Sunday, July 18, 2010

Did you know the following?

"Fact #1: 17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, .... (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000). . . .

Fact #8: Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) calculation based on 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice)

Fact #9: One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998)

Fact #10: Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% - one out of twenty - of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 will walk free. (Probability statistics based on US Department of Justice Statistics)

Fact #11: Fewer than half (48%) of all rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police (DOJ 2001). . . .

Fact #14: According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, more than 260,000 rapes or sexual assaults occurred in 2000; 246,180 of them occurred among females and 14,770, among males (Department of Justice 2001). . . .

Fact #16: More than half of all rapes of women occur before age 18; 22% occur before age 12. (Full Report of the Prevalance, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000). . . .

Fact #18: About 81% of rape victims are white; 18% are black; 1% are of other races. (Violence Against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994.)" Posted at

I assume that these statistics make at least some of us really uncomfortable - this is the reality. Burying our heads in the sand will not make them disappear. Hence, witnessing the level of violence I hear and read about via the media and word of mouth, I made inquiries into programs here in the Chicagoland area for girls.

Having led workshops on "Civil Courage" - "Zivilcourage" - and challenging "everyday" violence in Germany, I was searching for those involved in this area here. In this process I met some great people, one of whom offers such "Self-Defense" training courses for girls. I organized an event in collaboration with the Taylor Family Branch YMCA and Lorie Hermesdorf, police officer at ECC and national certified trainer with R.A.D. Systems. All parents were welcome as well as Officer Lorie covered critical issues for girls aged 6 - 12 in an age-appropriate manner during this first session:

Who is a stranger?

What does a stranger look like?

If you need help who do you call?

How to give a description of a person?

Do you know your home address?

Maintaining safe distances

Defense stance and verbal skills

Use of toy telephone to call 911 and practice giving descriptions

Clothes grab technique with contact to sensitive areas to get loose (stomp top of foot or pinch soft underside of arm near armpit)

Running to safety of trusted adult.

In two hours, the girls learned a lot. It was a great success!

Why not organize such an event in your community?