Monthly Archives: June 2016

100+ Resources for the Aftermath of the Orlando Mass Shooting Tragedy

ORLANDO-STRONG

By Skyler Jackson, MS (Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park)

On June 12, 2016 rapid gunfire tore through Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub in an act of violence that jarred the nation—and garnered global attention.

Many were shaken to the core by what we now understand to be the largest mass shooting by a single shooter—and the deadliest incident of violence targeting LGBTQ people—in U.S. history. The numbers alone are staggering: At the time of this blog post, 49 deaths have been confirmed and an additional 53 people were injured during the gunman’s attack at the gay club’s popular Latin night. The facts that have come to light since the event have added chilling detail to our understanding of this tragic event.

When single events of this magnitude occur, we react in a multitude of ways. Many found themselves engulfed in difficult feelings (e.g., panic, anger, grief, fear), and a subsection of these individuals are still emotionally overwhelmed. Others immediately gravitated towards information gathering, fervently consuming the facts of this event. Indeed, in the aftermath of the seemingly incomprehensible, we often find ourselves on a burning quest for clarity and understanding. Another group still was immediately primed for action—ready to reform existing legislation, eager to combat homophobia and toxic masculinity, determined to work to reduce violence and improve human relations. Some simply felt numb, lost, and paralyzed.

Behind these responses are unspoken questions: How could this happen? What can I do? How can I cope? Where do we go from here? No one perspective and no single resource can address each of these inquiries. Fortunately, in the time since the attack, a number of online resources, articles, and videos—some old, and many new—have circulated in relation to the event and its aftermath.

Below is a compilation of over 100 online resources related to the Orlando, FL tragedy. The list is categorized by theme or intended audience, and includes online articles, lesson plans, videos, mental health resources, open letters, tips for clinicians, petitions, hotlines, and more.

The online resources and articles included were selected with great leniency. With the exception of pieces that spread misinformation or prejudice, few articles were intentionally excluded from this curated list. Thus, the 100+ items included vary greatly in quality, tone, and perspective. That said, the list is not comprehensive. It may, however, serve as an organized starting point in our quest for self-reflection, community healing, and ultimately, social change in the aftermath of this devastating event.

NAVIGATING DISTRESS AND COPING

  1. How to Cope after a Mass Shooting (English & Español)
  2. Responding to the Tragedy in Orlando: Helpful Responses for LGBTQ People and Allies
  3. 10 Ways to Support Yourself and the LGBTQ Community in Wake of the Orlando Shooting
  4. Recovering Emotionally from Disaster
  5. Incidents on Mass Violence – SAMHSA
  6. 11 Small Ways to Feel Less Helpless this Week, from a Trained Therapist
  7. The Behavioral Health Response to Mass Violence (Webinar)
  8. Disaster and Trauma Effects on Parents (PDF)
  9. In the Wake of the Orlando Massacre: 7 Ways I Take Care of Myself During Depressive Episodes
  10. 13 Soothing Books to Read When Everything Hurts (Intersectional Focus)
  11. Tips to Support Individual and Community Healing
  12. 4 Self-Care Tips After the Pulse Tragedy

RESPONDING THROUGH GIVING, MOURNING, AND ACTION

  1. Nationwide Vigils, Victim Fund Page, and More (English & Español)
  2. Support Victims of the Pulse Shooting
  3. APA Disaster Resource Network
  4. How to Help Orlando Shooting Victims
  5. Practical Things Psychology Graduate Students Can Do
  6. Donate to the Orlando Youth Alliance (GLBTQ youth serving non-profit)
  7. Love Is Love – LGBTQ KidLit Book Donation Drive for the Orlando Youth Alliance
  8. Muslims United for Victims of the Pulse Shooting
  9. Preventing Gun Violence in 5 Steps
  10. Tell Congress: Support Common Sense Measures to Reduce Gun Violence (APA Action Alert) 

ENGAGING IN ALLYSHIP AND INTERCOMMUNITY SOLIDARITY

  1. 8 Ways Allies Can Show Up For the Queer Community After Orlando
  2. How to Talk to a Queer Person Who is Afraid of Dying
  3. An Open Letter to Straight People on the Pulse Massacre
  4. Rejecting Islamophobia as a Queer Latina in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting
  5. 7 Things Straight People Aren’t Understanding about Orlando
  6. Can We Stop Erasing Latinos from the Orlando Massacre Narrative?
  7. Learning How to be a Straight Ally after the Orlando Tragedy
  8. Mourning on Ramadan: Breaking My Fast With Queer Muslims After the Orlando Shooting
  9. Being an Ally in the Wake of Orlando
  10. Dalai Lama Warns Against Scapegoating Muslims After Orlando Shooting
  11. To My Heterosexual Friends: This Is Why Orlando Hurts
  12. Gay Rabbi: We Can All Mourn Orlando, But This Was Terrorism Against Gay People
  13. 26 Things Queer People Actually Want to Hear after Orlando
  14. In Whitewashing the Pulse Shooting, We Dehumanize the Victims

TOOLS FOR TEACHERS, PARENTS, & YOUTH WORKERS

  1. Disaster and Trauma Responses of Children (PDF)
  2. Helping Your Child Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
  3. The #Orlando Syllabus (College-level curriculum)
  4. Addressing the Orlando Shooting at Your School
  5. Creating Safe and Welcoming Schools for All Children & Families
  6. 7 Ways to Talk to Children and Youth about the Shootings in Orlando
  7. Teaching and Learning Resources – The Attack in Orlando: The Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History
  8. 10 Suggestions when Teaching about Controversial or Difficult Issues
  9. How to Talk to Children about Difficult News and Tragedies
  10. GLSEN’s Safe Space Kit: Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students
  11. Safe Learning Environments For LGBTQ Students In A Post-Orlando America
  12. The Orlando Shootings: Parents’ Guide to Talking to Children (PDF)
  13. Classroom Lesson – Orlando Shooting: A Listening Circle
  14. Best Practices: Creating an LGBT-inclusive School Climate
  15. How Should Parents Talk to LGBTQ Youth About Orlando?
  16. How Teachers and Parents Can Talk to Kids about the Orlando Shootings

RESOURCES FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

  1. Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster
  2. Vicarious Trauma (PDF)
  3. Disaster and Trauma Responses of Children (PDF)
  4. LGBTQ Youth Related Resources on Trauma and Coping
  5. Creating Welcoming & Inclusive Environments for Traumatized LGBTQ Youth (Video)
  6. Mental Health Reactions after Disaster: A Fact Sheet for Providers (PDF)
  7. LGBT Veteran Care Post-Orlando (PDF)
  8. Secondary Traumatic Stress: A Fact Sheet for Child-Serving Professionals (PDF)

UNDERSTANDING GUN VIOLENCE IN THE U.S. CONTEXT

  1. America’s Gun Problem Explained in 18 Charts
  2. Gun Violence Prevention
  3. Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy – APA Panel of Experts Report
  4. Gun Violence and the Psychological Response to Mass Violence (PDF)

PERSPECTIVES THAT CENTER LGBTQ LATINX & MUSLIM COMMUNITIES

  1. Latinx LGBTQ Community & Its Stories of Survival Should Be at Center of Orlando Response
  2. American Ugliness: Queer and Trans People of Color Say “Not In Our Names”
  3. White Queers, This Is a Betrayal
  4. The Pulse Nightclub Shooting Robbed the Queer Latinx Community of a Sanctuary
  5. Queer Latinx: Tired of Being Targets
  6. It’s Not Safe to be a Queer Person of Color in America
  7. Responses – Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement (Video)
  8. It’s OK to Let Vulnerability Sink In
  9. Do Not Militarize Our Mourning: Orlando and the Ongoing Tragedy Against LGBTSTGNC POC
  10. Statement from the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity
  11. What Queer Latinos are Saying about the Orlando Shooting
  12. From Charleston to Orlando: Reflections on Massacre in a Time of Backlash
  13. Queer, Muslim and Unwelcome at the “New Stonewall”
  14. Whitewashing the Orlando Shooting Victims Only Makes LGBTQ People of Color More Vulnerable to Violence
  15. Here is What LGBT Muslims Want You to Know after the Orlando Shooting
  16. To My Fellow QTPOC Mourning the Orlando Pulse Shooting: We Need to Love Each Other
  17. Only When I’m Dancing Can I Feel This Free
  18. In Honor of Our Dead: Latinx, Queer, Trans, Muslim, Black – We Will Be Free | En Honor a Nuestros Muertos: Latinx, Queer, Trans, Musulmanes, Negros – Seremos Libres
  19. “They Are Our Dead”: LGBTQ Latinos Speak Out After Orlando
  20. LGBT People of Color Refuse to be Erased after Orlando: ‘We Have to Elbow In’
  21. In Praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club
  22. Queer Muslims Confront Intersectional Challenges (Video)
  23. LGBT Clubs Let Us Embrace Queer Latinidad, Let’s Affirm This
  24. How are Latinx and LGBT Leaders Mobilizing in the Wake of Orlando Shootings
  25. Among the Orlando Shooting Victims, Trans Latino Advocates Hope Their Stories are Told
  26. The Time Two White Gay Men Heckled a Latina at a Pulse Vigil
  27. Stuck in the Media Spotlight, LGBT Muslims Often Feel Exploited
  28. #SomosOrlando: Latinx LGBTQ+ being Ignored while Simultaneously Killed
  29. Orlando’s Gay Latino Community Describes Pulse Nightclub in Their Own Words
  30. Joint Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting – National Latina/o Psychological Association & Orgullo (PDF)
  31. Orgullo Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting (PDF)
  32. LGBT People of Color Alienated by San Francisco Pride’s Plan for More Police
  33. Meet the Gay Muslims Coming Out After the Orlando Massacre
  34. Recognizing the Intersection of Identities in Orlando Mass Shooting
  35. What Queer Muslims are Saying about the Orlando Shooting
  36. Orlando’s Intersections: May Our Differences Stretch Us to Revolutionary Love
  37. LGBTQ Latinxs and Allies Share Heartfelt Messages in Honor of Orlando Shooting Victims

HOTLINES

  • DeQH – Desi LGBTQ Helpline for South Asians (Thursdays & Sundays, 8-10pm EST): 908-367-3374
  • GLBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564
  • GLBT National Youth Talkline (up to age 25): 800-246-7743
  • LGBTQ Violence Response Hotline (24 hours everyday): 202-888-7222
  • Muslim Youth Hotline (Monday-Friday, 6-9pm): 1-866-Naseeha
  • National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (24 hours everyday; English & Spanish): 212-714-1141
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – English (24 hours everyday): 800-273-8255
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Spanish (24 hours everyday): 888-628-9454
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (Interpretation service for over 150 languages): 800-985-5990
  • SAMSHA Disaster Distress Helpline (Hard of hearing and deaf community): 800-846-8517
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Text Support (English & Spanish): Text TalkWithUs or Hablanos to 66746
  • Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 (USA); 877-330-6366 (Canada)
  • Trevor Lifeline (National 24-hour suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth): 866-488-7386

 

Biography:

Skyler Jackson, MS, is a diversity consultant and psychologist in training, currently completing his doctoral studies in Counseling Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a scholar, Skyler’s research helps illuminate ways in which contemporary forms of social stigma (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia) not only have economic, educational, moral, and political implications, but are also important matters of public health. As a diversity consultant, Skyler’s training and facilitation helps to spark personal and community transformation by empowering people to dialogue about issues of identity and difference. He currently resides in Washington DC.

Contact: [email protected]

Blog Administrator Note:

Posts by guest authors reflect the views and perspectives of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the American Psychological Association.

 

 

 


Filed under: LGBT Issues, Violence Tagged: discrimination, gun violence, hate crime, homophobia, LGBT, Orlando shootings, prejudice, transphobia

Firearm Violence Prevention is a Human Rights Issue

Disarm HateBy Susan H. McDaniel, PhD (APA President) and Cynthia D. Belar, PhD (APA Interim CEO)

June 28 is the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which launched lesbian and gay rights as a mass movement and is commemorated in the LGBT Pride celebrations. We take this occasion to reaffirm the American Psychological Association’s commitment to removing the social stigma that sexual and gender minorities still experience both here in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve come a long way since the days when mainstream psychology contributed to the oppression of sexual and gender minorities as mentally ill. However, prejudice and discrimination still exist today even within psychology. There are individuals and organizations in the U.S. and many other places promoting the unscientific idea that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices that can or should be changed.

This month’s shootings in Orlando were horrific, but sadly they weren’t a radical aberration. Violence directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remains widespread and frequent. A recent New York Times analysis of FBI hate crimes data indicated that such crimes against sexual minorities were the highest per capita of any group tracked. Internationally, violence against sexual and gender minorities, can be even more brutal. In South Africa where human rights of LGBT people are enshrined in the constitution, “corrective rape” of lesbians still occurs. In the Middle East, ISIS has thrown gay men from rooftops. The U.N. has called for its members to act urgently to end such violence and discrimination.

Violence and discrimination are not based solely on one set of prejudices; members of the LGBT community face prejudice for multiple reasons. As we have learned more information about the victims of the shootings in Orlando, it has become clear that most were people of color and predominantly Latino. We also know that transgender women of color are the majority of LGBT hate crime homicides. People of color and the LGBT community continue to experience discrimination, and their risk of victimization is compounded when their identities intersect across multiple stigmatized groups.

When governments, including the U.S., codify discrimination, they help to promote and maintain stigma and prejudice. Hundreds of laws targeted at LGBT people have been introduced in our state legislatures in the past three years and some have passed. Draconian new laws targeting LGBT people and their allies were adopted in Uganda and Nigeria in recent years. In much of the Middle East and South Asia, legal penalties for homosexuality range from 14 years’ imprisonment to death. Russia has even criminalized speech that supports the rights of sexual or gender minorities.

Action is needed to end all discrimination and violence, public and private. Legal protections matter. Research has found that LGBT people living in places with protective and supportive laws are healthier than those in places with fewer legal protections. APA is proud to join with civil and human rights groups to promote U.S. policies that prohibit unfair discrimination of all kinds, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBT movement has had remarkable successes – such as marriage equality – due to its commitment and creativity. It is important for us all to keep that in mind and to call upon the strengths that the LGBT community and its allies have built as we move forward.

The shootings in Orlando, as the work of a lone gunman, will not ultimately harm the movement for LGBT rights, but they do make painfully clear how firearm violence is a human rights issue. Firearm violence affects us all – and especially those targeted by hate. Out of this tragic event an opportunity can be seen for all groups to come together—including LGBT people, people of color, and their allies, along with violence prevention advocates—to achieve legislative and cultural change to prevent any further needless deaths and injuries due to gun violence.


Filed under: Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Violence Tagged: discrimination, firearm violence, gun violence, gun violence prevention, hate, hate crime, human rights, LGBT, LGBT Pride Month, LGBT rights, Orlando shootings, prejudice, violence prevention

PrEP: One Essential Tool in the HIV Prevention Toolkit

blog-nhtd2

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all patients seen in healthcare settings be tested for HIV, and that people at highest risk should be screened for HIV at least annually.  These recommendations are intended to help people who don’t know they have HIV get treatment.  For those who are screened and test negative there are different things they can do to stay HIV negative.  Steven Shoptaw, PhD, describes one method that may be useful for those at highest risk.

By Steven Shoptaw, PhD (Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS), UCLA

For those who are at high risk for HIV infection, there’s a medical approach that reduces risks of contracting HIV dramatically. It’s called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.  PrEP uses antiretroviral medication (usually Truvada™, a two-drug combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine) to help HIV-negative people stay negative, even if they have sex without a condom with partners whose HIV status is either positive or unknown.

In this case, “high risk” is defined as having one or more sexual partners known to have HIV. It can also mean having sex where there is a high prevalence of HIV plus one or more of these risks:

  • Inconsistent or no condom use
  • Having sexual transmitted infections
  • Exchanging sex for money, food, shelter, drugs
  • Illicit drug use or alcohol dependence
  • Incarceration
  • Partners of unknown HIV status with any of the above risks.

PrEP using Truvada™ is approved for men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, for adult heterosexually active men and women and for injection drug users at substantial risk of HIV acquisition.

This is a significant advance in protecting the health of gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men but don’t identify as gay, and transgender individuals. It brings sexual health for men into the domain of primary healthcare.

If you’re taking PrEP, it’s totally under your control—you don’t have to rely on someone else to put on a condom or to be truthful about his status. It echoes the ways that putting oral contraceptives into women’s hands brought women’s sexual health into primary healthcare.

For men who take PrEP as prescribed (daily or at least more than 4 doses per week), the risk for HIV infection decreases by more than 90%! But some people forget to take their medicine, raising the question, “What happens when a dose or two is missed?” One or two missed doses are not a big problem as long as you regularly take 4 or more doses each week. No infections have been reported for men who take 4 or more doses per week.

One possible exception was recently reported:  A gay man who was taking oral daily Truvada™ became HIV infected because one of his partners was HIV-positive and was inconsistent with his own HIV antiretroviral therapy.  Because the partner wasn’t following his PrEP regimen as instructed, the virus mutated and became resistant to several anti-HIV medications, including Truvada™. This happens very rarely, but it does confirm clinicians’ fears that not taking HIV medications as instructed can cause development of HIV that is resistant even to Truvada™. Consistency is key when it comes to PrEP.

Many, maybe even most, men at risk of HIV can take Truvada™ as recommended. But there are some important barriers that interfere with taking PrEP consistently.

  • Not having a regular place to live. Taking a pill every day requires consistent access to the essentials of good health, including a regular place to sleep and eating regular meals.
  • Lack of healthcare access. You have to go to a clinic or see a physician to get PrEP. Men—especially men of color—are not encouraged to seek healthcare, and in some parts of the United States, it is hard to get healthcare.
  • Stigma. Physicians may feel uncomfortable discussing sexual behavior, especially when it comes to men having sex with other men. Some may be unwilling to prescribe PrEP to men because they don’t approve of sex between men. Others may refuse to prescribe Truvada™ for HIV-negative men because its original use was to treat people with HIV. For some considering whether or not to take PrEP, concerns over embarrassment or harsh judgment from others can be a barrier.
  • Side effects. All medications have side effects; common ones for Truvada™ include mild gastrointestinal upset, nausea, and bloating. These usually go away once your body gets used to the drug. But there are also uncommon side effects that may be serious, including kidney damage. That’s why men starting PrEP with Truvada™ should have their kidney function tested before taking any pills. Truvada™ also causes bone mineral density loss, but this does not increase your risk for broken bones and it is reversed when you stop taking the drug. While risks for side effects are mild, it’s useful to discuss your own personal benefits relative to the risks with your medical provider.

Are you thinking about starting PrEP? Consult your physician and other people you trust. The decision to take PrEP should balance the risks of taking it against its benefits. For instance, most men don’t live their lives consistently having sex without a condom with multiple partners whose HIV status they don’t know.  Instead, many men experience “seasons of risk” in their sexual lives, when the potential for encountering HIV during sex is higher at some times and lower at others.

During periods of low or no risk, men might stop taking PrEP. One drawback to this common behavior is that you can’t always anticipate when sex without a condom will happen. If you do have unexpected condomless sex, you can start post exposure prophylaxis. This is a 28-day regimen of antiretroviral medications after possible HIV exposure. But for PrEP to work before you engage in sex, you have to take it for at least a week for the medication to start protecting you. PrEP is not for everyone at risk for HIV infection, but it does offer a lot of promise to men who are willing to use it to help them to stay HIV negative. Over time, as more men and transgender individuals at risk use it, PrEP could help turn the tide of growing HIV infections – improving the health and welfare of countless others.

The American Psychological Association recognizes the importance of PrEP, and supports combined biomedical and behavioral approaches to optimize HIV prevention. You can also find out more about taking PrEP at Whatisprep.org. For more information about APA’s work on HIV, please visit the APA Office on AIDS website.

Biography:

Steve Shoptaw, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and Professor in the UCLA Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Dr. Shoptaw joined the Department of Family Medicine as full professor in 2005. Prior to this, Dr. Shoptaw was a Research Psychologist with the Integrated Substance Abuse Program in the Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science since 2003. Dr. Shoptaw earned his BA (1982) in Psychology and MA (1985) and Ph.D. (1990) in Psychology at UCLA. His dissertation was nominated for the Gingerelli Award for Excellence in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Shoptaw completed his postdoctoral training in Psychophysiology at the UCLA NPI/VAMC in Sepulveda, CA in 1991.

Following that, Dr. Shoptaw worked for 10 years as a Principal Investigator with Friends Research Institute, Inc., during which time, his program of clinical research with substance abusers supported opening several treatment research clinics in Rancho Cucamonga, Hollywood, South Los Angeles, and West Hollywood. Dr. Shoptaw received the FRI Daniel Mendelsohn Young Investigator Award in 1996 and a mentoring award in 2000. In 1996, Dr. Shoptaw opened Safe House, a 24 bed facility that provides emergency, transitional and permanent housing to persons living with HIV/AIDS, chemical dependency, transitional and permanent housing to persons living with HIV/AIDS, chemical dependency, and mental illness who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. He continues with this program as a volunteer Executive Director. These linkages of clinical research and community collaboration have led Dr. Shoptaw’s work to influence practice guidelines in intervening with substance abusers, especially those at high risk for HIV transmission, locally, nationally and in emerging international epidemics.


Filed under: AIDS Tagged: aids, antiretrovirals, HIV, HIV testing, National HIV Testing Day, pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP, Truvada

Postpartum Depression and Race: What We All Should Know

Give me break!

By Tanya Burrwell (Assistant Director, APA Women’s Programs Office)

“… Mothers are made to feel that a child is the pinnacle of achievement, and the only appropriate feeling on the birth of a child is joy. We’re expected to perform a certain femininity: to nurture and transmit traditions, to uphold honor” – Pooja Makhijani

While the birth of a child can be a wonderful and joyous time for many women, for some women it is a time of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and worry that does not go away. In fact, up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, a very real and serious mood disorder (Wisner, et al., 2013).

What if I were to tell you that women of color experience postpartum depression at double the rate of the general population? Studies show that new mothers of color have rates of postpartum depression soaring close to 38% compared with the 13 – 19% rate for all new mothers (Keefe, Brownstein-Evans, & Rouland Polmateer, 2016).

This is because a disproportionate number of women of color are not screened for depression and do not receive the necessary treatment and services. In fact, it is estimated that up to 60% of women of color do not receive any services! Think about the devastating impact this can have on them and their families.

Research tells us that screening pregnant and postpartum women for depression can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression. In fact, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) just included pregnant and postpartum women in the new depression screening guidelines. If we know that screening works, we must ask ourselves why young moms of color experience this disparity.

Historically, studies show that women of color are less likely to seek mental health treatment due to cultural barriers and stigma surrounding mental illness. For many women of color, seeking the help of a mental health professional is seen as a sign of weakness.

“… No one talks about mental instability in the black community. The idea of seeking treatment never crossed my mind. I wasn’t some hysterical white woman with the privilege to lie in bed for days crippled by my emotions. There was nothing wrong with me, and besides, black people don’t do therapy.” – Tyrese Coleman

 

“Our cultures place a significant emphasis on us being silent about our struggles, taking care of everyone else before ourselves, turning to religion in an effort to overcome, and on being strong in the face of adversity-particularly in the face of oppression, racism and other socioeconomic stressors” – A’Driane Nieves

In addition, there are documented racial and ethnic differences in the perceptions and treatment experiences of low-income women of color vs. White women (Doulbier et al., 2013; Kozhimannil et al., 2011). These include:

  • limited access to health care services,
  • a disconnection with providers,
  • a lack of access to providers that look like them, and
  • unavailability of culturally/linguistically appropriate services.

A new study directly questioned low-income mothers of color about what they needed in order to access screening and treatment (Keefe, Brownstein-Evans, & Rouland Polmateer, 2016). Here’s what they found:

  • Access to Information and Resources: Educational campaigns must include women in all of their diversity. Information must be available in multiple languages (i.e., pamphlets, brochures, PSAs) and highly visible and accessible in communities (i.e., schools, doctor’s offices, grocery stores). They should also provide tip cards identifying local resources or national hotlines.
  • Access to Services: Women need insurance coverage; transportation to and from the doctor’s appointments. Childcare services should be made available and/or the availability of child-friendly offices and doctor’s appointments.   
  • Flexibility: Women need flexibility when making appointments. The choice to go to the doctor may mean not going to work, and vice versa, going to work may mean missing an appointment. Women need flexibility among health care providers, as well as sick leave benefits to allow time off for appointments.
  • Community-based Support Services: Providers should develop partnerships to establish local community-based services and/or peer-support groups in community centers, churches, and schools to increase awareness and dispel the myths and stigma about mental illness.

While it is critical that we advocate for screening for postpartum depression to identify women who are at risk, that is only half the battle. It is equally imperative that providers break down these barriers so that low-income women of color can successfully seek the treatment that they need.

In addition to supporting family friendly legislation, policymakers should recognize racial and ethnic disparities in access to care and incentivize programs that train women and men of color to become medical and mental health providers.

“The essays I found online by women with postpartum mood disorders were either by celebrities or white women. And while I truly appreciated these new parents shedding light on these issues, I never found a mirror to my experience.” – Pooja Makhijani

Postpartum depression knows no color, it can affect any woman regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or economic status. Primary care providers, social services agencies and mental health professionals must work together to educate, communicate and provide services that enable and empower ALL women. The time is now!

 

Resources:

APA Help Center – or call 1-800-964-2000

APA Postpartum Depression Resource (available in English, Spanish, French, and Simplified Chinese)

Black Women Birthing Justice

Black Women’s Health Imperative

National Institute of Child Health and Development – Info for Moms and Moms-to-Be

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Progress

Postpartum Depression Facts

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

SISTERSONG, Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

 

References included:

Breland-Noble, A. (2014, May 13). When our sisters are hurting… [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://psychologybenefits.org/2014/05/13/when-our-sisters-are-hurting/

Coleman, T. (2015, October 21). What it’s like having PPD as a Black woman. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/tyresecoleman/what-its-like-having-post-partum-depression-when-youre-black?utm_term=.hrRJ3BnZp#.rreWpJZA1.

Corby-Edwards, A. (2016, February 11). Depression screening works and now it can work for pregnant and postpartum women. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://psychologybenefits.org/2016/02/11/depression-screening-works-and-now-it-can-work-for-pregnant-and-postpartum-women/

Dolbier, C.L., Rush, T.E., Sahadeo, L.S., Shaffer, M.L., Thorp, J., and the Community Child Health Network Investigators. (2013).Relationships of race and socioeconomic status to postpartum depressive symptoms in rural African American and Non-Hispanic White women. Maternal Child Health Journal, 17(7), 1277-1287.

Howell, E.A., Balbierz, A, Wang, J., Parides, M., Zlotnick, C., % Leventah, H. (2012). Reducing postpartum depressive symptoms among Black and Latina mothers: A randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 119(5), 942-949.

Keefe, R.H., Brownstein-Evans, C. & Rouland Polmanteer, R.S. (2015). Having our say: African-American and Latina mothers provide recommendations to health and mental health providers working with new mothers living with postpartum depression. Social Work in Mental Health, 1 -11.

Kozhimannil, K.B., Trinacty, C.M., Busch, A.B., Huskamp, H.A, & Adams, A.S. (2011). Racial and ethnic disparities in postpartum depression care among low-income women. Psychiatric Services, 62(6), 619-625.

Makhijani, P. (2015, December 7). We can save one another’s lives: A conversation with women of color about postpartum mood disorders. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/poojamakhijani/we-can-save-one-anothers-lives?utm_term=.eber1PGqX#.vu4pZPNXV.

Nieves, A. (2015, January 6) Women of color and maternal mental health: Why are we so underserved? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.postpartumprogress.com/women-color-maternal-mental-health-underserved.

Wisner, K.L., Sit, D.K., McShea, M.C., Rizzo, D.M., Zoretich, R.A., Hughes, …, & Hanusa, B.H. (2013). Onset timing, thoughts of self-harm, and diagnoses in postpartum women with screen-positive depression findings. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(5):490-498.


Filed under: Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Women and Girls Tagged: access to treatment, depression, equal access, health disparities, health equity, postpartum depression, racial disparities, women of color

Changing Rape Culture on Campus: Can the Stanford Case Move the Needle?

stanfordrapecase

By Louise Douce, PhD, (The Ohio State University) and Jacquelyn White, PhD, (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

 

The Stanford rape case highlights the many lives touched by the act of a rapist:

  • the brave woman who courageously and articulately shared her story,
  • the two young men who did the right thing by intervening,
  • the Stanford administrators who imposed severe consequences on the rapist, and even
  • the Vice President of the United States who in an open letter calls the Stanford rape survivor a warrior and says “your words are forever seared on my soul.”

However, all their efforts were thwarted by a father who callously defended his son and denigrated the victim to the judge who likewise minimized the victim’s trauma and her right to justice by giving a shockingly mild sentence to the rapist.

This event encapsulates all that we know about rape culture—including victim blaming and basing excuses on alcohol – and underscores the need for coordinated efforts. We need nothing less than an elimination of rape culture and each of us has a role to play.

 

Three Elements of Rape Culture Change

 

1. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent rape

This concept is finally beginning to take hold. One little noticed action in the Stanford case is actually monumental. Two men stopped, accosted the rapist, which stopped the rape as he ran away, AND then came forward to testify. This is effective bystander intervention and demonstrates community responsibility. This is most effective when the whole campus community embraces the concepts of no more, not here, not on our campus, not to or by my friends. President Obama’s It’s On Us campaign is a step in the right direction, and many student governments have adapted this campaign for their campuses.

 

2. Addressing rape myths and male privilege

Myths that men just can’t help themselves; that it is just men’s nature to get sex any way they can and they are not responsible for their actions, especially when drunk or angry, must be dismantled. These myths are incredibly insulting to men. In the Stanford case, the rapist’s father perpetuated them in the letter he sent to the judge arguing for leniency because “20 minutes of action” should not change the course of his son’s entire life. The judge further articulated them by citing concern for the consequences in this young man’s life when he issued the six month jail sentence. The judge did not mention the consequences or lifelong impact on the female survivor. The public outcry has been stupendous. Social media has exploded with petitions to remove the judge, comparisons of sentences for this young white man with young men of color, and general outrage at the process.

 

3. Hearing the survivor’s voice

This is the third and perhaps most important element. Survivors of rape and sexual violence have routinely been silenced through time and across cultures. This survivor wrote a 12 page statement of her experience and the impact on her life. She is incredibly articulate as she speaks from her heart of her experience and clearly details her ongoing struggle for survival. It has been read more than 11 million times on Buzzfeed, was read aloud on CNN by reporter Ashleigh Banfield, and has touched the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. This is culture changing.

 

How to Coordinate Responses to Sexual Assault between Campuses and Communities

 

It appears the Stanford University student conduct process did work appropriately, removing the rapist from the team and from the student body. However, there is a clear disconnect between the actions of Stanford and the community judicial process. One structural change on campuses has been to empower Title IX Compliance, a more legalized process, over student conduct. This takes a more graduated, developmental approach to student misconduct in general. Clearly, our judicial processes lag behind the shift from “blame-the-victim and minimize the impact” to “blame-the-perpetrator and change the culture.” We must promote that evolution.

Violence prevention experts, Drs. Fleming and Heisterkamp have developed an excellent resource on campus-community collaborations to prevent sexual violence.

How Psychologists Can Help Change the Culture

 

Use our knowledge, tools, and commitment to social justice to help eliminate rape culture.

We are teachers, researchers, practitioners, and advocates. This culture change is still at the beginning stages. We must support student, staff and faculty advocates for change. Psychologists have been studying the impact of rape on victims, perpetrator trends, relational violence and sexual harassment for decades. We need to bring our research and evidence-based approaches into policy formation. A group of college administrators and researchers have formed a coalition called ARC3 to move this forward.

 

Use our knowledge of development to make change.

We know lasting culture change starts young. We are the founders of developmental psychology. We understand how to frame developmentally appropriate dialog for our children on difficult topics. The research on bullying may be especially salient as bullying behavior and sexual harassment have similarities. We can expand the conversation about respect, communication, kindness and appropriate behavior across gender, race and ethnicity.

 

Talk to our sons as well as our daughters. 

When we hear of sexual assault we can shift our questions from “What was she thinking?” to “What was he thinking?” We are starting to see this in some exceptional social media posts such as a letter from another father to the rapist’s father and “What fathers need to say to their sons.”

 

Build and nurture community connections.

We need to engage in program evaluation and provide the evidence base to determine best practices for different audiences. We can use our knowledge of human behavior to change the culture around sexual assault on our campuses and in our communities.

 

References:

 

Fleming, W. M., & Heisterkamp, H. A. (2015). Cultivating partnerships: A case study for moving beyond campus-centric approaches to sexual violence prevention. E-Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN (Online), 2162-9161. Retrieved from: http://ejournal.missouristate.edu/index.php/ejournal/article/view/76/89

 

Biographies:

Jacquelyn W. White, PhD, is an Emerita Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has served as co-chair the Society for the Psychology of Women’s Violence against Women Committee with the goal of advocating for psychological science to inform recent initiatives addressing campus sexual assault, especially the focus on assessing campus climate.  She recently completed a project with the Office of Violence Against Women to develop their research and evaluation strategic plan. She has conducted research on gender issues, sexual victimization, and intimate partner violence for over 35 years, and led one of the few longitudinal studies of sexual and physical dating violence among adolescents and college students. She was co-editor of the two-volume series on Violence against Women and Children, published by the American Psychological Association, and is co-editing the forthcoming American Psychological Association Handbook on the Psychology of Women.

Louise A. Douce, PhD, is a specialist in college student mental health and has been active in college and university psychology for the past thirty-five years She has published and presented in the areas of career development for women, multicultural competency with a special focus on GLBT issues, supervision and training and women’s issues, including sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. She has served on the APA Board of Directors, Council of Representatives, Finance Committee, and is a past chair of the APA Board of Educational Affairs She received her graduate degree in counseling psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1977. She retired as Assistant Vice President of Student Life at The Ohio State University in 2012.


Filed under: Violence Tagged: Brock Turner, bystander intervention, campus rape, campus safety, campus sexual assault, rape, rape culture, sexual assault, sexual assault prevention, Stanford rape case, Stanford University

Responding to the Tragedy in Orlando: Helpful Responses for LGBTQ People and Allies

morelovelesshate

By Glenda Russell, PhD

What took place in Orlando on the morning of June 12, 2016 was a hate crime and an act of terror. In one sense, hate crimes are always acts of terror: Hate crimes victimize not only the individual or individuals who were directly impacted but also the communities of which those individuals are members. Feeling a certain level of confusion is a frequent part of being in a community that has been impacted by a hate crime. It is critical that we call the event what it is: a hate crime. Having strong reactions to such events makes sense. These reactions are not pathological, and it is likely that many other people share them.

What we feel is not about a personal weakness; this is about a community and political experience that may be felt on a deeply personal level. It is a collective experience, and collective problems are best solved through collective means. This event, despite its horror, will not stop the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights. It is important for us to keep that in mind and to call upon the strengths we have built as a community as we move forward. Here is what we know can help based on over two decades of research.

 

Helpful Responses for LGBTQ People

 

1. Cultivate a “movement perspective.”

This horrible moment is part of what sometimes happens when people insist on their rights. We are part of a community that extends across time and place, in this nation and beyond. We are also connected to other movements for equality. We must keep this in mind and resist the temptation to see one person in another stigmatized group (the shooter) as representing all members of that group (Muslims, people of color, etc.). We all benefit from seeing the broader movement for equality as a struggle we all share.

It does not mean the movement is ending or even in trouble. The event in Orlando is part of a bigger backlash. The movement will go forward despite such events, though that may not feel possible now.

We have the power to make that happen. It requires us to work, but is there any more important thing to do with our energies?

 

2. Do something.
  • Active coping is virtually always better than doing nothing.
  • Read a book on queer history.
  • Think of 10 good things about being LGBTQ.
  • Express your sadness, anger, and fear or whatever you’re feeling.
  • Get your friends together to talk about this event.
  • Resist the temptation to reduce the Orlando tragedy to a matter of mental illness. Research shows that people with diagnosed mental illnesses are no more likely to commit violent acts than people without such diagnoses.
  • Send money to your local LGBTQ community center.
  • Volunteer with a community organization.
  • Attend a Pride parade in your city.
  • Go to a queer chorus concert.

 

3. Pay attention to your allies.

When danger is afoot, it is tempting to focus exclusively on possible sources of danger. While it is important to be as safe as possible, it is also important to focus on who your allies are. Movements rarely make progress solely through the efforts of people who are the targets of oppression. We need allies. Pay at least as much attention to our allies as you do to the people who are against us. Tell your straight and cis friends what you would like them to do. Hold yourself accountable for being an ally to oppressed groups of which you are not a member—including Muslims. This helps you to be aware of your privilege—which, in Suzanne Pharr’s words—you can “spend well.” You’ll feel less powerless, and you can create positive change in the world.

 

4. Watch for the negative messages about our community that may float around.
  • Actively resist such messages.
  • Learn the truth about who we are.
  • Read some LGBTQ history to remind yourself of what an amazing movement we have.
  • Read about LGBTQ elders and what they have accomplished.
  • Take note of the remarkable strength, courage, and creativity of so many LGBTQ youths.
  • Remember and heed the words of the great South African freedom fighter, Steven Biko, who said, “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
5. Find and make use of your LGBT and allied community. 
  • Go where you feel safe. Play when you feel like it.
  • You’ll be contributing to the community even as you get good things from the community.
  • Support community events.
  • Use the Orlando tragedy as a way to re-energize yourself and your local community.
  • Have hot sex, and play safe.
  • Look at everything you have gained from the LGBTQ community, and dare to pass it on to others.
  • Do the usual things that help people, especially in times of crisis.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat well.
  • Be careful what you put into your body.
  • Get some exercise.
  • Pay attention to the temptation to isolate.
If You Are a Mental Health Professional:
  •  Share your knowledge and skills with others.
  • Help our communities to know the truth about our lives.
  • Be willing to talk with your clients about their reactions to Orlando.
  • Teach your students about privilege and oppression.
  • Show others that being LGBT or Q is a gift.

 

Biography:

Glenda Russell, PhD is a licensed psychologist who works at  Ethnography & Evaluation Research at the University of Colorado Boulder; she also teaches adjunctively there. She has conducted research about the consequences of stigma for more than two decades. Among other publications is Voted Out: The Psychological Consequences of Anti-gay Politics. She works as a consulting partner with  the North Star Project.

The original version of this article was featured on Dr. Glenda Russell’s website: http://drglendarussell.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Responding-to-Orlando.pdf

 

 


Filed under: LGBT Issues, Violence Tagged: hate, hate crime, healing, homophobia, LGBT, Orlando shootings, self-care, terrorism, trauma

7 Ways to Talk to Children and Youth about the Shootings in Orlando

orlando

By Robin Gurwitch, PhD

Once again our nation is coping with a violent tragedy.  In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack, we find ourselves distressed, grief-stricken, and even angry that such a horrible thing could happen.  Children and teens may find the event even more challenging.  Here are some suggestions on talking with your children about what happened.

  1. Engage in age-appropriate honest discussions

Children and teens may have watched news coverage of the event and its aftermath and/or heard adults around them talking about the shooting. To best help youth, let them know that talking about it is a good thing. You can help by starting the conversation with your children. It may start with, “As you know, there was a terrible shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, FL. Many people were killed or injured. I want to talk to you about this and answer any questions or worries you may have.” Be honest in your discussion, but the gruesome details are unnecessary to share.

Keep the conversation at a level that the child or teen can understand. In other words, what you may say to an 8 year old may be very different than the language you may use with a 16 year old. Remember, your frank discussion, while difficult, will help separate fact from fiction and clear up any misinformation or misunderstanding. Children will “fill in the gaps” with ideas that may be far more frightening than the reality. Because of this, try to be mindful of your adult conversations about the attack as, again, children may not fully understand what they hear.

  1. Monitor social media and television exposure

Young children should not watch this at all. Older children and teens may have some exposure, but it is important that we discuss what they are seeing or hearing with them. With teens, we can often ask, “what have your friends been posting or saying about the attack in Orlando?” This may open the door for further conversation. Remember, as adults, we also need to take a break from coverage. We are also vulnerable to stress reactions, including worries and anxieties.

  1. Promote human values  

Because this attack happened at a gay nightclub, there may be questions about the attack’s location. It is important to let children and teens know that no one deserves any act of violence for their sexual orientation, gender identity or, for that matter, race, religion, culture, or other beliefs.  We live in a time when fear-mongering and hate speech directed at anyone who is different are heightened in our country. It is important to share with children and teens the values and beliefs we want them to develop as we help to shape their world view. For parents and other important adults in the lives of LGBTQ youth, it is essential that we provide extra support and understanding as this tragedy unfolds. Unfortunately, hate speech may occur and we need to remind our children and teens in the LGBTQ community that they are not alone.

General resources for LGBT youth and their parents include resources from the Family Acceptance Project, which works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBT children and youth, and “What Does Gay Mean?” – a brochure to improve understanding and respect for LGBT youth, available from Mental Health America for a minimal cost.  The Public Interest blog will explore needs of LGBTQ youth in a future post. We also must not overlook the fact that Muslim youth may be the targets of Islamophobic attacks in the aftermath of this terrorist attack. They will also need compassion and support in the days and weeks ahead. Encourage children in both of these groups to seek out a trusted adult to share their questions, concerns, and worries as they may experience the event in a more personal way than others.

  1. Recognize safety and security

Concerns related to safety and security are often paramount after tragedies. Talk to children and teens about the heroic response from law enforcement and ongoing steps being taken. Share with youth that communities across the U.S. have plans to help keep residents as safe as possible before, during, and after any disaster or terrorist attack. This is an opportunity to discuss family plans for safety. For all children and youth, providing an extra dose of patience, attention, and love will help everyone during this time.

  1. Anticipate possible stress reactions

In the aftermath of tragic events, particularly terrorist events, you may see reactions to stress and trauma in your children. These may include difficulty sleeping and changes in appetite. Encouraging proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep is helpful. There may also be problems with attention and concentration. For many children and especially teens, there may be an increase in irritability and mood swings (above what we would expect). Children and youth may think about this event, even when they don’t want to. Keep the lines of communication open and check back in with them often in the days and weeks ahead.

  1. Accept possible reminders of suffering or loss

Traumas such as this recent shooting may bring up personal suffering or losses, whether or not the loss was the result of violence. Help children and teens remember how they have successfully coped with past hardships and encourage them to use similar strategies now. Grief and loss are unique for each of us and children and teens are no different. These emotions follow no timetable. Building and maintaining a strong social support system is paramount to the healing process. Besides family and friends, support systems may also include faith and culture-based organizations.

  1. Foster hope

The aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack also reminds us of the goodness in people. As we watched thousands respond to the call for blood donations, we witnessed the desire to help, the wish to say, “we stand together; we are united; we will persevere.” Children and teens may wish to find a way to help. Consider making a donation to the American Red Cross or similar organizations from monies they have earned.  A handwritten note to responders in Orlando, as well as in your own community for the work they do every day, can be another positive contribution.

Consider age-appropriate ways for your children to volunteer in your community, your neighborhood, and in your cultural or faith-based organizations to help others. These and myriad other acts of kindness remind us that while these acts of terrorism seek to threaten and cower us, the effect may be the opposite. These acts bring out our strengths and assure us that we will support each other today and into the future.

Distressing reactions to this tragedy will likely lessen over time. If they persist or interfere with day-to-day functioning, a psychologist can help you develop a strategy to move forward.  Go to APA’s Psychologist Locator or reach out to your state psychological association for resources in your area.

For further tips on talking to your kids during tragedy, check out these resources:

And for your own self-care in these difficult times, check out:

 

Biography:

Dr. Robin Gurwitch has been involved in understanding the impact of terrorism and disasters on children since the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, providing direct service, training, and conducting research. She is a member of the APA Disaster Resource Network, American Red Cross, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Dr. Gurwitch was recently appointed to the HHS National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters.


Filed under: Children and Youth, Violence Tagged: Children, children's mental health, gun violence, hate crime, homophobia, islamophobia, LGBT, LGBT Pride Month, LGBT youth, Muslim youth, Orlando shootings, parenting, stress, teenagers, teens, terrorism, trauma

What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking

blog-online-sex-traffickingBy Pamela Anderson, PhD and Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES (ETR)

What comes to mind when you hear the words “sex trafficking”?

If you’re like a lot of people, you might think of a sinister alley in a foreign country serving as the local red light district. Or you might imagine a woman who comes to the U.S. with hopes of a better life for herself and her family who is then forced to sell her body to pay debt bondage. Maybe you think of a young woman violently forced by a hated pimp to work the streets.

While all of these images do constitute forms of sex trafficking, they barely begin to tell the story. And as these disturbing pictures run through our minds, few of us add to our list the children and teens in our own communities. We aren’t likely to think of the students in our classrooms as they navigate the Internet or check into their social network sites.

Yes, It’s Real and It’s Here

Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking abound. The facts? Trafficking is both an international and a domestic problem. It affects young people as well as adults. It involves individuals of different sexual orientations and a range of sexual identities. There’s a good chance it’s affecting youth you know.

By addressing myths and clarifying the issues, educators have unique opportunities to make a difference. They can take practical steps to prevent trafficking and help young people protect themselves and their peers.

What is Sex Trafficking?

According to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), human sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is a minor. When minors are involved in commercial sex, even in the absence of force, fraud or coercion, they are considered human trafficking victims.

Find definitions of “force,” “fraud” and “coercion” here.

What’s Online Got to Do With It?

Youth are recruited into sex trafficking in a range of ways—an older “friend” they meet at a party, a “boyfriend” who promises them a modeling or movie career, a family member or even, as some of ETR’s research has demonstrated, a same-age romantic partner. They may also be recruited by a Facebook connection, an Instagram follower or someone they meet in an online chat room.

Remember that 9 in 10 teens go online daily, and 1 in 4 say they are online “almost constantly.” Sexualized selfies and other images are frequently shared. Teens often comment on one another’s posts with flattering remarks that are sexualized in nature (“nice body,” “you’re hot,” “what a babe”).

As this has become more normative behavior, the recruitment and grooming behaviors of traffickers stand out less. Twenty years ago, a stranger asking a teen to pose for nude photos would have set off alarms for most youth. Today, it’s not unusual for someone a teen doesn’t know to praise a photo, encourage more explicit sharing and even suggest an in-person meeting.

One recent report found that while most of the trafficking victims they surveyed originally met their trafficker in person, younger victims recruited more recently were significantly more likely to have met their trafficker online. Websites, social networking sites and other online tools are being used not only to recruit youth, but also to facilitate trafficking and connect with customers.

What You Need to Know

Here are four things all educators need to know about online sex trafficking.

  1. Adolescent sex trafficking in the U.S. is real. It’s often difficult to see signs of adolescent sex trafficking. Reliable estimates of the number of youth involved do not exist. One study calculated that more than 244,000 children in the U.S. are at risk for trafficking. Over 80% of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country are U.S. citizens.
  2. It affects youth of all genders and can start at very early ages. Boys, girls, transgender and gender-fluid youth may all be recruited. Data on the average age at which children first become involved is difficult to pin down. Some reports suggest an average age of 13-16 for girls, but instances of children as young as 10 are not uncommon. There are also reports of children of 4 or 5 being initiated into trafficking.
  3. It’s probably affecting youth you know. You can’t tell by looking that someone has been involved in sex trafficking. Often, young people involved in trafficking don’t see themselves as victims. They may have great affection, even love, for the person doing the trafficking. They may feel they are making independent, mature decisions and affirming their own freedom and independence.
  4. Talking with youth about healthy relationships can make a difference. Sexual choices take place in the context of young people’s lives. Our organization, ETR, is doing research that looks at the role romantic relationships play in the choices teens make. This additional focus on relationships and situational context appears to enhance the ability to teach effective prevention skills to youth.

We believe this learning is also relevant to the prevention of human trafficking. Few youth who become involved in trafficking are abducted off the street by menacing strangers. Rather, they are engaged, courted and groomed by skilled individuals who read a young person’s need for attention, desire to be special or yearning for love.

Sometimes a trafficker offers the most powerful affirmation a young person has ever experienced—“You are beautiful exactly as you are.” This can be especially persuasive for youth who may have been marginalized in school settings, including gay and transgender youth, young people with learning differences or mental health issues, and survivors of trauma and sexual abuse.

What Educators Can Do

  1. Learn more
  • Look over this excellent infographic from Polaris about online sex trafficking. If you work with older students, consider having them use this as a resource in a classroom lesson about human trafficking.


UNE Online

  1. Talk with, not at, your students
  • Help students learn about healthy relationships. (ETR’s HealthSmart, a comprehensive K-12 health curriculum, addresses healthy relationships in the unit on Emotional & Mental Health. Other curricula may address healthy relationships as a standalone topic, or within sexual health programs. NHTRC has a resource list for educators and students, including a Student Engagement Toolkit).
  • Let students know that trafficking exists. Integrate the topic into classes addressing dating abuse or other types of violence. Share resources with students and encourage them to seek help for themselves or their friends if needed. (The NHTRC hotline is 1-888-373-7888, active 24/7.)
  • Remember that the Internet and social media are not the enemy. These are vital sources of social engagement for most teens. Our goal is not to stop students from using technology. Rather, it is to help them build and practice the skills that allow them to use technology in empowering, self-affirming and productive ways.

What Are You Doing?

Have you addressed online sex trafficking with your students? We’d love to hear what you’ve done and what you’ve learned from your students.

Biographies: 

Pamela  Anderson, PhD, is a psychologist and Senior Research Associate at ETR with more than 10 years of experience conducting research in the area of sexual and reproductive health. Pam has considerable experience in designing, managing and implementing multi-site and multi-method evaluations in school settings featuring group-randomized designs. Her work focuses largely on the context of adolescent romantic relationships and understanding the impact of healthy and unhealthy behaviors on adolescents’ health and well-being. Pam’s work also includes a focus on the correlates and outcomes of unhealthy and violent relationships, including the commercial sexual exploitation of young people. She continues to be interested in the role technology plays in how adolescents in communicate with each other in relationships as well as how technology can be used in developing and adapting health promotion interventions for youth. Pam is also currently involved in an NIH-funded study to create and evaluate a blended learning pregnancy and HIV prevention intervention based on the content of the evidence-based program, Reducing the Risk.

Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES, is Senior Editor in charge of ETR’s blog and newsletters. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years’ experience providing services and materials to schools and communities. Much of her clinical work has focused on adolescent and family issues, life transitions and coping with chronic and life-limiting medical conditions. She has authored over 35 published books, curricula and monographs, dozens of professional articles and over 100 health education pamphlets.


Filed under: Children and Youth, Human Rights and Social Justice Tagged: educators, human rights, human trafficking, online sex trafficking, sex trafficking, sexualization, social media, teens, trafficking, youth

What Educators Need to Know About Online Sex Trafficking

blog-online-sex-traffickingBy Pamela Anderson, PhD and Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES (ETR)

What comes to mind when you hear the words “sex trafficking”?

If you’re like a lot of people, you might think of a sinister alley in a foreign country serving as the local red light district. Or you might imagine a woman who comes to the U.S. with hopes of a better life for herself and her family who is then forced to sell her body to pay debt bondage. Maybe you think of a young woman violently forced by a hated pimp to work the streets.

While all of these images do constitute forms of sex trafficking, they barely begin to tell the story. And as these disturbing pictures run through our minds, few of us add to our list the children and teens in our own communities. We aren’t likely to think of the students in our classrooms as they navigate the Internet or check into their social network sites.

Yes, It’s Real and It’s Here

Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking abound. The facts? Trafficking is both an international and a domestic problem. It affects young people as well as adults. It involves individuals of different sexual orientations and a range of sexual identities. There’s a good chance it’s affecting youth you know.

By addressing myths and clarifying the issues, educators have unique opportunities to make a difference. They can take practical steps to prevent trafficking and help young people protect themselves and their peers.

What is Sex Trafficking?

According to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), human sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is a minor. When minors are involved in commercial sex, even in the absence of force, fraud or coercion, they are considered human trafficking victims.

Find definitions of “force,” “fraud” and “coercion” here.

What’s Online Got to Do With It?

Youth are recruited into sex trafficking in a range of ways—an older “friend” they meet at a party, a “boyfriend” who promises them a modeling or movie career, a family member or even, as some of ETR’s research has demonstrated, a same-age romantic partner. They may also be recruited by a Facebook connection, an Instagram follower or someone they meet in an online chat room.

Remember that 9 in 10 teens go online daily, and 1 in 4 say they are online “almost constantly.” Sexualized selfies and other images are frequently shared. Teens often comment on one another’s posts with flattering remarks that are sexualized in nature (“nice body,” “you’re hot,” “what a babe”).

As this has become more normative behavior, the recruitment and grooming behaviors of traffickers stand out less. Twenty years ago, a stranger asking a teen to pose for nude photos would have set off alarms for most youth. Today, it’s not unusual for someone a teen doesn’t know to praise a photo, encourage more explicit sharing and even suggest an in-person meeting.

One recent report found that while most of the trafficking victims they surveyed originally met their trafficker in person, younger victims recruited more recently were significantly more likely to have met their trafficker online. Websites, social networking sites and other online tools are being used not only to recruit youth, but also to facilitate trafficking and connect with customers.

What You Need to Know

Here are four things all educators need to know about online sex trafficking.

  1. Adolescent sex trafficking in the U.S. is real. It’s often difficult to see signs of adolescent sex trafficking. Reliable estimates of the number of youth involved do not exist. One study calculated that more than 244,000 children in the U.S. are at risk for trafficking. Over 80% of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country are U.S. citizens.
  2. It affects youth of all genders and can start at very early ages. Boys, girls, transgender and gender-fluid youth may all be recruited. Data on the average age at which children first become involved is difficult to pin down. Some reports suggest an average age of 13-16 for girls, but instances of children as young as 10 are not uncommon. There are also reports of children of 4 or 5 being initiated into trafficking.
  3. It’s probably affecting youth you know. You can’t tell by looking that someone has been involved in sex trafficking. Often, young people involved in trafficking don’t see themselves as victims. They may have great affection, even love, for the person doing the trafficking. They may feel they are making independent, mature decisions and affirming their own freedom and independence.
  4. Talking with youth about healthy relationships can make a difference. Sexual choices take place in the context of young people’s lives. Our organization, ETR, is doing research that looks at the role romantic relationships play in the choices teens make. This additional focus on relationships and situational context appears to enhance the ability to teach effective prevention skills to youth.

We believe this learning is also relevant to the prevention of human trafficking. Few youth who become involved in trafficking are abducted off the street by menacing strangers. Rather, they are engaged, courted and groomed by skilled individuals who read a young person’s need for attention, desire to be special or yearning for love.

Sometimes a trafficker offers the most powerful affirmation a young person has ever experienced—“You are beautiful exactly as you are.” This can be especially persuasive for youth who may have been marginalized in school settings, including gay and transgender youth, young people with learning differences or mental health issues, and survivors of trauma and sexual abuse.

What Educators Can Do

  1. Learn more
  • Look over this excellent infographic from Polaris about online sex trafficking. If you work with older students, consider having them use this as a resource in a classroom lesson about human trafficking.


UNE Online

  1. Talk with, not at, your students
  • Help students learn about healthy relationships. (ETR’s HealthSmart, a comprehensive K-12 health curriculum, addresses healthy relationships in the unit on Emotional & Mental Health. Other curricula may address healthy relationships as a standalone topic, or within sexual health programs. NHTRC has a resource list for educators and students, including a Student Engagement Toolkit).
  • Let students know that trafficking exists. Integrate the topic into classes addressing dating abuse or other types of violence. Share resources with students and encourage them to seek help for themselves or their friends if needed. (The NHTRC hotline is 1-888-373-7888, active 24/7.)
  • Remember that the Internet and social media are not the enemy. These are vital sources of social engagement for most teens. Our goal is not to stop students from using technology. Rather, it is to help them build and practice the skills that allow them to use technology in empowering, self-affirming and productive ways.

What Are You Doing?

Have you addressed online sex trafficking with your students? We’d love to hear what you’ve done and what you’ve learned from your students.

Biographies: 

Pamela  Anderson, PhD, is a psychologist and Senior Research Associate at ETR with more than 10 years of experience conducting research in the area of sexual and reproductive health. Pam has considerable experience in designing, managing and implementing multi-site and multi-method evaluations in school settings featuring group-randomized designs. Her work focuses largely on the context of adolescent romantic relationships and understanding the impact of healthy and unhealthy behaviors on adolescents’ health and well-being. Pam’s work also includes a focus on the correlates and outcomes of unhealthy and violent relationships, including the commercial sexual exploitation of young people. She continues to be interested in the role technology plays in how adolescents in communicate with each other in relationships as well as how technology can be used in developing and adapting health promotion interventions for youth. Pam is also currently involved in an NIH-funded study to create and evaluate a blended learning pregnancy and HIV prevention intervention based on the content of the evidence-based program, Reducing the Risk.

Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES, is Senior Editor in charge of ETR’s blog and newsletters. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years’ experience providing services and materials to schools and communities. Much of her clinical work has focused on adolescent and family issues, life transitions and coping with chronic and life-limiting medical conditions. She has authored over 35 published books, curricula and monographs, dozens of professional articles and over 100 health education pamphlets.


Filed under: Children and Youth, Human Rights and Social Justice Tagged: educators, human rights, human trafficking, online sex trafficking, sex trafficking, sexualization, social media, teens, trafficking, youth

[RE-POST] #WearOrange: The One Simple Thing You Can Do to Address Gun Violence

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To honor the victims of gun violence, we’re reposting last year’s blog about National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Recent data show that violent dates rates in the U.S. remain high (7 times higher than other high-income countries), especially in comparison to other high-income countries.[i] When looking at gun homicides specifically, the rate is more than 25 times higher than other countries.

Many of our members dedicate their lives to understanding the prevention and prediction of violence, and to alleviating the burden of these traumatic events. Too many Americans live with the trauma of losing a loved one to gun violence. We can do better.

[i] Grinshteyn, E., & Hemenway, D. (2010). Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010. The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 129, Issue 3, 266 – 273.

 

 

By Amalia Corby-Edwards, MS (Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Directorate)

June 2nd marks the second annual observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as “Wear Orange Day”.

The financial cost of gun violence in the United States was an estimated $229 billion in 2012; this amount does not account for the psychological toll on those directly or indirectly affected by firearm violence–those who witness or fear firearm violence in their homes or communities or who are left behind when a loved one dies by suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • In 2013, there were 33,636 firearm deaths in the U.S. and more than 84,000 non-fatal firearm injuries.
  • Firearms are involved in more than half of suicides and more than 2/3 of homicides in the United States.
  • There are more than 30,000 firearm fatalities each year in the United States and more than 80,000 non-fatal injuries requiring emergency medical care or hospitalization.

As outlined in our 2013 report, Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, APA supports a public health approach to gun violence prevention and works with violence prevention allies to support federal research, training, and services.

In the past year, these efforts have included:

We must learn more about how to use this knowledge to evaluate and promote preventive interventions. Otherwise we will never succeed in reducing the tragic harm from firearm violence that we have seen occur in recent mass shootings, and in daily unpublicized incidents of gang shootings, intimate partner violence, impulsive suicide, and accidental shootings.

So, join us. Take the pledge to wear orange and get loud about gun violence.

 


Filed under: Violence Tagged: #WearOrange, gun violence, gun violence prevention, gun violence report, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, violence prevention, Wear Orange Day