thing all rape victims — all victims  in general — have in common is a feeling of powerlessness. Whether it  is by surrendering your power unwillingly, the taking of your power  without permission, or purely a lack of personal power, being  victimized is a horrible feeling.

Do you know how that feels? I bet you do. Kids  are some of the most powerless people on the planet; or so we think.  When you are bullied and afraid to leave the house, that’s  powerlessness. When you are singled out because of your race, religion  or sexual orientation, that’s powerlessness. When you are punished by  parents, principals and the powers that be, that is powerlessness in  its simplest form.

When  you can’t play on this team because you’re a girl or cheer on that  squad because you’re a boy, that’s the powerlessness of inequality.  When you can’t walk to school because bigger kids might hurt you,  that’s the powerlessness of injustice. When you turn on the evening  news and see hunger and earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes and  bombings and are frustrated by the inability to help — that’s powerlessness pure and simple.

But  I want you to know that you can turn that powerlessness around and into  real positive power; many a revolution began by turning powerlessness  into power. When settlers braved hunger and thirst and wild animals to  colonize America, they did so because they felt powerless back home in  England. When England began persecuting settlers all over again in  their new country, they felt powerless once more. They were tired of  feeling powerless and so they did what no one thought they could do:  they started a revolution.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be powerless anymore.

It’s time for you to take back your power.

It’s time for your Revolution!

You have the right to be a revolutionary When  I first saw the video footage of eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia being  abducted in front of a car wash in broad daylight several years ago, I  was outraged. When I learned that Carlie had been raped and killed, I  was sickened. When her killer was put in jail, I felt that Carlie had  been vindicated. That feeling lasted only a moment, and I only felt  slightly satisfied. I knew that a woman is raped every two minutes in  the United States. I knew that there are over 114,000 attempted  abductions every year. I knew there would be more Carlies later that  day, and the next, and so on and forever. But I knew something else: I  knew I had the right to try and stop it. I knew I was powerful enough  to overcome these feelings of powerlessness.

I knew I could start a Revolution of my own; I just had to figure out how.

So I started the Just Yell Fire movement  and made a film about how to avoid being abducted or raped — and as of  this writing 600,000 people have downloaded it from every corner of the  world. I started speaking at schools all over the United States, and  now I operate the Just Yell Fire non-profit organization, which has helped empower girls in 41 countries.

But what about you?

What can you do to turn your anger into action? What are you concerned about that you care enough to start a Revolution? What can you do to start changing the world, one kid at a time?

I’m here to let you know that you have rights.  Maybe you don’t possess the right to vote or the right to drive or  drink alcohol... yet. But here’s a list of 9 rights that every one of you already has — even if you’ve forgotten what they are:

You have the right to...

  • Get angry at injustice
  • Live a life free of fear
  • Believe in yourself
  • Fix what’s broken
  • Listen to your gut
  • Change the world
  • Help others who can’t help themselves
  • Fight for your rights and the rights of others
  • Fight for your personal bill of rights

I’m  here to remind you of the rights you have and don’t use as well as the  rights you may not have even realized you had in the first place. I’m  here to remind you that if you do not protect these rights, you may  very well lose them. I’m here to let you know it’s time for you to  start saving the world, one Revolution at a time.

You have the right to recognize your power— and use it! Here’s  the kind of real, usable power I’m talking about: you are school smart  and you know something of how the world works and how to use technology  in order to reach hundreds, even thousands, of people with a single  Facebook post or YouTube video or text message — and even with all that  knowledge racked up in your brain you have power you don’t even know  about.

You have the power to start a Revolution — a Revolution where not only your life  gets better, but hundreds or thousands or even millions of people  improve the quality of their lives, too. You can be more than just a  kid or a jock or a nerd or a brain or a cheerleader or whatever label  the world uses to call you now; you can be more than that. You can be a Revolutionary!

Let me tell you about a world I’ve discovered and one you can be part of: When Just Yell Fire took  off and hundreds, then thousands, and millions of people joined my  revolution to put predators and rapists out of commission worldwide, I  was amazed at this unprecedented response to my cause. Because of all  that activity I received hundreds of invitations to meetings around the  country. These meetings are usually centered on an award or scholarship  for community service, but what they are really about is bringing kids  together who are trying to change the world. It’s a way for all of us  young revolutionaries to meet and greet; to get a break from school and  work and fundraisers and catch up with each other — or meet each other  for the very first time.

It’s really amazing to sit in a room with  other kids who have made a difference in the world and talk about  things like cancer cures and eliminating homelessness and poverty and  quitting smoking and getting relief for flood victims. These kids are  just like you and me and they have actually solved these problems in  their own communities. We’re not just talking pie-in-the-sky theories  or warm and fuzzy wannabes; these are Young Revolutionaries Who Rock!

In just the past couple of years I’ve become part of this brave new world and have met some phenomenal people along the way:

  • I met a guy from Canada who was bullied by kids and even bullied by his  TEACHERS when he was growing up because he was different from them. He  started an organization to teach people tolerance. He soon had 300  people working for him and has a million others helping him now — he is  a Revolutionary.
  • I met a high school student from South Carolina who found out about a  school in India without books, without desks and without electricity.  He called companies around the US, and now spends his summers  delivering container loads of supplies to this school and others like  it in India — he is a Revolutionary.
  • One girl figured out how to communicate with autistic kids. She’s  spreading the word, and parents, doctors, and teachers all over the  world are listening — she is a Revolutionary.
  • One girl sent a few CDs and DVDs to the troops overseas. The response  she got was so overwhelming that she started a non-profit organization  to encourage other people to provide more gifts for more soldiers — she  is a Revolutionary.

And I have hundreds of stories just like these; stories of modern revolutionaries who couldn’t wait any longer and decided to fight for their right to a better world.

Kids  are taking on world hunger, speeding up the search for cures to  horrible diseases and standing up for the environment. We are teaching  other kids about the dangers of smoking, the effects of drugs, and the  problem of underage drinking. We are doing what adults can’t, won’t or  just plain don’t. So there are thousands of kids changing the world —  all different colors and shapes and sizes and zip codes — and do you  know what they all have in common?

They all started out in middle school or in high school.  Most weren’t old enough to drive; they had never given a speech or held  a public office; they weren’t the best students or the best athletes;  they were just everyday, normal, average kids. Kids like me; kids like  you. But the other thing they had in common was that they all saw a  problem and decided to do something about it. They went from being kids  to become Young Revolutionaries Who Rock.

Excerpted  from “Young Revolutionaries Who Rock” by Dallas Jessup. Copyright (c)  2009, reprinted with permission from Sutton Hart Press.

Article: Just yell fire: Violence against young women and girls

Techniques, For Women, For StudentsLance MurrayComment

Just Yell Fire™ is taking on a crisis social problem: violence and abuse against young women and girls. The numbers are horrific: 1 in 4 becomes a sexual assault victim, 1 in 3 face dating abuse, and too many encounter random violence, date rape drugs, hate crimes, or traffickers. We believe every girl has the right to live a life free of fear, abuse, or violence and we're fighting back.

Since 2006 Just Yell Fire has grown into a 1.5 million girl revolution across 64 countries as we empower girls to know their rights, to stand up for themselves, to be aware of dangers they face, and to escape violence when trouble finds them. Ladies, watch our free films, learn to be safe and be part of our revolution; then tell your friends and your school to join us too. You have the right to live the life you want on your own terms. Stay safe.

Dallas Jessup Founder and CEO Just Yell Fire, Inc More about Dallas Jessup: www.dallasjessup.com