Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sexual Assault in LGBT Population

Sexual Assault occurs among individuals of all sexual orientation.

Below are some information that explores sexual assaults in LGBT communities.

What is same-sex sexual assault?
• Same-sex sexual assault may include (but is not limited to) forced vaginal or anal penetration, forced oral sex, forced touching, or any additional form of forced sexual activity.
• Same-sex sexual assault may occur on a date, between friends, partners or strangers.

What issues around rape are unique to the LGBT community?
• Survivors who are not "out" may find sharing and/or reporting the rape especially difficult or even impossible.
• The uncertainty of knowing the level of sensitivity of resources may make reaching out for support very difficult.
• Lack of awareness of same-sex rape both within and without the LGBT community may make silence seem the only option.
• If the LGBT community is small, the fear of other's disbelief and/or people "taking sides" may cause the survivor to keep silent.
• Guilt and self-blame may take the form of questioning ones sexual identity and sexuality. These, rather than the rape may become the central issues.
• Internalized homophobia may compound the complexities of strong emotions after rape.
• Gay/bi male survivors may face the fear of not being believed and/or being ridiculed because of the stereotype of men never rejecting a sexual opportunity.
• Lesbian/bi women survivors may face the fear of not being believed if they are raped by a female because of the myth that "women don't do that sort of thing."

What issues are common to all rape survivors?
• Fear, humiliation, self-blame, depression, denial, powerlessness, anger and suicidal feelings are common after rape.
• The need to be believed and reassured that what happened was in no way their fault.
• The need to be given the dignity of making their own decisions about any course of action.

How can I be helpful as a friend or partner?
• By believing your friend or partner who has been raped.
• By respecting the need for confidentiality.
• By avoiding judgmental comments.
• By controlling your own feelings of anger and/or frustration.
• By asking how you can be helpful rather than giving unsolicited advice.
• By respecting her or his decisions even when yours might be different.
• By being a good listener.
• By being honest with yourself if you have trouble handling the aftermath of the rape.
• By finding other sources of support if this is the case.
• By offering unconditional love and support.
• By avoiding pressure to resume any form of sexual activity until initiated by your partner.

*“There are many levels to internalized and externalized homophobia,” and in order to comprehend same-sex sexual assault, it is significant to construct an obligation to accept and confront homophobia.

*It is also imperative to distinguish that individuals within the LGBT community are beleaguered for sexual assault due to professed gender expression.

*Sexual violence is used as a form of social control to maintain heterosexism.

The two (2) videos below portrays some example of how LGBT communities are treated in Iraq and South Africa.

Gays in Iraq terrorized by threats, rape, murder

South African black men rape South African black lesbians

Resources for the LGBT Community

• California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

• Community United Against Violence

• National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

• Northwest Network

• The Network/La Red

• Survivor Project

• Out Front


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Invisible Threat


Part1: Prevalence

Stalking in America is a major problem. Attention towards stalking occurred as a result of celebrities who were being stalked. In the past decade 50 states have passed anti-stalking laws. The study of stalkers has been limited to a small number of clinical samples. There is a lack of empirical data that exists on stalkers and on the issue of stalking. The major questions that are discussed within a major national study on stalking include the prevalence of stalking in the United States, who stalks whom, and how often stalkers overtly threaten their victims. Other questions within the study included how often stalking is reported to the police, as well as what are the psychological consequences of stalking.

What is stalking?
Stalking is considered threatening and harassing behavior which is carried out repeatedly. Common practices include threatening behaviors such as appearing at the individual’s home, their place of work, their business, making harassing phone calls, vandalizing the individual’s property and cyber-stalking, which is bombarding someone with e-mails, instant messages, and other forms of communication. With the advancement of technology, stalkers have newer ways of conducting the stalking.

While stalking differs from states to states, the following is taken from the New York State Penal Code for stalking. If anyone wants more information, please look at the National Center for Victims of Crime ( .

Legal Definitions of Stalking
Stalking differs in each state. The CUNY prevention-based sexual assault policy outlines New York State Law on stalking. In addition Safe Horizon’s website provides more in-depth information on stalking and services for individuals who feel they are being stalked. Legally most states do present stalking within the context of someone who is willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following the individual.

· Stalking is more prevalent within the United States than was thought prior.
8% of women and 2% of men are stalked within their lifetime. Around 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men have been stalked within their lifetime. As suggested by Tjaden and Thoenness stalking needs to be considered a public health as well as a public health concern
· Invisible Groups: Alaska Native women as well as American Indian women were considered to more likely to report being stalked than any other racial groups
· Stalking cuts across gender. However 78% of stalking victims are female and 87% are male
· Adults between the ages of 18-29 are the primary targets and make up over 52% of all victims
· Perpetrators who stalk are known to the victim(Lack of research exists within the field of stalking by intimate partners/relevant for sexual assault and intimate partner violence incidents)
· Strong link exists between forms of violence in intimate relationships.
· Average Stalking Case lasts about 1.8 years. Approximately 1/5 of the victims move away from
31% of victims who were cohabiting with their partner and were stalked were also sexually assaulted. Approximately 1 out of 3
Stalking rates were highest among Spouse/Ex Spouse relationships. Interestingly for stalking carried out by a stranger, more males reported being stalked by females.
· Less than 50% of the stalking victims are actually directly threatened by their stalkers but they do feel an intense level of fear.
· Deplorably less than half actually report their stalking to the police and only in ¼ cases are the suspects actually arrested. Only 12% of stalking cases actually result in any conviction
· From all of the victims who did receive restraining orders, approximately 69 percent of the women and 81 percent of the men said their stalkers violated the order.
· Only 30 percent of female stalking victims and 20 percent of male stalking victims seek psychological counseling as a result of their victimization

College-Aged Women
· In another study the sexual victimization of college women they found that in a survey of the rates of women on college campuses(156.5 per 1,000 female students). On a college campus approximately 13.1 percent of the female students had been stalked. This challenges the National Survey as women within the college age population.
· Within the same study women were stalked by a boyfriend (42.5percent), classmate(24.5 percent), acquaintance(10.3percent), friend(5.6percent)

This blog is followed by two other blogs that look at cyberstalking and how such research can be employed towards the policy.

Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Stalking, Privacy, and What we Can Do

Part2:Stalking, Privacy, and What we Can Do By Rabbea Jabbar

Instead of shutting down our face books because we fear stalkers, we can find ways to protect our privacy and keep our face book information to a bare minimum, so our private lives are not being completely revealed. Although the face book stalking trend is a new phenomenon mostly common among females, face book does allow in many ways to help you protect your privacy and control the information you share with others. This allows your privacy not to be compromised.

Caroline Harting says, “Facebook was stalking me”. Many face book users are leaving face book due to fear of privacy. However, stalking does not start or end on face book.
If your stalker has been verbally warned by you and still does not leave you alone, instead of negotiating with your stalker, call the Unlawful Call Center at 1 (800) 518-5507. Familiarize yourself with a 24 hour store; never go home alone, if you are being stalked. Inform friends, family members, co workers, and neighbors about your stalker. Save any text messages, voice mails and threatening letters. If you have a restraining order against your stalker, carry a copy with you at all times. Also save a picture of your stalker, if you have any, and give it to friends and family members. You can have your name removed from any adverse directories. Avoid calling toll free 800, 866, 888, 877, and 900 numbers, or use a pay phone of you decide to call a toll free number, so that your phone number is not captured in the Automatic Number Identification. Order “Complete Blocking” or “per line” blocking so that your home phone number is not disclosed when you make phone calls from home, and keep a log of every stalking incident.

Many victims fail to report about their stalker, and when they do decide to file a police report months later, many police officers are likely to not take the victims seriously. It's very important to not let a police officer intimidate you. Once you call 911, and you are afraid to leave your house, have a police officer come to your house. Be polite, persistent and provide the officer with as much details as possible. Although every stalking case is unique in its own way, every little piece of evidence matters. Do not let an officer leave your house without giving you a report number. If one police report does not work, you may need to file multiple police reports, and make more phone calls if necessary. Also remember that stalkers are unpredictable. They act on their impulses. They are also very likely to pretend to be the victim after being reported. 90-95% of the time they will portray to be the victim. Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

How Should CUNY employ the data from research

Part3: How Should CUNY employ the data from the research

The previous two studies that have been cited provide us as CUNY students with a piece of the framework we should think of in terms of the prevention-based sexual assault policy. (Please watch the townhall meeting for further information at CUNYSGC.COM.) As we are aware the policy incorporates pieces on stalking. As seen in the two studies, stalking is highest among ages 18-29, which definitely fits the age demographics of CUNY. Within the second study that looked at stalking among college-aged women, they found a higher rate of stalking among college-aged females. We also know there is an overlap between domestic violence, sexual assault, and incidents of stalking. We need to also think about male victims of stalking and the LGBT population, as well as our large immigrant population, which includes undocumented students. This is where we must address the issue of marginal populations and invisible populations. We have to understand that when it comes to the support network and the access to services, we as CUNY students must divert from the general model where certain populations are deemed victims and thus have access to services. What I mean by this is realistically we know that there are certain populations-males, LGBT, immigrants, undocumented, special needs population-have a more difficult time accessing services. Therefore while the prevention-based policy includes the pieces on stalking, it is a beginning not an end. This is why it is so important to make sure we have advocates that are trained on these different issues where they can assist students.

In addition stalking just like sexual assault and intimate partner violence are not one-size fits all models. Therefore we must challenge ourselves to think beyond just categories where we separate things such as sexual assault, incidents of stalking and domestic violence, for as we have seen from the studies they are occurring simultaneously, which further complicates the situation. The fact that anyone is being stalked negatively impacts their ability to academically excel while places them in fear. This also corrodes our own sense of safety. Educational institutions are places where we want to have the social atmosphere where we feel safe and comfortable. The act of stalking violates that very personal space of safety. Therefore it is up to us as students to generate a dialogue around these issues where we think beyond the regular framework as domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are different. While the policy is important and plays a vital role in affirming that the CUNY system will not tolerate it, it is us the CUNY student who must stand at the forefront and help our fellow students.

Friday, November 13, 2009


SGC is excited to finally bring you the full video of the Queens College Town hall that took place on October 22nd.

The video is located on our website. Feel free to leave comments, it is imperative that you weigh in on the policy that will affect YOU!

Also note the featured video of our interview with Jessica Spector from the Urban Justice Center that took place after the town hall.

To Building a Greater CUNY!


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The CUNY Sexual Assault Policy Taskforce was supposed to have met by now. In fact, dates were proposed well before the Queens College Townhall for the taskforce to meet at the end of October- first week in November. So why hasn't the taskforce met?

Because the policy is still being shown to other groups outside of CUNY at the expense of a third and final townhall for CUNY students!

It was understandable to forego another townhall because the Board of Trustees needed to have the policy go through one or more of its committees in November before it's full meeting on November 22nd. It is not, however, acceptable to have preferential treatment for outside groups to be able to comment on the policy when CUNY students are not given yet another chance (which is actually an agreement within the original proposal and located in the minutes of the taskforce early on, published in this SGC post. )

SGC Chair and taskforce member Elischia Fludd is currently advocating for the taskforce to uphold its promise and commit to a 3rd townhall since CUNY students, the largest stakeholders of this policy, have been disregarded to favor the opinion of outside groups. 

To building a Greater CUNY,


Become involved! VISIT CUNYSGC.COM!