The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


October 2009

Executive Order 92

On September 28th. Governor Kaine signed into order Executive Order 92 directing the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services of the Department of General Services to accept and to store physical evidence recovery kits received from health care providers.

Under Section B of 19.2-165.1 of the Code of Virginia, victims complaining of sexual assault shall not be required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement authorities in order to be provided with such forensic medical exams.”

Governor Kaine heard the issues that arose from between the regulations that victims can request physical evidence recovery kits prior to reporting to law enforcement and the lack of requirement of law enforcement to pick up the kits in teh absence of a report.  This left victims often without recourse to get the kits without reporting first.  This new provision allows victims to request kits and allows forensic nurses to mail the kits to consolidated labs in a manner that retains the chain of custody.

Yeah to Governor Kaine!!  This will help to encourage victims to get the evidence collected in the required time period.

(double post on

Review: Does Acknowledgement as an Assault Victim Impact Postassault Psychological Symptoms and Coping?

Caroline Clements and Richard Ogle write an interesting article in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.  Their findings report that women who do not acknowledge  victimization report greater problems across the scope of their lives: disability, psychological problems, and reduced or impaired coping skills.  This seems so obvious, that un-acknowledgment of problems leads to greater problems.  I appreciate this article as they acknowledge the difficulty women have in identifying what is rape.  This relates to our society’s view of rape as being only from strangers and less likely from known individuals.  Yet our statistics report that most rape is from individuals known to the victims.  Our society continues to disregard the acts of coercion that are a part of rape.  This continued blatant disregard of all the ways that rape can happen directly effects the numbers of rape and intimate partner violence that happens.  Findings like Clement’s and Ogle help identify the importance of acknowledging rape and the longer term effects on psychological functioning in IPV victims, the reasons victims don’t report and methods to help encourage reporting.

Their article is significant in it’s findings and I hope people will read it and consider their findings in the service of acknowledging the realities of violence in our society and the need to address acknowledgment and prevention.

Find the article in Volume 24, number 10, October 2009 of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Family Violence Social Indicators

Last week I attended an interesting discussion/workgroup on family violence social indicators.  While there is some agreement on what are social indicators of violence, there is debate on what are the most important indicators to study to get the best information.  In the section of preliminary social indicators are the community context areas limited to alcohol abuse, substance abuse, poverty, and unemployment?  Or are these symptoms or outcomes of violence?  Do these issues predict or cause violence or does violence make one more at risk for these problems?

I wonder if with all these efforts to classify and categorize violence really help us understand the scope of violence and its effects on individuals, families, and communities.  I feel it’s a much more blended phenomenon in our culture  and beyond simple cause and effect.  Meaning that to simplify a violent experience as the cause of alcoholism or that alcoholism puts one at a higher risk for violence denies the greater impact of the culture of violence in our society as influencing the overall presence and acceptance of violence in our society.

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