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President Launches Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault on Campus

February 2014




Campus Leadership Blog Post


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Dear Students and Faculty Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault,

Last month, President Obama announced the launch of a new task force to prevent sexual violence on college campuses.  Citing that 1 in 5 women on college campuses have experienced some form of sexual violence during their academic careers, the President has called this epidemic ”Totally unacceptable."   Additionally, he delivered a report compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls that confirms nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes.

The report, "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action," says that one in five women has been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault. Urging a fundamental shift in attitudes around sexual violence, the President's actions are timely considering the work of Futures' Campus Fellows across the country.

This month, we are highlighting Campus Fellow, Nisha Vema, and her advocacy work as a medical student in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine:

FWV Blog

“Breathe,” her husband urged as the woman on the hospital bed paused between contractions. “You’re doing great babe,” he said gently, squeezing her hand. I watched from my position between her legs, standing next to the doctor, gloved and gowned and ready to catch the baby. Her mom, who stood on the other side of her, brushed a couple strands of hair from the patient’s eyes. “Just imagine that cold beer you can have when you get through with all this,” she said to her daughter, who gave her a tired smile.

With each push, I could see more and more of the little head. “This one has a head full of hair!” I reported, and the father eagerly craned his neck to get a peek. I placed my hands on the baby’s head, then his shoulder, then grabbed his leg, guiding him out of the vaginal canal and resting him immediately on the woman’s bare chest. The woman laughed, her husband cried, and her mom starting snapping pictures. The doctor and I, after checking the woman for tears and cleaning her up, congratulated the family and left the room to give them some privacy.

As I walked back to the doctors’ station, a resident grabbed my arm. “Room 7 is about to deliver!  Come on!” I wasn’t assigned to this patient and didn’t know anything about her, but the residents liked me to come to as many deliveries as possible to learn. I followed the resident into the room and was immediately struck with the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. The atmosphere in this room was drastically different from the one I had just left. I was surprised by how young the woman on the bed looked. The nurse sat on the stool beside her providing quiet words of encouragement, but there was no one else around the bed with her. I did notice two uniformed people standing in the back of the room next to a baby bed on wheels. The resident introduced me to the woman on the bed, who did not respond but looked straight ahead, eyes fixated on a spot on the wall. “You just watch this one,” the resident said to me as she put on her gloves. I watched as the woman alternated between pushing and resting, all the while silently fixated on that spot on the wall. With the woman’s final pushes, the resident reached down to help guide the baby out of the vaginal canal. However, instead of resting the crying baby on the woman’s chest like I expected, the resident continued to hold the baby in her hands. There was an awkward silence broken only by the cries of the baby before the resident turned to me and asked me to clamp and cut the cord. After the baby was released from her ties to the placenta, the resident turned around and handed her to the two people in the back of the room, who quickly cleaned her up and rolled the small bed and baby away. The woman did not speak. She didn’t smile. She didn’t cry. She just kept looking at that spot on the wall, even after the baby was gone and the resident kneeled next to her bed and asked her how she was doing.

“I’m sorry I didn’t have time to prepare you for what was happening in there,” the resident said to me when we were outside the room. She explained to me that the young woman in the room had been raped by her step-father and had decided to put the baby up for adoption. She had specified before the delivery that she did not want to see or hold the baby, but wanted the baby taken from the room immediately. “That’s why I just held the baby until the cord was cut,” she explained. “I didn’t know what else to do with her.”

I often think about this patient and her silent suffering in that room. I wonder whether any of her healthcare providers asked her about sexual assault or provided her with resources before she got pregnant. I wonder if after getting pregnant any of her providers sat down with her and kindly, without judgment, gave her the option of abortion. I wonder if her healthcare providers ever connected her with social work or counseling to support her through some of the emotional struggles of this pregnancy during her prenatal appointments.

As a member of the Futures Without Violence Campus Leadership Program, I created an interdisciplinary training for medical, nursing, and social work students about interpersonal violence to tackle barriers to effectively supporting patients experiencing violence. The training uses a case-based approach to discuss issues that include empathetic interviewing techniques, important domestic violence and child abuse laws in NC, teamwork between healthcare professionals and social workers, and techniques for documenting cases and testifying in court.

I began the process of creating this training by meeting with anyone and everyone in law, social work, nursing, and medicine with a special interest in intimate partner violence that was interested in speaking with me. I learned a tremendous amount by talking to people, asking them questions like “What are your greatest frustrations working with those in other fields to take care of people experiencing partner violence?” and “What are the main things you want people in these other fields to know about what you do?” I combined the information I learned from these conversations with my own research on the topic. I also adapted information from successful trainings put together by other organizations, such as Futures Without Violence, and drew from real cases I have seen in the hospital. My first training will take place in Asheville, NC this month and the plan is to collect feedback from participants on what worked and what didn’t so that I can continue to adapt this training into its most effective form.

I wanted to share this story because it was one that was particularly haunting for me, but one that unfortunately is not unique. In medicine, regardless of the field we go into, we will see people regularly who have experienced interpersonal violence. I think it is important for us to remember that just because we don’t ask, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, fundamentally affecting the health of the people for whom we are trying to care.

--Nisha Verma


This story is the second in a series of posts we’ll share with you that reflect the work of the twelve Futures’ Campus Fellows.  If you are interested in joining the Futures Without Violence Campus Fellows by improving existing or implementing new gender-based violence prevention and intervention programs on your campus, feel free to contact me for resources and support.  I look forward to hearing from you!



Jane Pomeroy

FuturesWithout Violence

CampusLeadership Fellow





February 6 (webinar, 2:00 pm ET; parts 2-4 are scheduled for 2/13,

2/20 and 2/27)

How to Create Accessible, Culturally Relevant and Trauma Informed

Services: Your Agency's Assessment, The Olga Phoenix Project.


February 6 in Atlanta, GA

Stop Violence Against Women Day at the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia

Network to End Sexual Assault, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic

Violenceand Georgia Commission on Family Violence.


February 7 (BlogTalkRadio, 2 pm ET)

#BeyAware: Words Matter, National Resource Center on Domestic

Violence.Follow live tweets @VAWnet and @NationalDVAM and join the

discussion at #BeyAware.


February 8 in Brooklyn, NY

Mother Tongue Monologues for Truth Bearing Women, for Emerging Sons

and Other Keepers of the Flame, Black Women's Blueprint, Move to End

Violence, A CALL TO MEN and One Billion Rising. Buy tickets:


February 9-12 in New Orleans, LA

Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases Workshop,

National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.


February 10-12 in Anacortes, WA

2014 SANE Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Core Training, Harborview

Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress.


February 11 (webinar, 12:00-1:30 pm PT)

Assessing Patterns of Coercive Control in Abusive Relationships: A

Basic Skill for LGBT DV Advocacy, The Northwest Network. Register.


February 11 in Austin, TX

Developing an Effective Strategic Plan, Texas Society of Association



February 11 in Olympia, WA

Lobby Day, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.


February 11 (webinar, 1:00 -2:30 pm CT)

Pornography and the Abuse of Women, Battered Women's Justice

Project.Note: NCDSV Board Secretary Rus Ervin Funk is one of the



February 12 in Austin, TX

#BlameGame ~ A Challenge to Take Responsibility and Stop the Rumors

and Retweets, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble. If you plan on

attending, email with an estimate of how many

attendants may be coming.


February 12 (webinar, 1:00-2:30 pm MT)

Cyber Stalking, National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.


February 12 (webinar, 2:00-3:15 pm CT)

Improving Responses to African American Battered Women who have Used

Violence; How Community Assessment Can Be Used to Examine

Disparity(scroll down), Praxis International.


February 13 (webinar, 12:00-1:30 pm ET)

Dating Abuse in a Digital Age, National Alliance to End Domestic



February 13 (webinar, 2:00 pm ET; part 1 was on 2/6 and parts 3-4 are

scheduled for 2/20 and 2/27)

How to Create Accessible, Culturally Relevant and Trauma Informed

Services: Revising Shelter Rules, Building Survivor's Dignity (scroll

down ~ 2 of 4), The Olga Phoenix Project.


February 13 (webinar, 2:00-3:30 pm CT)

Involucrando a l@s Jóvenes Latin@s para Ponerle Fin a la

Violencia en el Noviazgo, National Latin@ Network. Para participar

haga click aquí.


February 13 (webinar, 10:00-11:30 am PT)

Teen Survivor Support Groups: Promoting Resilience and

Empowerment,Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.


February 13 (webinar, 1:00-2:30 pm MT)

A Window of Opportunity, National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.


February 14

One Billion Rising for Justice, One Billion Rising.


February 16 in Wilmington, DE

Peace, Love & Bowling, Delaware Coalition Against Domestic



February 18 in Atlanta, GA (also available via live webcast)

Public Health Grand Rounds ~ Preventing Youth Violence, Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention.


February 18-19 in Lost Pines, TX

Executive Directors' Conference, Texas Council on Family Violence

andTexas Association Against Sexual Assault. Note: Registration is

specifically for executive directors of Texas family violence and

sexual assault programs.


February 19 (webinar, 10:00-11:30 am PT; part I was on 1/29)

Creating Solutions: Addressing the Health Needs of Intimate Partner

Violence Survivors in Family Justice Centers (part II of II), Family

Justice Center Alliance, in partnership with Futures Without Violence

and Project Connect.


February 19 (webinar, 2:00-3:00 pm ET)

High-Tech Helping and Hurting: The Role of Technology in Dating

Abuse(scroll down), Break the Cycle. Register.


February 19 (webinar, 1:00-2:30 pm MT)

Native Creation Story Series: Changing Woman, National Indigenous

Women's Resource Center.


February 19-21 in San Diego, CA

The Institute, A CALL TO MEN and National Family Justice Center



February 19-21 in Decatur, GA

Men At Work: Building Safe Communities ~ Curriculum Training, Men

Stopping Violence.


February 20 (webinar, 2:00 pm ET; part 1 was on 2/6, part 2 was on

2/13 and part 4 is scheduled for 2/27)

How to Create Accessible, Culturally Relevant and Trauma Informed

Services: Building Accessibility for Survivors with Mental Health

Considerations (scroll down ~ 3 of 4), The Olga Phoenix Project.


February 20 (BlogTalkRadio, 2 pm ET)

The Impact of Child Exposure to Domestic Violence on Dating

Relationships,National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Follow

live tweets@VAWnet and @NationalDVAM and join the discussion at #CEDV.


February 20 (webinar, 2:00 -3:30 pm CT)

Intersection Between Interpersonal Violence Exposure and Military

Service,Battered Women's Justice Project.


February 20 (teleconference, 1:00 -2:00 pm ET)

Promoting Safety Through Effective Representation & Advocacy for

Victims of Intimate Partner Violence, National Center on Protection

Orders and Full Faith & Credit.


February 20-21 in Sydney, AU

2nd Annual National Forensic Nursing Conference, IIR Healthcare.


February 20-21 in Miami, FL

Jeanne Clery Act Training Seminar, Clery Center for Security on



February 20-22 in Seattle, WA

12th Annual Q&A for Advocates National Institute (scroll down),

The Northwest Network.


February 24 in New York, NY

BYSTANDERS NO MORE ~ Engaging Men in the Movement to End Gender

Violence, Sanctuary for Families, in collaboration with A CALL TO MEN.


February 25 (webinar, 12:00-1:30 pm PT)

Moving Beyond the Wheel: Understanding Domestic Violence in LGBTQ

Communities, The Northwest Network. Register.


February 25 (webinar, 10:00-11:30 am PT)

Sexualized Behaviors Among Siblings, Washington Coalition of Sexual

Assault Programs.


February 25-27 in TBA

Leadership Training, National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.


February 26 (webinar, 3:00-4:30 pm ET)

Minor Sex Trafficking of Runaway & Homeless Youth (scroll down),

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Register.


February 26 (webinar, 2:00 -3:30 pm CT)

Reproductive Coercion and Intimate Partner Violence, Battered Women's

Justice Project.


February 26 (webinar, 2:00-3:00 pm ET)

Youth Activism and Engagement: Tips for Reaching Youth (scroll

down),Break the Cycle. Register.


February 26-28 in Las Vegas, NV

The National Campus Safety Summit.


February 27 (webinar, 2:00-3:30 pm CT)

Engaging Latin@ Youth to End Teen Dating Violence, National Latin@

Network. Register.


February 27 (webinar, 2:00 pm ET; part 1 was on 2/6, part 2 was on

2/13 and part 3 was on 2/20)

How to Create Accessible, Culturally Relevant and Trauma Informed

Services: Building Accessibility for Survivors with Substance Use

Considerations (scroll down ~ 4 of 4), The Olga Phoenix Project.


February 27-28 in Seattle, WA

13th Annual Q&A for Advocates National Institute, The Northwest



February 28 (webinar, 2:00 -3:30 pm CT)

Male Peer Support & Violence Against Women: The History and

Verification of a Theory, Battered Women's Justice Project.




Domestic Violence Group Facilitator

ATTIC Correctional Services, Inc - West Bend, WI


Violence Prevention Program Coordinator

Northern Kentucky University Department of Human Services


Social Worker III  O'ahu

Hawaii State Judiciary


Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

Howard County General Hospital - MD


Clinical Nurse Specialist  Behavioral Health

Advocate Health Care


Associate Director  Health and Wellness Center

Saint Mary's College  Moraga, CA


Director I  Sexual Assault Services

Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, FL



Centura Health  Canon City, CO


Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) RN

Bucks Campus  Langhorne, PA


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San Francisco, CA 94129-1718
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