The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


March 2015

The V Word broadcast: Instructions on Not to Rape

Today Carol talks about vimeo made and distributed by Cambridge Rape Crisis Center: Know Your Limits. Help change the conversation from telling women how to avoid being raped to instead telling potential rapists how to avoid raping others.

Listen to the episode here


WRIR 97.3 FM

Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-838-8238

The V Word Broadcast: New legislation to support sexual assault survivors on college campuses.

Carol talks about new legislation passed in Virginia designed to provide enhanced protections and access to services for survivors of sexual assault on campus.

Listen to the show here


WRIR 97.3 FM 

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance 

Title IX information 

Community Accountability from a Survivor’s Perspective

For this episode of the V WORD we recorded live at WRIR’s first Local Voices Live event.  During this event the public got to see live some of their favorite shows/modules. The V Word was honored to be part of this event. Jenn read a piece on community accountability from a community activist who is also a black, queer, immigrant, woman.

Please listen to today’s episode here

Transcript here:

Hi my name is Shantae Taylor and I work with JusticeRVA (for racial justice against state sanctioned police violence and mass incarceration), NOACP/Richmond Resistance (for environmental justice) and with RRFP (for reproductive justice). As a queer person of color and immigrant I stand at the intersections of many issues but today I would like to talk about the intersection between state violence, violence against women and how we can create safer communities from the inside out. I want to start first here and talk a little bit about Richmond and then talk about how these issues apply more broadly. I want to be super clear that these issues may be triggering and would like us all to remember that part of accessibility is also keeping each ourselves and each other safe, I will give folks a moment to leave as needed.

-Rape Culture in RVA : I moved to Richmond five years ago and I have so much praise for such an amazing, dynamic and politically active city. However like most places, there is a very strong undercurrent of rape culture. For example, many known restaurants and bars in this city that have well known sexual assaulters and rapists in their midst and there has not as of yet been an city-wide effective campaign to hold those perpetrators accountable – just very brave people doing their best to speak out.

Another example would be our amazing and vibrant punk and hardcore scenes that we love so much. But unfortunately they also suffer from rape culture with it almost being a too common secret. Let us take the example of Dan Cleaves. (I use the example of a white man here to combat the stereotypes thrown against men of color. I also want to be clear that I am in no way using this example to stigmatize against HIV but I do think it is helpful to remember safe sexual practices and to remember that white people get HIV too! It is not just a black or brown problem).Dan Cleaves is a white male who frequented venues in Richmond and was just charged with sexually assaulting and knowingly infecting women with HIV with a particular targeting of transwomen. Many brave Richmonders, survivors included said enough was enough and were eventually able to drive him out of Richmond, but why did it take so long for people to listen to survivors and their wishes? Who is to blame? Are these individual failures or collective failures?

I would argue that these are collective failures. No individual can be solely be responsible for rape culture nor can they be solely responsible for ending it. That does not mean however that people do not need to be accountable for their own actions and take necessary steps to remedy the harm they have caused specific people and the community at large.

I will offer a personal story to help this stick. I am a survivor, however as a black woman I have serious concerns about approaching the police about what happened to me. What if they treat me differently because of my immigration status. How does my black appearance make me dehumanized, thus devalued and more rape-able and not worthy of being saved? How will my community view me? How will I be treated if I present to receive medical care? How does this relate to the long history of sexual violence against black women in this country? How does it relate to the systemic neglect of some black neighborhoods, environmental racism, economic deprivation, the war on drugs and “tough on crime” policing mentality – are these polices making our communities safer for women or more dangerous? How would this change if I were differently-abled? And why would I want to report my assaulter if I know that he would most likely not get proper treatment in jail/prison and more likely get worse after that process?

I think the INCITE! model of violence against women is especially helpful.” INCITE! Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans people of Color* Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.” INCITE! identifies “violence against women of color” as a combination of “violence directed at communities,” such as police violence, war, and colonialism, and “violence within communities,” such as rape and domestic violence.

They basically argue that if we want safer communities from the inside out we are going to have to be careful how we intermesh with the state in terms of mass incarceration instead of rehabilitative and restorative justice. They especially focus on the effects of violence on marginalized groups like women of color, queer folks, immigrants, incarcerated women and how we can lift their voices in this process. (this includes queer women, transwomen, differently abled and gender non conforming women too, because all women matter). It keeps in mind that violence against women of color often takes many forms from environmental racism to state sanctioned police violence and other structural forms of violence and that they need to be examined in a systemic way and addressed in order to really make solid gains in this process.

-I would argue that if we really want to see changes in rape culture in RVA we need to consider this model. Please connect with organizations such as Safe Harbor, VAVP and others that are working on this. You can read more about INCITE at Thank you for your time.

Repost from VSDVAA: Legislative Update – 2015 Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly regular session ended on February 28, 2015. Below is an update on the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance’s (Action Alliance) priorities and other key legislation of interest to our constituency. Legislation that has passed must still be approved by the Governor and may be subject to additional amendments. In most cases, the Governor has until March 29th to act on the legislation. The Governor’s amendments and vetoed legislation will be considered by the General Assembly during the reconvened session in April.

When available, we have noted the Action Alliance’s position on the legislation. For actual votes and language of the bills, please click on the link provided. Please note that we only provided links to legislation that is still active. Unless noted in the law, legislation becomes effective July 1, 2015.


Crime Commission—Sexual and Domestic Violence Study

SB1094 (Chief Patron: Sen. Howell)
HB2092 (Chief Patron: Del. Peace; Chief Co-Patron McClellan)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Establishes the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards Committee and requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to administer its activities by providing technical assistance and administrative support. This Committee is tasked with establishing voluntary accreditation standards and procedures by which local sexual and domestic violence programs can be systematically measured and evaluated with a peer-reviewed process. An Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence is also established and has the responsibility for advising and assisting state and local entities on matters related to the prevention and reduction of sexual and domestic violence and to promote the efficient administration of grant funds.

Campus Response

SB712 (Chief Patron: Senator Black; Chief Co-Patrons: Senators Deeds, Saslaw, & Barker)
HB1930 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell; Chief Co-Patrons: Delegates Albo & Gilbert)
Supported by the Action Alliance.
Requires any responsible employee of a public or private nonprofit institution of higher education who in the course of his employment obtains information that an act of sexual violence has been committed against a student or on campus property or other property related to the institution to report such information to the Title IX coordinator for the institution as soon as practicable. The bill provides several exceptions to the reporting requirements, including when information is obtained through any communication considered privileged under state or federal law, including communications received by licensed health care professionals, counselors, accredited rape crisis or domestic violence counselors, campus victim support personnel, clergy, or attorneys.

The Title IX Coordinator must report such information to a review committee, which shall meet within 72 hours of the receipt of information of an alleged act of sexual violence. The review committee shall include the Title IX coordinator, a representative of law enforcement, and a student affairs representative and conduct its review in compliance with federal privacy laws that protect student privacy. The Title IX Coordinator must disclose information regarding the alleged act of sexual violence, including personally identifiable information, to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged act if the Title IX Coordinator determines such disclosure is necessary to protect the health and safety of the community.

The bill requires the governing board of each public or private institution of higher education to (i) establish a written memorandum of understanding with a local sexual assault crisis center or other victim support service and (ii) adopt policies to provide victims with information on contacting such center or service.

The bill also provides that each institution shall ensure that a victim of an alleged act of sexual violence is informed of (i) the applicable federal or state confidentiality provisions that govern information provided by a victim; (ii) the available on-campus resources and any unaffiliated community resources, including sexual assault crisis centers, domestic violence crisis centers, or other victim support services; (iii) the importance of seeking appropriate medical attention; (iv) the importance of collection and preservation of evidence; (v) the available law-enforcement options for investigation and prosecution; (vi) the available options for a protective order; (vii) the available campus options for investigation and adjudication under the institution’s policies; and (viii) the victim’s rights to participate or decline to participate in any investigation to the extent permitted under state or federal law.

HB1785 (Chief Patron: Delegate Massie; Co-Chief Patron: Delegate Filler-Corn).
Supported by the Action Alliance. Requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency contain provisions requiring either the campus police force or the agency with which it has established a mutual aid agreement to notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth within 48 hours of any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education. The bill does not require law enforcement to disclose the victims’ personally identifying information. The bill also requires institutions of higher education that have security departments instead of campus police forces to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a law-enforcement agency and such memorandum of understanding shall contain similar provisions requiring reports to the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

SB1193 (Chief Patron: Senator Norment; Co-Chief Patron Senator Deeds)
Requires the registrar of certain public and private institutions of higher education, or the other employee, office, or department of the institution that is responsible for maintaining student academic records, to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for a violation of the institution’s code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct. The bill provides that any notation due to a student’s suspension shall be removed if the student completed the term of the suspension and any conditions thereof and has been determined by the institution to be in good standing. The bill exempts the Virginia Military Institution (VMI).

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Stalking/Protective Orders

SB941 (Chief Patron: Senator Stuart)/HB2329 (Chief Patron: Delegate Simon)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Provides for the compensation of counsel or a guardian ad litem for the required representation of a respondent in a proceeding for the issuance of a protective order under Chapter 9.1 of Title 19.2.

HB2120 (Chief Patron: Delegate Cline)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Adds strangulation to the list of crimes charged for which there is a rebuttable presumption against admission to bail.

SJ245 (Chief Patron: Senator Favola)/HJ600 (Chief Patron: Delegate Kory)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Designates the month of April, in 2015 and in each succeeding year, as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Virginia.

SB1187 (Chief Patron: Senator Obenshain)/HB 1928 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell)
The bill adds to the list of offenses for which an adult convicted of certain offenses must have a sample of his blood, saliva, or tissue taken for DNA analysis. The bill adds misdemeanor violations of §§ 16.1-253.2 (violation of a protective order), 18.2-60.3 (stalking), 18.2-60.4 (violation of a stalking protective order), 18.2-67.4:1 (infected sexual battery), 18.2-102 (unauthorized use of animal, aircraft, vehicle, or boat valued at less than $200), 18.2-121 (entering property of another for purpose of damaging it), 18.2-387 (indecent exposure), 18.2-387.1 (obscene sexual display), and 18.2-479.1 (resisting arrest). Under current law, a sample is taken for DNA analysis from adults convicted of only five misdemeanor sex offenses: (i) § 18.2-67.4 (sexual battery), (ii) § 18.2-67.4:2 (sexual abuse of a child 13 years of age or older but under 15), (iii) § 18.2-67.5 (attempted sexual battery), (iv) § 18.2-130 (peeping), or (v) § 18.2-370.6 (penetrating the mouth of a child under 13 with the tongue). The bill also increases the fee collected for the withdrawal of the DNA sample from $25 to $53. The provisions of the bill apply only to persons convicted on or after July 1, 2015.

SB1417 (Chief Patron: Senator Petersen)
Requires any person licensed by the Board of Counseling and operating in a nonhospital setting to post a copy of his license in a conspicuous place. The posting shall also provide clients with (i) the number of the toll-free complaint line at the Department of Health Professions, (ii) the website address of the Department for the purposes of accessing the licensee’s record, and (iii) notice of the client’s right to report to the Department if he believes the licensee may have engaged in unethical, fraudulent, or unprofessional conduct.

HB1558 (Chief Patron: Delegate Rust)
Allows for the creation of local or regional adult fatality review teams upon the initiative of any local or regional law-enforcement agency, department of social services, emergency medical services agency, attorney for the Commonwealth’s office, or community services board. The bill provides that such teams may review the death of any person age 60 years or older, or any adult age 18 years or older who is incapacitated, who resides in the Commonwealth and who is in need of temporary or emergency protective services (i) who was the subject of an adult protective services or law-enforcement investigation; (ii) whose death was due to abuse, neglect, or exploitation or acts suggesting abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or (iii) whose death came under the jurisdiction of or was investigated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as occurring in any suspicious, unusual, or unnatural manner. A violation of the confidentiality of the review process is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

HB1698 (Chief Patron: Delegate Wilt)
Requires each school board, in any case in a questionnaire or survey requesting that students provide sexual information, mental health information, medical information, information on student health risk behaviors, other information on controlled substance use, or any other information that the school board deems to be sensitive in nature is to be administered, to give the parent 30 days’ written notice of the nature and types of questions, the purposes and age-appropriateness of the questionnaire or survey, how such information will be used, who will have access to such information, the steps that will be taken to protect student privacy, and whether and how any findings or results will be disclosed. The bill gives the parent the right to request that an advance copy of the questionnaire or survey be sent to him, to review the document in person at the school, and to exempt his child from participation. Under current law, (i) such written notice only applies to surveys or questionnaires on sexual information and information on student health risk behaviors, (ii) the detailed contents of the notice only apply to information on student health risk behaviors, and (iii) the parent has the right to review questionnaires and surveys but no right to request that a copy be sent to him.

Human Trafficking

HB2040 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Increases from a Class 4 felony to a Class 3 felony the penalty for taking a minor, for the purposes of prostitution, into a bawdy place; persuading, encouraging or causing a minor to enter a bawdy place; or taking or causing a minor to be taken to any place for such purposes.

SB1188 (Chief Patron: Senator Obenshain; Chief Co-Patron Senator Edwards)
HB1964 (Chief Patron: Delegate Hugo; Chief Co-Patrons: Delegates Anderson, Rob Bell, and Gilbert)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Creates new felonies for trafficking of persons for commercial sexual activity. The bill provides that any person who solicits, invites, recruits, encourages, or otherwise causes or attempts to cause a person to engage in prostitution with the intent to receive money or other valuable thing or to assist another in receiving money or other valuable thing from the earnings of the solicited person from an act of prostitution is guilty of a Class 5 felony. Felonies are increased if such behavior is done by an adult and the person solicited is a minor (Class 3 felony) and if force, intimidation, or deception is used against the person solicited (Class 4 felony). The new crime was added to the definition of violent felony for the purposes of the sentencing guidelines, predicate criminal acts for street gangs, the Virginia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, multijurisdiction grand jury, and asset forfeiture and, if a minor is solicited, the Sex Offender Registry. The bill also amends two existing Code sections on receiving money for procuring a person for prostitution and receiving money from the earnings of a person engaged in prostitution to increase penalties if the crime involves a minor.


Funding Increase for Sexual Assault Victim Services

Budget Amendments #389 1s (Senator Vogel) & #389 1h (Chief Patron: Delegate Peace)

Employment Protections for Victims

SB 990 (Chief Patron: Senator Lucas)/HB1945 (Chief Patron: Delegate McClellan)
HB1430 (Chief Patron: Delegate Herring)
HB2150 (Chief Patron: Delegate Yancey)

Firearm Restrictions Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

SB943 (Chief Patron: Senator Favola)/HB 2085 (Chief Patron: Delegate Murphy)
SB909 (Chief Patron: Senator Howell)/HB 2045 (Chief Patron: Delegate Filler-Corn)
HB2328 (Chief Patron: Delegate Simon)


SB1297 (Chief Patron: Senator McEachin)/HB1453 (Chief Patron: Delegate Miller)
HB1902 (Chief Patron: Delegate Lopez)

To learn more about any of these defeated bills, please visit and click on “Bills & Resolutions” to search by bill number.

If you have questions, please contact Kristine Hall at or 804-377-0335.

About the Action Alliance
The Action Alliance has been Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence for 30 years and enhances response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals. To find out more about the Action Alliance, call 804.377.0335,, or visit us on the web: You may also call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 (v/tty).

The V Word: Human Trafficking

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word

Today’s show is a repost on Human Trafficking.

So here’s a question for those out there. Have you ever tried to coerce or force someone into having sex for money? Has someone ever tried to force or coerce you into having sex for money? Remember my story last week about how often I was approached? How often other women and trans-women were approached? How often children are approached?

My story last week was about the more open and brazen means to recruit someone into sex work. And were you thinking just adults are coerced? And did you imagine the stereotypical idea of a prostitute hanging on a street corner, with a pimp as her manager? You know, the TV image.

Human trafficking for sex is way broader and more pervasive than movies show, and involves more children than people are aware of. Where is this happening you may be asking by now? Not in Richmond you may be hoping. Yes in Richmond. In fact Richmond is listed along with Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia with the highest rates. While it may be focused on the larger cities with major highways, it happens all over the state.

Next you may want to know how it happens.

Traffickers look for people who have vulnerabilities: victims of sexual abuse, children living in poverty, children marginalized in our society by gender, race and economic class, and people who have been made vulnerable after natural disasters.

How does a Trafficker find vulnerable people: You probably did guess this one – through social networking, along with other means. If the parent is already being used as a sex worker, often the children are vulnerable to exploitation.

What happens next, once the Trafficker identifies someone? A process called grooming starts, promises are made to lure someone vulnerable. Another way is for a parent to pimp out their own child or outright sell the child. Yes you heard right, people sell their children and not just because they are evil people but also because they are desperate.

Once in, the victim is used in multiple ways, and not just on the street but through hotels, clubs, escort services, etc.

How does the Trafficker maintain control: isolation from others, shame, physical violence or threats of violence, drugs.

I know you will ask: why doesn’t the victim run away or ask for help? Remember the list of control tactics? All of those create fear and dependency and it’s extremely effective.

How many in Virginia: The Polaris Project reported 375 in a 6 month period. It is suspected it is widely under reported, like most sexual or interpersonal crimes.

So what is Virginia doing? The Virginia General Assembly just passed legislation that harshens the penalties for people who solicit children for sex. It allows felony prosecution now and listing on the sex offender REGISTRY.

What are some of the current laws you can use to prosecute such crimes?

§ 18.2-48. Abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purpose, to extort money or pecuniary benefit, with intent to defile – for the purposes of prostitution, child pornography… is a Class 2 felony which can offer up life imprisonment.

18.2-46 Prostitution: commercial sexual conduct, commercial exploitation of a minor by offering money or its equivalent for the purposes of engaging in sexual acts is a Class 5 or 6 felony.

18.2-355 Taking, detaining, etc a person for prostitution, or being a parent or guardian consents to a person to be taken for prostitution or sex work is guilty of pandering and is a Class 4 felony.

Virginia’s new law will help close the gap and make it easier to prosecute offenders.

Need help or more information? Here are some options…

For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA area, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace street.

Are you a victim or do you know someone who needs help: The Gray Haven Project is a local resource for survivors of human trafficking. Tel: 804.365.2529 or email to

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. In Virginia, USA, to find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline, hosted by The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at 1-800-838-8238.

That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.
Listening from outside of Virginia? You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-800-373-7888 that is 1-800-373-7888 or text 233722

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

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