The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


Anti-Violence Advocate

The V Word: Prescriptions and Rape on Campus – A Survivor’s Story

Here is today’s broadcast of The V Word.

You can listen to today’s episode here

A survivor’s story came in yesterday. She writes:
pillbottle“I have a hard time sleeping in college, I guess it’s the noise, sharing a room, and the late nights. I had started taking a sleep aid to help me sleep. My friends, of course, knew this as I did not keep it a secret. In fact I would often take it in front of them as I was winding down for the night and before everyone left my room on study or movie nights. It took a few minutes to work and I would take it as people were leaving and I started getting ready for bed. I never felt I was not safe before.
One night though I wasn’t safe. A male friend who had been over watching a movie, stayed behind the others and came back in to my room after the sleeping pill was taking effect and raped me.
I went to the school but it went no where. He stated I asked him to, the school stated it was my word against his and I had let him over to be in my room in the first place. It was implied I led him on by taking the pills.
I had to see him on campus, I had to change my classes because he was in two of them. I finally dropped out and returned home because I got too depressed to study and my grades started dropping.”

She is not alone and as listeners are aware, rape on college campuses is finally a national topic of conversation.
Findings from a report by Fisher, B.S., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2000). The Sexual Victimization of College Women. National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. include:

  • It is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career.
  • Among college women, 9 in 10 victims of rape and sexual assault knew their offender.
    Almost 12.8% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22.9% of threatened rapes happened during a date.
  • 2.8% experienced either a completed rape (1.7%) or an attempted rape (1.1%) during the six-month period in which the study was conducted. Of victims, 22.8% were victims of multiple rapes.
  • If this data is calculated for a calendar year period, nearly 5% of college women are victimized during any given calendar year.
  • It is estimated that for every 1,000 women attending a college or university, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year.
  • Off-campus sexual victimization is much more common among college women than on-campus victimization. Of victims of completed rape 33.7% were victimized on campus and 66.3% off campus.
  • Less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women were reported to law enforcement.
  • However, in 2/3rds of the incidents the victim did tell another person, usually a friend, not family or school officials.
  • Another study by Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. National Institute of Justice found:

    Many women (88%) have never consumed a drink left unattended or consumed a drink given to them by a stranger (76%).

  • One-quarter of the sample (25%) reported consuming alcohol or drugs before sex at least once a month, and slightly fewer (23%) were drunk or high during sex at least once a month.
  • Eighteen percent experienced an attempted (13%) and/or completed (13%) sexual assault since entering college.
  • Among the total sample, 5% experienced a completed physically forced sexual assault, but a much higher percentage (11%) experienced a completed incapacitated sexual assault.
  • Sexual assaults were most likely to occur in September, October and November, on Friday or Saturday nights, and between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.
    Most victims of physically forced or incapacitated sexual assault were assaulted by someone they knew (79% and 88%).
  • Freshmen and sophomores are at greater risk for victimization than juniors and seniors.

For Student Activists –

  • Know Your IX
  • Students Against for Ending Rape (SAFER). CHANGE HAPPENS anti-violence campus organizing manual. Free for students.
  • Watch PreventConnect Podcast with SAFER, Beyond Blue Lights.
  • The Center for Public Integrity. Reporter’s Toolkit: Investigating Sexual Assault Cases on Your Campus.

For Law Enforcement

  • U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services.Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series No. 17: Acquaintance Rape of College Students.

General Campus Resources

  • The Center for Public Integrity. Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice (three-part series).
  • Los Angeles College Consortium Project (LACCP). Dealing with Campus Violence Against Women Website.
  • Office on Victims of Crime Message Board: Responding to Sexual Violence on Campus.
    Sexual Assault Program Coordinators (SAPC) listserv
  • To join:
    Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) Change Happens blog
  • California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Campus Program
    (CALCASA is the technical assistance provider for grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program)
  • Campus Sexual Assault Response Teams: Program Development and Operational Management (Book)

Do you need help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been assaulted, call 911.

The Richmond area has a new regional hotline specific to the needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors: 804-612-6126

The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority has a hotline to help people who are having suicidal thoughts at 819-4100.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers, child advocacy centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Are you a family member or a bystander and want know how you can help?

  • For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 East Grace Street.
  • Get involved with your local domestic violence shelter to join a group or service that is available.
  • Donate to funds services that help women recovery and restart their lives.

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 and streamed at, read and produced by Carol Olson. Production support is provided by Jennifer Gallienne and Bryan Connolly. Music was created by The Etching Tin

Lobby Day for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims

Today is lobby day for our industry.  I’m heading down to the General Assembly to advocate.  I like doing  this every year.  The energy of everyone running around, trying to get appointments in, trying to meet people, trying to educate legislators and their staff on our issues.  This year it’s:

Protect funding for sexual and domestic violence services from further cuts.  In the past year, Virginia cut funding for sexual violence services by 5%, domestic violence services by 8%, and homlessness intervention services by 8%.  We need to protect and preserve these critical services.

2. Support: HB 2422 & SB 1364 – Expand access to Protective Orders for victims of dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.  Address and name dating violence in the Code of Virginia and allow equal access to court-ordered protection for all victims of certain defined acts of violence and threatening behaviors, to prevent further acts of violence, trespass, or contact.

3.  Support: HB 1757 & SB 1199 – Extend the Address Confidentiality Program within the Office of the Attorney General to make it statewide.

4.  Oppose HB 1420, HB 1421, HB 1430, HB 1934 & HB 2332 – Oppose legislation that threatens acces to safety for any victim of sexual and domestic violence.  Oppose these house bills and preserve access to services for ALL victims of sexual and domestic violence in Virgnia, regardless of their immigration status.

Victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children must be able to access safety, including law enforcement, the courts and protections available through the Violence Against Women Act, without regard to their immigration status.

Support: HB 1476 & SB 1145 – extend limitations period for actions for sexual abuse committed during teh infancy or incapacity of the abused person from two years to 8 years from the time of removal from infancy or incapacity or from the time the cause of action otherwise occurs.

Support HB 1893 – Abduction; provides that any person who, without legal justification or excuse, recruits, entices, solicits, seizes, takes, transport, detains a child under 16 years of age, for the purpose of concubinage or prostitution, is guilty of a Class 2 felony, and that the person who assists or aids in such activity or threatens to do so is guilty of a Class 5 felony, and that the abduction of any person 16 years of age or older for the person of concubinage or prostitution is punishable as a Class 4 felony.  The bill also provides that any person who causes another person to engage in forces labor or services in violation of abduction laws is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Support HB 1898 – Commercial Sex Acts with Minors; expands teh definition of abduction to include commercial sexual activity involving minors and for purposes of sexual activity with a minor to also include pornography and sexual performances.

Support HB 2440 – Provides for an affirmative defense to the crime of prostitution when the person arrested or charged was induced to engage in prostitution through the use of force, intimidation, or deception by another.  The bill also provides for the expungement of a prostitution charge when the person was induced to engage in prostitution through the use of force, intimidation, or deception by another.

Stalking Assistance Programs in Virginia: The Haven

The Haven
This Virginian 24-hour shelter details Virginia stalking legislation and the emergency options available to a victim.  Their phone number is 1-800-22-HAVEN.

The Haven Shelter & Services, Inc. is committed to preventing and eliminating all types of domestic violence and sexual assault within our service area, which includes Westmoreland, Richmond, Essex, Lancaster and Northumberland Counties. The primary focus of The Haven’s mission is to provide advocacy and shelter for identified victims of partner abuse and sexual assault as well as to provide support services to victims and their families. To greater further its mission, The Haven seeks to enhance public awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking through community outreach and education.

Stalking is a Crime in Virginia

Stalking is a crime.

In Virginia, stalking is defined as repeated conduct which places a person, or his or her family, in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

The stalking law went into effect on July 1, 1992.

In 1998, the penalties associated with convictions were increased. A first conviction carries a penalty of not more than one year in jail and a $2,500 fine (Class 1 misdemeanor).  The penalty for a third or subsequent conviction within five years is not more than five years in prisonand a $2,500 fine (Class 6 felony).

Stalking is a unique crime, because stalkers are obsessed with controlling their victims’ actions and feelings. Stalkers will frequently threaten and harass, and in many instances will actually physically injure their victims. Stalking is a crime that can be committed against anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or geographic location.


• 1.4 million people are stalked annually.

• Only one half of stalking cases are reported to authorities, and 25% receive a restraining order.•

1 in 20 women will be stalked in their lifetimes.

• 79% of women know their stalkers; 50% were in anintimate relationship with their stalker; 80% of theserelationships were abusive.

*Statistics supplied by the National Institute of Justice



A. Any person who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or with the knowledge that the conduct places, that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person’s family or household member shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. A third or subsequent conviction occurring within five years of a conviction for an offense under this section or for a similar offense under the law of any otherjurisdiction shall be a Class 6 felony.

C. A person may be convicted under this section irrespective of the jurisdiction or jurisdictions within the Commonwealth wherein the conduct described in subsection A occurred, if the person engaged in that conduct on at least one occasion in the jurisdiction where the person is tried. Evidence of any such conduct which occurred outside the Commonwealth may be admissible, if relevant, in any prosecution under thissection provided that the prosecution is based upon conduct occurring within the Commonwealth.

The Code of Virginia also provides that:

•Upon conviction for stalking, the court must issue an order prohibiting contact between the defendant and the victim or the victim’s family or household member. (18.2-60.3D)

• The Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director must notify, prior to release of an inmate, any victim of the offense who, in writing, requests notice,or any person designated in writing by the victim, provided the inmate was sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least forty-eight hours. The responsibleagency above must also give notice, if an inmate escapes. (18.2-60.3E)

• Persons subject to protective orders may not purchase or transport any firearms. (18.2-308.1:4)

Virginia’s 2011 Legislative Action Day

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 – is Legislative Action Day.  Join the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance as they promote important legislative items during the General Assembly session.  

Please join with the Action Alliance and your local rape crisis and domestic violence centers to contact your local legislators about the issues below: 

1. Protect funding for sexual and domestic violence services from further cuts.  In the past year, Virginia cut funding for sexual violence services by 5%, domestic violence services by 8%, and homlessness intervention services by 8%.  We need to protect and preserve these critical services.

2. Expand access to Protective Orders for victims of dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.  Address and name dating violence in the Code of Virginia and allow equal access to court-ordered protection for all victims of certain defined acts of violence and threatening behaviors, to prevent further acts of violence, trespass, or contact. 

3.  Extend the Address Confidentiality Program within the Office of the Attorney General to make it statewide.

4.  Preserve access to services for ALL victims of sexual and domestic violence in Virgnia, regardless of their immirgration status.  Victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children must be able to access safety, including law enforcement, the courts and protections availalbe through the Violence Against Women Act, without regard to their immigration status. 

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

National Stalking Awareness Month

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Do you know what constitutes stalking?  Stalking is a behavior in which an individual willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly engages in a knowing course of conduct directed at a specific person which reasonably and seriously alarms, torments, or terrorizes the person.  Stalking creates fear.

Many people do not realize the clear link between sexual assault and stalking.  The Stalking Resource Center has done research that clearly and methodically developed the link between the two crimes. They have found in their research and victim testimony the stalking behaviors utilized by offenders.  What has been found is that offenders routinely engage in following, surveillance, information gathering and voyeurism prior to a sexual assault. After an assault, the rapist frequently threatens the victim, attempts to frame the incident (e.g. thinks and talks about the incident as if it were consensual), and maintains social contact.

Thirty-one percent of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also sexually assaulted by that partner. The Stalking Resource Center has found that the typical offender/rapist, (stranger and non-stranger), premeditates and plans his attack and uses multiple strategies to make the victim vulnerable such as alcohol or increasing levels of violence. FBI research with incarcerated offenders revealed that the offenders picked victims based on observation (voyeurism) and stalked several women at a time waiting for an opportunity to commit a sexual assault.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics completed the Largest Study of Stalking Conducted to Date.  They recently released a supplemental report to the National Crime Victimization Survey focused on Stalking Victimization in the United States. This study confirms that stalking is pervasive, that women are at higher risk of being stalked, and there is a dangerous intersection between stalking and more violent crimes.

 What to Do if You are Stalked 


Get Help. Report to law enforcement and file criminal charges and/or obtain a protective order.  Request that law enforcement agencies log your complaint each time you call and Request a copy of your report.

Tell your stalker to stop. Have a registered letter to the stalker stating that he/she must stop the behavior immediately.

Tell someone. Do not attempt to deal with the situation alone. Tell a friend or family member about the stalking and document the stalker’s behavior. List date, time, place, what happened, any witnesses, and give a copy of the information to a friend or relative for safekeeping.

Develop a support system. Keep in touch with friends who are supportive and understanding. Give friends, co-workers, relatives, and neighbors a description of the stalker. Ask them to watch for the stalker, document everything they see, and give a written account to you.

Never underestimate the stalker’s potential for violence. Take all threats seriously. Not all threats are verbal; some nonverbal threats may be the sending of unwanted notes, cards, or gifts.

Do not attempt to communicate with the stalker at all. The stalker may misinterpret this communication as a form of encouragement.


Screen your calls: Have emergency numbers readily available. Remember to keep your cell phone charged and to have it with you at all times.

If you are being followed, go to a safe area, DO NOT DRIVE HOME. Drive to the nearest police station or a busy place. Use your horn to attract attention.

Help for Rape Victims in Cartagena, Columbia

Here in my travels, I’m stopping in Cartagena, Columbia.  I can only find information for rape victims on the Embassy website for American’s traveling (which is better than some embassy websites)  It’s wonderful that they put information on how to preserve evidence.

Here is info taken from the Bogota. Columbia Embassy website.

Special Information for Cases of Sexual Assault and Rape:

Physical evidence is very important in sexual assault cases, and can deteriorate as time passes.  As such, victims should not change clothes, avoid bathing if possible, and have a physical exam at the first opportunity.  You should take these steps even if you are unsure about whether to report the crime to police.  If you decide to pursue a prosecution at a later time, these steps preserve evidence that will assist the prosecutor.  A consular officer or after-hours duty officer from the U.S. Embassy may be able to accompany victims of sexual assault for the medical exam. You should get medical attention to determine if you have been injured in any way and to discuss treatment and prevention options for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  The U.S. Embassy can provide you with a list of local doctors.

In Colombia the legal definition of rape and sexual assault does not vary from region to region.  Rape and sexual assault are characterized as acts performed with the use of force, weapons and/or intimidation by the assailant.  It is often committed in isolated places, or when the assailants take advantage of the absence of surveillance and security measures. This may be a premeditated crime or crime of opportunity.  In many cases the assailant remains unknown. The law provides for sentences ranging from eight to 15 years of imprisonment for violent sexual assault.  For acts of spousal sexual violence, the law mandates sentences of six months to two years and denies probation or bail to offenders who disobey restraining orders.

Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses (Forensic Institute)
Calle 7 A No. 12-61
Bogotá, Colombia
Tel. 4069977 – 4069944

Authorizes and performs forensic sexual assault exam in all cases of rape and sexual assault. The exam involves collection of blood samples, semen, or other substances, as well as a psychological and sociological evaluation. The victim may bring a family member or a witness to the exam, and a minor may be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  There is no fee for the exam, because it is required as a part of legal process.  If the victim refuses to take the exam, it may make a difference during the trial, as there will be no physical evidence for the legal process to consider. However, the medical exam is not necessary to file the charges. The victim can report the case to a Family Commissioner, Police or Unidad de Reacción Inmediata.  Afterwards, the case is forwarded to Unidad Especializada en Delitos Contra La Libertad Sexual y la Dignidad Humana. The victim is interviewed by Colombian judicial officials, a psychologist and an investigator. The laws within the Colombian Criminal Code protect the identity of a victim of sexual assault, and the media must comply with the law.

The rape crisis hotlines: (operators speak Spanish only)

Instituto Colombiano de Bienstar Familiar (ICBF) – 018000918080 – 24 hours
ICBF provides psycho-social, medical, and legal support to victims of sexual violence.

Centro de Atención Integral a Victimas de Delitos Sexuales
Diagonal 34 No. 5-18, Tel. 2880557, 2324011

Special Information for Cases of Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence is a crime under the Colombian Penal Code. The National Constitution sets the guidelines for implementing prevention, solution and punishment of violence within the family. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, remains a serious problem in Colombia.  Judicial authorities may remove an abuser from the household and require counseling.  Prison time is possible if the abuser causes grave harm or the abuse is recurrent; however, provisions for fines are generally not applied.  The law stipulates that the government must provide victims of domestic violence with immediate protection from physical or psychological abuse.  The ICBF provides safe houses and counseling for victims, but its services are dwarfed by the magnitude of the problem.  In addition to fulfilling traditional family counseling functions, the ICBF family ombudsmen handle domestic violence cases.  The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office conducts regional training workshops to promote the application of domestic violence statutes. If you need immediate assistance finding a place to stay the Embassy can also provide the names of hotels or a temporary shelter.

How can the victims obtain a restraining order?
Under Colombian law, every person, who is a victim of physical or psychological abuse, insult, offence or any other form of aggression within his/her family, can ask the family commissioner, the Civil Municipality or PROMISCUO Judge, for an immediate protective measure that helps to put an end to the violence or prevent its reoccurrence.  The request for a protective measure can be made personally by the victim, any other person that acts on his/her behalf, or by the family commissioner when the victim cannot do it, in writing or verbally .

The request for protection measures has to state the following clearly:

a) Name of requester and identity card number, if possible
b) Name of the victim
c) Name of the perpetrator and his/her address
d) Report of the facts
e) Request for necessary evidence

A commissary or judge upon receiving the petition will issue a restraining order within four hours.

“ASEDIO”- harassment or stalking in Colombia has a political connotation.  It is not considered to be a violent crime.

Point of contact to report domestic violence:

Local Police Stations

Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar 018000918080, 24 hours a day

The criminal report can be filed

  • at any URI
  • the Prosecutor’s Office
  • SAU or police officer and at the CAVIF located on Cra 13 # 18-38 First Floor in Bogota.

123 (equivalent of U.S. 911) in cases of security, fire, rescue, disasters, car accidents, public services emergencies (i.e. gas leaks, short circuits, etc), health emergencies, family violence


National Forum on Campus Sexual Assault

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 – Friday, April 1, 2011

Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services


The Department of Criminal Justice Services, in collaboration with the International Association of College Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the Virginia Association of College Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA), is hosting a National Forum on Campus Sexual Assault. This forum is designed to bring together experts in the field of campus sexual assault to discuss the latest research, policies, legal challenges, interdisciplinary cooperation, and reporting issues.

This forum has been structured to encourage a cross disciplinary approach to this complex campus and community public health issue. Leading national experts will discuss critical issues that impact the policies and procedures that must be in place for the proper management and investigation of sexual assaults reported to colleges and universities. Facilitated question and answer sessions will allow for participant interaction with panels of subject matter experts.

Attendees will have significant opportunities to share expertise and resources with colleagues from across the country. Suggested participants include: campus police and security personnel, municipal law enforcement with a connection to institutions of higher education, student life professionals, counseling and women’s center professionals, prosecutors, mental health professionals and other interested campus or community personnel.

Scheduled topics include:

Campus Law Enforcement/Public Safety Response and Legal Issues Surrounding Campus Sexual Assault/Clery Act

Sex Crimes Allegations: Management and Best Practices in the University Setting

Policy Implications of Campus Sexual Assault Practices

Sexual Predators on Campus: Research Studies and Statistics

Evolving Challenges for At-Risk Response Teams: Mental Health Issues

Campus Threat Assessment Teams

Other topics and panel discussions: 

  • Communication Issues and Cross Disciplinary Coordination
  • Deviant Criminal Sexuality: Rapist Typologies
  • Resiliency and Recovery from Trauma
  • Networking Between Institutions of Higher Education and Community Agencies
  • Interdisciplinary Cooperation on Campus: What Works?

To register for this event, please click here:

Additional Information

Melissa Leigh – 804-786-8467

Steve Clark – 434-947-2938

Donna Michaelis – 804-371-6506

Lynn McHugh – 804-225-2454

Highlighting Sister Anti-Violence Agencies: Project Hope at Quin Rivers

Website Facebook Page
Company Overview:
Project Hope’s goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for adult and child victims to establish a violence-free life; hold perpetrators accountable for their violence; and create community norms that do not tolerate violence.
Working to eliminate domestic and sexual violence in our homes and communities.
PROJECT HOPE of Quin Rivers Inc. offers the following services to child and adult victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

-INDIVIDUAL & GROUP SUPPORT COUNSELING for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence

-CRISIS INTERVENTION (safety planning, assistance with emergency food, clothing, and shelter)

-COURT and HOSPITAL ADVOCACY for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence

-ACCOMPANIMENT to court, hospital, magistrate’s office and/or sheriff’s office for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence

-SAFETY ENHANCEMENT (free alarms systems for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence with active protective orders; emergency 911 cell phones)

-REFERRALS to various community resources (housing, social -services, medical/mental health, legal)

-PUBLIC EDUCATION on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence for community groups, organizations, and agencies

-TEEN DATING AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM provides education and prevention activities to raise awareness for teens about domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment through classroom and youth groups

-POWER PALS SUMMER DAY CAMP offers skill-building activities for children between the ages of 6 and 12 who have witnessed or been direct victims of domestic and/or sexual violence

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