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Help I Need A Way Out!
Here are a few links to sites that can help:

RAINN - The National Sexual Assault Hotline

Child Sexual Abuse - Christian Survivors Ministries

Messiah College Counseling Services
Great site and info


It's Never Been Easy: A True Story of Abuse and Recovery
Click Here To Buy This Book


Healing Victims of Sexual Abuse

http://www.urnotalone.org
A support site for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Articles to Help You:

#1 Child Sexual Abuse-A resource for parents


INTRODUCTION

My name is Kimberly and I am an adult survivor of child sexual abuse, I am also the parent of a beautiful four year old little girl. One of my biggest fears as a parent is that my daughter will someday be exposed to the kind of pain I have endured. I ask myself many times, "How can I protect her?". Even the most concerned, careful and protective of parents cannot detect a child molester. How much hurt could be avoided if child molesters looked or even acted a certain way. The truth is, they seem to be everywhere and chances are you know one.

Our best line of defense against these predators is to educate ourselves and our children. We live in an era where resources surround us, but many of us feel uncomfortable talking about sex to our children. We do not hesitate to teach our children at a young age not to touch a hot stove, or run into the street. We must learn to think about sex abuse education this way.

I have two wonderful parents who love me very much, but they never taught me about good and bad touches. I was molested by my stepfather from age six until age thirteen and I never understood why this was happening to me, and what I did to deserve this. No one ever told me that I should tell someone if anyone ever did this to me, all I heard was my violator telling me not to tell anyone. I can't help but wonder, if I had the information I have now would I have allowed the abuse to continue for so long?

Contact Kimberly: kimberly.fortune@snet.net

WHAT IS SEXUAL ABUSE?

Sexual abuse has many forms. It can be so subtle that a child may not know what is happening, just that he or she is uncomfortable with it. It can be verbal, physical or emotional, just like any other form of abuse. Sexual abuse includes:

* sexual touching and fondling

* exposing a child to pornographic materials and or adult sexual activity

* having a child pose, undress or perform in a sexual fashion

* "peeping" into bedrooms or bathrooms

* rape or attempted rape

Child sexual abuse is legally defined as " all inappropriate sexual activity between an adult and a child". Now we know what it is, how do we prevent it?

TIPS FOR PARENTS

As parents there is no way we can completely protect our children from sexual abuse but there are some ways we can lessen the chance it could occur. Unfortunately, just teaching our children not to talk to strangers or unusual people. In fact approximately 85% of sexual offenders are known to the child and 50% are parent figures. ( Facts About Child Sexual Abuse ) Here are some tips I have compiled from various sources on how to prevent child sexual abuse:

* Tell children that if someone tries to touch their bodies in a way that makes them feel "funny" or "bad" to say no then go tell an adult they trust.

* Talk to children every day about their contacts with other people. Ask them about their feelings. This helps to encourage your children to feel comfortable talking to you about anything.

* Do not teach your children blind obedience to adults. Don't teach children to do everything a baby-sitter or teacher tells them. Instead teach them that most adults are good people to be respected but that they should listen to their own hearts; tell them that it's OK to say no to an adult if they want the child to do something they know is wrong.

* Teach your children the correct names for their body parts, as well as any nicknames you might use. Take away the embarrassment children have about talking about "private parts".

* Teach children the difference between good touches and bad touches. Explain to them that while it is OK for a doctor to touch their stomach to see what's wrong, it is not OK for Mr. Jones to touch them in their pants.

* Teach your children not to keep secrets from you and don't encourage secret keeping in your family. Tell your children that they can always tell you anything no matter what anyone tells them.

* Play "what if " games with your children. Create frightening and confusing situations and ask children what they would do in these situations, for example ask, "What would you do if someone wanted you to play undressing games?" Make sure you balance these games with questions about good touches.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD MAY HAVE BEEN MOLESTED

In most cases there are no blatant signs that a child has been molested, however as a parent it is important to trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong it probably is, and it is important to get children to talk to you about whatever problems they have. The following are some indicators that something may have happened:

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS

* Unusual interest in and/or knowledge of sexual activity, inappropriate to the child's age

* Promiscuity, seductive behavior

* Change in personal hygiene habits, excessive cleanliness or lack of cleanliness.

* Weight gain or loss, change in appetite

* Sleep disturbances: bedwetting, nightmares

* Depression, anger, irritability

* Reluctance to go home or other places

* Avoidance of certain people and places

* Inappropriate dress, such as tight or revealing clothing or overdressing, wearing many layers of clothing regardless of weather

* Sexual drawings or stories

PHYSICAL INDICATORS

* Pregnancy

* Venereal disease

* Trauma to the mouth or genitals

* Excessive masturbatory behavior

* Rectal bleeding

*Torn or blood stained clothing

* Attempts to touch adult's, children's or animal's genitals

* Pain or discomfort in the genital area

WHY CHILDREN DON'T TELL

There is a myriad of reasons why children don't tell about sexual abuse. The biggest of these is fear. Children are afraid no one will believe them especially since many abusers tell children this. Children often believe the threats of their abuser. Children fear that the abuser will hurt them or their families if they tell. Children also don't tell because they feel guilty. They may feel guilty if they get an adult "in trouble". Children often feel they are somehow responsible for their abuse. Often since children know their abusers they care about these people and don't want to "tattle". Children are many times threatened by the abusers that they will be taken away from home. I know this from experience. Everyone fears the unknown, especially children, and as parents we must teach our children that if this ever happens to them we will protect and believe them.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED

I can barely remember most of the incidents that occurred to me as a child, it's mostly a blur to me but one thing I can remember is the first sentence out of my mother's mouth when I told her. She asked me if I had made it up because I hated my step-father. The moments after a child makes a disclosure of sexual abuse are crucial to the child's mental health. The following are some guidelines on how to effectively deal with a child who has opened up to you.

* Remain calm, underreact, a child can easily interpret signs of anger or disgust as directed toward him or her.

* ALWAYS BELIEVE THE CHILD!!! In most circumstances a child does not lie about sexual abuse as it is very painful and embarassing to talk about.

* Listen to the child and answer any questions honestly

* Give the child positive input such as, "It's not your fault" and "I'm proud of you for telling"

* Seek professional help immediately...contact legal authorities and the Department of Human Services, find a counselor trained in sexual abuse therapy, your local Sexual Assault Crisis Center can refer you to counseling services.

* Arrange a medical exam, not only is it important to make sure no long term physical harm has been done, but it may be important for legal evidence

IN CONCLUSION

Hopefully the information I have provided here will help at least one parent avoid the pain and trauma I have endured in my life. However,this was only a brief overview. There is a great deal of very helpful information out there if you know where to look. Some places to look are at your family doctor, your school guidance office, your local police, and your local sexual assault crisis chapter.

#2 Rape Assault
Rape Protective Measures

Rape is a violent crime, an invasion, a frightening experience. Rape affects all women, no matter what their age, race or economic status. All women are potential victims of sexual assault.

By being aware, a woman can reduce the likelihood of becoming a rape victim. This does not mean all rapes can be prevented. Rapists commit rape -- NOT VICTIMS.

Psychological Preparedness
---------------------------
1. Accept the fact that you are a potential rape victim. Many women operate under the illusion "it will never happen to me. It may.

2. Educate yourself concerning rape prevention tactics.

3. Become familiar with community rape prevention and counseling.

4. Become aware of locations and situations where rape is more likely to occur and avoid them, or take precautions.

In a Dating/Friend Situation
----------------------------
1. The majority of rapes that occur are termed "acquaintance rapes" - the rapist and victim know one another. Trust your feelings. If you become uncomfortable in a situation, assertively ask the person to leave. Don't worry about hurt feelings.

2. If possible, let a friend or roommate know who you are with and where you will be. Leave an address and phone number when possible.

In Your Car
-----------
1. Keep windows and doors locked.

2. If you should be followed into your driveway, stay in your car with the doors locked. Sound horn to get the attention of neighbors or scare the other driver off.

3. When parking at night, select a place that will
be well-lit when returning to the car.

4. Always make sure the car is locked, and have the
keys ready when returning to the car.

5. Check interior of car before getting in.

On the Street
-------------
1. Be observant of things around you. If someone is following you, go to the nearest house or store.

2. Walk near the curb and avoid passing close to shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of concealment.

3. DO NOT HITCHHIKE.

4. Avoid short cuts through parking lots and alleys.

5. Walk with a friend if at all possible. Don't walk alone.

6. If a car approaches you and you feel threatened, scream and run in the direction opposite of the one the car is going.

7. When arriving home by taxi or private auto, ask the driver to wait until you are inside.

8. Don't jog in secluded areas.

9. Know the location of the special emergency phones campus.

10. Be modest in your choice of clothing. The less you show, the better you will be.

In Your Home
-------------
1. The best lock cannot function if you fail to lock it. Be sure to keep your doors locked.

2. All windows should have secure locks and frames.

3. All entrances and garages should be well-lit.

4. Never open the door after a knock. Require the person to give their name. In the case of service persons ask for proper I.D. and refuse entrance if you feel uneasy.

If You Are Sexually Assaulted
------------------------------
The best resistance you can use against an attacker is your common sense. Think! Don't panic. The most important element to remember is that you are not trying to fight the attacker, but are attempting to divert the person long enough to get away. Always look for a way to escape.

If the attacker has a weapon, use your common sense. Fighting against it could be dangerous.
---------------------------------------------------
1. Stay calm. Do not do anything that may upset the attacker.

2. Try to convince the person to put the weapon down.

3. Talk to your attacker, show sympathy and understanding.

4. Make the attacker see you as an individual, not as an object.

If the attacker is unarmed, you may be able to scare, distract or injure the person enough to make your escape.
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1. Scream "FIRE," "POLICE," or create a disturbance that will attract attention.

2. Assert yourself and fight back if you can do so safely.

3. Break away and run toward areas with people.

4. Be observant so that you will be able to remember and identify the assailant.

5. Report the incident to the police as soon as possible.


Checklist for Victims of Sexual Assault
-----------------------------------------
You may want to call the Rape Crisis Line () for instructions and support.

1. Report the crime immediately to the police.
2. Do not shower, douche, or change clothing.
3. Have a medical exam and internal gynecological exam as soon as possible. A delay in time may destroy evidence.

a) Semen smears must be taken by a clinician.

b) Inform clinician of exact acts committed upon you and have the clinician note any medical evidence of them.

c) Clinician should note any bruises or injuries bleeding, lacerations, etc.) external or internal.

d) Have clinician test for venereal diseases (and pregnancy later, if relevant).

4. Do not disturb the scene of the assault.

5. Inform police of all details of attack, however intimate, and of anything unusual you may have noted about the attacker. Remember what the person said and how it was said. It may lead to the arrest of the assailant.

6. Show police any external bruises or injuries, however minor, resulting from the attack.

7. Police may request your clothes for purpose of evidence.

8. Inform the police if you remember anything that was not previously reported.


#3 Domestic Violence

The Problem:

More than 50% of all women will experience violence from intimate partners. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1992)
Wife beating results in more injuries requiring medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined. (Stark, E. and Fliterart, A. "Medical Therapy as Repression: The Case of Battered Women," Health and Medicine. Summer/Fall (1982) 29-32)
30% of women murdered in the US are murdered by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. (Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey, August 1995)

(for crisis help, call your local police or the DV Hotline at 1-800-799-7233)
(for more information on domestic violence, go to www.ncadv.org)

Religious Aspects of the Problem:

Christian women often feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships by scripture mandating them to "submit to their husbands" or "turn the other cheek."
Jewish women may feel pressure to not bring shame to their community by revealing the abuse in their marriage, or that it is their responsibility to maintain shalom bayit, or peace in the home.
Abused women often feel abandoned by God.
Rather than offering resources and alternatives to battered women, pastors, priests and rabbis have often advised women to return to violent homes and be "better wives."

#4 NINE STEPS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS

Step 1: I recognize that I am powerless to heal the damaged emotions resulting from my sexual abuse, and I look to God for the power to
make me whole.

Step 2: I acknowledge that God's plan for my life includes victory over the experience of sexual abuse

Step 3: The person who abused me is responsible for the sexual acts committed against me. I will not accept the guilt and shame resulting from those sexual acts.

Step 4: I am looking to God and His Word to find my identity as a worthwhile and loved human being.

Step 5: I am honestly sharing my feelings with God and with at least one other person to help me identify those areas needing cleansing and healing.

Step 6: I am accepting responsibility for my responses to being sexually abused

Step 7: I am willing to accept God's help in the decision and the process of forgiving myself and those who have offended me

Step 8: I am willing to mature in my relationship with God and others.

Step 9: I am willing to be used by God as an instrument of healing and restoration in the lives of others.