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ADVOCACY

MATERIAL
PERFORMANCE TASKS

HEALTH GRADE 9
4

TH

QUARTER

SUBMITTED BY:

SUBMITTED TO:

JULIAH NEIL G. PAMA

MS. MAYONA TANAOTANAO

GRADE 9A

INSIGHTS
When Ms. Tanaotanao asked us to do this performance task, I told
myself that I should be very creative since she demanded it. I am not
simple nor demanding person, I always choose what I am comfortable with
that is why I had chosen my articles according to which showed more
decent details or information. I am seriously planning to do this at sketch
book but since I had given mine with my little cousin, I thought of
something which would look more creative and lively. I were thinking of
using ring binds, colored papers and scented papers for this performance;
however, I really dont think I have to spend so much many for this since it
was creativity or I can use my materials that are abandoned on my house.
Another thing that I like about this performance task is that it all about
advocacy and encouragements. One of the things that I want to fulfil on my
college years is to fight and join the different organizations with advocacy
especially related to teenage intentional injuries since Im perfectly fit to
give advices and opinions regarding this topic. I also had fun picking for
those random encouragements messages from google to use in this task. I
eventually realized something while reading the encouragements
messages, and my urge to follow the path that I am looking forward to
(being a great politician) became stronger. Slowly, I am learning the things
that I dont know, and learning to accept what I have and dont have. I am
very happy that within a short period of time, I had fun doing this task in
MAPEH. I just hope that all preceding performance tasks would be as fun as
this or something that, we, teenagers, can really understand and absorb.
Luckily, there would be no classes tomorrow so Im planning to print this on
the store who offers lowest cost.

I NF O RM AT I O N
Now that we are well into the new Millennium

This advocacy material is designed to change

society has begun to recognize serious concerns

public perceptions as well as the influence policy

with issues that kids have to deal with today.

decisions and funding priorities. Advocacy is

Some issues have always been there but are now

critical

coming to the eyes of the public to find

reproductive health. Advocacy helps ensure that

solutions. With as many problems as we are all

programs

faced with in our work and life, it seems as if

implemented, and sustained by building support

there is never enough time to solve each one

with the public and opinion leaders. Through

without dealing with some adversity along the

education

way. Problems keep mounting so fast that we

Who can be an advocate?


YSOs, health care providers, researchers,
parents, members of religious groups, and youth
themselves can all be adolescent reproductive
health advocates. Anyone who cares about the
health of young people can be an advocate. The
only requirement is to be actively committed to
the issue. Too often, people who work with youth
do not see them as advocates and think they lack
the training or funding to engage in advocacy. In

efforts
for

and

to

youth

improve
are

example,

adolescent

enacted,

advocates

funded,

support

Why advocate for youth?

find ourselves taking short-cuts to temporarily


alleviate the tension points so we can move

in

National and community policieswritten and


unwrittensignificantly affect young people's
health. Other institutions which touch the lives of
youth, such as clinics and schools, may have
internal policies that also influence young
people's reproductive health. Policies are a
reflection of a society's commitment to its young
people. Improving policies that affect young
people's reproductive health is important in
Whether they are large or small, effective adolescent
health advocacy campaigns include a few basic, but
strategic, steps and activities. This advocacy kit
provides information on how to:

BACKGROUND
WAYS

Perform a needs assessment,


Formulate goals and objectives,
Work with other organizations and individuals,
Involve young people,
Educate the public, often by working with the

media,
Persuade the public and policy makers to
support adolescent reproductive health

education and services,


Answer questions commonly asked about

Teen drug and alcohol use


continues to fall, new federal
data show
By Christopher
2014

Ingraham September

16,

Drug and alcohol use among America's teens continues


to trend downward, according to new numbers
released today by the Department of Health and
Human Services. From 2002 to 2013, the average
American teenager's odds of regular (at least monthly)
tobacco use nearly halved. Recreational use of
prescription painkillers saw a similar decline.
The rate of regular alcohol use among teens aged 12 to
17 declined from from 17.6 percent to 11.6 percent
over the same period. Teen marijuana use, a
contentious topic now that several states have
legalized marijuana sales, is also on the decline.
These findings come from the 2013 National Survey on
Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual, nationallyrepresentative survey of roughly 70,000 Americans
aged 12 and older. Because of its large sample size the
survey is considered an authoritative account of the
nature and scope of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in
the United States.
"We're seeing really exciting numbers in terms of the
12 to 17 year-olds across the country," according
to Peter Delany, the director of the Center for
Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) at the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration. "We see illicit drug use down
significantly from 2009. We see marijuana starting to
trend downward. Hallucinogens and inhalants are also
down slightly."
"The 2013 NSDUH results suggest that the
Administrations efforts to reduce drug and alcohol use
among young people is working," the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) said in a
press release.
Among all Americans, the survey finds that drug use
trends are essentially flat. The percentage of those
aged 12+ using any illicit drug in the past month is up
slightly year-over-year, from 9.2 percent in 2012 to 9.4
percent in 2013. These numbers are driven primarily
by a similar uptick in marijuana use over the same
period.
The numbers suggest that ONDCP efforts to curb some
of the most dangerous drug behavior, like opioid
abuse, may be bearing fruit. "Were especially
heartened by the decrease in new initiates [that is,
first-time use] of prescription drug misuse, which aligns

with our prevention efforts," said ONDCP spokeswoman


Cameron Hardesty.
The new figures on marijuana use come as
several states are debating whether and how to
legalize and regulate the marijuana market. Much of
the discussion has centered around whether legalized
marijuana would lead to increased adolescent
marijuana use, which has been linked with poor health
and education outcomes later in life.
Opponents of legalization often argue that it leads to a
declining perception of risks associated with marijuana
use among teens, which in turn leads to increased
rates of adolescent use. But while the latest NSDUH
data shows a continued drop in perceived risk of
marijuana use among adolescents, overall teen use
rates have actually trended slightly downward.
"One question that might be asked is how long the idea
that adolescent cannabis use is driven by risk
perception can survive the fact that risk perceptions
have been falling, but prevalence hasn't been rising,"
said Mark Kleiman, a UCLA professor of public policy
who studies drug policy.
Moreover, teens are also more likely to say that
marijuana is difficult to obtain today than they
were ten years ago. Taken together, these numbers
suggest that evolving public attitudes toward
marijuana use haven't made adolescents more likely to
use the drug, nor have they made it easier to obtain.
Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon researcher who
studies drug use, notes that there's a strong link
between tobacco use and marijuana use, particularly
among adolescents. Caulkins suspects that the sharp
decline in teen tobacco use is keeping marijuana use
levels low: "Success in anti-smoking [efforts] appears
to have been 'protective' for youth," he said in an
email. Peter Delany of the CBHSQ calls that "a
plausible hypothesis." He notes a similar connection
between teen alcohol use and illicit drug use, and says
that efforts to curb tobacco and alcohol may be having
"a spillover effect" on other drugs.
Among all Americans, the new numbers show that
relaxed attitudes toward marijuana so far haven't
translated to higher rates of dependence - 1.6 percent
of Americans aged 12+ met the definition of marijuana
dependency, essentially unchanged over the past
decade. Alcohol dependency has crept downward over
the same period.

Stalking on Campus: A Silent


Epidemic
The first steps to combating this crime include
taking it seriously, having an appropriate policy,
and training campus personnel and public safety
officers on how to effectively respond.
By Robin Hattersley Gray

Stalkers Use Many Methods


Probably the least discussed or understood of these
topics is stalking, and the definition of it varies from
state to state and campus to campus. The most
common ways offenders stalk is by unwanted phone
calls, voicemails, text messages, spying, sending
unwanted gifts, letters and E-mails and showing up
uninvited to the victims location or waiting for him or
her at a particular location.
Eighteen- to 24-year-olds have the highest rate of
stalking victimization, says Michelle Garcia, director for
the National Center for Victims of Crimes Stalking
Resource Center. The rates of stalking on college
campuses are higher than in the general population;
similar to the rates of sexual assault.
Indeed, of the six million stalking victims in the United
States each year, more than half of the female
survivors and more than one-third of the male
survivors say the were stalked before the age of 25.
The motivations as to why stalkers stalk vary. In a
relationship with a history of domestic violence, the
offender might use stalking to regain or maintain the
relationship and control of the victim. With sexual
assault cases, stalking might take place before and/or
after the incident. It also happens with unrequited
affection or romantic rejection.
The stalker thinks if they try hard enough, the other
person will come back to them despite the person
telling them they dont want anything to do with
them, claims Garcia.
A student might even stalk a teacher or faculty
member because of a bad grade or a crush.
Is the Behavior Immaturity or Stalking?
Unfortunately, the level of emotional maturity in
adolescents and young adults can make the issue quite
murky.
There is this notion of developmentally appropriate
pursuit behavior, says Garcia. There is some research
that has looked at behaviors that are really typical of
adolescents, such as having crushes on teachers,
idolizing an actor or musician or someone in the public
eye and having that persons poster on their wall.
Related Article: Stalking Stats
Its common [adolescent behavior] to happen to be at
[the target of their affections] locker when they get
out of class or going by a persons house to see if they
are home or calling them repeatedly and hanging up or

asking their friends for information about them or


looking at their Facebook page repeatedly. All of this is
typical adolescent developmentally appropriate
affection-seeking behavior, and rarely does the target
experience fear in response to these behaviors.
Evaluate Situations In Context
It can also look like stalking if not put in the proper
context. It is important to view the behavior from the
victims perspective. Behaviors that seem benign to an
outsider might be terrifying to a victim.
One thing to look at is has the victim or target
attempted to set a boundary that this person continues
to ignore? Garcia explains. Has the person been told
by the target, a friend, police officer, HR, RA, etc. that
the stalking behavior is not OK?
Generally, a verbal and/or written warning can be
issued to the offender. Another option is an order of
protection. That said, Garcia warns, With stalkers, we
know there is a really high recidivism rate. Over 60%
will reengage in the stalking behavior after an
intervention and after they have been arrested or
served with an order of protection.
Identifying stalking, however, can be challenging,
particularly for victims who often minimize the
problem.
If you think about any of those behaviors that are
typical of stalking cases the phone calls, showing up
to places, the texts, the E-mails many of those
behaviors in and of themselves are not criminal
behaviors, says Garcia.
Victims, law enforcement and campus personnel must
be able to recognize the pattern and course of conduct
that would indicate the behavior is actually stalking.
Clear Policies, Training Can Help
One way a campus can help victims, administrators
and public safety officials identify stalking is to have a
clear and well-publicized policy that defines stalking
and explains that it is not acceptable. Campuses must
also encourage the reporting of incidents.
Victims will come forward and report if they feel that
they can do so safely, that they will be believed and
that there will be a good and effective response,
Garcia says. Campuses need to evaluate whether they
are able to provide that. Do they have systems in place
for victims to report? Is it clear where victims can
report?
Training of campus staff so they appropriately respond
to a report is also critical. University, school and
hospital personnel should take stalking seriously, and
the response by staff must be consistent by all campus
staff and public safety department officers.
The first person the victim reports to, that persons
response can dramatically shape the trajectory the
victim goes on, Garcia claims. If [the person
receiving the report] is knowledgeable, sympathetic,
responsive, appropriate and helpful, then the victim is
more likely to continue engaging in the criminal justice
system or school judicial system or whatever system is
in place.
Lip Service Can Backfire

Garcia believes the biggest mistake any campus can


make with regard to stalking is not taking it seriously.
Weve found that most campuses that have a stalking
policy tack the word stalking onto an existing sexual
assault or dating violence or anti-harassment policy
but then never address stalking or any of its realities.
For campuses that dont have policies on stalking, the
National Center for Victims of Crime Model Campus
Stalking Policy can be downloaded for free by clicking
here.
Stalkers Often Use Technology
National research from 2009 shows that a quarter of
stalking victims report that some sort of technology
was used, but I think those numbers are huge
underestimates, says Michelle Garcia, director for the
National Center for Victims of Crimes Stalking
Resource Center. When you look at the national study,
it couldnt ask about every form of technology. It didnt
ask about text messaging, which is a very common
technology used to stalk.
Also, for victims to say that technology was used
against them they had to be aware of it. So many of
these technologies can be used against victims without
their knowledge. I can put a GPS tracker on someones
car and see everywhere they go, and they will have no
idea.
Spyware can also be installed on a computer or phone.
It is for these reasons that Garcia urges campuses to
increase awareness as to how offenders are misusing
technology and educate their communities how to
engage with that technology more safely. That means
encouraging students, faculty, staff and patients to:
Protect their phones and computers against spyware
Use passwords
Keep their cell phones with them at all times
Notice if something strange is happening on their
phone (the battery is draining too quickly)
Not provide detailed information on social networking
sites
Follow guidelines on privacy and database
management
Additionally, campuses can work with their IT
departments to provide documentation of cyber
stalking behavior.

DRUG OVERDOSE-What is it
and how to prevent it?

Teens are faced with many pressures coming


from peers, parents, and society as a whole. As
children develop into teenagers, it is important
that they have the correct coping methods to
deal with pressures bombarding them. The risk
of drug abuse and misuse can happen when
poor skills are obtained or never taught at all.
The reason for this is that drugs provide an
escape from reality and easy way to suppress
stress. Unfortunately, involvement with drugs
carry the risk of a drug overdose. This must be
avoided at all costs, because nobody deserves
to loss their children from a drug overdose .

An overdose occurs when either two much of one drug


is consumed or a mix of various stimulants are put into
the body. This is a very calculated explanation of
overdosing on drugs ; however, avoiding this event
requires engaging issues before they spiral out of
control and develop into self medicating. Peer pressure
is a major contributing cause of drug use which stems
from a teens constant desire to in and be accepted.
Parents are urged to recognize this trait in their
children and always communicate about the balance of
being accepted vs. doing the right thing.
When these behaviors are taught to children then
as they grow into becoming responsible teens , they
are likely to strengthen their appreciation for doing the
right thing and stay on the right track. Also, it is not
just enough to re-enforce self value and being wary of
negative peer pressure. Teens need to learn risks, such
as how to overdose on drugs, why drugs are
dangerous, and specifically how to handle peer
pressure surrounding drugs. Kids that have some level
of understanding about these details will begin to
process the information for themselves and gain a
positive impact on their life.
Lets examine a little ore closely the various
common pressures facing teens today.
1. Peer Pressure The gang mentality kicks in and kids
feel they must do what the majority of people in a
situation have decided to do. It is often the case that
when each individual person is removed from the
group, their preferable behaviors is contrary to the
group. Kids need to be taught young that it is okay to
go against the grain if it is not the right thing to do.
2. Parents Most of the time, parents have good
intentions with their kids. However, it is very common
that teens do not recognize the good and only react to
the pressure. Parents must balance their care giving
role with providing enough space for kids to process
and incorporate the lessons they are being taught. In
several cases, the saying that too much of a good
thing is not good is st definitely true.
3. Societal Pressure This topic is huge, but can best
be narrowed by selecting one area digital
revolution. There is massive amounts of pressure
surrounding social media and instant digital
communications. Websites like Facebook and Twitter
can cause social anxiety, depression, and therefore
contribute to drug use behavior. Why? Peers are
constantly comparing friends, posting pictures, and
poking fun at each other. In some cases, a bully is even
able to taunt their victims via social media.
These are just a few examples of what teens face
today and illustrate the enormous pressures. Now lets
be clear, this is not what causes an overdose or drug
use pressure is a part of life and not the root of
something as serious as an overdose. However, its the
coping methods that make all the difference as to how
the stresses are handled and their potential
consequences. Our goal is that through an
understanding of a drug overdose and possible reasons
teens get wrapped up in a drug scene will prevent
deaths from an overdose.
Starting early with children is best. Here are a
few tips to teach kids how to handle stress.
1. Talk about it When things get bottled up inside
and emotions are not spoken about, even small
problems can escalate . Kids should be taught to
discuss problems, stresses, and new experiences.
Drugs are often an attractive option to release from

issues not spoken about and increasing the ease of


communication is positive all around.
2. Hobby Promoting an extracurricular activity is a
great way for your kids to release stress, but more
importantly have the opportunity to meet others and
increase their social sphere. This is important so that
when peer pressure presents itself in one scenario, kids
can understand that there are other friends out there
and they will not be isolated. Drug abuse and
ultimately drug overdose can be more likely when
isolation and depression cross paths.
3. What is a drug overdose? Educating teens about
drugs and their dangers is extremely important to
preventing overdose. When kids understand what a
drug overdose is and how serious it can be they will be
a lot more likely to avoid even getting started with
drugs.
Now that we have reviewed what a drug overdose is
and how to prevent a drug overdose, it is important to
realize that there are many variables in life and there is
no direct road to prevention. There are many times in a
teens life that demand their self control and to stand
strong against impulses and pressure. The lessons they
learn and examples they see in life will provide a great
start.
One of the most important messages to gain from this
article is to promote education and communication
when it comes to drugs. It is perfectly normal for
parents to be concerned for their kids and want the
best for them. Discussing difficult topics like a drug
overdose might be uncomfortable , but it is vital that
teens hear this from their parents rather than getting
exposed to drugs by the wrong people. Creating a
comfortable and open environment to speak about
these issues is the best move for a safe and healthy
relationship.
The reality is a drug overdose is a very scary thing and
it should be discussed in a sensitive manner. At the
first sign of suspected drug use, parents should not be
shy and think this will pass. The situation should be
confronted in a positive way, especially if drugs have
been a topic of conversation in the past. The goal is to
create a positive environment and not a police
detective relationship with your child.
As a parent, it is also important to know the other kids
parents and carefully discuss these topics with them so
you know where other parents are positioned on the
issue. It is nice to know that you are not alone and
other parents are supportive. Also, in the event you
fear your child is heading down the wrong path
sometimes another parent can help communicate the
message. There is an old saying that it takes a village
to raise a child it is very true. Unfortunately drug
overdose is hard to eliminate , but through proactive
communication, strategic parental involvement, and
positive relationships we can hope that drug abuse will
be reduced.
Raising kids is not easy and this topic is certainly
something all parents would like to avoid. Hopefully
this perspective offers a view tips and guidance to
keep the next generation on the right track.

Bullying and Teasing: No


Laughing Matter

Know the facts about bullying, even if you


dont think it affects your child.
Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing
up almost every child experiences it. But it isn't
always as innocuous as it seems. Words can cause
pain. Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or
when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child.
It can be verbal bullying (making threats, namecalling), psychological bullying (excluding children,
spreading rumors), or physical bullying (hitting,
pushing, taking a child's possessions).
How Bullying Starts
Bullying behavior is prevalent throughout the world
and it cuts across socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and
cultural lines. Researchers estimate that 20 to 30
percent of school-age children are involved in bullying
incidents, as either perpetrators or victims. Bullying
can begin as early as preschool and intensify during
transitional stages, such as starting school in 1st grade
or going into middle school.
Victims of bullying are often shy and tend to be
physically weaker than their peers. They may also have
low self-esteem and poor social skills, which makes it
hard for them to stand up for themselves. Bullies
consider these children safe targets because they
usually don't retaliate.
Effects of Bullying
If your child is the victim of bullying, he may suffer
physically and emotionally, and his schoolwork will
likely show it. Grades drop because, instead of listening
to the teacher, kids are wondering what they did wrong
and whether anyone will sit with them at lunch. If
bullying persists, they may be afraid to go to school.
Problems with low self-esteem and depression can last
into adulthood and interfere with personal and
professional lives.
Bullies are affected too, even into adulthood; they may
have difficulty forming positive relationships. They are
more apt to use tobacco and alcohol, and to be abusive
spouses. Some studies have even found a correlation
with later criminal activities.
Warning Signs
If you're concerned that your child is a victim of teasing
or bullying, look for these signs of stress:
Increased passivity or withdrawal
Frequent crying
Recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as
stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause
Unexplained bruises
Sudden drop in grades or other learning problems
Not wanting to go to school
Significant changes in social life suddenly no one is
calling or extending invitations
Sudden change in the way your child talks calling
herself a loser, or a former friend a jerk
How to Help
First, give your child space to talk. If she recounts
incidences of teasing or bullying, be empathetic. If your
child has trouble verbalizing her feelings, read a story
about children being teased or bullied. You can also use
puppets, dolls, or stuffed animals to encourage a
young child to act out problems.

Once you've opened the door, help your child


begin to problem-solve. Role-play situations and
teach your child ways to respond. You might also need
to help your child find a way to move on by
encouraging her to reach out and make new friends.
She might join teams and school clubs to widen her
circle.
At home and on the playground:
Adults need to intervene to help children resolve
bullying issues, but calling another parent directly can
be tricky unless he or she is a close friend. It is easy to
find yourself in a "he said/she said" argument. Try to
find an intermediary: even if the bullying occurs
outside of school, a teacher, counselor, coach, or afterschool program director may be able to help mediate a
productive discussion.
If you do find yourself talking directly to the other
parent, try to do it in person rather than over the
phone. Don't begin with an angry recounting of the
other child's offenses. Set the stage for a collaborative
approach by suggesting going to the playground, or
walking the children to school together, to observe
interactions and jointly express disapproval for any
unacceptable behavior.
At school:
Many schools (sometimes as part of a statewide effort)
have programs especially designed to raise awareness
of bullying behavior and to help parents and teachers

Sibling Sexual Abuse and Incest


During Childhood
2009 Pandora's Project
By: Katy
Sibling child sexual abuse is defined as "sexual
behavior between siblings that is not age appropriate,
not transitory, and not motivated by developmentally,
mutually appropriate curiosity" (Caffaro & ConnCaffaro, 1998). In the literature it is sometimes referred
to simply as sexually harmful behavior rather than
abuse, but I will refer to it as abuse so as not to
devalue the impact that this experience can have on
the survivor. It can refer to abuse which takes place
between brother - brother, brother - sister, sister sister, as well as between half siblings, step - siblings,
and adoptive siblings.
Sexual abuse between siblings remains one of the last
taboos to be addressed by society - and as such, it is
rarely discussed in the media, or even among survivors
themselves. It comes as a shock to many people that
children can present a risk to other children, but it is
becoming increasingly apparent that children (even
children within families) can post a very real risk.
Obviously, with this silence surrounding it, it is
perfectly understandable why, if you are a survivor of
sibling sexual abuse, you may believe you are the only
one this has happened to. It's not!

deal effectively with it. Check with your local school


district to see if it has such a program.
Schools and parents can work effectively behind the
scenes to help a child meet and make new friends via
study groups or science-lab partnerships. If you are
concerned about your child:
Share with the teacher what your child has told you;
describe any teasing or bullying you may have
witnessed.
Ask the teacher if she sees similar behavior at school,
and enlist her help in finding ways to solve the
problem.
If she hasn't seen any instances of teasing, ask that
she keep an eye out for the behavior you described.
If the teacher says your child is being teased, find out
whether there are any things he may be doing in class
to attract teasing. Ask how he responds to the teasing,
and discuss helping him develop a more effective
response.
After the initial conversation, be sure to make a followup appointment to discuss how things are going.
If the problem persists, or the teacher ignores your
concerns, and your child starts to withdraw or not want
to go to school, consider the possibility of "therapeutic
intervention." Ask to meet with the school counselor or
psychologist, or request a referral to the appropriate
school professional.

It is estimated that approximately 15% of all people


report some kind of sexual activity with a sibling in
childhood. More specifically, studies have shown that
between 2% (Leder, 1991) and 4% (Finkelhor, 1999) of
people have been sexually victimized by a sibling as
the sexual contact involved some degree of forced or
coercive activity.
IF YOU ARE A SURVIVOR OF SIBLING SEXUAL ABUSE,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Like all sexual abuse, behaviors which are regarded to
be abusive are varied and numerous. Therefore sibling
sexual abuse can include touching, kissing,
masturbation, oral sex and penetrative sex. However,
perhaps more frequently than found in adult child
sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse is frequently non
touching. Non - touching sexual abuse may involve
introducing a much younger child to pornography, or
insisting on watching them in the shower, or telling
them to watch them masturbate.
ISN'T SEXUAL ACTIVITY BETWEEN SIBLINGS JUST
NORMAL EXPERIMENTATION / EXPLORATION?
It is true that children of all ages engage in some
degree of sexual interaction between themselves, as
well as self exploration. In fact, it is considered that
such behavior is healthy and necessary for normal
sexual and social development. As siblings are
generally close in age and locational proximity, it
stands to reason that the opportunity for sexual
exploration between siblings is fairly high - and that, if

appropriate and based on mutual curiosity, then these


activities are not deemed to be harmful or distressing,
either in childhood or later in adulthood (Borgis, 2002).
For the sexual exploration to be
deemed"appropriate" then the interaction is between
children of a similar developmental age, where prior
knowledge and experience, and physical and emotional
development are on a par with each other.
However, the line is crossed from sexual exploration to
sexual abuse when sexual activity occurs between
siblings where there is a significant difference in
developmental age (more than 3 years), or where there
is any use of force, tricks or coercion by one of the
siblings.
Therefore, if you had sexual contact with a much older
sibling, OR if you were forced, tricked, or coerced into
it,
then you are a survivor of sibling sexual abuse.
WHY DIDN'T I TELL AS A CHILD?! WHY IS IT STILL SO
HARD TO TELL SOMEONE?
The majority of survivors of childhood sexual abuse do
not tell as children, or at least do not tell at the time
the abuse is ongoing. The reasons for this are
numerous, and it may help to see the following
article: Understanding Why You Didn't Tell.
It is very easy to look back as an adult and think of all
the missed opportunities for when we could have
broken the silence, or dismiss all of the reasons we felt
we couldn't tell as unimportant. But it's important to
remember that you are going to have a very different
perspective about what your sibling did to you when
looking back at it from your adult perspective, than you
would have had when you were a confused and abused
child.
"Its like its a wall dont talk about it. You can talk
about this, this and this but dont talk about that" (a
survivor)
When sexual abuse is perpetrated by a sibling, in many
ways, it is even harder to break this silence, and there
are certainly some special reasons that make sibling
abuse especially difficult to disclose:
I didn't understand what was happening was "abuse"
Often, sibling abuse can start off seeming fun and
exciting.....messing around with your brother / sister in
a way that seems playful. As a child, we often don't
have the cognitive ability to understand that
something which may feel nice or thrilling can be
wrong. Often, sibling abuse is more coercive than
physically forceful i.e. you may have been gently
persuaded that it would be fun; or you may have been
bribed with sweets; and so even as adults, survivors
are unclear as to whether what happened was abusive
or not. A younger siblings cooperation does not
suggest that they understood the nature of the sexual
interaction.
I thought it was just what siblings did:
For some children, especially if the abuse has been ongoing since they were very young, they can believe
that this sexual interaction is just what happens
between siblings. From childhood, we are usually told

that, as siblings, we are supposed to love each other and especially where we are not clear what "love"
involves, it may have felt that this was part of that
special sibling bond. Therefore, it may have been that
it was only as you got older and learned about other
people's sibling relationships, and about the different
kinds of love, that the questioning begins.
I wanted it:
Many survivors of sibling sexual abuse look back and
feel a great deal of guilt about the fact that they
welcomed the sexual contact. Statistics show that
sibling sexual abuse is more likely (although not
exclusively!) in emotionally dysfunctional families who
are reluctant to show love or have overt displays of
affection. It is generally accepted that children have
four psychological needs, namely love and belonging,
power, freedom and fun (Glasser 1998), and so
especially in situations where the abuse was carried
out by an older sibling in a way which felt nurturing,
you may have welcomed or even sought out the sexual
contact as it was the only type of close physical
contact that you had from a family member - and it
made you feel loved, wanted, and accepted (Laviola,
1992). This may have made you feel like a coconspirator and you may have believed that what you
were doing was wrong, and disclosure would have
resulted in punishment from your parents.
The fact that you may have welcomed the sexual
contact from your older sibling does not make you
culpable. Children need affection - and will accept
affection from wherever and however it is offered if it is
not offered in the traditionally appropriate ways.
I enjoyed it:
Like many survivors of child abuse, children may get
physical pleasure from the abuse - including sexual
arousal and orgasm. When a sibling is responsible for
this arousal, the shame can feel enormous. Incest particularly sexual arousal during incest - is still very
much taboo in western society - and associated shame
may even stop adult survivors of sibling sexual abuse
from getting help. Please see: Sexual arousal and
sexual assault
I didn't want my sibling to get into trouble:
Despite the sexual abuse, even when forced sexual
assault takes place, children can feel a sense of loyalty
towards their abusive sibling and not want them to get
into trouble. You may still love your sibling, despite
what pain they have caused you, and reporting them
can feel very disloyal. You may have feared that your
sibling would have been ejected from the family home,
or sent to prison, or even killed - and therefore silence
felt like the only option.
As an adult survivor, you may still have fears over
disclosing the abuse because of sibling loyalty. In
particular if your family was dysfunctional or unhappy,
you may now be able to look back and even
understand what led your sibling to abuse. Please try
to appreciate that it is okay to love your sibling, but
still want them to take responsibility for the hurt they
have caused you, and for them to get treatment for
themselves.
I didn't want to upset my parents:
Many children of sibling abuse will not report it
because they believe that the knowledge will devastate
their parents. Therefore, the children stay silent in
order to protect their parents - and again this can carry

on into adulthood. Furthermore, there may be the


belief that this truth would be too hard for their parents
to bear, and so they would not believe the disclosure.
I was just too scared of my brother / sister:
Some sibling sexual abuse is enforced by threat and /
or physical violence. Because the sibling is a family
member and likely to be living in the same house, the
opportunity to carry out threats, and to reinforce these
threats on a daily basis, is very real.
I was told it was a "family matter":
: There is an assumption that things that happen within
families are private....that they are "family matters",
and as such, should not be discussed outside the
family. Undoubtedly, this would have implications for
any children seeking to disclose sibling abuse to a
person outside the family (i.e. a teacher) because again - family disloyalty may be an issue.
I just didn't / don't want anyone to know that my
sibling is doing / did this to me:
While childhood sexual abuse is now widely talked
about in our society, sexual abuse by siblings is still
very much a taboo subject. As such, survivors feel a
great deal of shame which perpetuates the need for
silence.
**"To speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to
tell lies is much worse" - Oscar Wilde**

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD SIBLING


ABUSE ON SURVIVORS NOW IN THEIR TEENS AND
ADULTHOOD?
For many years, it was ascertained that sibling sexual
abuse was harmless and didn't cause any significant
detrimental effects on adult functioning, health, or
relationships. In fact, what can make sibling sexual
abuse particularly traumatising for survivors is the two
concurrent views that sibling incest is both a cultural
taboo and at the same time not harmful. Leading child
mental health experts not refute the claim that sibling
sexual abuse is unharmful (Russell, 1986).
Following any type of child sexual abuse, adult
survivors can experience:
* Somatic disturbances: Insomnia, nightmares, night
terrors.
* Parenthood problems: Worrying what effect childhood
abuse may have on a their relationship with children.
Please see:Pregnancy, childbirth, parenting as a
survivor.
* Poor self-concept / self-esteem.
* Revictimization
* Self Blame / Shame / guilt.
* Sexual dysfunction.
* Relationship problems: issues with trust and intimacy.
* Psychiatric ill-health: PTSD, self-injury, eating
disorders, suicide, DID.
* Physical ill health: i.e. STDs, substance abuse.
Research has heralded that sibling relationships are
extremely important for a child's development, and
thus it makes sense that sibling sexual abuse could
have a profound and major impact upon its victims
(Jones, 2002). Whilst the above effects are common to
many survivors of childhood sexual abuse, there are
certain areas that are particularly worthy of further

discussion when focusing of sibling sexual abuse:


The situation: Siblings often spend a great deal of time
together, perhaps more than any other family
relationship, as they may not only be together when in
the family arena, but they may also share a bedroom,
school, friends, clubs, toys etc. Therefore, where sibling
abuse is occurring, the sense of powerlessness and
lack of control over their lives, can feel even more
pervasive and invasive when compared to sexual
abuse perpetrated by others (Maddock et al, 1995).
This can lead to learned helplessness, which for the
adult survivor can result in revictimization, clinical
depression, extreme anxiety disorders etc.
Intimate relationships / sexuality: Sibling relationships
in childhood can have a major impact upon the
development of later relationships, and ultimately
many survivors will have difficulty forming and
maintaining intimate adult relationships (Daie et al,
1989), and infact almost half never marry (Russellis,
1986; Alpert, 1991). However, this is largely attributed
to the stalling of development (Caffaro, 1988), and
therefore with support and therapy, survivors can learn
to develop socially, sexually and emotionally - and
form healthy attachments.
Survivors of sibling sexual abuse may have a very poor
sexual self-concept, and because of the taboo nature of
sibling incest, you may even view yourself as a "sexual
deviant" - which can undoubtedly have an impact upon
sexual development (Finkelhor, 1980). This was NOT
your fault, and the guilt is not yours to own.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy rates are said to be higher in
sibling abuse, often because the opportunity for acts of
rape to occur are higher than with other types of child
abuse. In this situation, not only does the child have to
deal with the issue of pregnancy by itself, but also the
added complications that result in regards to the
genetic risks to the infant. Full siblings are 50%
genetically identical and 99.95% biochemically
identical, and therefore there is a far greater risk of
sharing the same recessive genes which, when
combined, can result in severe medical abnormality.
However, there is also some evidence that female
victims of sibling sexual abuse who become pregnant
are less likely to abort the pregnancy, either because
they see the pregnancy through as they see it as a way
of exposing or terminating the incestuous relationship,
and because they are less likely to feel hate for their
abuser. (Maloof, 1999). Consequently, the adult
survivor may have to care for a child where they know
the father is their brother, and the increased likelihood
that this child will have a genetic medical condition.
The adult relationship with sibling and family: Although
some adult survivors of child sibling abuse may report
a primarily neutral relationship with their sibling
(Hardy, 2001), others may experience extreme
difficulties with this relationship, which can be
problematic for the family as a whole (particularly if the
abuse is undisclosed). Family occasions and functions
may be particularly traumatic for you because you may
feel a loyalty to attend the family function, yet feel
very uncomfortable around your sibling.

One particular problem of sibling abuse, particularly


where the abuse has been nurturance orientated, is
that as the child turns into an adult, they may have
particular difficulty in separating from the abuser
(Cicirelli, 1995) as a kind of dependence and
attachment as formed. Particularly when it comes to
forming romantic relationships with others, this
attachment can feel very strong, and some have
reported feeling like they are being disloyal or even
cheating on their abusing sibling when they are
attracted to someone else (Meiselman, 1978).
You may also feel a great deal of resentment towards
your family as you were not afforded adequate
protection - and you may even feel a need for revenge
(Johnson, 1989). You are very entitled to your anger,
and you may need help in learning to express this in a
safe and appropriate way.
The most important thing at this time is your safety
and your perceived safety, and it may be that you need
to withdraw somewhat from your family at times rather
than put yourself through the pain of confronting your
abuser. YOU need to some first.

Rape, the Most Intimate of


Crimes
by Mary Dickson
1996
It's a story so common, it never even made it into the
newspapers. A 49-year-old woman who lives in a
middle class neighborhood on one of Salt Lake City's
busiest streets let her dog out one warm fall night as
she always did. When he began barking furiously in the
driveway, she ran outside to see what was wrong. As
cars sped by, a masked man grabbed her and put a
knife at her throat. Without saying a word, he pulled
her by the arm, pushed her into her house and threw
her on the bed. The dog ran in the house behind them,
barking frantically. The man threw the dog against the
wall, then raped the woman. He told her that if she
screamed, he would "Nicole" her. Gritting her teeth,
she focused on the small can of mace attached to her
keychain on the table in the next room.
"I know that I will never, ever be the same person
again. In fact, after it happened, I asked both my
daughter and my sister if I looked different. Because I
felt like I was so changed, it must be on my face," she
says. "All women are vulnerable like I am. And if they
don't realize it, they should. Because you never know
what's going to happen. You never ever know when it's
going to happen. And you always need to be checking
your back. I have mace on my keychain, but you don't
run outside to see what your dog's barking at with your
mace in hand. And maybe you should. Maybe you
should go everywhere with it in your hand."
While her attacker remains at large, the Salt Lake City
woman struggles to get over what happened to her. "I
will always feel like I'm not safe," she says. "That's my
big issue -- trying to continue to feel safe in my own
house. I will always be looking over my shoulder and

checking the back seat of my truck and always trying


to second guess where somebody could be hiding."
Most women live in fear of incidents like this. We feel at
risk because we are. We know the statistics. By some
estimates one out of four women will be the victim of
sexual assault in her lifetime. Each year women report
almost half a million rapes and sexual assaults,
according to the most recent U.S. Justice Department
survey. In family-oriented Utah, a state perceived as a
safe place, more than 4,000 rapes were reported last
year. During one weekend alone, the Salt Lake Citybased Utah Rape Recovery Center saw 29 victims.
While overall crime has decreased in Utah in recent
years, reports of rape and sexual assault are on the
rise, giving the state one of the highest per-capita rates
of rape in the country, ahead of New York, Washington
D.C. and California. It's difficult to know, however, if
rape is increasing, or if the crime is being reported
more. Women who have been brutalized are more
likely to report a rape than women who don't show
outward physical signs of the attack. The majority of
rapes, particularly acquaintance rapes, still go
unreported. By most reports, three-fourths of rapes are
committed by a man the woman knows -- a fact society
is not willing to accept.
"We want to feel safe so we want to believe that rapists
have a particular profile in terms of they're easy to
identify -- they wear trench coats, they live under the
viaduct or hang out in vacant buildings and have
crazed looks in their eyes," says Abby Maestas,
executive director of the Rape Recovery Center. "And
that's not true. What we have found through the clients
that are served at the Rape Recovery Center and
through studies, is that a rapist can be anyone -- a
father, a grandfather, an uncle, a neighbor, a brother, a
son."
C.Y. Roby, executive director of Intermountain
Specialized Abuse Treatment Center, agrees. "We have
a tendency to look on it and say, well in order to keep
safe, what I need to do is stay out of the park at night,
stay out of the dark alleys at night and I won't end up
being raped. And yet, the vast majority of rapists are
known to the victim."
Diana met her boyfriend in college. He was handsome,
charming, and funny. He seemed like he had it all
together. Then she began to see another side of her
boyfriend. He would become angry and then he'd
become violent. After two years, Diana told him she
didn't want to see him anymore. He became obsessive,
following her everywhere she went, registering for her
classes, and taking a job where she worked. The
stalking went on for 10 months, but no one thought
much of it.
Then one night as she was writing a letter, she turned
around to find him staring at her. "I screamed because
the look on his face scared me so much," she recalls.
"He had a knife in his hand, and he cornered me, put
his arms around me, put the knife up to my neck -- it
was an eight-inch hunting knife -- and he said if I
screamed again, he was gonna kill me."
During the attack, Dianna tried to stay detached. "I felt
like if I didn't stay calm that he would kill me. That I
just was better off going along with whatever he said
and did and that way it would be over with. If I would
have fought, I think I would have been killed. I always
thought of myself as physically fit, as a strong person.
I'm 5'9" and weigh 140 pounds, but he threw me
around like I was a paper doll. I felt like the only thing I

could do was just try to block blows. I felt very small


and insignificant and weak. He had so much rage and
anger that I couldn't do anything to match it."
Dianna's rapist escaped through a window when he
heard her roommate come home. When police arrived,
they warned her she could be killed the next time.
Fearing for her life, she dropped out of college and
completely broke her routine. She pressed charges, but
regrets she didn't push for a harsher sentence. Her
rapist was only placed on probation. "I couldn't go
anywhere without worrying about him popping up from
behind a building or from behind a bush," she says.
Just three months after raping Dianna, he was charged
with forcible sexual abuse of another woman.
"I couldn't go anywhere without worrying about him
popping up from behind a building or from behind a
bush," she says. Not only did the rape make Dianna
feel more vulnerable, she was also hurt by the reaction
of others. "The reaction of my landlord was that I who
had caused the problems, that he hadn't had problems
until I moved to there, and that he had to fix the door
and he was kind of mad at me. The reaction of my
neighbor was pretty non-chalant, like maybe I deserved
it. I found out when I told other people that the stigma
is still very strong."
We live in a culture where we are taught that we have
choices about our lives and that we're responsible for
what happens to us. As feminist author Gloria Steinem
says, "If you are beaten, you're said to have incited it,
if you're raped you're said to have invited it. We all
know that these things run very deep in the culture."
"From the time a child is very, very small, we're
teaching that they're responsible for the things that
happen in their life both positive and negative," says
C.Y. Roby. "So when a rape situation occurs, usually
what I see going through a victim's mind is what did I
do that was wrong."
It's not only the victim who blames herself. Society is
quick to blame her as well. "Even the innocence of
children is questioned," says Maestas. "Often times I
have sat with a police officer or a client and have heard
that a four-year-old girl was responsible for seducing
her perpetrator who was an adult. Now what are we
saying? What we're saying is that we don't know how
to take responsibility as a society. Therefore, we will
continue to blame the victim."
Rape is a devastating crime. Some women are badly
injured. Some become pregnant. Some contract HIV.
But the emotional trauma can be worse than any
physical injury. Women who are raped have
nightmares, panic attacks, waves of self-doubt, an
overwhelming sense of distrust. The lives of women
who are raped are forever changed. Some say they will
never be the same, that its like dying. "I know that I
will never really recover from this," says Maggie. "The
impact will always be with me and I will never trust the
same way and I know I can't even be tested for HIV for
six months. So I have to even keep that in mind. I'll
never be able to get away from this."
After being raped at a party, one Salt Lake woman
spent 18 months in intensive therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. "I managed to continue
working for almost a year following the attack, but I
was marginally functional," she says. "Finally I quit my
job." She says she has only recently found the "hope
and courage to face both the world and myself."
Who is most likely to be assaulted or raped? Maestas
stresses that rapists choose those who are vulnerable,

which is why children and even the elderly are at risk.


Her staff has worked with victims of all backgrounds
and ages, including a 94-year-old woman who was
raped and a three-and-a-half-week-old baby who was
sexually abused. Half the victims the staff served in
emergency rooms were under 14 years of age.
"I think that anyone is capable of rape and I think
frankly that anyone is capable of being a victim," says
C.Y. Roby. "I don't think that there's anything you can
do to ultimately thwart being victimized, possibly with
the exception of locking yourself in a room and you're
the only one with a key."
Dr. Michael Ghiglieri, an Arizona biologist who has
written extensively about male violence, is more
specific. He cites a 10-year study looking at more than
a million cases of rape in the United States. "It's
unfortunately a huge sample of victims," he says. "And
it turns out that 88 percent of these women are
between the ages of 12 to 28. Three quarters of all
victims fell between the ages of 18 to 25. So rapists
are seeking the women that men everywhere are
seeking."
Dr. Ron Sanchez is a supervising psychologist at the
Utah State Prison who works with sex offenders. "From
my experience, there's a wide variety of reasons that
sex offenders choose victims. They can range in age
from very young to old. There may perhaps be a focus
on a particular eye color or hair color or body type. But
there is certainly no one female profile they would go
after."
Rapists, notes Sanchez, can be calculating and
planning, often stalking their victims. Maggie suspects
that the man who raped her had been watching her. "It
wasn't unusual for me all summer to run outside and
change the water, so I've been very nervous that
perhaps it was somebody in the neighborhood that had
been stalking me, and knew that I lived alone."
Sanchez says rapists are often very impulsive. For
example, they might see a woman who is alone, such
as a motorist stranded on the side of the road, and
"seize the opportunity." "As I've worked with rapists,
I've asked them how do you go about gaining access to
houses and many of them said they would look for an
open window or unlocked door and just go in the
house," he says. "I was amazed to find out how many
houses that they encountered had doors unlocked. So I
think a simple thing of locking your doors and windows
is a deterrent."
Locking doors and windows is an easy enough thing. A
woman alone instinctively bolts the doors and windows
even on a sweltering summer night. For most women,
such precautions become second nature. Ask a woman
what she does to protect herself and she'll tick off a list
of specifics: never leaving a building without her keys
in hand, looking over her shoulder in the parking lot,
scanning faces on an elevator, avoiding parking
terraces. Yet, despite all the precautions, women can
still be at risk. As Maggie reminds, "when you're at
home changing your water, how are you to know you
should be watching out?" It's a reality that makes her
and other women resentful. "First of all, it's evenings
that I lost," she says. "And now it's like even freedom
around my own home. And it seems like we just keep
having more and more things that we have to watch
out for and more and more freedoms we're losing just
because of our gender. I don't know where it's going to
end."

In her book, Sex, Art and American Culture, Camille


Paglia calls these "somber truths" women must accept.
"Feminism keeps saying the sexes are the same," she
writes. "It keeps telling women they can do anything,
go anywhere, say anything, wear anything. No, they
can't. Women will always be in sexual danger." She
may be right, but that doesn't necessarily make rape a
woman's responsibility.
Gloria Steinem poses the real issue at the heart of the
rape dilemma. "We have to stop talking about who gets
raped and talk about who rapes. Somebody is doing
these things. And we have to identify who they are."
Who is that somebody? Why do men rape women? And
how do you stop them?
"The fact is testosterone is a real kick-starter for
violence," offers biologist Ghiglieri. "It's a kick starter
for every male trait, not just violence, it is the
responsible hormone for making males. It does affect
behavior, it actually forces aggressive behavior. Of
course, as humans we do have the choice as
individuals whether we are aggressive or not. But the
fact is testosterone does affect male attitudes and the
propensities to violence."
Ghiglieri has become convinced that violence is a male
tactic. "I think in general if you want to get the simplest
perspective on it, male use violence to control females
and they do it very often and they control those
females for sexual reasons. It's done in every species."
From his work with sex offenders, C. Y. Roby has also
seen "a lot of desire to dominate or control others. "To
a certain degree, I think it's something that we've
learned socially," he says. "Males often grow up and
realize that the way to get what they want is through
aggressive means."
Michael Kimmel is a sociologist at the State University
of New York who has received international recognition
for his work on men and masculinity. He says violent
men often view their actions as revenge or retaliation.
"They say, women have power over me because
they're beautiful and sexual and I want them and they
elicit that and I feel powerless," he says. "Just listen for
a minute to the way in which we describe women's
beauty and sexuality. We describe it as a violence
against us. She is a knock-out, a bomb-shell, dressed
to kill, a femme fatale, stunning, ravishing. I mean all
of these are words of violence against us. It's like, wow,
she knocked me out. So the violence then, or the
aggression or the sexual violence is often a way to
retaliate."
Philip is a 29-year-old man even prison workers at the
Utah State Prison say is a charmer. He is serving time
for sexually abusing his step-daughter. He says anger
over a divorce led to his crime. "I wasn't thinking about
her whatsoever, just she was there," he says.
"Somebody to vent my anger, my frustrations, and my
anxieties and pain. I didn't think about her, and if you
ask the majority of people who are here on this same
crime, they would tell you probably the same thing.
They didn't really think. They just want somebody to
vent their anger out on. A lot of people who do sex
crimes, do these crimes out of anger. Now sex and
anger go hand in hand."
Roby sees several kinds of sex offenders. Those, like
Philip, for whom sexual assault is an extension of rage;
those who have a need to control of have power over
their victims; and those who derive sexual pleasure out
of inflicting pain on others. Many of the rapists he's
worked with also seem to have been motivated by sex.

"Most of the individuals that I've worked with saw


having sex with a woman as basically their final
validation of them being a man. So they would decide
prior to the time they went out and actually committed
the rape that they were going to be sexually involved
with some woman," he says. "The woman no longer
really had a choice to make in that kind of relationship,
but I don't think they started out saying what I want to
do is to degrade or humiliate some other individual."
Approximately 25-26 percent of the inmate population
at the Utah State Prison are sex offenders. Dr. Ron
Sanchez is the supervising psychologist who works
with them. "I think sex is part of it. I think it's a vehicle
for their aggression. There again, it's not just about
sex. Many of these individuals, at least on the surface,
have relationships with women and are having sex on a
regular basis, but for some reason have chosen to go
out victimize people in this fashion."
Since the 1970s when Susan Brownmiller published her
ground breaking book, "Against our Will," rape has
been viewed as a crime of control and violence. But
Michael Ghiglieri disagrees. He says men may use
violence and force as a tool, but what they're after is
sex. "That whole power and control thing as an end in
itself is a myth. Power and control is used as an
instrument to accomplish a sexual event with an
unwilling victim. And to leave out that sexual event is
to completely forget what the crime was, which was a
copulation was stolen from a woman against her will.
To take the motive out of the actual definition is crazy.
It essentially places women in a place where they no
longer understand the motive of the rapist. It's an
immense disservice to women."
While some feminists are adamant that rape is not
about sex, Jane Caputi, a professor of American Studies
at the University of New Mexico, claims it's specious to
separate violence and sex. "I would disagree with some
of the early feminists who would say rape is a crime of
violence, not a crime of sex. Because, unfortunately, in
this culture sex is completely interfused with violence,
with notions of dominance and subordination. Our
gender roles are constructed so we have these two
genders, masculine and feminine, that are defined by
one being powerful and one being powerless. So,
powerlessness and power themselves become
eroticized."
She points to popular culture, which reflects and
perpetuates this intertwining of sex and violence. "It
makes it glamourous, it eroticizes that kind of violence
against women and makes it appear consensual, as if
women seek this out and want it," she says. "We all
know the notorious General Hospital scene where Luke
raped Laura and then later married her and so it made
it seem as though rape was a kind of courtship ritual.
Gone with the Wind is, of course, classic in that we see
a scene of marital rape and the woman is made to
smile as if seeming to enjoy it."
The media, biology and culture may be contributing
factors, but the majority of men -- those who are the
product of the same biology, the same culture -- don't
rape women. The causes of individual pathology are far
more complicated. To understand rape, it's important
to look at the men who rape. According to Ghiglieri,
approximately 90 percent of convicted rapists are
young men, most of them troubled. Ron Sanchez says
sex offenders cut across all racial, economic and social
lines. Convicted sex offenders include physicians, truck
drivers, utility workers, and teachers, single men and

married men with children. Yet Sanchez sees some


general patterns. Rapists tend to be antisocial. Many
have a mixed criminal history and a pattern of
victimizing people. They're aggressive and have
problems controlling their anger. They lack adequate
communication skills which contributes to their feelings
of rage and frustration. They're often sensitive to
rejection and insecure about their own masculinity.
They also have distorted views about women and sex.
Most have been sexually deviant since adolescence.
"Many of the rapists have what we call thinking errors
or criminal thinking," where they have a tendency to
distort reality," he says. "For instance, they might
interpret the way she responds to them in a very
friendly manner by saying "Hi", they might interpret
that as that they're interested in him, as having sex
with him to be blunt."
One thing universally common to rapists is that they
don't think about what their victim goes through. "As
you can imagine, committing that type of crime against
another human being requires a tremendous amount of
detachment, of dehumanizing that individual," says
Sanchez.
Tony is serving time at the Utah State Prison for
sexually abusing his 13-year-old sister-in-law. But he
doesn't think it was rape. "I believe she consented but
her boyfriend at the time didn't like it," he says. "My
mom was a cocktail waitress so I've been around
females portraying themselves as sex objects. I seen
my mom in her skimpy outfits which that was the type
of work she chose. After seeing women like that in
magazines, on billboards, and casinos wearing hardly
anything, you grow up after 23 years pretty much
thinking that's what a lot of these women bring on
themselves. They want to be an object. You go to
different parts of the country and women don't want to
be recognized that way. So I'm a monster here, but yet
I'm normal in Nevada."
He admits that his victim didn't deserve what he did to
her and calls it a "selfish act on my part," though he
minimizes his crime and its impact. "I can't put mine in
the same category as a violent crime. Mine wasn't
violent. I didn't break in to do the crime. I didn't use a
weapon to do my crime. I just used the trust I had in
my victim. That was my weapon....She's gettin over it.
She's gotten over it. She's movin' on. She's goin' to
college. She's doing' good."
Getting at the real motives of rapists is difficult since
rapists typically do not admit their crimes. They often
find excuses, and experts say they don't always tell the
truth. "Rapists rarely want to admit that they raped at
all let alone why they might have done it," says
Ghiglieri. "Oftentimes, the only confession of these
people comes out during rehabilitation programs that
they're put through in social services. These rapists will
learn what they're supposed to say, which is, 'I'm a
victim of society, we live in a macho society that made
me the way I am, women are too attractive, and
they're not available to me, and it's the woman's fault,'
and on and on and on."
So why don't rapists admit their crime? Ghiglieri says it
has to do with a very simple fact -- "A man who rapes,
among men, is probably the most hated individual that
can exist in a male society," he says. "It's actually
dangerous to admit that you raped anyone. So men
don't admit to rape, even in prison, because of fear of
retribution by men who aren't rapists."

Most rapists are never caught, and conviction rates for


those apprehended are notoriously low. According to
Department of Justice statistics, 48 percent of accused
rapists were released before trial. Of those tried, only
54 percent were sentenced to prison. Even more
troubling is that the average sex offender may commit
hundreds of crimes in his lifetime, which means that
the vast majority of rapes go undetected and
unpunished.
Ron Sanchez says that during therapy, offenders admit
crimes they've committed as children, teenagers and
adults -- sometimes disclosing as many as 50 or 60
other crimes, which escalated in seriousness. "Many of
them began voyeuring in homes, then eventually
escalated to burglaries, even breaking into houses at
night while people were sleeping, then escalating to
the point of fantasy, fantasies about rape and
eventually planning and committing rape."
According to Sanchez, sex offenders tend to be
compulsive and repetitive, the kind of criminals who
are hardest to treat. A 1989 study by the American
Psychological Association found no evidence that the
rate of recidivism for treated offenders was any lower
than it was for offenders who received no treatment.
"We need to be realistic about what therapy can do,"
he says. "When we talk about treatment, we're not
talking about a disease or an illness that we can cure
with an antibiotic or something like that. It boils down
to a personal choice." Treatment, he says, can work
well for individuals who are motivated and want to
change, but it's difficult to treat sex offenders who
have been abusing women for a number of years or
who have multiple deviancies. Still, Sanchez believes
therapy for sex offenders if crucial, if for no other
reason than to identify who is not likely to change so
that they remain separated from society.
If we are really serious about curbing this kind of
violence against women, most experts say the
punishment for such crimes must be harsh. "If a rapist
gets away scott free or gets away with minor
punishment, that means rape is a viable sexual
strategy for a large number of men. Rape is inevitable
if we don't punish it," says Ghiglieri.
"Everything we know tells us that they only begin to
take it seriously when there are very serious
consequences," insists Steinem.
Michael Kimmel calls it a matter of carrots and sticks. "I
think the stick is we need very strong laws with
uncompromising enforcement all the way through the
legal system so that we make it clear as culture that
we won't stand for this. As a culture we can say the
way we try to say around murder for example, or auto
theft for example, 'this is beyond the pale, you cannot
do this. We will come down so hard on you, you won't
want to do this.' O.K. that's the stick. What's the carrot?
If we as men make it very clear to the women in our
lives that we don't support men's violence against
women, that we are actively opposed to it, that we are
willing to confront other men who we see doing
aggressive things, then our relationships with women
will actually improve."

Sad Truths about Teen


Suicide
By Janice Shaw Crouse

Teen deaths for any reason are tragic losses of life and
potential. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), one in five teenagers in the U.S.
seriously considers suicide annually, and approximately
1,700 die by suicide each year. Both the CDC and the
National Mental Health Association (NMHA) point out
that suicide rates for teens have tripled since 1960 -making it the third leading cause of adolescent death
and the second cause among college students. Yet,
according to the American Psychological Association,
teen suicide is preventable, and they identify possible
warning signs. They also note that more than 90
percent of suicide deaths are from mental illness and
substance-abuse disorders.
Not letting facts stand in their way, activist groups
continue to claim, based on a flawed 1989 study that
has been completely discredited, that 30 percent of all
teens who attempt suicide are homosexuals. Instead,
teen suicide reports from the major psychological and
pediatric associations either do not even mention
sexual identity or mention it near the bottom of a long
list of other risk factors associated with teen
suicide. Other teen suicide factors -- family breakup
through divorce, alcohol or drug abuse, and family
dysfunction -- are mentioned in all the major health
organization publications as main factors in teen
suicide.
Research from Columbia University Medical Center,
published in APAM, cites different reasons for girls' and
boys' suicides. The researchers collected data from
over 8,000 students in New York City high schools in
2005. For females, recent dating violence is a primary
cause of attempted suicide. For teen males, a lifetime
history of sexual assault is associated with suicide
attempts. Dr. Elyse Olshen, lead researcher for the
study, reported that girls who have been physically
abused by a boyfriend are 60 percent more likely to
attempt suicide than those who have not. For boys,
sexual abuse over an extended period of time is more
likely to be the determining factor for male teen
suicide.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) identified
the strong risk factors for teen suicide as depression,
alcohol, or drug abuse and aggressive, disruptive
behaviors. They also mentioned family loss, instability,
and unplanned pregnancy. Suicidal teens, they
reported, feel alone, hopeless, and rejected and are
especially vulnerable when they have experienced a
loss, humiliation, or trauma, such as poor grades,
breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend, argument with
parents, parental discord, separation, or divorce. The
APA declared that 53 percent of young people who
commit suicide are substance abusers.
NMHA identifies feelings of anger and resentment and
the inability to see beyond a temporary situation as the
main factors in teen suicide
attempts. KidsHealth quotes Dr. David Sheslow, a
pediatric psychologist, who identifies drugs and alcohol
as leading causes of suicide in
teens. Further, KidsHealth reports, "A teen with an
adequate support network of friends, family, religious

affiliations, peer groups or extracurricular activities


may have an outlet to deal with his everyday
frustrations. A teen without an adequate support
network may feel disconnected and isolated from his
family and peer groups. It's these teens who are at
increased risk for suicide." Other problems identified
by KidsHealth are divorce, alcoholism of a family
member, domestic violence, physical and sexual
abuse, repeated failures at school, substance abuse,
and self-destructive behavior.

A Fraternity Hazing Gone Wrong


NOVEMBER 14, 2005
ELAINE KORRY
It's a parent's nightmare and a nagging fear for the
people who run colleges and universities: A young
fraternity pledge dies when hazing gets out of control.
It's happened at least once each year for more than
three decades. Nine months ago it happened at Chico
State University in California, and this time prosecutors
did something unusual: They filed felony criminal
charges against the fraternity brothers involved.
But that's not much comfort to the family of Matthew
Carrington, who died during the Feb. 2, 2005, hazing
accident.
In his 22 years, Gabriel Maestretti has often been a role
model: an altar boy, high school homecoming king and
a volunteer coach. But in the past year he's also been
called a "tormentor" and "a mean drunk." And earlier
this month, he became something worse: a felon.
The Butte County courtroom of Judge Stephen Benson
was awash in red, the color worn by family and friends
of Matthew Carrington to honor him. Gabriel Maestretti,
deeply religious as a boy, had never been in trouble
before. Yet, according to the district attorney, he was
the most culpable in Carrington's death. He stood
before the judge, baby-faced, with the physique of a
linebacker, choking back tears.
"I did what I did out of a misguided sense of building
brotherhood, and instead I lost a brother. I will live with
the consequences of hazing for the rest of my life,"
Maestretti told the court. "My actions killed a good
person, and I will be a felon for the rest of my life, and
I'll have to live with that disability, but I'm alive and
Matt's not. "
Moments later, Maestretti and three of his fraternity
brothers John Fickes, 20, Carlos Abrille, 22, and Jerry
Lim, 25 were handcuffed and led off to jail.
Matthew Carrington would have turned 22 this month.
He grew up with his younger brother in a small ranch-

style house in Pleasant Hill, east of San Francisco.


Debbie Smith has a giant portrait of her son on the
fireplace mantle. Dozens of snapshots fill the coffee
table and bookshelves.

"All I could think of was, 'Matt's alone. Nobody is with


him... why is that?' " she said. Hours passed from the
hospital's first call to Carrington's parents before they
learned how he died.

"We did everything together as a family, so we have


tons of pictures, and I have to have them out," she
said. "I have this need to just be surrounded by him. I
can't put him away."

Hazing is illegal in the majority of states, including


California. But usually it's a misdemeanor offense that
brings a slap on the wrist. Most colleges have banned
hazing, and rogue Greek chapters have been
suspended. But sometimes the strategy backfires.
Hazing expert Hank Nuwer says once they're
decertified, these chapters are accountable to no one.

Like a lot of moms, Debbie Smith says her son was


destined for great things. But Carrington's plans
weren't grandiose at all. He just wanted to graduate
and get a good job, marry and have kids, his mother
says. Now, she mourns the wedding she'll never
attend, the grandchildren she'll never hold.
Boarded-up on the edge of campus is the Chi Tau
fraternity house. From the outside, the white building
doesn't look like a crime scene. The basement, says
Chico Police detective Greg Keeney, the lead
investigator on the case, is another story.
"It's kind of like the medieval castle dungeon," says
Keeney. In February, at the time of Carrington's death,
the dark and dirty basement would have been very
cold, says Keeney. Repeatedly scribbled on the walls
was the phrase, "In the basement, no one can hear you
scream."
Carrington died during Chi Tau's "Hell Week." Junior
fraternity brothers were in charge and were told to be
tough on the pledges. Carrington was at the Chi Tau,
located in Chico, Calif., north of Sacramento to support
his friend, Mike Quintana. Both were sober, according
to police reports.
The two pledges were ordered downstairs and told to
do calisthenics in raw sewage that had leaked on the
floor. For hours, according to district attorney Mike
Ramsey, they were interrogated and taunted.
There were forced pushups and trivia quizzes. Through
it all, the Carrington and Quintana were ordered to
drink from a five-gallon jug of water, which was filled
over and over. Fans blasted icy air on their wet bodies.
They urinated and vomited on themselves. Then,
according to DA Ramsey, something went terribly
wrong.
Carrington collapsed and started a seizure. Fraternity
members didn't initially call an ambulance. By the time
they did, it was too late. Carrington was taken to Enloe
Medical Center, where his heart stopped. At about 5
a.m. he was pronounced dead from water intoxication,
which caused the swelling of his brain and lungs. Not a
single fraternity brother was there, a fact that still
haunts his mother.

"It's kind of like having unregulated gangs on campus,


and yet it's a hidden problem that doesn't get
discussed on the news a lot," says Nuwer.
It was a problem at Chico State. Chi Tau was among a
handful of suspended fraternities that had been in
trouble before. For now, the school has shut down all
Greek recruitment. A task force is overhauling all the
rules for student conduct. And University President Paul
Zingg has threatened the ultimate punishment an
outright ban on fraternities and sororities.
"They talk about integrity and scholarship and holy
friendship forever," says Zingg. "And I basically said, if
that's really what you believe in, you've got a
respected place on this campus. But if you're nothing
but drinking clubs masquerading as fraternities, you
don't."
Fraternity members pass the now-defunct Chi Tau
house everyday on their way to classes. It's a vivid
reminder of Carrington's death.
"We're still dealing with it. Everybody's still kind of
haunted by it," says Adam Cherry, a Chico State junior
and a member of Sigma Pi, a fraternity which he says
doesn't haze. He thinks it's only right that the
defendants are in jail. But he resents being lumped
together with the young men implicated in Carrington's
death.
"This fraternity, Chi Tau, was not recognized by the
school, not recognized by anybody. So basically they
were just a bunch of guys with letters on their house,"
says Cherry.
There's a growing movement to toughen the penalties
for hazing. Two states, New York and Florida, have done
it already, and Carrington's parents say now it should
be California's turn. They want hazing out of the
education code and charged under the penal code, like
other violent crimes. But even that's not enough, says
Debbie Smith. Something else has to change: the
mindset that considers hazing just part of college life.

"I understand that they didn't intend to kill Matt," she


says. "My hope is that they learned something, that we
all learned something, and that they can teach others
from their experience so that we don't have to have
this keep happening to our children."
It may be too late for Gabriel Maestretti, who will serve
one year in jail. But he, too, wants to get the message
out.
"I accept my punishment, with the hope that it will
serve as a warning to others not to follow the path I
did," he said during his sentencing. "Hazing isn't funny,
it's not cute. It's stupid, dangerous. It's not about
brotherhood, it's about power and control."
For other students, the message hasn't sunk in yet.
Despite the trauma of Carrington's death, two more
Greek organizations at Chico State have already been
suspended for misconduct this semester.

An illegal fraternity and a life


cut short
Another tragic, needless death brings unrecognized fraternities
back under merited scrutiny

11/16/14 4:16pm | By Editorial Board


Nolan Burch, a Canisius High School graduate who
turned 18 earlier this month, was a sweet, wonderful
kid, who was well liked and popular among his
classmates.
Although thats how Burchs family and friends will
remember him, its not how Burch will be memorialized
in the media and the public eye.
Because Burch, who died after drinking large quantities
of liquor at a West Virginia University frat party, is the
newest face of an extremely troubling trend that has
cost too many young lives so many that Burch is not
the first, but only the latest college student to
represent the dangers of extreme drinking on college
campuses.
According to individuals present at the party where
Burch fell unconscious and collapsed, the teenager was
challenged to consume excessive amounts of alcohol,
to the point that when police and EMTs arrived to the
fraternity, he was unresponsive, had no pulse and died
36 hours later.
Burchs death serves as reminder of the dangers that
can accompany extreme underage drinking especially
for new college students, recently arrived to campus
and unfamiliar to the party scene, but eager to change
that.
Drinking and partying is undeniably an aspect of many
college students lives. This is especially true at WVU,
which is known for its reputation as a party school and
often appears near the top of the Princeton Reviews
list annual of biggest party schools. Although much
of the drinking that happens on college campuses is
underage and technically illegal, its an elements of
university life.

Hazing, binge drinking and death are not.


The issue of hazing, in its many insidious forms, from
alcohol abuse to sexual assault, has blazed across
headlines on a regular basis recently. Increased
awareness is the first step in combating this trend, and
preventing it from becoming an accepted but ignored,
behind-closed-doors problem.
But whats gone largely unrecognized on a national
scale is the underlying issue in Burchs death and a
problem that exacerbates the problematic behaviors
that contributed to the scene at that party.
Burch wasnt just at any frat party. He was at a
decertified, unauthorized fraternity.
The fraternity in question, Kappa Sigma, is national
organization but at Western Virginia, the chapter had
been shut down, for reasons not yet disclosed by either
fraternity officials or the university.
Although the details of this particular shutdown
chapter may be murky, UB and The Spectrum are all
too aware of the problem posed by illegal fraternities.
As reported last spring by former managing editor Lisa
Khoury, a large-scale investigation of the campus
unrecognized fraternities revealed the violence and
abuse suffered by students involved with the
organizations, and the challenges UB faces in banning
and eliminating these groups.
Kappa Sigma, the unrecognized frat where Burch
collapsed, is also one of the illegal groups identified in
Khourys article. These frats at UB exemplify the
dangers of unregulated, out of control fraternities
pledges reported being beat up, forced to fight one
another, being locked outside in the cold with little to
no clothing, eating cat food and, of course, being
forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
These are not the experiences new college students
expect when they arrive on campus or in a frat
house. These are dangerous, violent environments that
encourage abuse and lead to tragic outcomes.
Burchs death is horrifying and tragic. So is the
presence and ongoing existence of the organizations
that encourage the conditions that ended the college
freshmans life.
These illegal frats at UB, WVU and across the country
must be weeded out, penalized and eliminated for
good.
What happened to Burch has surely happened to many
others. But maybe his death can help prevent such
tragedy from occurring yet again.

The Hazing Problem at Black


Fraternities
Black fraternities face different challenges than white onesbut
both groups can be corrupted by twisted power dynamics.
WALTER M. KIMBROUGH

I receive a Google news alert by e-mail every time the


phrase fraternity hazing is mentioned in the press. As
one who has studied fraternities and sororities for over
two decades, worked in student affairs as a Greek
advisor, now a college president, and an expert witness
in hazing cases, it is important to stay current. As you
can imagine, I get lots of news alerts. Lots.
Last month I received an alert about The Atlantics
article The Dark Power of Fraternities. This critique
probably made a number of my colleagues in the inter-

fraternal world crazy, as it set off new rounds of


conversations about the relevance of fraternity and
sorority life on college campuses. They, along with
scores of young men and women who work earnestly
to live the values espoused by their groups were no
doubt disheartened by the latest in a long line of bad
press for Greek Life.
And yet, theyre helpless. When an article starts off
with stories about bottle rockets in anuses, and then
goes into manslaughter, rape, sexual torture, and
psychological trauma, no one really wants to hear but
look at how much good we do.
The author, Caitlin Flanagan, is clear that her focus is
formerly all-white, now nominally integrated mens
general or social fraternities. Her common theme was
the central role of alcohol for social fraternities. From
the butt bottle rocket man and numerous falls from
houses, to house fires as well as deaths of pledges
from forced consumption, alcohol is the key actor. Most
of the examples presented would rarely be found in
black fraternal organizations (or Latin and Asian groups
for that matter).
Black fraternities and sororities dont share the same
peripheral issues. A miniscule number own or even rent
chapter houses due to very small numbers. The same
is true with alcohol. Studies indicate less alcohol usage
for example by Black college students, not so much
because of less interest, but less disposable income to
provide large quantities to guests at an event.
But there are different symptoms that indicate the
same dark power or force exists in black groups, one
that also creates tragic problems. It invades
undergraduates who have been members of a group
for a year or two, and miraculously overnight are the
authorities on their group and how one should become
a member. Their national leaders, scholars, lawyers,
and experts, all who say dont haze, have no credibility
with these young geniuses.
And so they employ an old school approach to
hazing, and I mean old, as in 1800s when all college
students had few resources, so the upperclassmen
physically punished freshmen during that first year. In
2014 alone, black fraternity members were arrested at
the University of Central Arkansas for paddling and
being pelted with raw eggs. Six members of another
black fraternity (my fraternity) were arrested for
paddling that sent one student to the hospital for a
month. And at the University of Georgia, 11 black
fraternity members were arrested after allegedly lining
up potential new members along a wall and striking
them.
They all must know hazing is illegal. They must know it
is against their respective fraternity and campus
policies. They must know that if caught there could be
harsh sanctions, including legal ones. And year after
year, they beat people.
Hazing is the dark side of the force, if you will. For
social fraternities, its Count Dooku, using Jedi mind
tricks to have pledges drink themselves to death. For
black groups, its Darth Maul, a brawler physically
punishing pledges.
Undergraduates all start off with these noble intentions
in their groups, but they become exposed to the dark
side. For black groups, if I continue the analogy, they
are impacted by Darth Sidiousmen and women
actively convincing new members that hazing is the

only way. They are an insidious group, operating


inconspicuously on campuses but causing great harm.
Unfortunately, I dont see undergraduates banding
together to use the force of fraternalism for good.
I call these people extended adolescents. They are
recent grads (or just no longer enrolled), who are
employed, underemployed, or unemployed. Their most
significant accomplishment is often fraternity or
sorority membership, so they are on campus often- at
events, in chapter meetings, or just hanging out. So
their wisdom is valued more than the legitimate
authorities within the national fraternity, or campus
administrators.
This group embodies the dark side of black fraternities.
Over the past decade I have noticed a disturbing trend:
the number of these extended adolescents being
arrested for hazing. In 2006, a 28-year-old was
sentenced to 180 days in jail, a $10,000 fine, and 10
years probation for orchestrating hazing at Southern
Methodist University soon after the chapter was
reinstated. This non-student was part of an
undergraduate chapter suspended for hazing. In 2011,
nine men were arrested for hazing Francis Marion
students; only three were current students. They
included a 27-year-oldBoys & Girls Club unit director,
and a 34-year-old science teacher whose apartment
was used for the hazing. In 2012, nine men were
indicted for hazing for hazing Youngstown State
students. Eight of them were not students, and five of
them were aged 27 to 32.
Why in the hell does a man in his 30s participate in an
illegal activity like this? Because this is all he has to
make him feel important. He has a group of
undergraduates hanging on every word as he
introduces them to the dark side. All across the
country, people like him are destroying the ideals of
fraternalism.
Unfortunately, I dont see a Luke or Leia or Han Solo on
the horizon, undergraduates banding together to use
the force of fraternalism for good. The dark side of the
force is winning. When I travel to speak to students I
dont appeal to their sense of right and wrong
anymore. I just give facts, let them know the
consequences, and that if they mess up after I have
been there I will anxiously testify against them. Usually
when I finish, after showing gruesome injuries,
members in handcuffs, and financial settlements that
impact their mommas, they are shaken for a while. A
few are even converted. But then I go home.
And thats when Darth Sidious moves back in.

The Telltale Signs of Verbal


Abuse
How to tell if youre in an emotionally abusive
relationship.
Rachel Pomerance BerlOct. 3, 2013 | 4:55 p.m.

Maybe it's a nearly imperceptible eye roll or


a look of disgust intended for only you to

see. Perhaps he needles you about falling


short in the kitchen or the bedroom or your
attempts at humor. And let's say he raises
his voice at you often enough that you can
never be sure how he'll react, so you try to
get everything right to keep him happy.
Meanwhile, you've become a nervous wreck
and you know it. So you summon your
courage and address the situation: "You
know, I don't like how you talk to me," you
tell him, pushing yourself to voice your
suspicion. "It's almost like ... verbal abuse."
"What?!" he snarls. "That just shows how
crazy you are. And, you know, saying that
discredits the women who really are abused."
Oh God, you think. Maybe I really am crazy.
Maybe he's right he has to yell at me
because I don't listen otherwise. We'd be
fine if I only did a better job with the kids or
the house or my in-laws ...
Let's be clear: You're not crazy. This is
abuse. He hasn't broken your bones (yet).
But surely, he's broken your spirit.
Emotional abuse erodes your self-esteem. It's
a pattern of put-downs and mind games
that's meant to gain power over you and
leaves you feeling fearful, like everything's
your fault and, often, like you're losing your
mind.
[Read: Could You Become a Victim of
Dating Violence?]
But because emotional abuse lacks physical
scars, it can be challenging to identify
especially when the abuse only begins after
the courtship period, experts say. One red
flag, however, is someone's desire to get
serious too soon an attempt at control
masked as romantic love.
That's why victims must not blame
themselves for becoming involved with an
abuser, says Cindy Southworth, vice
president of the National Network to End
Domestic Violence. "You couldn't have seen
this, and it's not your fault," she tells victims.
"You missed it because he's really smooth,
and he knows how to make sure to back off
the moment when your instincts start to tell
you he's coming on too strong."
It's also critical to identify emotional abuse
because of its potential to escalate into
physical abuse. As Southworth puts it, people
view domestic abuse as "a white picket
fence, 2.2 children and a black eye, and they
think, 'Why wouldn't she leave?'" she says.
"They don't understand that, in reality, the
violence is often only an enforcer. It's used if

the emotional abuse and the control isn't


working anymore."
Emotional abuse is considered common, but
statistics are hard to come by, since it's
difficult to legally document demeaning
behavior until it involves a threat and
because so many are unsure about what it is.
According to the National Coalition Against
Domestic Violence, roughly 85 percent of
domestic violence victims are women. That's
1.3 million victims across every kind of
demographic. One in 4 women will
experience domestic violence be it
physical, emotional or sexual abuse and
most cases are never reported to police.
When Southworth started working in the
domestic violence field 22 years ago,
emotional abuse was not yet on people's
radar. Now that it is, victims are able to get
out of abusive relationships earlier, she says.
"That's years and years of people's lives
that's sort of been regained."
Below are some other signs to spot abusive
behavior:
1. You feel worse after disagreements.
"Every relationship should have arguments,"
says Katie Ray-Jones, president of the
National Domestic Violence Hotline. "It's how
you feel during those arguments." You should
be able to discuss your concerns without
fearing your partner's reactions and feeling
worse for expressing yourself.
2. He calls his ex "crazy" for her
allegations.
"People don't make up domestic violence and
abuse," given the shame that surrounds it,
Southworth says. If you've heard about his
mistreatment in the past, take it seriously.
3. You don't feel free to spend time with
the people and pursuits you love.