Spring 2003 Newsletter

April Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In honor of that, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence has planned through the Sexual Assault Task Group two statewide activities for April. Sexual assault programs across the state will be participating in these activities in order to increase awareness and public education.

Programs will be sending articles to their newspapers to be printed on April 6 that will provide basic information regarding sexual violence and will challenge myths and misconceptions that are used to minimize this violence. The articles will also address the misplaced accountability on survivors rather than on offenders. Please check your newspaper on April 6 to learn about your local program and how you can support their efforts during this important month. Also, look for flyers regarding Sexual Assault Awareness Month at local grocery stores. Across the state, programs will be soliciting grocery stores and other places of business in order to have them hand out flyers to customers as they check out. The flyers give basic information about sexual assault, and list 10 things that you can do to end sexual violence.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center Awards Salina Advocate

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is honoring advocates across the country who commit their lives and time to working to end sexual violence. NSVRC asked each state or territory coalition to nominate an individual in that state to receive the “2003 Award for Outstanding Advocacy and Community Work in Ending Sexual Violence,” in recognition of significant work toward ending sexual violence and promoting community awareness. This award is given to one nominee in each state or territory. Melissa Lewis, from DVAC of Salina has been chosen to receive the award for the state of Kansas. The award will be sent to KCSDV to present to Melissa at the beginning of April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Melissa Lewis has worked for the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Center in Salina, Kansas for the past 3 years. Melissa has worked as the Sexual Assault Advocate for over a year. She provides sexual assault advocacy in 10 different counties and has been instrumental in raising awareness throughout these counties. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month in 2002, Melissa worked extremely hard to ensure that all 10 signed a document proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Melissa’s strong sense of philosophy and personal advocacy skills make her an indispensable resource to survivors in Salina and the surrounding areas. Melissa is an active member of the KCSDV Sexual Assault Task Group, and has been instrumental in implementing new resources and programming to more effectively meet the needs of sexual assault survivors. We are very proud to work with Melissa and to be able to honor her with this award for her wonderful work with survivors and her commitment to ending sexual violence.

History of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Movement

Resistance to violence against women has existed for centuries; however, a formalized response to change the social environment that promotes acceptance of violence against women and provide services to survivors is generally recognized as starting in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Most of the women initially involved in the work to end violence against women were influenced by other progressive social movements of the time: the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, etc. As women began discussing their experiences, it became clear that domestic violence and sexual assault was perpetrated against women in epidemic proportions. At this time it was often viewed as the woman’s fault that this violence had occurred: i.e. she needed to learn to be a better wife or she shouldn’t have been out late at night alone. It became clear that women often experienced this violence at the hands of those that they trusted and the image of women being safe at home or with family members was obviously inaccurate.

The early violence against women movement was formed primarily of survivors and their main goal was to provide basic services to other survivors. Survivors of sexual assault began holding speak-outs to expose the reality of rape and in 1971 the first rape crisis center in the United States opened in San Francisco. Rape crisis centers and 24-hour hotlines quickly spread across the country. The first rape crisis center in Kansas opened in 1972 in Lawrence. Building on a strong anti-rape movement that was beginning to establish crisis centers and support groups, services for battered women began to formalize. In 1972, the first battered women’s hotline started in St. Paul, MN. During the formative years, many advocates (who were volunteers and primarily survivors themselves) began recognizing that safety was the primary need for women. They would house women and children in their own homes in order to provide safety. In 1976, the first battered women’s shelters in Kansas opened. Services provided during the 1970’s were primarily focused on meeting the basic needs of women, including housing, food, and clothing. Both sexual assault advocates and domestic violence advocates would hold support groups in whatever space they could find; including individual’s homes.

Funding was scarce, and many programs struggled to pay rent, utilities, and phone bills. However, those early advocates quickly realized that the traditional approach of trying to determine what was “wrong” with the woman continued to perpetuate a social context in which violence against women was accepted. These advocates quickly reframed violence against women as a societal problem, rather than a personal matter. Advocates began demanding offender accountability and balanced their time between individual advocacy for women and systems advocacy in which they attempted to communicate women’s needs to systems that were often hostile and unresponsive.

In the 1980’s, violence against women was becoming a recognized societal problem; however, the causes of this violence were still debated. During the 1980’s, some limited federal funding became available to programs. This enabled programs to begin providing additional services to help meet women’s needs and to provide education for communities. During this time, many Universities across the country provided sexual assault education and self-defense classes for women were formed. Additionally, the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse and acquaintance rape began to be exposed. Domestic violence programs also expanded their services and focused on the criminal justice system holding offenders accountable. Community Coordinated Response Teams also began in some areas of the country to look at a multi-disciplinary approach to creating responses to domestic violence. More academic research was formulated in the 1980’s regarding both domestic violence and sexual assault. There was also a great deal of legislative change in the 1980’s, including: marital rape became a crime in most states (1983 for Kansas), the first civil suit was won by a battered woman (filed against the Torrington, CT Police Department) who was injured by her batterer when police neglected to intervene, civil remedies such as Protection From Abuse Orders became more readily available, sexual harassment was declared a form of illegal job discrimination, and rape laws were reformed.

In the 1990’s, there continued to be growth within the violence against women movement, and continued struggles. Violence against women was recognized as a human rights violation by the United Nations, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 (the first major federal legislation to address violence against women), increased number of programs to treat sex offenders and batterers, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month to increase public knowledge, and continued expansion of laws to fight violence against women. Additional funding also became available for programs that were continuing to try to meet the needs of an ever-increasing number of survivors, and specialized positions to target specific areas (such as court advocacy or rural outreach) were added to many programs. During this time domestic violence was often more discussed than sexual assault, and there was a decrease in the activism that originally founded the movement. Many of the founding women of the movement left, found other jobs, or moved on. However, there continued to be new advocates joining the field and more men were joining the movement as allies, especially in the sexual assault movement.

In the early 2000’s, we have seen an increased emphasis placed on prevention of violence against women, and continued work to make systems more responsive to survivor’s needs. Additionally, there is an increased effort to connect advocates on a local, state, and national level in order to increase the feeling and effectiveness of a larger movement. Many programs across the country have recently suffered funding cuts, and there is continued need for additional monies. In Kansas, we now have 29 programs serving survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. These programs provide support and much needed services to thousands of survivors every year and continue to work to end violence against women. Their voice, combined with allies, is the culmination of decades of hard work and the continued process of change.

The following table lists chronologically the domestic and sexual violence advocacy movement in the United States and the establishment of advocacy programs in Kansas.


1971 First U.S. rape crisis center opens in
San Francisco
1972 First Kansas rape crisis center opens in Lawrence

First battered women’s hotline started in St. Paul, MN

1974 Wichita sexual assault program founded

First Kansas battered women’s shelter opens in Lawrence, followed by Emporia, Hutchinson,
and Wichita.

1975 Kansas City Metro area sexual assault program founded
1976 Second program in Wichita founded
1977 McPherson and Topeka programs founded
1978 KOSAC (Kansas Organization of Sexual Assault Centers) founded
1979 K.S.A. 603101, Protection from Abuse Order enacted

Manhattan, Overland Park and Pittsburg programs founded

KADVP (Kansas Association of Domestic Violence Programs) founded

1980 Eldorado, Kansas City and Salina programs founded
1981 Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend and Liberal programs founded
1983 K.S.A. 213502, Spousal Rape statute enacted
Hays, Scott City and Winfield programs founded
1984 K.S.A. 222401, Arrest Statute enacted

K.S.A. 747325, Protection From Abuse Fund enacted

lola and Leavenworth programs founded

1986 K.S.A. 213721, Violation of Protection From Abuse Order
1987 First national tollfree hotline

October designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

1988 Atchison program founded
1989 KOSAC and KADVP merge to become KCSDV

Newton program founded

National Coalition Against Sexual Assault formally designates April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

1990 K.S.A. 747301, Crime Victims Compensation Act enacted
1991 K.S.A. 222307 and 222308, Law Enforcement written policies and Probable Cause enacted

K.S.A. 601610, Spousal Abuse in Child Custody enacted

1992 K.S.A. 213amp, Stalking Law enacted
1994 K.S.A. 28172, Docket fees enacted

K.S.A. 492901, Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators enacted

Ulysses program founded
Violence Against Women Act

1995 Hiawatha program and Wichita transitional housing program founded
1996 K.S.A. 2amp43, Violation of a Protective Order enacted

K.S.A. 213721, Criminal Trespass enacted

1997 Sac and Fox STOP Violence Against Indian Women program founded
2001 Prairie Band Potawatomi Indian Reservation program founded
Tips for Advocates: Educating the Public and the Media About Sexual Violence

Professional communicators, educators, and/or service providers are in a unique position to influence society’s view of sexual violence. The words and language used can either help educate about the reality of sexual violence or can reinforce commonly held myths and misconceptions. Exposing the reality of sexual violence is an important component in preventing sexual violence and creating supportive systems for survivors of this crime.

Replacing Myths with Facts:

Listed below are some of the commonly held myths/misconceptions regarding sexual violence and how to avoid reinforcing these myths.

Rape is Sex:
This is one of the most powerful myths regarding sexual violence. This myth disregards the fact that sexual violence is a violent crime that causes great harm to the victim and to society. Avoid using the phrase “having sex with” to describe rape or sexual violence. Also, avoid the words “sexual intercourse” (e.g. “He had sexual intercourse with her”). These words connote that the sexual assault was consensual. Instead use “sexual assault” or “rape” (e.g. “He sexually assaulted her”).

Offender is motivated by desire:
Sexual assault is a crime that is driven by a desire to control and dominate another person. It has been likened to torture, and sex is not the end goal, but rather is used as a weapon. Avoid describing the offender as someone who would not “need” to rape anyone because he is in a relationship, has a lot of dates, etc.

Most rapes are committed by strangers:
Current studies show that only around 10%-15% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone unknown to the victim. Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows and trusts. Avoid comments that minimize the seriousness of an attack perpetrated by someone known to the victim. These attacks are just as traumatic and have just as many long-term effects.

Rape is often falsely reported:
This myth is often used to discredit reports of sexual violence. The FBI states that only 2% of reported rapes are falsely reported. The scrutiny and stigma that victims are subjected to discourages reporting of sexual assault (with approximately 84% of sexual assaults going unreported).

Sexual Violence is not harmful:
This misnomer is often seen in statements such as “The victim was sexually assaulted but did not sustain injury.” This myth minimizes the traumatic effect of sexual violence and the long-term difficulties often associated with sexual violence. The courts have found that rape or sexual assault is injury in and of itself; that no physical injuries need be present. One study states that it takes approximately 13 years to overcome being sexually assa

The woman is to blame for being raped:
This is often used when women are questioned about what they were doing, where they were at, who they were with, if they were drinking, or what they are wearing. None of these things cause a sexual assault to occur. The offender makes a choice to sexually assault someone and commit a violent crime. There is no foolproof way to protect yourself from being sexually assaulted.

Sexual Violence does not effect my life:
Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Therefore, chances are that someone you care about will be sexually assaulted during her/his lifetime. In addition, sexual violence effects us all since anyone can be a victim of sexual assault.

Some Helpful Things to Do

  • Do expose the truth about sexual violence, including the frequency, offenders, and long-term effects
  • Do place the responsibility and accountability on the perpetrator
  • Do keep the community informed
  • Form a strong relationship with local allies
  • Validate and support victims who have the courage to tell their stories

If you have any questions or need further information please contact the Sexual Assault Advocacy Coordinator at 785-232-9784.

The Delta Project: Focus on Prevention

KCSDV is excited to announce that we have been chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to participate with thirteen other states in a new project focusing on Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence. The purpose of this grant project is to stimulate the development and implementation of prevention activities that can be integrated into Coordinated Community Responses (CCRs) or similar community-based collaborations at the local level. It will engage local communities in assessing their system level services, policies and actions that prevent domestic violence from occurring and to identify and implement primary prevention enhancements.

KCSDV will work with the CDC and the other DELTA grantees to develop the project using an “environmental approach”. Communities will be able to address the multidimensional factors that contribute to violence in domestic situations – individual characteristics, family culture, community attitudes and system structure, as well as local, state, national and global beliefs and attitudes regarding violence.

KCSDV will award four to five three-year grants to member programs and their community-based CCRs through a competitive RFP process. During the sub-grantee selection process, attention will be given to maintaining geographic, rural/urban and cultural diversity as well as representation of CCRs at various stages of development. Successful recipients will receive a twelve-month prevention enhancement grant award ranging from $36,000 to $45,000 with two additional one-year continuation periods.

Those who participate in the DELTA Program will be able to increase their attention to the prevention rather than just the intervention aspect of Intimate Partner Violence in their area. DELTA grant funding may support incorporation of prevention enhancements to local programs and/or hire a person to spearhead local prevention activities. Community based CCRs from across Kansas will come together to share information and participate in the development of a statewide domestic violence prevention plan.

Programs should begin a dialogue with their local CCRs in preparation for application. The RFP announcement will be out by the end of April.

For more information, contact Sandy Barnett at KCSDV.

Men as Advocates

by Dave McIntire, Community Liaison for the YWCA Battered Women Task Force

How do you birth a men’s advocacy group on a college campus? Like the joke about kissing a porcupine, the answer is “very carefully.”

A couple of months ago, we started with an interesting “what if.” What if there was a group on the Washburn University campus devoted to advocating a male response to the epidemic of sexual violence? The age group most at risk of sexual assault is 16-25. They are also the group that reports the least. According to the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office, somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 cases of rape or aggravated sexual sodomy are filed against a defendant who is college-aged.

How do we as a community create a safe environment as well as challenge preconceived ideas and perceptions on both ends of the issue? It began with brainstorming meetings and individual conversations. Some of these dialogues led to brick walls. Others led to more discussions; more brainstorming; more glimpses at what this group might become.

Getting a glimpse of what is happening here is something akin to parents seeing their first sonogram. We can be fairly sure it’s a baby, but beyond that it’s a rather murky business. We feel confident in saying that there will be some sort of program in place for the fall, but have little idea what the “baby” will look like.

A two-pronged approach has been formulated in the development of the program. The first is academic. In meeting with a group of professors and administrators from Washburn’s Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies we realized that there could be a structure offered for the development of the program within the university itself. The Bonner Leader AmeriCorp program matches students interested in developing leadership skills with businesses and non-profits. The students commit to 900 hours over a two-year period in exchange for an education award at the end of their service. This gives the program a younger face, which offers more campus credibility but not at the expense of experience.

Student investment drives most campus organizations. Professors, administrators and community members can champion all they want, but without a student infrastructure, the group probably won’t last beyond its first anniversary. From a Student Life perspective, where the group will ultimately be chartered, the group needs to address a concern on campus in a positive and concrete way. The implied structure of a Bonner internship goes a long way in satisfying this.

This structure also allows the administration more reason to validate the importance of a “men against violence” organization on campus. For the administration it’s mostly about nuts and bolts. How will the organization be run? How will its conduct on campus reflect upon the university itself? How militant will the organization be in advocating for change?

The second approach is political: creating a credible group with impact and staying power. Many of the men’s advocacy groups on campuses flounder because they fail to attract a broad base of support and leadership. It’s all about buy-in. A few years ago there was a comedy titled PCU. One storyline revolved around the college campus becoming so “politically correct” that different groups on campus became completely fractured and paranoid. Mistrust and platitudes replaced honest dialogue. Right now, the male dominated groups on any given campus understand mistrust and platitude. Student athletes and fraternities are often seen as rapists’ breeding grounds.

We’re working with the Pan-Hellenic council on campus and the athletic department to encourage participation. Instead of targeting these groups as the breeding ground for rapists, recognizing them as an incubator of student leaders. With this philosophy, we give them a chance to show their community that masculinity is more about compassion than aggression.

During a two-hour presentation on sexual assault at one of the fraternities on campus, the 40 plus men spouted all the right catch phrases until we discussed consent. “No doesn’t always seem to mean no,” they said, “Sex is all about negotiation.” For about 30 minutes we explored what consent really means. Thirty minutes of young men articulating honestly their thoughts and challenging themselves beyond stereotype and machismo. In the end they came to the conclusion that negotiated sex is rape without bruises, and that “no means yes or at worst maybe” is just flawed and potentially criminal logic.

What is missing on many college campuses is the chance for safe and honest dialogue for men on the issue of sexual violence. Honest dialogue that allows for men and women to make statements that, while flawed, are more ignorant than malicious. Someone who is ignorant on a certain issue simply doesn’t have the facts or the experience necessary.

Safe dialogue allows young men to speak without being condemned as anti-women or chauvinistic. It forces college men to challenge their preconceived ideas of what makes a man and how sexuality plays into that idea of masculinity. It allows them to become leaders among their peers; not as white knights here to save the women on campus from being raped but as advocates for the campus community. It is important that men are partners with women in making their environment safer for everyone.

Our dialogue has also extended outside the Topeka community. The Internet has allowed us to glimpse at other campus advocacy programs across the nation to see where they’ve succeeded and failed. KCSDV and several national men’s advocacy organizations have also proven invaluable. One in particular, Men Can Stop Rape, based in Washington DC, has offered encouragement and insights that has put us ahead of the learning curve as we navigate a new advocacy group.

The goal is to have a structure in place this spring. Soon we’ll be asking for nominations for leaders from different arenas. By asking faculty, administration, women’s studies students, fraternities/sororities, the athletic department and campus community at large to offer nominations it promotes the honor involved in serving, as well as the positive role men can play in preventing sexual assault. We believe by involving the entire campus community, and with the Bonner Scholar connection, we will be well on our way to developing a viable program on campus.

Like proud and anxious parents, we’re looking forward to the fall when the program is more than just speculation and dreams. We will have a better idea of what it looks like.

What Men Can Do

(Taken in part from literature provided by Men Can Stop Rape, a Washington DC based advocacy group)

Be aware of language
Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. We live in a society in which words are used to put women down; where calling women a “bitch,” “whore,” “freak,” “baby,” or “dog” is common. Such language sends the message that women are less than human. We see women as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect, disregard their rights and ignore their well-being.

Sexual violence often goes hand in hand with poor communication. Our discomfort with talking honestly and openly about sex dramatically raises the risk of rape. By learning effective communication: expressing your desires clearly; listening to your partner; and asking when unclear-men make sex safer for themselves and others.

Speak up
You will probably never see a rape in progress, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote rape. Rape jokes [or any another joke which degrades women] aren’t funny. Say so. Respond to the media when the victim of a sexual assault is blamed for what is viewed as their part in the rape. Let politicians know you won’t support them when they back laws that limit women’s rights.

Support survivors of rape
More than one million women and girls are raped each year [Rape in America-1992]. Most people know someone who has been sexually assaulted. Learn to sensitively support survivors in their lives.

Work to end other oppressions
Rape feeds off of many other forms of prejudice, including racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination. By speaking out against and beliefs and behaviors, including rape, that promote one group of people as superior to another and deny other groups their full humanity, you support everyone’s equality.

Children's Exposure to Batterers

For many years, advocates have been leading the discussion on and educating about “the effects of domestic violence on children” or “the effects on children of exposure to domestic violence.” Perhaps it is time to rethink and reframe that topic and our work in that area. We have always been advocates for battered mothers AND their children, but perhaps our use of language in this area has not conveyed the real problems for children and battered mothers.

When we say “domestic violence,” what images do we conjure up? Are they images of two people, one being battered and one doing the battering? When we say “effects of domestic violence on children,” does the image that arises place accountability on both the victim and the batterer? Perhaps so. Is this what we as a movement believe? Is this what we intend to convey? Are both parents equally responsible for the “effects of domestic violence on children”? We think not.

Our concern as advocates for battered mothers and their children is really a concern about the exposure to the batterer’s behavior. We are concerned that children are living in an environment fraught with systematic power, control, coercion, violence, and intimidation–all created by the batterer.

What if advocates, social service workers, and concerned members of the community all began talking about the “effects on children of being exposed to batterers”? Does this change the image that arises? Does this statement provide a more accurate depiction of who is accountable and responsible for the impact on children? Does this phrase evoke an image of the responsible person being that person who is actually producing the “domestic violence”?

We believe that by changing this frequently used phrase “the effects of domestic violence on children” to “the effects on children of exposure to batterers,” we could change the tone of our work with children and with battered mothers. By altering the mental picture of who is responsible for the violence and by pinpointing the person who should be held accountable for the violence, our work with children and battered mothers becomes more honest. We begin to say what we mean and we mean what we say.

For example, would courts respond differently to battered mothers seeking protection for their children and themselves if we talked about holding the batterer accountable rather than about protecting only the children “exposed to domestic violence”? Would child protective services respond differently to battered mothers and their children if we actually named the parent responsible for the terror in the home, rather than talking about removing the children from both parents in order to protect them from the “effects of domestic violence”? Would child advocacy programs in and out of shelters respond differently to battered mothers and their children if we talked about the need to rebuild the mother-child relationship after it has been broken and shattered by the violent parent, instead of talking about the need for parenting classes for the mother?

Even when a battered mother makes the decision to leave with her children, under our current policies and practices, as a society, it is a distinct possibility that her children will continue to be exposed to battering behavior through visitation orders and other contact with the abuser. As advocates, we know that the power and control and violent behavior often extends well into the period of time AFTER a battered mother leaves the relationship. Violent fathers often use children to continue their violence against the mother, telling them false stories about the mother, using them to convey threats of violence, frightening them into believing he will kill their mother if they do or don’t do something, harassing and threatening the mother during child exchanges, and failing to pay child support. The list is endless. If we are truly committed to ending the “effects of domestic violence on children,” let’s begin by using more accurate language. We are committed to ending the “effects on children of exposure to the batterer.” We are committed to holding the perpetrator accountable both during and after the time the parents are together. Under our current policies, protocols and practices, the exposure to the batterer continues, even after a battered mother leaves the relationship. This exposure continues because, as a society, we force children into unsupervised visits with the violent parent, we give the violent parent custody, and we issue visitation orders that allow for the batterer to continue his manipulation, intimidation and control.

Let’s rethink and reframe this work. Let’s be honest about where the problems are. Let’s start talking about the exposure of children to the batterer. Then, we can truly talk about making children safe.

For more information, call the Legal Advocacy Coordinator at KCSDV, 232-9784.

KCSDV Programs' Sexual Assault Awareness Month Activities
Safe Homes, Inc., Winfield/Cowley County

Event: “Can” You Help
Advocates and volunteers will be placing decorated coffee cans in local businesses in Cowley and Sumner counties for awareness and donations for the Sexual Assault Prevention Program.
Time/Date: Throughout the month of April
Contact Person: Ellen Olsson, Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator, 620-221-7300

Event: Essay Contest
Students attending Winfield, Arkansas City, and Wellington High Schools may participate. The essay can be written about sexual harassment, date/acquaintance rape, or the impact of sexual violence. There will be one winner chosen from each grade level and a prize of $25.00 will be given to each winner.
Time/Date: Throughout the month of April
Contact Person: Ellen Olsson, Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator, 620-221-7300

SOS, Inc., Emporia

Event: Light of Hope Rally
A Light of Hope Rally will be held as part of a national movement to light a symbol of hope for children and adults who have experience sexual violence, domestic violence, abuse or neglect. The Rally includes a candlelight march to remember those we have lost and celebrate those who have survived, ending with the lighting of a special candle made by a local survivor for the Light of Hope event, which will remain lit during the month of April at the Granada Theatre in Emporia, KS.
Time/Date: April 3, 2003. The march begins at 5th and Commercial, followed immediately by the Rally in White Park at 6th and Merchant in Emporia, KS.
Contact Person: Stacia Kemp, 620-343-8799

Rape Victim Survivor Services, Lawrence, KS

Event: Proclamation at City Hall
Come to the signing of a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Time/Date: April 1st, City Hall, 6th Street
Contact Person: Jerilyn Smith, 620-343-8799

Event: Jazz Fundraiser
A jazz concert given by the Acme Jazz Band to help raise awareness regarding sexual violence and help raise money for the “Ribbon Project” who’s goal is to create a public visual about sexual violence.
Date/Time/Place: April 2, 2003; 6-9pm at Abe and Jakes
Contact Person: Jerilyn Smith, 620-343-8799

Event: “Womyn Take Back the Night” March/Rally
March and rally to celebrate and demand that the community be a safe place.
Date/Time/Place: April 18, 2003; South Park
Contact Person: Jerilyn Smith, 620-343-8799

Other General Activities: Fliers at grocery stores; information packets regarding Elder Sexual Abuse to all retirement communities, churches/clergy, senior centers, and aging social service organizations; “Respect” message created by youth on the sidewalks;
All throughout the month of April.

MOCSA, Metro Kansas City area

Event: “Under the Clock”
A radio show with former Kansas City Mayor Emmanuel Cleaver discussing Sexual Assault Awareness Month, MOCSA, etc. and the “Clothesline Project” during the radio show.
Time/Date: Union Station
Contact Person: Angie Blumel, 816-931-4527

Other Events: Distribution of fliers to stores; letter to the editor; several brown bag luncheons, displays, and presentations.
Contact Person: Angie Blumel, 816-931-4527

Crisis Resource Center of Southeast Kansas, Inc., Pittsburg

Event: “Clothesline Project”
Time/Date/Place: First week in April, Pittsburg State University campus.

Event: “The Vagina Monologues” video and discussion panel following.
Time/Date/Place: April 9, 6:30 pm, PSU campus.

Event: “Take Back the Night” march followed by a speakout.
Time/Date/Place: April 11, 8:00 pm – midnight, on Broadway

Event: Spaghetti feed fundraiser for Crisis Resource Center
Time/Date/Place: April 3rd, 4:30, Elks Lodge
Contact Person: (For all Pittsburg events) Chrishna Paul, 620-231-8692

Development of a Statewide Slogan

The Sexual Assault Task Group of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence is made up of sexual assault advocates and allies from across the state. This group explores pressing needs and possible interventions as they relate to sexual violence. In February the Sexual Assault Task Group met to choose a statewide slogan to help raise awareness about sexual violence.

A national sexual assault awareness slogan was chosen by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The national slogan is: “Decide to End Sexual Violence”. States may then add their statewide slogan to the end of the national slogan in order to customize it. In Kansas, the slogan “We Can Wait No Longer” was chosen by the task group. The national and the Kansas slogan read: “Decide to End Sexual Violence: We Can Wait No Longer”.

The statewide slogan will be used to promote awareness throughout Kansas. The slogan will be used on flyers, in letters to the editor, and on other awareness tools. Please feel free to use this slogan to promote the end of sexual violence in your community.

If you have any questions please contact the Sexual Assault Advocacy Coordinator, at 785-232-9784.


KCSDV Awarded Grant

Violence against women with disabilities is epidemic. Three years ago the Kansas Disability and Health Program brought together victims service providers and disability advocates to discuss ways to work together to address this violence. This group of advocates, The Abuse and Violence Against Women with Disabilities Steering Committee, immediately recognized that we share a common history as grassroots movements working to assist disempowered people.

As an outgrowth of our work in this committee, KCSDV has been awarded a grant to help expand services for women with disabilities and who are experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual assault. This project will support a collaborative effort between KCSDV, Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living (KACIL), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and the Joint Center of Violence and Victim Studies (JCVVS) at Washburn University and community advocacy agencies.


  • Offering technical assistance and support via audio-conferencing, on-site visits, discussion groups, and training. As a result, disability advocates will have a greater understanding of abuse and violence, and domestic violence and sexual assault advocates will have a greater understanding of disability.
  • Providing technical assistance/support to independent living centers, domestic violence and sexual assault programs, Adult and Child Protective Services, health care, criminal justice and Area Agencies on Aging. This process is aimed at creating a coordinated community response to violence against women with disabilities through the development of cooperative agreements for inter-agency response.
  • Providing legal expertise to facilitate systems change by reviewing rules/regulations/policies / procedures to identify how they create barriers to women with disabilities.
  • Developing posters and brochures to increase awareness.
  • Reproducing existing materials in alternative formats.


Women with disabilities, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class, are assaulted, raped, and abused at a rate of two times greater than women without disabilities (Sobsey, 1988, 1994; Cusitar, 1994; Stimpson & Best, 1991).

Persons with developmental disabilities have a high risk of being sexually abused. One researcher estimates that 90% of people with developmental disabilities will be sexually victimized in their lifetime, yet only 3% of the assaults will ever be reported. (Sobsey & Doe, 1991; Tyiska, 1998).

Among developmentally disabled adults, as many as 83% of females are victims of sexual assault. (Stimson, L. and Best, M.C. 1991) Women with disabilities are raped and abused at a rate at least twice that of the general population. (Sobsey, D., 1994)

KCSDV Welcomes...

Marilee Brown, Disabilities Advocacy Coordinator

Marilee Brown joined the Coalition in January as the Disabilities Advocacy Coordinator. Marilee comes to us from the Topeka YWCA Battered Women Task Force where she has worked first as shelter manager, then counselor and finally as Director of Victim Services. Marilee has 13 years experience working with domestic violence and sexual assault and has a master’s degree in social work. Marilee’s experience has given her some understanding of the additional vulnerability to violence and barriers to finding help faced by women with disabilities. She has also experienced how difficult it can be for a program to find the resources and trained staff to offer the unique assistance needed by people with disabilities.

Rebekah Santana, Staff Support Assistant

Rebekah Santana joins the Coalition in the position of Staff Support Assistant. Rebekah’s friendly voice is the first one you hear when you call the Coalition. Her primary responsibilities will be to assist staff with correspondence, reports, and travel arrangements. Most recently, Rebekah worked as a Customer Service Specialist for the Secretary of State’s office. Rebekah is excited to be working for the Coalition and looks forward to helping the office staff as a team player. It is an honor to welcome Rebekah to KCSDV.

Policy on Domestic Violence Cases as a Priority

Kansas Legal Services, March 17, 2003

Domestic cases involving abuse or sexual assault, and/or custody with the potential for neglect or abuse, will be a priority for case acceptance in all Kansas Legal Services’ offices. Such cases will be accepted and funded with domestic grant funds for which the client is eligible until all such domestic grant funds are expended in each KLS office.

The highest priority will be placed on cases that involve immediate danger to the applicant or members of the applicant’s family. In no case will a potential client seeking a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order be charged for PFA services. If Kansas Legal Services cannot accept a case involving domestic violence because of a conflict of interest or a lack of resources every effort will be made to assist the applicant in obtaining competent legal counsel at no or minimal cost to the applicant.

Domestic cases that are determined by KLS staff to not involve violence or a likely threat to the safety of a prospective client or the family members of the prospective client may be referred to the Kansas Bar Association Low Fee Program. Demand for legal assistance in domestic violence cases exceeds all resources available to Kansas Legal Services to provide advice and representation in domestic cases at no cost to the person served.

LIFE is Good

Linking Interventions for Family Empowerment (LIFE)

The YWCA Women’s Crisis Center/Safehouse has partnered with Correctional Counseling of Kansas and the District Attorney’s Office of the 18th Judicial District Court to provide specialized services to families impacted by domestic violence.

The LIFE program (Linking Interventions for Family Empowerment) will establish comprehensive services to families where one member has been charged with a felony-level domestic violence offense and the victim has chosen to remain in the relationship with the offender. While the offender is participating in an offender treatment program, the victim (and children) will be provided with education, referrals and advocacy services by the coordination of community resources. An emphasis will be placed on affirming victimization, ensuring safety, presenting options, and developing family goals.

This innovative approach recognizes the unmet need for services available to victims, along with their children, who choose to reconcile with the perpetrator of family violence. Until now, DV services have tended to focus only on those victims who leave the abusive relationship. This has left many victims and their children without comprehensive assistance and support.

We are excited to begin this program which adds to our county’s Crime Free Community Initiative by empowering families and ending the cycle of domestic violence by treating the perpetrator and assisting the victim.

For more information, please contact Monica Harris at (316) 263-7501.


For further information and registration for KCSDV and other trainings, visit our Trainings page.

This newsletter and KCSDV brochures are available online at: www.kcsdv.org/learn-more/resources/newsletters/

Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. The safest way to find information on the internet is to use a computer at a local library, a friend’s house, an Internet Cafe or at work. For more information about internet and communication technology safety, go to: www.kcsdv.org/safetynews/

This newsletter is published quarterly, hard copy and online, JAN, APRIL, JULY, and OCT. Deadlines for calendar and article submissions are DEC 1, MAR 1, JUNE 1, and SEPT 1. Submissions will be reviewed for content and space availability.

Please send submissions to:
KCSDV, 634 SW Harrison, Topeka, KS, 66603
FAX: 785-232-9784, or coalition@kcsdv.org attn: Publications Specialist.

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