Over the last two years, survivors of sexual violence and harassment are coming forward and speak out about their experiences. Stories are being told about how sexual violence can happen to anyone – regardless of gender, age, and race. Survivors must be given all the resources and support they need to help them cope with the experience and the trauma that comes with it.
The resource speakers for this course are from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and they will provide a comprehensive look into sexual violence. Lindsay Ashworth is the Sexual Violence Response Manager who leads research and policy initiatives related to violence against women, sexual assault and sex trafficking. Meanwhile, Victoria Riechers is the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator who handles training and technical assistance to sexual assault responders and advocates.
Together, they will deep-dive on the dynamics involved in sexual assault, the neurobiology of trauma, how sexual violence can affect an individual, and trauma-informed care. Some of the details they discuss include:
- Statistics coming from various studies that illustrate the prevalence of sexual violence, the victims, targets and groups at risk, and an overview of the perpetrator profile.
- Sexual perpetration, its root and motivation, types, and tactics employed.
- The risk factors for perpetration that looks into different facets as:
- The individual’s upbringing and history.
- Relationship dynamics with family and peers.
- The community’s response to sexual violence including the sanctions and the presence of institutional support.
- The society and the values and culture it promotes.
- Looking into the critical role the society plays in proliferating sexual violence as manifested in:
- Rape culture that trivializes rape and the concept of consent
- The link between alcohol/intoxication and sex/rape.
- Victim blaming where the victim is held responsible for what happened or is committed against them.
- The reasons why survivors aren’t as keen to report sexual assault to authorities.
- What happens to the brain, its chemistry, emotions, response and memory during sexual assault.
- The three most common trauma responses and its characteristics.
- What trauma-informed care is and how it considers the effects of trauma on different aspects of a person’s life.
- The coping mechanisms that individuals may resort to after experiencing sexual violence.
- Challenges that advocates encounter when working with survivors and how to respond to victims and survivors appropriately.
- Victoria and Lindsay took turns to address the webinar attendees’ inquiries during the Q&A related to:
- The risk of sexual abuse for people with disabilities and the elderly.
- Correlation of legalizing marijuana to the number of sexual assault cases.
- Using trauma-informed care to handle a perpetrator who was/is also a victim of sexual violence.
- Dealing with survivors who refuse help and resources.
- The role played by support groups.
- The impact of past sexual assault cases to the community.
- Trauma-informed and appropriate response to survivors.