Tag Archives: Unsafe On Any Campus

Unsafe On Any Campus? earns two gold medals in literary competition!

PRESS RELEASE

Lake Buena Vista, FL (8/5/2017) – The Florida Authors and Publishers Association awarded two Gold Medals to Florida college faculty member Samuel Staley’s book Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It, one each the categories of Adult Non-Fiction and Political/Current Events.

Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2016 and 2017. Organizers say this year included the largest number of entries every drawing from a national pool of authors and publishers.

Unsafe On Any Campus? is written by Samuel R. Staley, a full-time faculty member in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University.  Staley joined the faculty in 2011 after 25 years in the nonprofit private sector. He was unaware of the extent of the problem, which is national in scope, until he learned the stories of survivors and their friends while coaching martial-arts based self-defense classes at FSU. Staley holds a black belt in To-Shin Do, a self-defense oriented version of the classic Japanese “ninja” martial art of Ninjutsu developed by ninja master Stephen K. Hayes.

“Virtually every student will know a survivor of sexual assault by the time he or she graduates from an American university or college,” says Staley, who acknowledges the extent of the problem may vary significantly by college and location. Staley describes his book as a primer for parents, college counselors, and students. “This book is my way of using more than 30 years of professional experience in the field of public policy analysis to explain a very complicated problem and outline practical pathways toward eliminating this scourge on our campuses,” he says.

“The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” said Jane R. Wood, President-Elect of FAPA.

Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It is a nonfiction book analyzing contemporary campus culture, why it puts college students at risk for sexual assault and rape, and presents a holistic solution that puts harm reduction at the center of strategies and programs.

Ruth Krug, a survivor of campus sexual assault, writes in her Foreword: Unsafe On Any Campus? is  “innovative, practical, and empowering” and “signifies a turning point in addressing rape and sexual assault in college and university environments.” Unsafe On Any Campus? is published by Southern Yellow Pine Publishing.

Medals were awarded at the annual FAPA President’s Book Awards Banquet held this year at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs TM Area of Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

“We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate.  We had a record number of entries this year. Competition was stiff! We salute all of our winners for their fine work,” said FAPA’s President, Terri Gerrell.

The Florida Authors & Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, independent publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.

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For more on Unsafe On Any Campus, including discussion questions, videos, and other materials on campus sexual assault, visit: http://www.campusninjaselfdefense.com

To purchase Unsafe On Any Campus?

  • at amazon, click here.
  • at Barnes & Noble, click here.
  • at Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, click here.

 

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College rape and the power of words on a bathroom door

These messages formed a multi-day conversation on the effects of college rape on young women

These messages formed a multi-day conversation on the effects of college rape on young women

I still remember the day my business manager came into my office and said “you have to see what’s on the women’s bathroom door.”  What followed changed the course of my life, personally and professionally.*

Written in permanent black marker was a heartbreaking question: “How do you get over being raped?”

Having someone ask the question in person is wrenching enough, but for a young woman to feel the desperation acutely enough to use the anonymity and randomness of a stall door was worse. We were in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, a far cry from any victim support services or law enforcement. For Ruth, a campus rape survivor, the question was rattling enough.

Even for those like me, who had not experienced that kind of soul-tearing assault, could feel the pain, confusion, and emptiness implied in the words and act.

But what happened over the following days was more extraordinary. Other women responded, spontaneously, sincerely, and constructively. Based on writing styles, ink colors and consistency, I estimate that between 14 and 18 women contributed to what became a conversation across the entire door.

At first, women provided information about institutional support: the FSU police department, office of the victim advocate, and emergency numbers were listed. Then, the conversation turned to the human tragedy.

A spontaneous response to a rape victim's query on how to get over being raped.

A spontaneous response to a rape victim’s query on how to get over being raped.

In this anonymous, sterile, empty physical space, women provided heartfelt personal support and counsel. “I was raped, as well,” a new contributor to the discussion testified. “Just know you’re not alone sweetheart.” Another inked in elegant handwriting:“Your value and dignity as a woman are unchanged” followed by a heart symbol (emphasis by original author).

And the support kept coming,

  •         “be strong”
  •         “Remember, its (sic) not your fault. You re (sic) perfect, you are worthy. You are beautiful inside and out. Never forget, your sisters are here for you.”
  •         “This does not define you. Look to the future, allow yourself hope and ambition. Set goals, you are amazing.” (heart symbol)

And they still encouraged her to call the police—“Sisters help each other. Making that call is scary”

A rape victim's response to her supporters on the bathroom stall door

A rape victim’s response to her supporters on the bathroom stall door

In a powerful statement about to the ability of humans to connect through personal tragedy, the initial victim responded: “You guys are so nice to me. Thank you for that.”

Remarkably, the maintenance and cleaning staff at FSU let the conversation flow and did not clean the door for days (perhaps weeks). Perhaps they sensed the importance of the conversation for the woman who asked the question, the women who provided support to her and other survivors, and for raising awareness about the pervasiveness of the problem and the desperation of women caught in its vortex.

I don’t know if the young woman sought counseling, or took advantage of the university’s counseling services, or ever met the other dozen or so women that provided support to her.

The effect on me, however, was powerful. These brave, anonymous women allowed themselves to become vulnerable, confessing their own soul wrenching experiences while providing unsolicited, spontaneous support for their sisters. No other event showed how important sexual assault and rape were as events that shaped campus culture and the experiences of women on campus.

Prior to this, I had born witness to individual survivor stories. These were personal relationships. As a social scientist and public policy analysis, they were anecdotes. Now they were no longer anecdotes. I saw a pattern. This conversation convinced me that this issue needed a voice that could raise awareness about its depth, grounded in the emotional experiences of survivors, and think through the hard problems of coming up with a solution even if they were controversial.

A woman's spontaneous encouragement to a rape survivor's testimony

A woman’s spontaneous encouragement to a rape survivor’s testimony

I don’t know if I am that voice, but the product of my personal revolve to address this problem on college campuses and wrestle with the public policy implications led to blogging and eventually writing Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It. The book’s cover incorporates some of the photos of this conversation taken by Ruth, and used with permission, to provide testimony on the emotional toll sexual assault and rape take on young men and women on our campuses.

I want to give a shout out to Judy Williams Kirk for suggesting I figure out a way to incorporate these testimonies into the cover and to Gina B Smith for her provocative and heartfelt cover design.

Read Ruth’s discussion of this event on her blog, Reclaiming Lost Voices.

Read more about Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It.

Unsafe On Any Campus?

Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It

Buy the book at Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. (Contact me at sam@srstaley.com or Southern Yellow Pine Publishing for larger order discounts of 5+ and 25+. Pre-orders can be purchased with a $3 discount using the coupon code READ.

*Note, an earlier version of this article misidentified Ruth Krug as the woman who brought the messages to my attention. In fact, my business manager, Judy Kirk, alerted both of us to the words. Ruth, a campus rape survivor, worked for me at the time, and she was the one who chronicled the conversation through photos each day as the contributions lengthened.  

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Unsafe On Any Campus? heads to Barnes & Noble!

Barnes & Noble has accepted Unsafe On Any Campus? into their system.

Barnes & Noble has accepted Unsafe On Any Campus? into their system.

Unsafe On Any Campus? has been accepted into the Barnes & Noble system, which greatly facilitates my ability to organize and schedule book events at these stores. In fact, bricks and mortar book stores are great venues for the kinds of public information and education events I want to organize around my book signings.

All a local Barnes & Noble manager has to do is check their system, and they will find Unsafe On Any Campus? This means they do not have to get corporate approval to host an event, and they can order the books directly through their distributors.

The first event will be at Barnes & Noble in Tallahassee, Sunday, September 11, 2016. I will start off with a brief talk at 3 pm on “Six Questions Parents and Students Should Ask College Admissions Staff About College Sexual Assault.” I’ll then open up the floor to Q&A and discussion. Of course, I’ll also be available to sign books!

I hope this is the beginning of a new wrinkle on a national marketing campaign!

If you want to support my effort, here’s the link to the Barnes & Noble order page for Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It. 

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Amazon links to “Unsafe On Any Campus?” are now live!

Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It.

Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It.

I am happy to report that the amazon.com links to Unsafe On Any Campus? are now live! I also discovered that pre-orders have hit #53 in the rankings under political science/public policy/abuse.

  • Amazon print $14.95: http://bit.ly/UnsafeAznPrint
  • Amazon kindle ($4.95): http://bit.ly/Unsafekindle

Pre-orders for $3 off are still available through Southern Yellow Pine’s website using the coupon code READ: http://bit.ly/syppunsafe

And, of course, we have an amazing line up of experts for our public forum and launch event at Element3 Church on July 28th, at 7:00 pm.

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Book release and public forum for “Unsafe On Any Campus?” event details

Unsafe On Any Campus? Public forum details for July 28, 2016

Unsafe On Any Campus? Public forum details for July 28, 2016

Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It will be officially released at a public forum and discussion on campus sexual assault at Element3 Church in Tallahassee on Thursday, July 28th. All the details are now set, and the public forum will include an A-list line up of experts on campus sexual assault.

  • How many students become victims of sexual assault on college campuses?
  • What can students do to protect themselves and their friends?
  • What are colleges doing to address campus sexual assault?
  • What questions should every student ask their college admissions officer?

These and other questions will be answered by participants in a discussion moderated by Sam Staley, author of Unsafe On Any Campus?

Doors will open at 6:30 pm with the program beginning at 7 pm and wrapping up by 9 pm. Red-Eye Coffee and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Element3 Church and Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. The forum will be highly interactive, maximizing audience input and questions. We will also be running a simultaneous Facebook event so anyone from around the world can participate and ask questions. (Details on this to follow.)

Here are the details on the speakers:

ruthkrug_photoRuth Krug

Ruth is a certified trauma-sensitive yoga trainer, mindfulness teacher, and campus rape survivor based in the Midwest. She is also a Restorative Justice practitioner who has worked in local public schools at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. A graduate of Florida State University, she majored in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with a focus on political science, nonprofit administration and economics. Ruth’s healing journey is chronicled along with other survivor stories and testimonies on her blogs Feeding the Heart and Reclaiming Lost Voices.

 

Christopher Krebs

Christopher Krebs

Christopher Krebs, PhD 

Chief Scientist, Center for Justice, Safety, and Resilience, RTI International

Chris has extensive research experience in the areas of corrections, substance abuse epidemiology and treatment, intimate partner violence and sexual violence, HIV transmission among and associated high-risk behaviors of offenders and inmates, criminal justice systems, and program evaluation. He has led and worked on a number of projects for the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He has employed both quantitative and qualitative methods in his research and has extensive experience designing studies, developing survey instruments, analyzing data, and disseminating findings. Dr. Krebs has published and presented numerous research papers on a wide variety of topics.

 

Jennifer-Broomfield_mediumJennifer Broomfield, LISW, JD

Title IX Director, Florida State University

Jennifer is a licensed attorney and clinical social worker. Prior to coming to FSU, Ms. Broomfield served as the National Program Manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs Intimate Partner Violence Program. Ms. Broomfield has served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Children’s Legal Services Department of the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Florida where she investigated and prosecuted sexual assault and child abuse dependency cases. Additionally, Ms. Broomfield has been an adjunct professor of social work at undergraduate and graduate programs in New Mexico.

 

rrezaeiRose Rezaie, MEd

Assistant Director, Center for Health Advocacy and Wellness, Florida State University

Rose’s main responsibilities include overseeing campus wide initiatives at FSU encompassing sexual violence prevention and sexual health education. Rose received her Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and Master’s in College Student Affairs from the University of South Florida. Creating space where students feel empowered to take ownership of their lives through education and skill building serves as the foundation of her work. Outside of FSU, she enjoys attending community events, thrift shopping, and traveling.

 

kpruettKori Pruett, MS

Power-Based Personal Violence Coordinator, Florida State University

Kori’s main responsibilities at FSU include educating students on the dynamics of sexual violence, the myths that surround sexual violence, ways to obtain and define consent, empowering students through bystander intervention, and informing students about campus resources and support. She is also the Co-Chair of the Curriculum Development Sexual Violence Prevention Sub Committee. Kori received her Master’s and Bachelor’s in International Affairs from Florida State University. In her spare time she participates in community service organizations, enjoys outdoor adventures, and travels to as many new locations as possible.

You can still get your copy of the book for $3 off on pre-orders through SYPP’s website! Use the coupon code READ.

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Unsafe on Any Campus? set for July 28th release

Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It

Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It

Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It is set for official release on July 28, 2016, at a location yet to be determined. Books are on sale now for pre-order, including a $3 off discount when purchasing from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing and using the coupon code READ.

This book is an unsparing, uncompromising and unflinching look at today’s campus environments and examines why they pose significant risks to men and women for sexual assault. Ruth Krug, a campus rape survivor who also writes the Forward to the book, says it signals “a turning point in how we address rape and sexual assault in college and university environments.”

The release event is planned to be more than just a book release. We will have experts on campus sexual assault to answer questions and discuss the problem and what colleges and universities are doing to prevent it.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1.  Campus Rape and the Soul of College
Chapter 2.  Sex, Rape and Human Dignity
Chapter 3.  Sexual Assault and the Failure of Civil Society
Chapter 4. Sexual Assault, Predatory Rape, and Campus Culture
Chapter 5. Experts Talk About Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Chapter 6. Moving Forward: Changing Culture
Chapter 7.  Personal Trauma as the Starting Point
Chapter 8. The Path Forward: A Trauma-Centered Approach
Chapter 9. The Reluctant Education of an Anti-Campus Rape Crusader

Read more about the book at campusninjaselfdefense.com.

Read some of my recent blog posts on campus sexual assault at the Independence Institute blog The Beacon:

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Unsafe on Any Campus? Available for pre-order!

Available from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing

Available from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing

Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault, and What We Can Do About It is available for pre-order from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing with an official release date set for July 28, 2016! The retail price is $14.95. Discounts begin with orders of 5 or more (25%) with orders of 25 or more receiving a 40% discount. Contact SYPPublishing for more details.

Unsafe on Any Campus? is an unsparing and unflinching look into the reality of today’s campus life and why it puts students at risk for sexual assault and rape each year. Sam Staley examines in depth why current strategies that rely on the U.S. court system to achieve justice fall short of achieving meaningful resolution, tapping into the personal stories of rape survivors, recent academic research, and his experience as a self-defense coach to frame a bold strategy for dealing with this ongoing scourge. His conclusions challenge the conventional wisdom of advocates, campus rape deniers, and many in the law enforcement community. Long-term success, he contends, requires a comprehensive plan that builds a trauma-centered framework on four pillars—human dignity, personal and bystander empowerment, accountability for offenders, and a narrow and more effective role for the criminal justice system. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the problem of sexual assault on today’s university and college campuses.

  •  How many students are sexually assaulted each year on today’s college campuses?
  • Are today’s students victims of a sexually permissive culture, sexual predators, rampant misogyny among fraternities, and insensitive college bureaucracies?
  • What anti-sexual assault programs really work?
  • What are the six questions every incoming freshman and parent should ask their university or college administration?
  • What are the ten proactive steps parents can take to reduce the risk that their children will experience sexual assault and rape when they enter college?

“This book signals a turning point in addressing rape and sexual assault in college and university environments. It is innovative, practical, and empowering. How we address rape and sexual assault needs to change, and this book will take the reader through the process of understanding human sexuality, rape, trauma, and how we can help ground a new approach that will eliminate this scourge on campus life.”

Ruth Krug, campus rape survivor

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6 questions to ask college admissions staff about sexual assault

High school officials and parents don’t bare sole responsibility for changing the campus climate, although in a previous post I provided a list of 10 proactive steps they could take to reduce the risk of sexual assault in college. Parents and college students can also become powerful, constructive, and effective advocates for change and accountability. I discuss this in the last chapters of my forthcoming book, Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault, and What We Can Do About It. 

Among the questions I discuss in the final chapter that parents and student should ask college and university administrators are:

  1. What programs are in place to assist victims, reduce theUnsafeResearch risks of sexual assault, prevent sexual assault, and hold offenders accountability? What performance measures do you use to evaluate their effectiveness?
  2. How much education programming do you provide to freshman on sexual assault and bystander intervention? What is the participation rate?
  3. Is dorm staff trained in sexual assault awareness, bystander intervention and victim support?
  4. What fraternities, sororities or students groups are active in providing sexual assault prevention, risk reduction, and other training to students on campus?
  5. How does your college or university benchmark its performance among its peers?
  6. How often does your college or university review its sexual assault, victim advocate, and adjudication policies?

Check out more details from the book at my website, campusninjaselfdefense.com.

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What parents can do about college campus sexual assault

Staley,selfdefenseinstructor,2

Coaching self-defense at Florida State University with members of Global Peace Exchange

Ever since I started writing my book, Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault, and What We Can Do About It, I have been asked what are the proactive steps we can take to reduce the chances our kids will be sexually assaulted when they go to college. It’s a fair question, and I discuss some of these steps in the last chapter of my book. For those that are impatient, here are 10 action items that will go a long way toward addressing the problem:

  1. Enroll your children in a martial-arts based self-defense program as early as middle school or ninth grade that includes scenario-based training and situational awareness.
  2. Encourage high schools to include human sexuality in their curricula so that students are at least exposed to professional opinion about sex, intimacy, and human bonding, and why sexual assault and rape can be so devastating.
  3. Encourage high school college counselors to include workshops on the risks and dangers on modern campus life, including bystander roles, responsibilities, and interventions.
  4. Encourage parent groups and associations to hold workshops on campus sexual assault, risk reduction, and prevention.
  5. Encourage adult discussions with teenagers and college-age children about sexual assault and how it impacts their lives and the lives of their friends.
  6. Be open to a wide range of remedies and strategies for addressing sexual assault on college campuses while also insisting on evidence-based accountability in the programs;
  7. Insist that colleges and universities hold offenders accountable, and provide evidence that their programs are reducing risks of sexual assault faced by students.
  8. Read the campus sexual assault policies for the colleges and universities students plan to attend.
  9. Ask for data on sexual assaults, investigations, and the results of those investigations.
  10. Ensure college-bound students are aware of programs and support available to them and their friends at the schools they plan to attend.

You can find out much more self-defense programs and the book at my website, campusninjaselfdefense.com.

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A car accident, a broken ankle, and the torn souls of rape survivors

My 1973 Volkswagen Squareback was totaled in a 1983 car accident and was very similar to this one.

My 1973 Volkswagen Squareback was totaled in a 1983 car accident and was very similar to this one.

I remember three things, snapshots really, from the event that would shape the rest of my life in the early morning hours of frosty February day in 1983.

The first was opening my eyes to blackness. At first I thought I was blind. After a few moments, I realized I was looking up at the vinyl back seat of my volkswagon squareback. I must have said something because I heard my good friend Bill’s voice say: “It’ll be okay, an ambulance is coming.”

The second snapshot wasn’t a snapshot at all. I don’t remember seeing the inside of the ambulance, or the question which must have been “How bad is it?” All I remember is the paramedic–I assumed it was a paramedic because it wasn’t Bill’s voice–say, “You’re lucky to be alive.”

I remember the visual of the third snapshot. I was on a gurney rolling down a hallway in a hospital. I began to shake and cry uncontrollably. Or so I thought. A nurse said, “We’ve got a crier here.” Anger snapped me out of crying. But that’s it.  I don’t remember anything else from that day.

Friends and family filled in the rest. The surgeon spent four of the six hours in surgery trying to close up the gaping hole that was the left side of my face. The doctors had to pick out individual shards of glass and asphalt with tweezers, and then figure out how they were going to graft enough skin from somewhere else on my body to sew me up. Every nerve was exposed, but, for the grace of God, none were severed. We still don’t know how I kept my left eye because half of my eyebrow was stripped off and gravel was burrowed deep around the socket. The first few days after the surgery were agony, not so much in pain–medications kept that at bay–as extreme, turbulent discomfort.

The entire episode from the car crash to surgery must have taken hours, but I remember snippets of minutes. My body and brain were shutting down, a natural, defensive state of shock triggered by an extreme loss of blood and physical trauma.

Flash forward 20 years. I am running a loop in a 200-acre wooded wildlife preserve. Just past my turnaround–a mile and three quarters from home–a numbing pain shoots up from my foot as I feel the turn of my ankle on an unseen rock. I hobble out of the woods after crossing two streams using a branch as a makeshift crutch. My dog, on a leash, was no help.

Someone asks me if I heard a “pop”. I say “no,” so we conclude that I sprained my ankle. I Bu Profen and ice packs control the swelling and reduce the pain. Three weeks later, my ankle still hurts, but I’m on a ski trip with my friend Karl in Telluride, Colorado. A “skiers ski area,” I am on the black diamonds. While skiing Giant Steps, a double-black diamond, pain from my ankle keeps me from descending more than a couple dozen feet at a time through the moguls. I am embarrassed. I am a better skier than this. But I listen to the barking ankle, and  I bail on the next run, letting Karl ski the black diamond as our last run of the day while I suck up the pain and take the easier blue trails down to the base.

When I return home, I finally visit the orthopedic doctor. A skier, he examines my ankle and asks if I heard a “pop” when I injured the ankle. Again, I say “no.” He orders the x-ray anyway.

When he returns, he gives me the news: I had broken my ankle on the run in the woods. I look at him in disbelief. “Is it a hairline fracture?”

He slaps the x-ray up on a monitor and points to the bones of my foot. “No, it was a clean break.”

He’s right, of course. Even I can see the thick straight line that represents the break in my ankle.

I was lucky. The bone broke but snapped back into near perfect alignment. That’s why I was able to walk out of the woods. It started to heal, but skiing put too much pressure on the break. My ski boots were stiff and tight, acting as a cast to hold the bones in place, but if I had been snowboarding the ankle would have re-broken and the damage far more severe than the first time.

The point to the car accident story is that my body, doing what it does naturally, shut out much of the trauma I was experiencing. I have monstrous gaps in memory on the day of the accident even though I must have been conscious a fair amount of the time.

The point of the broken ankle story is I did not hear a snap. I should have heard a snap. The break was complete and clean. But I didn’t.

In other words, your body and mind does many things to protect you when you experience trauma. Sometimes, it blots out entire memories.

Perhaps it’s these experiences, and my reflection on them, that gave me the courage to step way outside my comfort zone and write my new book Unsafe On Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do About It. I understood trauma in a personal way, so when rape survivors began sharing their stories their memories didn’t have to be complete for me to put the pieces together and recognize the truth of their experience. 

WomanisolatedOne of the most damaging and significant criticisms leveled at men and women who claim they have been assaulted or raped is that their memories are incomplete, and dots between events don’t connect well. Incomplete or uncertain knowledge is one of the primary reasons why rape cases don’t go to court unless significant physical evidence can support the victim’s story. Unless the victim can present an ironclad chronicle of events, the case falls apart, particularly when they are faced with an (untraumatized) accuser who can present a complete, consistent case. It shouldn’t be surprising that only about 10 percent of rape cases end in a conviction on the rape charge.

Total recall of a traumatic event is an unreasonable expectation for human beings. The difference between my traumas and those of a rape survivor lie in the physical evidence, not the truth of the trauma. I still literally carry the scars of my car accident–they become bright red when my body is very hot or cold. I can show people the x-ray of my broken ankle.

What does a rape survivor show? How do you see the scars of a shattered soul? (Hint: Don’t judge and listen to their story.)

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