Blaming the victim of a crime: It’s not alright

Blaming the victim of a crime: It’s not alright

George Michael sings “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man” in his song Freedom. However, many in the Florida legislature would argue that this is not necessarily the case, especially in light of the bill to ban saggy pants from the state public school system. Add to this France’s President Nikolas Sarkozy’s recent ban on burqahs, and it seems that local and national governments alike have much to say about the clothes their respective citizens wear. So what do our clothes actually say about us? According to the Italian Supreme Court, which in 1998 overturned the conviction of a man in his late 40s for the alleged sexual assault of an 18- year-old girl, clothes mean a great deal. The girl in this case reported to the police that at the time of her assault, she was wearing tight-fitted jeans and the court ruled that the only way she could have been raped was to assist her alleged perpetrator in the removal of her pants, thereby making the sex consensual. Never mind the threats he made on her life, the position of authority he held (her driving instructor), or the fear of a young girl in a vulnerable position trapped in a car in a remote location. Unfortunately, not much has changed in the 13 years since this ruling in the Italian courts. One of the more upsetting news stories of March 2011 in the United States involved an 11-year-old girl who alleged she was gang-raped by approximately 18 (the number could climb as high as 28) young men in a Texas trailer park. As if that alone was not traumatic enough for the young girl involved, many have stepped forward to defend her alleged perpetrators, citing the attire the victim was wearing at the time of the rape, and the possibility of the high school’s “star athlete” and the son of a “local school board member.” Perhaps this is an example of economy of blame—it is far easier to blame an 11-year-old child for dressing in a provocative manner, than to hold the 18 (and perhaps more) of […]

Volunteering: Why should I do it?

What can you do in your spare time? When people are in crisis, where do they turn? When a violent crime has been committed, who is there to help? When a sexual assault happens, what happens to the victim? The list of questions is endless, crisis is always happening. There is a place that is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week; it’s the Project HELP’s Crisis and Sexual Assault Hotline. Our hotline is always answered by a live volunteer advocate. Our fully trained advocates are ready and waiting to help people in need, people who need help, people who don’t know where to turn. We will work diligently to find the right resource to help almost any situation. We run the hotline on a volunteer basis. Volunteering is a very rewarding way for someone to give back to their community and help their neighbors, family and friends get through some pretty rough times. Volunteer by definition is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. People volunteer for various reasons with some being connecting with the community, giving back, helping others to a personal experience. What does it take to be a volunteer? Compassion: To be able to feel for others who are struggling with life’s ups and downs. To be able to listen and guide through understanding and care how and who could help them. Passion: The passion to want to help someone who has just been a victim of a violent crime or the loss of a loved one suddenly. The passion to be able to understand what needs to be done to help these people, utilizing the tools and training we provide. Personal Growth and Benefit: Wanting to be able to grow as a person, feel a sense of accomplishment, learn a new skill or become more aware of what is going on in their community. Availability: Volunteering gives you the availability to work when you can. Set your own hours and work from home. Sense of Belonging: Wanting to feel like […]

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

The following is an excerpt from the article: “10 Things Happy People Do Differently: 10 strategies happy people incorporate into their lives” by Paula Davis-Laack, J.D., M.A.P.P. “How happy are you and why? This is a question I spend a fair amount of time thinking about, not only as it applies to my own levels of happiness, but also as it applies to my family, friends, and the people who I work with. Since graduating with my master’s degree in positive psychology, I’ve worked with and observed thousands of people in a wide variety of settings, and happy people just flow with the groove of life in a unique way. Here is what they do differently: They build a strong social fabric They engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle They practice gratitude They have an optimistic thinking style They know it’s good to do good They know that material wealth is only a very small part of the equation They develop healthy coping strategies They focus on health They cultivate spiritual emotions They have direction Happy people have developed a specific set of strategies over time that causes them to see life differently – a balanced portfolio of skills and emotions. What would you add to this list?” To read the full article on Psychology Today Project Help is Collier County’s local rape and crisis center offering FREE & CONFIDENTIAL services. Services may include evidence collection, exam, immediate crisis intervention, working with law enforcement if reporting, counseling groups, court assistance, information and referrals, and our 24 hour hotline. If you need HELP…call our hotline: 239-262-7227

HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries, modified from the book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine: When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, preferably without anger, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, apologize for, or rationalize the boundary you are setting. Do not argue! Just set the boundary calmly, firmly, clearly, and respectfully. You can’t set a boundary and take care of someone else’s feelings at the same time. You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for communicating the boundary in a respectful manner. If others get upset with you, that is their problem. If they no longer want your friendship, then you are probably better off without them. You do not need “friends” who disrespect your boundaries. At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway, and tell yourself you have a right to take care of yourself. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety or low self-esteem prevent you from taking care of yourself. When you feel anger or resentment, or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself, then determine what you need to do or say. Then communicate your boundary assertively. When you are confident you can set healthy boundaries with others, you will have less need to put up walls. When you set boundaries, you might be tested, especially by those accustomed to controlling you, abusing you, or manipulating you. Plan on it, expect it, but be firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot establish a clear boundary successfully if you send a mixed message by apologizing for doing so. Be firm, clear, and respectful. Most people are willing to respect your boundaries, but some are not. Be prepared to be firm about your boundaries when they are not being respected. If necessary, put up a wall by ending the relationship. In extreme cases, […]

How to Listen when someone's upset

The following is an excerpt from the article The Antidote to Anger and Frustration The power of emotional validation, Published on June 18, 2011 by Guy Winch, Ph.D. in The Squeaky Wheel. When our loved-one erupts in anger and frustration, the last thing most of us think to do is to pour fuel on the fire by telling them they should feel angry and frustrated. Yet when done correctly, providing someone emotional validation can have extremely surprising results that strengthen relationship bonds. The Recipe for Authentic Emotional Validation Here are the steps for offering authentic emotional validation. But take note: You must do all 5 steps and do them correctly to achieve the desired impact. 1. Let the person complete their narrative so you have all the facts. 2. Convey you get what happened to them from their perspective (whether you agree with that perspective or not and even if their perspective is obviously skewed). 3. Convey you understand how they felt as a result of what happened (from their perspective). 4. Convey that their feelings are completely reasonable (which they are given their perspective). 5. Convey empathy or sympathy (not pity!) for their emotional reactions. Lastly, if your loved ones are not good at emotional validation when you vent to them about your own emotionally painful experiences, email them this article-it will be worth it! To read the full article go to: http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201209/the-art-listening/how-listen-when-someones-upset Project Help is Collier County’s local rape and crisis center offering FREE & CONFIDENTIAL services. Services may include evidence collection, exam, immediate crisis intervention, working with law enforcement if reporting, counseling groups, court assistance, information and referrals, and our 24 hour hotline. If you need HELP…call our hotline: 239-262-7227

SAFETY TIPS FOR WHEN KIDS ARE HOME ALONE

The following is an excerpt from “Home Alone-Safety Tips for Parents and Children” found on the website MyChildSafety.net Safety tips for parents While teaching your child safety rules for staying home alone, it is important to stress the importance of the safety rules, without unnecessarily instilling fear. Post a list of emergency numbers including family members, trusted friends and neighbors, and emergency personnel. Make sure your child knows his/her phone number and address. Write these on the list of important numbers. It is very easy for anyone, especially a child, to panic in an emergency. If included on the list, your child can easily read aloud to a 911 operator in case of emergency. Keep a first aid kit in the house. Teach your child basic first aid. Make sure there are working smoke detectors on every floor of the house and teach your child what to do in case of fire. Practice fire evacuation routes with your children. Keep a flashlight and batteries in an easily accessible place in case of power outage. Show your child where to find it. Make sure that your child has a way to contact you when you are away from the home, including a cell phone and/or work number. Check your messages often and promptly return your child’s calls. Limit the kind of cooking that can be done absent adult supervision. Call and check on your child. Always call and let them know if you are running late. To get more tips and read the full article go to: http://www.mychildsafety.net/home-alone.html Project Help is Collier County’s local rape and crisis center offering FREE & CONFIDENTIAL services. Services may include evidence collection, exam, immediate crisis intervention, working with law enforcement if reporting, counseling groups, court assistance, information and referrals, and our 24 hour hotline. If you need HELP…call our hotline: 239-262-7227

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