Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bowling for Survivors!
Spare Time Bowling

Saturday, Oct. 9 @ 2:00 p.m.

$10 per person, or a team of 4 for only $30!

Prizes Donated by:
The Martin, Rice Jewelers, New Spa Reno,
Montengero School of TaeKwon Do, The Flying Pig, Vogels,
The Country Rose, Las Margaritas, Round Table Pizza, Goodnight Irene, Tovi Hilbish…and MORE!!

***AVA is an all volunteer organization. All donations go to direct services to help survivors and secondary survivors of family abuse and sexual violence in Humboldt County!!!***

Want to help but can’t make the fundraiser? Donations are tax-exempt! Contact us at
623-2321, 623-2328,

Thank you for your continued support!!
We look forward to seeing you there!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

When Stalking Goes High-Tech

We live in a world that has given the term “human touch” a whole new meaning. Most people speak through their keyboards nowadays rather than actually speaking to one another. Smart phones, blogging, social networking, texting, these have all found a way into our lives and reshape our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and the world. While these changes may be seen as a great evolution of our world into a more high-tech society, with all things good, there is also a bad side to it.

When we think of stalking, we think of someone who hides outside a person’s house and follows them. Nevada Revised Statue 200.575 states “A person who, without lawful authority, willfully or maliciously engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or harassed, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or harassed, commits the crime of stalking.” The NRS under Section 3 has been amended to include technology to say “A person who commits the crime of stalking with the use of an Internet or network site or electronic mail or any other similar means of communication to publish, display or distribute information in a manner that substantially increases the risk of harm or violence to the victim shall be punished for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.” Simply put, stalking and cyberstalking are crimes.

What exactly is cyberstalking? Cyberstalking is almost always characterized by the stalker relentlessly pursuing his\her victim online and is much more likely to include some form of offline attack, as well (OVW 2010). This offline aspect makes it a more serious situation as it can easily lead to dangerous physical contact, if the victim’s location is known.

In January 2010, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released the largest study to date of its kind on stalking, "Stalking Victimization in the United States," an Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) sponsored report based on supplemental data gathered from the National Crime Victimization Survey.

The report showed that technology, including Internet services such as email and instant messaging along with other technology, like GPS and computer spyware like IP sniffers, have been used to harass one in four stalking victims. That converts into about 1.2 million victims whose stalkers have used some form of technology to find them no matter where they are.
Cyberstalkers often begin their stalking behavior in ways planned to cause distress to the victim, or make them the subject of harassment by others. They may pretend to be the victim and post offensive comments or send offensive messages in their name. They may send hateful communications to family, friends and coworkers, either posing as the victim or “anonymous”. The victim’s computer may be hacked or their email accounts broken into, or the password is changed and the victim locked out of their own accounts. The victim may be signed-up for spam, porn sites and questionable offers.

In the most dangerous kind of cases, the cyberstalker posts the name, address and phone number of the victim online, may pose as them, and solicit sexual activities. In a California case, a stalker posted his victims’ name and address online and solicited group sex. The woman had never used the computer before, but found herself facing angry men at her door, expecting sexual services.

Most often, a cyberstalker is found to be someone the victim knows. It might be someone they have been in a relationship with, been to school or worked with. If a person believes they may be a victim of stalking or cyberstalking, contact your local law enforcement. Save any information such as emails, texts, virus scans that show positive for a tracer, etc. Emails and logs can be traced by ISP. Remember: No one has the right to harass or threaten anyone or make them fear their safety.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When Silence Hurts

Sexual violence is not a subject many people like to talk about. It is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It is a violation of the body and mind, and the assailant is one of the worst in humanity. People don’t want to think about it, much less discuss it. We want to believe it won’t happen to any of us, when in reality, it happens to one in six females and one in thirty-three males. These are only the reported numbers and we all know how underreported sex crimes are.

Survivors of sexual violence often feel ashamed and humiliated. This crime is underreported because survivors feel they did something to deserve it: went on a date with the assailant, drank alcohol or did drugs at the time of assault, the assailant was a family member or close friend, fear of gossip and judgment, etc. The subject is “taboo” all over the United States because of its ugliness. When we avoid the subject of sexual violence, what is it we are teaching younger generations? Are we passing along these same hurtful myths that the survivor should be ashamed and asked for it? Stop reading for a moment and think back to when you were young: how often did your parents or someone talk to you about sexual violence? How many of your friends? How often have you spoken with your child about sexual violence? Would you and those you know feel comfortable talking about it now?

How do we explain our silence on the subject to the child sexual abuse victims? According to the U.S. Department of Justice, child sexual abuse incidents are vastly underreported as well. Many children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened. The perpetrator may have told them they’ll hurt them or their family, or that it has to be a secret, that no one will believe them, or that something bad will happen if they tell. Some children feel responsible and guilty because they cooperated or were talked into participating. Because the youth was talked into participating or manipulated, the perpetrator rarely has to use force, so there is not always physical signs of abuse.

Every ten seconds there is a report of child abuse in the United States. As it is with adult abuse survivors, child victims cross all socioeconomic status, ethnic and cultural lines, education levels, and religions. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 93% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way and 68% are abused by family members. Holding true to the cycle of violence, 30% of these victims will later abuse their own children.

Not only will this sexual abuse affect the child for the rest of their lives, affect their families and secondary survivors, it will affect our community. Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 time more likely to abuse alcohol and 3.8 times more likely to develop drug addictions. Nearly two-thirds of people in drug treatment report being abused as children, all according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit a violent crime.

Research clearly shows sexual violence has an effect on the individual, families, and communities. Survivors need to talk with someone to heal and recover. It is a subject that needs to be discussed because without talking and understanding what it is, it continues to happen. It continues to go underreported. The survivor continues to hurt. In this day and age, is it really acceptable for society to keep blaming the victim? Even if we are not pointing our fingers, by avoiding the subject the silence tells them it is something to be ashamed of.

This column is not is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment.