Helpful Articles

Adolescent Sexuality

Healthy adolescent sexual development and sexual violence prevention

sidebar-teens-5Sexuality is much more than sex — it’s our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions, and behaviors. Sexuality is emotional, social,cultural, and physical. Sexual development is one part of sexuality, and it begins much earlier in life than adolescence. By the time we reach adolescence, we already have received many messages about sexuality (Strasburger, 2005).

While some adolescents might receive accurate and comprehensive information from school, their parents, and elsewhere, others might receive little information. In the absence of healthy, realistic messages about sexuality,many adolescents turn to other sources of information such as their peers, the internet, and the media (Gruber & Grube, 2000). This might leave youth without an understanding of healthy relationships, consent, boundaries,and how to engage safely in sexual behaviors. An understanding of healthy sexuality can help prevent sexual violence by addressing gender norms and inequality, promoting healthy relationships, encouraging an understanding of boundaries and consent, and helping young people feel empowered to ask questions and seek support when they need it.

This Printable Document contains more in depth information about Adolescent Sexuality development.

Child Sexuality

parent1Understanding healthy childhood sexual development plays a key role in child sexual abuse prevention. Many adults are never taught what to expect as children develop sexually, which can make it hard to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
When adults understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors, they are better able to support healthy attitudes and behaviors and react to teachable moments. Rather than interpret a child’s actions with an adult perspective of sex and sexuality, adults can promote healthy development when they understand what behaviors are developmentally expected at different stages of childhood. They are also better equipped to intervene when there are concerns related to behavior or abuse.

Understanding childhood sexual development

Sexuality is much more than sex – it’s our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions and behaviors. Sexuality is emotional, social, cultural,and physical. Sexual development is one partof sexuality, and it begins much earlier in life than puberty. Infants and children may not think about sexuality in same way as adults, but they learn and interpret messages related to sexualitythat will shape their future actions and attitudes.
For example, when a three year old removes their clothes in front of others, a parent ma ytell him or her that “being naked is okay at bath time, or in your room, but not while your cousins are here.” The child is learning that there are times when it is OK to be naked and times whe nit is not.

Children are constantly learning social norms and what is expected or appropriate in interactions and relationships. There are healthy and common expressions of sexuality that children are likely to show at different developmental stages. Often adults want to know which behaviors are appropriate and indicate healthy childhood sexual development. The information in the attached Printable Document addresses common behaviors that represent healthy childhood sexual development as well as what knowledge and skills are appropriate for children at each stage.

(National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2009; The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 2012).

Adult Sexuality


Healthy Sexuality

An Overview on Healthy Sexuality and Sexual Violence Prevention

This overview provides a framework for promoting healthy sexuality as an approach to sexual violence prevention.

Healthy Sexuality: A Guide for Advocates, Counselors and Prevention Educators

This guide provides guidance and practical tools for discussing healthy sexuality within the context of sexual violence for advocates, counselors, prevention educators, and activists.

Healthy sexuality glossary

This glossary outlines key terms and definitions for understanding healthy human sexuality.
Also available in Spanish.

Healthy sexuality resource list

This resource list provides links to other websites, organizations and materials for more information on healthy human sexuality.
Mes de Conciencia sobre la Agresion Sexual (SAAM) 2012 Recursos

Fact Sheets & Scenarios for Discussion 

It’s time… to talk to your children about healthy sexuality

This fact sheet provides an overview for parents and caregivers on how to your children about healthy sexual development. Also available in Spanish.

It’s time… to talk about consent

This fact sheet highlights the importance of consent in healthy sexual interactions and provides information on defining and establishing consent. Also available in Spanish.

It’s time… to talk about gender norms

This fact sheet discusses the impact of gender norms on sexuality and examples of how healthier, less restrictive gender norms can prevent violence and promote healthy relationships. Also available in Spanish.

Sexual Harassment

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Sexual harassment has, in the past ten years, become more noticeable and talked about. The general public is still confused about what constitutes sexual harassment which leads to more jokes and discussion. Those individuals within the anti violence movement understand the ramifications of being subjected to such abuse and realizes its escalating potential.

Sexual harassment if a form of sexual discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Case law interpreting both Title VII and some state laws distinguishes between two broad categories of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo” and “environment sexual harassment”. A quid pro quo claim involves allegations that submission to unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favors was made in a condition to getting, keeping or advancing in a job. A hostile environment claim is based on allegations that the company either created or condoned an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Quid pro quo harassment is generally viewed as a more blatant form of sex discrimination than environmental sexual harassment because it results in a tangible economic loss. An example of quid pro quo harassment might involve a supervisor threatening an employee with demotion if s/he failed to acquiesce to his/her sexual advances. Significantly, the alleged harasser need not explicitly state promotion or continued employment on submission to his request. Rather, it is enough that it be implied from the words or conduct used by the alleged harasser. Because of the vagueness of quid pro quo sexual harassment definition, we provide the following examples of conduct that was deemed by different courts to have met the standard:

  1. An employee rejected her male supervisor’s sexual advances and was later fired by higher-level administrator purportedly for calling in sick. A male employee who called in sick the same day was not discharged.
  2. A female resident was discharged from a residency program. She contended that a senior resident had requested a sexual relationship and told her that low-level female residents usually engage in such relationship to ease their way through the residency program.
  3. A female receptionist refused to have sexual relations with a customer and resisted the owner’s sexual advances. It was found that through his remarks, demands and conduct, the owner made it a condition of the employee’s job that she provide sexual favors to him and to his customers.
  4. The U.S. Postal Service was held liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment of a deaf-mute mail sorter. Although the supervisor never explicitly conditioned job benefits on the granting of sexual favors, the court held that discussions of employment topics, such as attendance, leaves of absence and performance appraisals shortly before asking the employee to engage in oral sex was implicit quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Sexual Favoritism as Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Similar, but potentially more troublesome, is sexual favoritism as quid pro quo harassment. These claims involve allegations by an employee denied a promotion or other job benefit that the employee who received that benefit did so because s/he performed sexual favors for a supervisor. The apparent reason the courts allow such claims is that by the employer allowing sexual favoritism, the employer implies to others that if an employee does not submit to such sexual advances, the employee will not receive an employment benefit. The practical effect for employers is that they can potentially be sued by two or more employees for a single act of course of conduct by a supervisor. Thus, there is extra incentive for an employer to prevent this type of quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Hostile Environment Harassment
Hostile environment claims involve allegations that a company (or its employees) either created or condoned an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Such an environment can be created, for example, by making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A hostile environment exists when an employee’s work environment becomes polluted with unwelcome sexual words or conduct.

When evaluating an employee’s complaint that s/he had been subject to hostile environment sexual harassment, employers will want to keep in mind the elements the employee will have to prove if s/he decide to sue under either Title VII or some state laws.

Hostile Environment claims require the employee to show all the following elements:

  1. That s/he was subjected to a work environment in which there were sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Remember that same-sex harassment is now recognized under federal law;
  2. That the conduct was unwelcome; and
  3. That the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.

The following are examples of the type of conduct that is prohibited by the statutes governing sexual harassment. You should understand that there is no exhaustive list to which an employer can turn in determining what type of conduct is prohibited.

  • Verbal harassment, including epithets (descriptive name or title, derogatory comments or slurs that are based on sex.
  • Physical harassment, including assault, impeding or blocking movement or any physical interference with normal work or movement when directed at an individual based on sex, or
  • Visual harassment, includes derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings based on sex.

It should also be noted that non-sexual conduct can support a sexual harassment claim when that conduct is based on sex or gender. In an often cited case, a female police officer sued her employer, alleging that she had been subjected to a campaign of threats, rejections, mockery, and intimidation because of her gender. She did not allege that she was subjected to any overly sexual acts. Even so, the court held that the conduct was actionable because it constituted harassment based on the officer’s gender.

To report a sexual harassment claim
Do not make legal assumptions or give legal advice. Should a caller seek information on how to file a claim, refer them to the North Carolina Department of Labor at 1-800-NC-LABOR (625-2267).

Date Rape Drugs

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GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine

Taken from

Three drugs are being used to “knock out” unsuspecting potential rape victims that cause them to

blackout, unable to fight off their attacker. The names of these drugs are Flunitrazepam
(Rohypnol), GHB, and Ketamine.

Who Uses These Drugs?
They are popular on high school and college campuses, raves, and nightclubs. And not everyone
who abuses them is a sexual predator. In some circles they are used to counter depression and
other withdrawal symptoms after a high on cocaine or heroin. Many users incorrectly believe
these drugs can’t be detected in urine drug tests.

What is Rohypnol?
Rohypnol, the trade name for Flunitrazepam, is a depressant used to treat insomnia and is used as
a pre-anesthetic. Rohypnol is a prescription drug manufactured around the globe, but in the
United States, it is illegal to manufacture, sell or use. When manufactured in pill form, it is an
oblong olive green tablet imprinted with the number 542.

Street Names for Rohypnol
Slang names include: Roofies or Ruffies, Mexican Valium, Rib, Roach-2 or R-2 or Roaches,
Rope or Ropies or Roopies, Circles. People under the influence are considered to be “roached

How Rohypnol Affects the Body
Some people have said that Rohypnol is similar to Valium, another depressant, but is
significantly stronger than Valium. Rohypnol is usually taken in pill form, but it can be crushed
and snorted. Its effects begin to appear in about 30 minutes, peak in 2 hours and can last at least
8 hours, depending on the dose. Rohypnol stays in a person’s system for up to 72 hours.

How Rohypnol is Used
Rohypnol can be dissolved into the drink of an unsuspecting person. In a short time, the victim
feels excessively intoxicated and often wants to sleep. The attacker offers to take the victim
home and after the attack, the victim wakes and is confused about what has happened. Rohypnol
is also used to subdue the victim for physical attack and robbery.

What is GHB?
Gamma-hydroxbutyrate acid is a chemical that produces sedative effects: slowed breathing,
intense sleepiness, disorientation and poor muscle coordination. It was developed as an
anesthetic for surgery and other medical procedures. Because of its unpredictable effects, GHB
was discarded by the legitimate medical community in the early 1990s.

GHB Street Names
Slang names include: “G”, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy, Gamma G, Growth Hormone
Booster, Liquid K, Scoop, Easy Lay, Grevious Bodily Harm, Goop

How is GHB Used?
As a clear and colorless liquid, GHB is sipped from the bottle cap or mixed in drinks. Similar to
Rohypnol, GHB easily can be poured into an unsuspecting person’s beverage at public places
such as clubs and parties.

How GHB Affects the Body
The consequences of GHB use include: drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, seizures,
hallucinations, and euphoria. An overdose can result in severe shortness of breath,
unconsciousness, seizures, coma, and death. Overdose usually results in a trip to the emergency
room and the intensive care unit.

What is Ketamine?
Ketamine hydrochlorine is a general anesthetic for medical procedures in people and animals.
Veterinary clinics often report burglaries in which Ketamine is stolen.

Other Names for Ketamine
Other names include: Ketalar (human anesthetic), Ketajet, Ketaset, Vetalar (veterinary products)
Slang names include: Special K, “K”, Vitamin K, Kat, Jet, Super Acid, Green, Cat Valium, Cat

How is Ketamine Used?
Pharmaceutical Ketamine comes in two forms: a liquid and a white powder. In liquid form, it is
injected, consumed in drinks, or added to smokeable materials. The powder is snorted or can be
dissolved and injected. When abused, the odorless and tasteless Ketamine can be poured into a
beverage and usually goes undetected.

How Ketamine Affects the Body
Use of Ketamine can cause impaired attention, learning and memory functions, dizziness,
disorientation, a delusional dream-like state, inability to move, amnesia, hallucinations,
flashbacks, and depression. Higher doses can produce an effect referred to as “K-Hole”, and out
of body experience or near death experience.

For more information
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
American Council for Drug Education


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Definition:  A person commits the offense of stalking if the person willfully on more than one occasion follows or is in the presence of another person without legal purpose and with the intent to cause death or bodily injury or with the intent to cause emotional distress by placing that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.

A 1998 National Institute of Justice survey of stalking victims provided the first glimpse into the kinds of tactics stalkers most often employ in the commission of their crimes (Tjaden and Theonnes 1998). What follows are some of the tactics that victims report:

Followed, spied on, stood outside home/work
Made unwanted phone calls
Sent unwanted letters/left unwanted items
Vandalized property
Killed/threatened to kill a pet

While most of these alone may not explicitly communicate a threat, the number, nature and context in which they occur may well communicate an implied threat.

Stalking Statutes

§ 14-277.3. Stalking. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person who commits the offense of stalking when there is a court order in effect prohibiting similar behavior is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent conviction for stalking occurring within five years of a prior conviction of the same defendant is punishable as a Class I felony.”

Relationships between Stalkers and their Victims

 As mentioned above, stalking is most often about “relationships” –prior, desired or imagined. Therefore, it is critical to know about any prior relationship between the victim and the offender. The NIJ study indicates that the clear majority of stalkers and their victims (60%) had a personal relationship before the stalking began. The majority of these cases (42%) involved spouses, or partners and another 14% had a dating relationship. In more thank 4% of these case, the stalker and the victim were actually related to one another. Nearly 18% of stalkers were acquaintances or co-workers of the victim, while only 22% were complete strangers (Tjaden and Theonnes 1998).

Nevertheless, the relationships between victims and offenders often follow broad, distinct patterns, allowing forensic psychologists to use the relationship between stalkers and victims as a means of categorizing stalking behavior and stalking cases.  Still, it is important to keep in mind that some cases do not follow any pattern and may shift between categories as they evolve. Thus, these categories are only useful as broad guidelines to aid in the discussion and analysis of stalking as an emerging category of crime.

Categories of Stalking


This category represents 60% of all stalking cases. It includes all cases arising from previous personal relationships (i.e. those between husbands/wives, girlfriends/boyfriends, domestic partners, etc.) Many simple obsession cases are actually extensions of a previous pattern of domestic violence and psychological abuse. The only difference is that the abuse occurs in different surroundings and through slightly altered tactics of intimidation. Thus, the dynamics of power and control that underlie most domestic violence cases are often mirrored in simple obsession stalking cases.

Stalking behaviors observed in many domestic violence cases are motivated by the stalker’s lack of self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness. They attempt to raise their own self-esteem by demeaning and demoralizing those around them—usually their former spouses. The exercise of power and control over the victim gives stalkers a sense of power and self-esteem that they otherwise lack. When victims attempt to remove themselves from such controlling situations, stalkers often feel that their power and self-worth have been taken from them. This is when stalkers have the potential to become violent—they may feel like “they have nothing to lose” and become more dangerous.


In this category, stalkers and victims are casual acquaintances (neighbors, co-workers) or even complete strangers (fan/celebrity). Primarily, stalkers in this category seek to establish a personal relationship with the object of their obsession—contrary to the wishes of their victims. Love obsession stalkers tend to have low self-esteem and often target victims who they perceive to have exceptional qualities and high social standing. These stalkers seek to raise their own self-esteem by associating with those whom they hold in high regard.

Love obsession stalkers become so focused on establishing a personal relationship with their victims that they often invent detailed fantasies of nonexistent relationship. They literally script the relationship as if it were a stage play. When the victims choose not to participate in the stalker’s imagined passion play, the stalker may try to force victims into assigned roles. Often this type of stalker is so desperate to establish a relationship—any relationship—that they “settle” for negative relationships, explaining why some stalkers are willing to engage in destructive or violent behavior in an irrational attempt to “win the love” (more likely attention) of their victims.


By definition, erotomaniacs are delusional and consequently, virtually all suffer from mental disorders—most often schizophrenia. Unlike simple and love obsession stalkers who seek to establish or reestablish a relationship with their victim, erotomaniacs delude themselves into believing that such a relationship already exists.

Though relatively rare, erotomania stalking cases often draw public attention because the target is usually a public figure or celebrity. Like the other types of stalkers, erotomaniacs attempt to garner self-esteem and status by associating themselves with well-known individuals who hold high social status. While the behavior of many erotomaniacs never escalates to violence, or even to threats of violence, the irrationality that accompanies their mental illness presents particularly unpredictable threats to victims.


The final category is fundamentally different from the other three. Vengeance stalkers do not seek a personal relationship with their targets. Rather, they attempt to elicit a particular response or change of behavior from their victims. When vengeance is their prime motive, stalkers seek only to punish their victims for some wrong they perceive the victim has visited upon them. In other words, they use stalking as a means to “get even” with their enemies (i.e. Employees stalking employers after being fired).

A second type of vengeance or terrorist stalker, the political stalker, has motivations that parallel those of more traditional terrorists. That is, stalking is a weapon of terror used to accomplish a political agenda.

Impact on Victims

Loss of sleep
Loss of appetite/ weight loss
Difficulty concentrating
Loss of trust in friends/family/co-workers
Lost wages

Response Strategies

If you are in imminent danger, locate a safe place
Police station
Residence of family/friend (if location is unknown to perpetrator)
Domestic violence shelters/churches
Public areas (stalkers may be less inclined toward violence in public areas)

***If departure from current location is not possible, call 911

Restraining orders – If violated, stalkers can face incarceration, a fine, or both
Typically obtained through the district attorney’s or prosecutor’s office

Anti-stalking laws / Documentation and evidence collection

Documentation of stalking should be saved and given to law enforcement
Documentation of the perpetrators’ actions may be useful in future complaints or proceedings for evidentiary
Documentation may include photos of destroyed property/vandalism or any injury inflicted on the victim by the perpetrator; answering machine messages saved on tape; letters/notes; affidavits from witnesses; other materials
All materials should be kept in a safe place to prevent theft by perpetrator

Local victim advocate/crisis counselor

Domestic violence shelters/counselors

Rape crisis counselors

Victim advocates at Advocacy centers (THP)

District attorney’s office

Local law enforcement

Preventative measures

Install dead bolts. If you cannot account for all keys, change locks
Install adequate outside lighting
Maintain unlisted phone number
Treat any threats as legitimate and inform law enforcement
Vary routes taken and limit time spent walking alone
Inform a trusted neighbor regarding situation. Provide them with a photo or description of the suspect and any possible vehicles he/she may drive
Have co-workers screen calls/visitors
When out, stay in public areas and try not to travel alone

Contingency plans: When victims are not in imminent danger, they still could be a risk at any time. For this reason, a contingency plan may be appropriate. Victims should consider—

Having quick access to critical numbers and locations of:
Law enforcement agencies
Safe places
Individuals to be contacted after safety is secured (family, neighbors, friends, etc.)
Keeping a reserve of necessities that is easily accessible:
A packet suitcase in the car or another ready location for quick departure
Other necessary items such as bank and credit card information, creditor’s numbers, medical insurance, and birth certificates as well as personal welfare items including medications
A ready means of transportation (keep gas in the car, have money for a taxi, etc) and back up keys for neighbors
Alerting the following critical people of the situation and potential crisis:

  • Law enforcement
  • Employers
  • Family/friends/neighbors
  • Security personnel


Trafficking and Globalization

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Sex trafficking simultaneously exploits both the best and the worst aspects of globalization. The champions of globalization tout the growing ease of conducting business across national borders. Sophisticated communication tools and relaxed banking laws make it possible to exchange assets internationally with ease. Virtual enterprises can operate everywhere and nowhere, making themselves known only when and where they choose.

Organized crime syndicates take advantage of these tools to create more efficient overseas networks. Although most trafficking originates with local operators, they deftly connect to an international sex industry looking to fill slots in brothels, massage parlors, strip joints, and lap dance bars.

A club owner in Chicago can pick up the phone and “mail-order” three beautiful young girls from eastern Europe. Two weeks later a fresh shipment of three Slavic girls will be dancing in his club. Though a number of quasi-independent traffickers were likely involved in moving the girls, the operation would appear seamless to the Chicago client.

The critics of globalization point out that capital flows wherever it can most easily exploit cheap labor. The owners of capital will abandon a specific location quickly once one of two conditions occurs: (1) the assets it exploits are depleted, or (2) those assets can be obtained more cheaply in other markets.

Sex trafficking also manifests itself in this form. Over the past three decades, the prime area for recruiting sex slaves has shifted rapidly from one zone of economic depression to another. In the 1970s, traffickers targeted girls from Southeast Asia “above all Thailand and Vietnam” as well as the Philippines. After ten years or so of mining in Asia, traffickers shifted their focus to African girls from Nigeria, Uganda, and Ghana flooded the international sex bazaars. In the mid-1980s and spilling over into the early 1990s, Latin American girls from Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America (especially El Salvador and Guatemala) became the favored pool.

Traffickers move opportunistically to prey on vulnerable populations. In the 1980s, the trafficking of girls out of eastern Europe hardly registered on the radar screen. Following the economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union, that situation changed dramatically. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that roughly a quarter of a million females were trafficked within Europe alone “from East to West” since 1991.

Even within eastern Europe, the prime recruitment zones for trafficking shift rapidly to exploit opportunities. In 1992, the vast majority of trafficked victims came from Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. By the mid-1990s girls in those markets had been depleted, so traffickers started targeting Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Moldova. After the turn of the century, the prime recruitment zone shifted to central Asia “Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan” and Georgia.

Wherever the greatest profit can be extracted, there the traffickers move. In an impassioned speech delivered in Brussels, European commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou aptly characterized the “ruthless efficiency” of these modern-day traders in human property:

“They know their business inside out and respond to changes in the market with a speed unmatched by even the most competitive corporations. Their expertise and ability to exploit the market are surpassed only by their disregard for human life. Women are bought, sold and hired out like any other product. The bottom line is profit.”

Red Flags for Spotting Human Trafficking

Some indicators raise a red flag that a person may be a victim of human trafficking. Take notice in situations where a person

  • Appears to be under someone else’s control.
  • They appear to be under surveillance at all times.
  • All or most contacts with family, friends, and professionals are controlled and monitored.
  • Do not manage their own money or money is largely controlled by someone else.
  • Are not in control of their own identification or travel documents.
  • Work excessive hours.
  • Are unpaid for their work or paid very little. Live with multiple people in a very cramped space.
  • Live with their employer.
  • Have little/no English language skills or knowledge of the local community.
  • Appear to have little privacy or are rarely alone.
  • Have visible injuries or scars, such as cuts, bruises, or burns.
  • May have injuries around the head, face, and mouth from being struck in the head or face. (Sex slaves’ scars tend to be hidden, as on the lower back).
  • Have untreated illnesses or infections. Examples: Diabetes, cancer, TB.
  • May have general poor health and/or diseases associated with unsanitary living conditions.
  • Have STDs, HIV/Aids, pelvic pain/inflammation, rectal trauma, urinary difficulties, abdominal or genital trauma.
  • Use drugs – victims are often given drugs to keep them dependent.
  • Exhibit submissive behavior or fearful behavior in the presence of others.
  • Exhibit emotional distress such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, phobias, disorientation, self-inflicted injuries or suicide attempts.
  • Engage in prostitution or living in a brothel.
  • Are sexually exploited in strip clubs, massage parlors, pornography.
  • Are branded with a tattoo of a man’s name or “Daddy.”
  • Exhibit feelings of helplessness, shame, humiliation, shock, denial or disbelief.
  • Are pregnant as a result of rape or prostitution.

Additionally, for minors, if they

  • Talk about an older boyfriend or sex with an older man/boyfriend.
  • Use words associated with the commercial sex industry.
  • Hang around commercial sex businesses like strip clubs, massage parlors, adult book/video stores.
  • Have stunted growth, or poorly formed or rotting teeth.

Also note:

  • It is important to talk to potential victims in a safe and confidential environment. If the victim is accompanied by someone who seems to have control over them, discretely attempt to separate the person from the individual accompanying him/her, without arousing suspicion, since this person could be the trafficker.
  • As needed, enlist the help of a professional who speaks the potential victim’s language and understands his or her culture.
  • Do not collect more information than you need! In depth interviews with the potential victim should be conducted by mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals or legal experts. Multiple interviews may confuse and/or re-traumatize victims and may put you, as a service provider, at risk of being subpoenaed as a witness.
  • Anyone under 18 who engages in commercial sex (porn or prostitution) is legally a severe trafficking victim. Force, fraud or coercion does not need to be present as in the case of someone over 18.




Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence is when two people get into an intimate relationship and one person uses a pattern of coercion and control against the other person during the relationship and/or after the relationship has terminated.  It often includes physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse.  (Source: North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

From the Director

Although the Agency does not work with the issue of domestic violence directly, this issue often comes up in the work that we do. Domestic violence often includes sexual assault and many clients may be working on issues related to both. When working with clients try to assess their most pressing need. If an individual needs help with an abusive relationship or is seeking shelter provide them with a referral to Mainstay at (828) 693-3840.

Before referring someone to Mainstay it is important to assess for their current safety. Take time to actively listen their concerns and be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Are you in a safe place?
  • If they answer no, do you need me to call the police?
  • Do we have time to talk right now?
  • Would you like me to arrange to have someone from Mainstay call you? Or would you prefer to call them?
  • If they call, will you be the one answering the phone? How should they identify themselves?
  • Is it safe to leave a message?
  • Is it safe for a male volunteer to call?
  • When is the best time to call?

It is important to familiarize yourself with the dynamics surrounding relationship violence. You should be prepared to safety plan with an individual who is unable or unwilling to call Mainstay. It is also important to be able to recognize and explain relationship violence to sexual assault callers who might be experiencing both issues.

More information about relationship violence can be found on the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence website

Signs to Look for in a Battering Personality

This particular list of behaviors is specific to hetersexual relationship where the male partner perpetrates the  violence. Although some of the dynamics may be similar, please be aware that different types of relationships may face different dynamics. This list is not meant to cover all relationships. (See power and control wheels contained in this section.)

Many women are interested in ways that they can predict whether they are about to become involved with someone who will be physically abusive.  Below are a list of behaviors that are seen in people who beat their girlfriends or wives; the last four signs listed are almost always seen only if the person is a batterer — if the person has several of the other behaviors (say 3 or more) there is a strong potential for physical violence — the more signs the person has, the more likely the person is a batterer.  In some cases, a batterer may only have a couple of behaviors that the woman can recognize, but they are very exaggerated (e.g., extreme jealousy over ridiculous things).  Initially the batterer will try to explain his behavior as signs of love and concern, and a woman may be flattered at first; as time goes on, the behaviors become more severe and serve to dominate the woman.

  1. Jealousy:  At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that his jealousy is a sign of love; jealousy has nothing to do with love.  It is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.  He will question the woman about who she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be jealous of time she spends with family, friends or children.  As the jealousy progresses, he may call her frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly.  He may refuse to let her work for fear she’ll meet someone else, or even do strange behaviors such as checking her car mileage or asking friends to watch her.
  2. Controlling Behavior:  At the first, the batterer will say that this behavior is because he’s concerned for the woman’s safety, her need to use her time well, or her need to make decisions.  He will be angry if the woman is “late” coming back from the store or an appointment, he will question her closely about where she went, who she talked to.  As this behavior gets worse, he may not let the woman make any personal decisions about the house, her clothing, going to church; he may keep all of the money or even make her ask permission to leave the house or room.
  3. Quick Involvement: Many battered women dated or knew their abuser less than 6 months before they were engaged or living together.  He comes on like a whirl-wind “you’re the only person I will ever talk to,”  “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.”  He needs someone desperately, and will pressure the woman to commit to him.
  4. Unrealistic Expectations:  He is very dependent on the woman for all of his needs; he expects her to be the perfect wife, mother, lover, friend.  He will say things like “if you love me, I’m all you need — you’re all I need.”  She is supposed to take care of everything for him emotionally and in the home.
  5. Isolation:  The man tries to cut the woman off from all resources.  If she has men friends, she is a “whore”, if she has women friends, she is a lesbian, if she is close to her family, “she is tied to apron strings.”  He accuses people who are her supports of “causing trouble”, he may want to live in the country without a phone, he may not let her use the car, or he may try to keep her from working or going to school.
  6. Blames Others for his Problems:  If he is chronically unemployed, someone is always doing him wrong, out to get him.  He may make mistakes and then blame the woman for upsetting him and keeping him from concentrating on doing his job.  He will tell the woman she is at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.
  7. Blames Others for his Feelings:  He will tell the woman “you make me mad,” “you’re hurting me by not doing what I ask,” “I can’t help being angry.”  He really makes the decision about what he thinks and feels, but will use his feelings to manipulate the woman.  Harder to catch are his claims that “you make me happy,” “You control how I feel.”
  8. Hypersensitivity:  The man is easily insulted, he claims his feelings are “hurt” when he’s really very mad, or he takes the slightest set backs as personal attacks.  He will “rant and rave” about the injustice of things that have happened to him–things that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being told that something he does is annoying, being asked to help with chores.
  9. Cruelty to Animals or Children:  This is a man who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain or suffering; he may expect children to be capable of doing things far beyond their ability (whips a two year old for wetting his diaper) or he may tease children or young brothers and sisters until they cry.  (60% of men who beat the women they are with also beat their children).  He may not want children to eat at the table or expect them to keep to their room all evening while he is home.
  10. “Playful” Use of Force in Sex:  This man may like to throw the woman down and hold her during sex, he may want to act out fantasies during sex where the woman is helpless.  He’s letting her know that the idea of “rape” excites him.  He may show little concern about whether the woman wants to have sex and use sulking or anger to manipulate her into compliance.  He may start having sex with the woman while she is sleeping, or demand sex when she is ill or tired.
  11. Verbal Abuse:  In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen by the man degrading the woman, cursing her, running down any of her accomplishments.  The man will tell her that she’s stupid and unable to function without him.  This may involve waking her up to verbally abuse her or not letting her sleep.
  12. Rigid Sex Roles:  The man expects a woman to serve him; will say she must stay at home, that she must obey him in all things–even things that are criminal in nature.  The abuser will see women as inferior to men, more stupid, unable to be a whole person without a relationship.
  13. Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde:  Many women are confused by their abuser’s “sudden” changes in mood–they will describe that one minute he’s nice and the next minute he explodes or that he’s “crazy.”  Explosiveness and mood swings are typical of men who beat their partners; these behaviors can be related to other characteristics, such as hypersensitivity.
  14. Past Battering:  The man may say he has hit women in the past, but they made him do it.  The woman may hear from the relatives or ex-spouses that the man is abusive.  A batterer may beat any women he is with; situational circumstances do not make a person an abusive personality.
  15. Threats of Violence:  This would include any threat of physical force meant to control the woman.  Most men do not threaten their mates, but a batterer will try to excuse his behavior by saying “everybody talks like that.”
  16. Breaking or Striking Objects:  This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize the woman into submission.  The man may beat on tables with his fists or throw objects near the woman.  Again, this is a very remarkable behavior; only very immature people beat on objects in the presence of other people in order to threaten them.
  17. Any Force During an Argument:  This may involve a man holding a woman down, physically restraining her from leaving the room, any pushing or shoving.  (The man may hold the woman against a wall and say “you’re going to listen to me.”)

Partner Rape

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Definition:  Sexual acts committed without a person’s consent and/or against a person’s will when the perpetrator is the individual’s current partner (married or not), previous partner, or co-habitator.

Three Types of Partner Rape

  • Battering rape – the experience of both physical and sexual violence within a relationship.  Some may experience physical abuse during the sexual assault.  Other may experience sexual assault after a physical assault as an attempt to “make up”.
  • Force-only rape – motivated by a perpetrator’s need to demonstrate power and maintain control.  Therefore, he/she asserts his/her feelings of entitlement over his/her partner in the form of forced sexual contact.
  • Obsessive/Sadistic rape – Sadistic sexual assault involves torture and perverse sexual acts.  Such rape is characteristically violence and often leads to physical injury.

Physical & Emotional Reactions

  • Injuries to the vaginal and anal areas
  • Lacerations
  • Soreness
  • Bruising
  • Torn muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Broken bones
  • Black eyes
  • Injuries caused by weapons
  • Miscarriages
  • Stillbirths
  • Contraction of STI’s, including HIV
  • Anxiety
  • Shock
  • Intense fear
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • PTSD
  • Betrayal
  • Fundamental loss of trust

Research indicates that survivors of partner rape are more likely to be raped multiple times when compared to stranger and acquaintance rape survivors.  As such, partner rape survivors are more likely to suffer severe and long lasting physical and psychological injuries.

This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

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