Midday, Wednesday January 22, President Barack Obama held a press conference and signed paperwork to initiate a 90 day task force after revealing a report on findings regarding college age sex assault. This is his memorandum, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/22/memorandum-establi...
Here is a copy of the PDF explaining the current findings and focus that preceded the memorandum. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report...
Valerie Jarrett, an attorney is the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, the http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/who/leadership group which is responsible for managing the 90 day discussion working to formulate a plan for this information. Below is her contact information for social media, and a recent post from her. https://twitter.com/vj44
Valerie Jarrett @vj4420h
Today POTUS signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the WH Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault: http://ow.ly/sQBudhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg
The other three women under her are :
Tina Tchen Attorney , JD
Avra Seigel Master of Public Administration
Sarah Hurwitz, Speech Writer, JD
So top of the list are three attorneys and one public administrator.
It isn't really clear who will be consulted to bring forward additional related information, or if the study is only to focus on the above PDF as the pinnacle information.
Here are some things this writer, a retired professional clinician in mental health and addictions family therapy would like the group to bring forward as part of the discussion.
So here are some problems this writer is aware of:
1.) There is no national standard for report documentation or for the process of investigation of sexual assault of any age person.
2.) The CDC ( Center for Disease Control) , nor the WHO ( The World Health Organization) nor most public health departments are involved in the process of measuring the effectiveness of information collections processes, staff who do this work, outcomes in systems or law enforcement or court outcomes.
3.) Survivors of sex assault do not come forward because often the processes of sex assault reporting and processing are murky, or random.
4.) Victims have an equal chance of being blamed for the assault in most systems of response, either by law or by process.
5.) A recent Philadelphia addictions ( Narcotics Anonymous 60th Anniversary Conference) conference symposium noted that the process of most investigative questioning includes two things.
One is A.) entire system of questioning that bypasses knowledge of how a victim CAN think or CAN recall data are employed with regularity. This is counter-intuitive for the victim. This would immediately cause a failed report, because the interviewee could not possibly know that, could not and should not be asked to recall data in a way that requires them to reorder their thinking to match the interviewer's taste or desire, and that automatically skunks the interviewee. People in crisis need to be listened to, and supported to share what they can.
B.) That the investigative interviewer has the option to make up their mind about the interviewee independent of the facts presented, or any bio-psycho-social assessment of the problem at hand, therefore making the interviewer's PERSONAL opinion greater than any fact of a first hand observer. This backdoor approach leads also to the interfering influence of anyone who wishes to interject or subjugate the interviewee to get a desired outcome.
C.) Most systems employing interviewers don't require a professional license that would support ethics in interviewing, respecting the bio-psycho-social aspects of the victim and any other limitations, like intelligence, medical compromise or learning disabilities, mental health or cultural limitations or the interviewee or interview process.
6..) Systems Induced Traumas can be what happens to the person who is the reporting party, (be it the exact victim and or the family who accompanies) them when the process is mishandled and they are victimized once, or repeatedly by poor system management of the problem. Things like repeat interviewing ( which is supposed to be illegal but the victim has to hire an attorney to process this), interference with evidence, reporting or investigations ( again, this is supposed to be illegal, but the victim is expected to hire an attorney to process this). Harassment, instruction to remove, dilute or recant testimony. Problems getting proper aid. Being asked to pay for the assault care. Being refused a rape kit. Rape kits not being processed in a timely manner.
7.) Systems Induced Traumas, if accompanied by a failed or no start for investigation, are then often followed by infinite jeopardy. Indefinite jeopardy is when the victim or family are held responsible for the failed report, investigation or for the whole incident. That is not to say that the victim could never be responsible, but this is surfacing at a rate, when considered with #5 is HIGHLY concerning to most providers and families.
Infinite jeopardy means that there is no protective action, and the perpetrator may even end up in charge of the victim, without the situation ever being assessed. Risk, abuse and death can ensue. This issue is not just for college aged females, but consider how many people may never have reported, or cases failed due to poor processing of complaint. Besides the potential of PTSD, this risk of reverberating acts against the victim,victim blaming, slut shaming, bad parenting, whatever you want to call it can boomerang back again and again. Failed child sex assault investigations cannot be resurrected, and the child may be placed with the perpetrator as primary caregiver. This is happening with increasing frequency.
Oklahoma has a law that #SWTW cautioned against, that a man can rape and impregnate a woman and ultimately gain control over the child. #SarahElizondo case has enough traits for the general public to get the picture. http://www.examiner.com/article/little-oklahoma-sarah-gone-to-california
Supreme Court yesterday, in their first child porn restitution case identified that reimbursement for a survivior is appropriate, but shouldn't be random. That person, who happens to be a woman, is faced life long with people bringing up images over which she had no control. An assault, victimization, re-victimization in a social context and now re-victimization in the court (s)? She is having indefinite jeopardy from the assault, and from the attempt to get justice.
8.) CDC and WHO or public health departments not necessarily involved in development of assessments and investigations or their success.This writer spoke with a higher up with CDC who deals with studies of personal injury stats, documentations and attempts at repairs and he said that he has never had the question of structure of reporting, success of reporting, success of measures and success or effectiveness of investigations come across his desk.Whether an issue of dollars, or purview or interest that this has not been studied is unclear.
9.) But the White House Committee above is focused by attorneys, and women.
10.) Where is the voice of understanding the offender, and what preventions from that aspect might be made of? There has been no mention of resources previously given like Atlanta's Gene Abel MD, who measures and studies extensively sex offenders, discovered and undiscovered. Dr. Abel is a gem, and untapped resource for people who think this problem is of a social more in nature. Getting the facts on the layers that make this really complex and requiring care are pretty important. Even a rudimentary review of this information http://www.ussc.gov/Legislative_and_Public_Affairs/Public_Hearings_and_M... shows possible reflections Dr. Abel could offer a discussion like this, and plans for reply.
11.) It is easier to report a bad burger and get a clear direct process of response and protections than it is to file a sex assault complaint.
a.)Noone asks the public to get an attorney or to "make sure".
b.)Noone says the consumer could, should be or is charged for introducing the complaint.
c.) Noone says the public has to contact the related public systems ( city, county, state, fed, public and private are often involved in reporting sex assault, with an average of 8-13 groups a victim and family may have to have contact with, not to mention change in staff within the groups)
12.) With a bad burger, there are immediate medical protocols followed. This is uniform, it tracks a variety of data and provides a profile over time, with timely collected samples. Everyone gets this, and everyone cooperates.
13.)Until the US looks at sex assault of any age person as a public health menace, the issue will be lost in culturally looking the other way, morality fluff, legal jargon that protects perps, systems investigations that are murky and in the end perpetuate the problem.
14.) In reality, because measures and processes are so poor ( by mismatch or otherwise), there is an excellent possibility that sex assault numbers are much higher than the public realizes.
15.) If that information is rolled back further to understand that the highest incidence of child sex assault is in the five and under crowd, that changes the discussion some more. IF those numbers too are wrong for the same reason, that would be even more concerning
16.) A national magazine in the last 5 years showed that teen pregnancy Fathers who are teens, are sex abuse victim unidentified. http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/chil... Chris Brown as a third grader was sexually assaulted by a HS Sophomore and didn't seem to know that when he disclosed to national news. Sex education classes reveal healthy development, prevention of pregnancy and STD and reveal possible sex assault for either sex. How many child victims turn out to be adult victims or perps? Or adult victims AND perps.
What else is missing?
17.) Date rape and sex assault and unprotected sex can generate STD active/passable/permanent infections, unwanted pregnancy, internal rips and tears that may go untreated. Sex abuse can cause or exacerbate psychological problems for a lifetime. Untreated any of these can dilute if not destroy a person.
For perpetrators and victims, sex abuse is "the gift that keeps on giving" and it is something noone need experience.
18.) Steubenville and Maryville and thousands of other situations like them happen daily. Date rape drugs.
19.) Social etiquitte is helpful. Looking out for others is helpful. But formal responses must be improved, and a matrix of understanding and expected outcome from the White House Committee on Women and Girls will surely be better if a profoundly broader protective net is thrown.
20.) Why is this not a public health menace all over the world? Why is CDC and WHO and the US Surgeon General not the one called forward to nail this and then pass it to the policy and law writing peoples on this committee?
21.) Extreme gratitude and kudos to Mr. President and company for this progressive request.
Here are a couple of other things for edification.
22.) Hilary and Chelsea Clinton both expressed concerns that Rape Kits have been collected in some states and have never been processed. Rape Kits are the medical evidence collection packet that Emergency Rooms and Sex Assault Centers process to get necessary information following a reported assault.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_kit Wikipedia has some standard info.
https://rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/medical-inform... RAINN is the sex assault network and so the more direct professsional.
23.) Here is a Jezebel excerpt of the COST of caring for sex assault. Jezebel Rape Treatment Cost http://jezebel.com/5927962/treatment-for-rape-without-insurance-costs-mo...
24.) Here is a list of reasons a law enforcement unit did not process rape complaints in their community. https://www.google.com/search?q=SANE+Rape+kit&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=l...
This article is not a professional review of stats and vetted studies. It is a call for attentions to the fact that stats and vetted studies for some unknown reason have not to date appeared to allow professional medical and mental health communities to have a greater hand in developing along with others programs of response that allow our communities and governments to understand just how pervasive sex assault is from day ONE of life ( yes babies are assaulted).
Once this is better understood, perhaps more effective responses will be in place for us all, high risk populations as the focus.
Please "like" this article on FB in the box above the article, or send it via email or other social media. Only 90 days to get this "understood" for a better realistic longterm plan.