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Healthy Relationships

What is Victim Blaming?

Victim blaming occurs when an individual questions a person’s experience, such as their actions and how they could have prevented sexual violence. Examples of victim blaming include “what were you wearing,” “why didn’t you say anything earlier,” or “you were sending mixed signals.” Victim blaming is implying that a person deserved what occurred to them, which is not okay. The reality of sexual violence is that it occurs because someone chose to take advantage and cause harm. Victim blaming discourages survivors to speak out about their experiences. Victim blaming allows perpetrators to get away with their actions. It is important to stand up to victim blaming comments. Show your support to survivors by stating that you believe them. You validate their experience and empower that individual. 

 

 RAINN provided important statistics highlighting sexual violence. 

  • Someone is sexually assaulted in America every 68 seconds. 
  • 1 out of 6 women have been the victim of attempted or completed rape. 
  • 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male. 
  • Those in Indigenous communities are twice as likely to experience rape/ sexual assault compared to all races. 
  • Sexual violence occurs in the military and often goes unreported. 
  • Sexual violence affects thousands of prisoners across the country. 

For more information, please see RAINN.org

Below I have attached a great video that provides more information and scenarios to understand victim blaming. 

 


Written by Denisse Ochoa, BA Sociology Candidate at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, ZCenter Outreach Intern 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

What Is Dating Violence?

There are many different types of dating violence such as physical violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse, economic abuse, and stalking. Dating and relationship violence is a pattern of coercive and abusive tactics that are done by one person in a relationship to gain power and control over another person. It is okay to say no to sex during a relationship. If you are forced to any sexual activity, it is sexual abuse. 

 

LGBTQ+ Relationship Violence

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals can experience slightly different dating violence. It can be a bit different because it can involve outing a person’s sexual orientation. It can also include reinforcing fears that no one will help the individual because of their sexual orientation. They can also question the individual’s commitment to the relationship. 

Warning Signs of Abusive Behaviors

  • Exhibits jealousy when you talk to others
  • Consistently accuses a partner of flirting or cheating
  • Tries to control where you go, whom you go with, what you wear, say, do, etc.
  • Attempts to isolate you from loved ones
  • Uses force, coercion, or manipulation in sexual activity
  • Degrades or puts you down

Resources for Learning More about Intimate Partner Violence

 

 

 

 

 

Dating Violence and Abuse, Office on Women’s Health

Dating Violence, U.S. Department of Justice

Preventing Teen Dating Violence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Power and Control: Break Free From Abuse, National Domestic Violence Hotline

 


Written by Denisse Ochoa, BA Sociology Candidate at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, ZCenter Outreach Intern 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Please click below for a pdf version with all links needed for registration:

ZCenter SAAM Events 2022

*Standing Silent Witness at our Dempster Street location has been cancelled for 4/22/22, due to rain.

* Please note that the webinar for 4/20, Talking about Safety with Kids, has been cancelled.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Representation of Sexual Education

More and more studies are coming out that show the importance of comprehensive sexual education. Earlier this year, our governing body (the Illinois Coalition against Sexual Assault) encouraged agencies to participate in Sex Education National Week of Action. The coalition views comprehensive sexual education as a form of sexual assault prevention education (for more information, please contact Sean Black). This may be as a result of more and more youth demanding that they receive adequate comprehensive sexual education and more and more people are lamenting the fact that they did not receive proper sexual education. 

On top of that, society is receiving more and more information about comprehensive sexual education via TV shows and movies. Not only that, but these pop culture moments are providing the evidence that comprehensive sexual education is important. Popular TV shows like Euphoria, Sex Education, and Big Mouth are diving into this previously taboo topic. And I, for one, would have loved to see this when I was in high school.

As stated by Anna Silman, “Teenage sexuality has hardly been absent from TV, but its depiction has tended to veer between one of two poles — either idealized, melodramatic romance that doesn’t come close to capturing the sloppy awkwardness of real life, or quasi After-School Specials replete with sexual assault, diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and all of intercourse’s worst consequences.”

If these are the two options that you have, you are gonna be left confused and disoriented. Left with questions like: What is the right way to go? Is there a middle ground? Or do I have to choose one way and just stick with that? This leads to a culture where words like prude, promiscuous, dirty, clean are thrown around and often directed at female and non-binary identity students. I would have loved to see myself referenced in the material that I was learning. Representation matters! Seeing yourself matters! Sexual education has long been focused around white, European, upper class values that have long commodified the bodies of People of Color. 

Comprehensive sexual education sets out to alleviate this divide. It does not advocate for the youth to be having sex whenever or however, but just like any other subject it gives students the tools and techniques they need when they are “out in the real world.” They might not experience sex in high school, but I also never used many of my calculus skills until I got out of high school and those were still taught to me during my time.

 

View this AWESOME explainer video:

 

Additional Resources:

 


Written by Cassidy Herberth, Prevention and Education Specialist.

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Education plays a large role in our understanding of the world. It can often lay a foundation for our perceptions of the world. Yet, at the same time, there can be considerable gaps in education that students look to fill. An example of this is within sexual education in high schools. Sexual education has long been a point of tension within school districts. For some districts, it is abstinent only sex education, where students are to refrain from sexual intercourse. Other districts focus on consent. The overall result of this tension point is that there is a gap between what students are learning and what they want to learn. This is demonstrated by the findings from Louisa Allen’s “Closing Sex Education’s Knowledge/Practice Gap: The reconceptualization of young people’s sexual knowledge,” which show that there are two ways that young people, ages 17-19 conceptualize sexual knowledge (Allen, 2001). The first way is information that comes from secondary sources, such as sexual education (Allen, 2001). The second way is from actual experiences with sex (Allen, 2001). Yet, students and young people are receiving their sexual education, not just in the classroom, but in multiple different ways.

The first step in understanding this gap is to understand that there had long been a debate about how sexual education should be taught. There is a debate about whether sexual education should emphasize the risks of sex or stating that teen sex is normal and ensuring it is taught to be safe and responsible (Gordon & Ellingson, 2006). According to the data from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 37 states have laws requiring abstinence be included in lessons (Planned Parenthood). Only 18 states require educators to educate on the matters of birth control (Planned Parenthood). There is not a uniformed sexual education program throughout the United States, which means that students all over the country are learning different things about sex. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) has long been advocating the sexual activity focuses on the message that “sexuality is a joyful, integrative, and natural part of being human” (Gordon & Ellingson, 2006).

Yet, a majority of students are receiving what is known as “official sexual education.” This official sexual education focuses on risk mitigation, focusing on Sexual Transmitted Diseases and Infection prevention (Ollis, 2016). Overall, when students were asked about sex, they were not talking about “official sex,” such as Sexual Transmitted Infections or pregnancy prevention, but rather they are talking through their own experiences and what sex means to them (Allen, 2001). The ‘So What’s an Abstinence Anyway?’ lesson had the least variation in interpretation: 90% of the students determined that the danger messages were most dominant. Even in this case, however, the remaining 10% of participants were split between pleasure and equal/unbiased messages” (Gordon & Ellingson, 2006). The current forms of education that are valued when it comes to sexual education is that which “prescribes appropriate behavior rather than knowledge” (Allen, 2001). Even with teaching students every aspect of sexual intercourse, from risk mitigation to consent, students will often bring their own “interpretations based on gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and youth’ (Gordon & Ellingson, 2006). Yet, a well-rounded sexual education could prevent future beliefs in rape myths if done properly. The Sexual Education Forum encourages Sexualities and Relationship education that promotes sexual education that includes discussions on sexuality, emotions, sexual health and more (8). Santelli

According to the SIECUS, if students cannot articulate what they are looking for in a sexual relationship, then they will not be able to articulate consent or non-consent (Gordon & Ellingson, 2006).. This becomes especially prominent when analyzing the gap. This gap can be filled by family, their churches, their peers, their older siblings, and many more. Yet, the overwhelming majority of students are turning to pornography as a way to learn about the themes and topics that they are not learning about in the classroom. These themes include, sexual pleasure, sexual anatomy, and the mechanics of sex. A majority of people between 13 and 18 years old have limited knowledge of the basics of sexual reproduction, even though 95% of that population have been through some form of sexual education (Hesse & Pedersen, 2017). The knowledge that students want to know is not taught in the classrooms (Allen, 2001). 

Comprehensive Sexual Education is an important form of early intervention for Preventing Sexual Assault. These conversations with our youth are imperative in the fight to end sexual violence. 

For more information on comprehensive sexuality education services offered by ZCenter, please contact info@zcenter.org.

Gordon, L. E., & Ellingson, L. (2006). In the eyes of the beholder: Student interpretations of sexuality lessons. Sex Education, 6(3), 251–264. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681810600836364

Lyndon, A. E., Duffy, D. M., Smith, P. H., & White, J. W. (2011). The role of high school coaches in helping prevent adolescent sexual aggression: Part of the solution or part of the problem? Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 35(4), 377–399. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193723511426292

Watson, M. A., & Smith, R. D. (2012). Positive porn: Educational, medical, and clinical uses. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 7(2), 122–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2012.680861

Ollis, D. (2016). ‘I felt like I was watching porn’: The reality of preparing pre-service teachers to teach about sexual pleasure. Sex Education, 16(3), 308–323. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2015.1075382

Hare, K. A., Gahagan, J., Jackson, L., & Steenbeek, A. (2015). Revisualising ‘porn’: How young adults’ consumption of sexually explicit Internet movies can inform approaches to Canadian sexual health promotion. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(3), 269–283. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2014.919409

Sharma, M. K., Anand, N., Thamilselvan, P., Suma, N., John, N., Sahu, M., Thakur, P. C., Baglari, H., & Singh, P. (2019). Is porn use becoming a modality of sex education among teenagers? A case study. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 45, 18–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2019.08.001 

Hesse, C., & Pedersen, C. L. (2017). Porn sex versus real sex: How sexually explicit material shapes our understanding of sexual anatomy, physiology, and behaviour. Sexuality & Culture: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 21(3), 754–775. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-017-9413-2

Allen, L. (2001). Closing sex education’s knowledge/practice gap: The reconceptualisation of young people’s sexual knowledge. Sex Education, 1(2), 109–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681810120052542

Hare, K. A., Gahagan, J., Jackson, L., & Steenbeek, A. (2015). Revisualising ‘porn’: How young adults’ consumption of sexually explicit Internet movies can inform approaches to Canadian sexual health promotion. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(3), 269–283. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2014.919409

Hirst, J. (2013). ‘It’s got to be about enjoying yourself’: Young people, sexual pleasure, and sex and relationships education. Sex Education, 13(4), 423–436. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2012.747433

Rohrbach, L. A., Berglas, N. F., Jerman, P., Angulo-Olaiz, F., Chou, C.-P., & Constantine, N. A. (2015). A rights-based sexuality education curriculum for adolescents: 1-year outcomes from a cluster-randomized trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(4), 399–406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.07.004

Santelli, J. S., Grilo, S. A., Choo, T.-H., Diaz, G., Walsh, K., Wall, M., Hirsch, J. S., Wilson, P. A., Gilbert, L., Khan, S., & Mellins, C. A. (2018). Does sex education before college protect students from sexual assault in college? PLoS ONE, 13(11).

deFur, K. M. (2012). Don’t forget the good stuff! Incorporating positive messages of sexual pleasure into sexuality education. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 7(2), 160–169. https://doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2012.681214

Peter, C. R., Tasker, T. B., & Horn, S. S. (2015). Parents’ attitudes toward comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education: Beliefs about sexual health topics and forms of curricula. Health Education, 115(1), 71–92. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-01-2014-0003

Adeoye, H., & Odebowale, I. (2014). Sexuality education and contraception as correlates of sexual behaviour among university undergraduates. Gender & Behaviour, 12(1), 6125–6134.

Jeffries, W. L., Dodge, B., Bandiera, F. C., & Reece, M. (2010). Beyond abstinence-only: Relationships between abstinence education and comprehensive topic instruction. Sex Education, 10(2), 171–185. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811003666317

 


Written by Cassidy Herberth, Prevention and Education Specialist.

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

Love and Boundaries

Today is The American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day, to raise awareness about women’s heart health. While we wear red and aim to live a healthier lifestyle, we also need to take care of our emotional hearts. 

In this month of love, are we remembering to set healthy boundaries? It’s difficult when loved ones and friends need us. It’s difficult in a time when everyone is struggling through a worldwide pandemic. We give and give, often feeling depleted the minute we wake up each morning.

Let’s be kind to our hearts and set some boundaries this month with a few tips to keep in mind:

  • No can be one of the kindest words we say. No means you are making space for yourself, allowing your depleted energy to refill. No means that you prioritize your wellbeing.
  • Saying no to a task or an intimate act models true self-care to the other person. 
  • No can be followed by affirmations. “No, I can’t run that errand with you, but I would like to spend time with you another day when I have more energy. I really do enjoy being around you.”
  • Some boundaries can be temporary. You can stay off of social media for a day or two to reconnect with your body and the natural world, then go back to your accounts when you are ready.
  • Some boundaries feel wrong, but that is often because we are not taught to value ourselves. If you need to cut toxic behaviors or relationships out of your life, remind yourself that you are valued and loved. Other people’s happiness is not your responsibility.
  • You deserve to take a break when you need it. If the dishes don’t get done, or if the oil change has to wait a day, it won’t be the end of the world. 
  • Love doesn’t mean you say yes to everything. You can love someone and also have physical and emotional boundaries.
  • Endings are often beginnings. Ending a toxic relationship, or ending a commitment to something that no longer serves you, makes space in your life for something greater. 

Remember, you need to fill your own cup before you help others. Try to love yourself a little more each time you see red this month. It’s good for your heart and good for the people you love.

For more information on healthy boundaries, please see How to Create Healthy Boundaries, from the University of Kentucky.

 


Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor.

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

Support and Resources during the Holidays

This can be a joyous and festive time of year for many. It can also be a time when sexual assault survivors feel triggered, a time when abuse within families becomes more prevalent, or a time when basic needs are unmet. We at ZCenter hope to support you in whatever way we can. Please look through our list of resources and self-care ideas if you are experiencing this time of year as challenging. May we all have the support we need.

 

General Assistance

For general information about Lake County resources, including shelter, food, counseling, hotlines, etc., please reach out to United Way of Lake County by calling 211.

For United Way of Metro Chicago, call 311.

Sexual Abuse, Assault, or Harassment

  1. ZCenter’s Crisis Hotline: 847-872-7700
  2. ZCenter general information: 847-244-1187 or info@zcenter.org
  3. RAINN national hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  4. Polaris Project (for human trafficking) hotline: 800-373-7888

Domestic Violence

  1. A Safe Place for Help Crisis Line: (847) 249-4450 or 1-800-600-SAFE
  2. A Safe Place for Help general information: (847) 360-6471 or info@asafeplaceforhelp.org
  3. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
  4. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline: 800-799-7233

LGBTQ+ Resources

  1. LGBTQ+ Center Lake County has compiled a list of resources for the LGBTQ+ community in Lake County, found here.
  2. National Suicide Prevention 24-hour Lifeline: 800-273-TALK
  3. The Trevor Project 24-hour Hotline: 866-488-7386

Servicios en español

  1. Mano a Mano – Round Lake (Bilingual family resources, advocacy): (847) 201-1521
  2. La Paloma (housing, counseling, abuse/trafficking survivors): 847-731-7165 x190. For immediate crisis: 800-600-SAFE (800-600-7233)
  3. HACES: Hispanice American Community Education and Services – Waukegan (Immigration, family resources,DACA, Bilingual GED): (847) 244-0300

Mental Health/Suicide

  1. Text-A-Tip is a 24/7 anonymous text crisis hotline offering emotional support for middle school and high school youth. Simply text LAKECO (and your message) to the number 1-844-823-5323.  Within seconds, you will receive an automated response, and within minutes a live mental health counselor will respond to your text.  All messages are sent through a cloaking server located offsite that keeps the communication completely anonymous.
  2. The Lake County Health Department’s Crisis Care Hotline: 847- 377-8088
  3. SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  4. NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  5. Nicasa Behavioral Health Services (Behavioral/Emotional Support, SubstanceAbuse): (847) 546-6450 or info@nicasa.org
  6. National Suicide Prevention 24/7 LifeLine: Dial 988, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) en español: 1-888-628-9454
  7. National 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741

 

Self-Care During the Holidays

The National Suicide Prevention LifeLine recommends the following for self-care ideas for December and beyond. 

  • Take a walk outside
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Write about something you are grateful for in your life (it can be a person, place, or thing)
  • Create a happy playlist and a coping playlist
  • Treat yourself to a favorite snack
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Forgive someone
  • Forgive yourself
  • Say thank you to someone who has helped you recently
  • Create a DIY self-care kit of things that make you feel better
  • Take your medication on time
  • Take a new fitness class at the gym (yoga, Zumba, etc.)
  • Plan a lunch date with someone you haven’t seen in a while
  • Pamper yourself with an at-home spa day
  • Take a day off from social media and the Internet
  • Reach out to your support system
  • Cuddle with your pets or a friend’s pet
  • Take the time to stop, stand and stretch for 2 minutes
  • Wake up a little earlier and enjoy your a morning cup of tea or coffee before the morning rush
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Take yourself out to dinner
  • Volunteer
  • Start that one project you’ve been contemplating for a while
  • Sit with your emotions, and allow yourself to feel and accept them. It’s okay to laugh, cry, just feel whatever you’re feeling with no apologies!
  • Cook a favorite meal from scratch
  • Take a 5-minute break in your day
  • Compliment someone (and yourself, too!)
  • Give yourself permission to say no
  • De-clutter your mind: write down 5 things that are bothering you, and then literally throw them away
  • Donate 3 pieces of clothing that you no longer wear
  • Take the time to find 5 beautiful things during your daily routine
  • Take a mental health day from school, work, etc.
  • Take a nap
  • Reach out to the Lifeline

 

Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor. 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email info@zcenter.org.

 

Spokes of the Wheel: Reproductive Justice

What is Reproductive Justice?

 

We often think that reproductive justice and reproductive rights are synonymous, that both are the work to give women rights about their reproductive choices. However, reproductive justice is a much larger issue that involves the entire lifespan of the parent, child, and entire community. It also acknowledges the intersection of class, race, and reproductive justice; reproductive justice is an act of racial justice.

Reproductive justice aims to ensure that individuals have access to abuse prevention and comprehensive education for their entire lifespan of sexuality. It aims to support individuals’ choices about having children. It aims to support parents and children in the many years before and after the act of childbirth.

 

Reproductive Justice and Sexual Violence

 

At ZCenter, we offer prevention, advocacy, crisis intervention, and counseling as ways to support reproductive justice. We offer the Spokes of the Wheel: Reproductive Justice as a model for addressing reproductive justice at the individual and community level.

  • Learning about Healthy Relationships and Consent. For a healthy reproductive life, we all need to learn that sexuality can and should be healthy and should always involve affirmative consent. ZCenter offers this through our prevention services in PreK-12 grade and higher education.
  • Sexual Abuse Prevention. Learning that we can set boundaries, say no, and report to a trusted adult when there is sexual abuse are all crucial aspects of reproductive justice. ZCenter offers this through our prevention services in PreK-12 grade and higher education.
  • Support & Services for Those Who Wish or Do Not Wish to Have Children. Particularly in cases of abuse, individuals are more empowered when they have choices. As part of our medical advocacy services, we offer clients the choices available to them and help them with any resources they need for taking the next step in their decision.
  • Childcare. As we support parents’ choices, we must acknowledge that lack of childcare is a barrier to economic, social, and political power. Paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable or free childcare, and workplace support for parents are necessary as we work toward reproductive justice.
  • Resources to Make Healthy Decisions. At all ages, individuals deserve access to education and resources for a healthy reproductive life. This includes parent resources, education about sexual health, pregnancy resources, and access to quality educational content. ZCenter is proud to offer PATHH: Preventing Abuse Through Holistic Health, a course designed to help youth to comprehensively learn about healthy decisions in their sexuality. This course will begin in 2022.
  • Crisis Intervention Services. When abuse or physical crisis occur, individuals deserve access to support services. ZCenter continues to offer crisis intervention in many sectors of society, including schools, emergency rooms, a crisis support hotline, and counseling.
  • Gender & Sexuality: Support, Education, Services. Our understanding of sexuality and gender are ever expanding and all individuals deserve access to this knowledge. At ZCenter, we know that some vulnerable populations have a higher risk for experiencing sexual violence, including the LGBTQ+ community. We strive to support this community with our services while also partnering with others in the community, like LGBTQ+ Center Lake County.

We encourage you to contact us if you have questions about any of our services or reproductive justice. 

 

For more information:

National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice

Sister Song: Reproductive Justice

Reproductive Justice: An Introduction, by Loretta Ross and Rickie Solinger 

 


Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor. 

ZCenter aims to end sexual violence, mobilize and educate the public, and support survivors of sexual assault. Our blog addresses issues related to ending oppression and violence, since all oppression and violence are intersectional with sexual violence. All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email kjones@zcenter.org.

Chicago Blackhawks: Sexual Assault and What We Have Learned

Chicagoland is reeling from the news of sexual assault allegations within the Chicago Blackhawks. One of the team’s coaches assaulted a player and leadership of the team ignored the allegations for years. This horrific news shows us that professional athletes respond to sexual trauma just as anyone else does.

“The perpetrator was celebrated, paraded around. It made me feel like nothing… like I wasn’t important.” –Kyle Beach

Sean Black, Chief Projects Officer with the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) described that the trust that you had in a person is completely broken. Recovering from that is a long process. He also shared characteristics we are seeing that are similar to many other sexual assault cases:

  • Institutions tend to cover it up.
  • Most people don’t believe the survivor.
  • Retraumatization is common.
  • It’s common for the survivor not to come forward until later.
  • The perpetrator is often someone known and/or someone who holds power over the other.
  • The fact that this assault happened between two individuals who identify as male is not uncommon. Sexual assault can happen to anyone.
  • Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator (rapist).

At ZCenter, we use the simple guidelines of Believe, Validate, and Empower. 

Believe when someone discloses their experience of sexual abuse to you. Validate their words and feelings. Empower them by giving them choices.

 

Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center (ZCenter) is a certified ICASA center. For more information about the interview with Sean Black from ICASA, see the video here.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know that your local rape crisis center is here for you. In Lake County and Northern Cook County, please feel free to call our Crisis Support Line if you are in crisis after experience sexual assault. 

 

Crisis Support Line: 847-872-7799

 


Written by Kristin Jones, PhD, EdM, Outreach Supervisor

Photo by Sarah Brennan, MSW, Activism and Volunteer Coordinator

 

All ZCenter blog posts are written by state certified staff, interns, and volunteers. For questions on authorship or content, please email kjones@zcenter.org.

November Lunch & Learn Webinars

Join us for our November Lunch & Learn Webinars. Each are free, but we do ask that you register in advance.

 

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and How It Affects Our Veterans

Thursday, November 11

12:00pm Central Time

Register here.

Sexual Assault and the Law

Thursday, November 18

12:00pm Central Time

Register here.

 

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