Advocacy for sexual assault survivors may take many forms, including offering a hotline to call, meeting someone at the hospital for a forensic exam and providing comfort and basic needs after the forensic exam, or explaining legal options and processes. Each of these services that New Beginnings offers has the same purpose: to help a sexual assault survivor through the healing process.
New Beginnings works to provide advocacy for all populations of the counties we serve and is devoted to outreach to marginalized or underrepresented communities who may need our services. Each population has unique needs and ways that sexual assault impacts that community that is different from other communities. We work to serve the following communities specifically:
Communities of Color
Racial and ethnic minorities face a number of societal stereotypes that can impact an individual’s healing after sexual violence. A brief overview of the historical and cultural complications to communities of color can be found at sapac.umich.edu/article/57. Another resource can be found here: sisterslead.org. New Beginnings works hard to advocate for sexual violence survivors in all communities, including communities of color.
According to research published by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, members of the LGBTQ community may experience sexual assault in a number of ways:
- Bisexual, transgender, lesbian, and gay people experience violence within their intimate relationships at about the same rates as heterosexuals (Waldner-Haugrud, 1997; AVP, 1992)
- 30% of lesbians report having experienced sexual assault or rape by another woman (not necessarily an intimate partner) (Renzetti, 1992)
- 15% of men living with a male intimate partner report being raped, assaulted, or stalked by a male cohabitant (CDC, 1999)
- LGBT individuals may experience abuse during their childhood. They may be abused by parents or others who are intolerant of homosexuality. They may be targeted for sexual abuse by adults that recognize their ‘difference.’
- 42% of homeless youth, many of whom have run away from home to escape violence, self-identify as gay/lesbian. (Victim Services, 1991) LGBT persons face additional challenges in healing from childhood sexual assault, due to myths that childhood sexual assault may have ‘caused’ them to be gay.
- Queer persons may be sexually assaulted as a part of a hate crime.
A study of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults showed that 41% reported being a victim of a hate crime after the age of 16 (Herek, 1999). Sexual violence is more common among LGBT hate crimes; assailants may use rape to “punish” victims for what they view as their sexual transgressions.
Because of statistics like these, New Beginnings is dedicated to serving the LGBTQ sexual assault survivor community. Since societal homophobia may cause LGBTQ individuals to be untrusting of certain institutions, New Beginnings strive to let all LGBTQ sexual assault survivors know that they are safe and welcome to New Beginnings’ advocacy and services.
Sexual violence against men is difficult to calculate since it is believed to be mostly unreported. Males may feel that sexual assault is less likely against them, that people will not believe them if they told about the violence, or that disclosing the violence would diminish their masculinity.
Yet sexual violence against men is not uncommon. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Summary Report, one in five men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Other statistics claim that one in six boys will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18.
Though sexual assault and violence is sometimes considered to be something that only affects females, New Beginnings is aware and dedicated to male survivors as well. New Beginnings strives to serve all sexual assault survivors and to try and reverse the stigma of all sexual violence, including sexual violence against males.
Immigrant and Refugee Communities
Owensboro has a large Latina/Latino and refugee populations. New Beginnings provides outreach to these communities and offers education in all local public schools, including those with a large number of children from these demographics. We also offer any services we can to immigrant, Latina/Latino, or refugee survivors. New Beginnings is committed to offering services to all members of the immigrant and refugee communities and has access to language services as needed.
Survivors in Detention Facilities
The U.S. Federal Government has taken steps to address sexual violence among incarcerated populations. The Prison Rape Elimination Act, passed in 2003, addresses sexual abuse and violence among prison populations, and the act outlines specific guidelines for handling abuse. New Beginnings works with survivors in detention facilities by traveling to facilities to offer counseling and/or advocacy.
According to the U.S. government, “Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.” Data released from the National Human Trafficking Hotline that receives and tracks calls of human trafficking in the United States, human trafficking is a rapidly growing problem in our country. New Beginnings is dedicated to providing counseling and support services to survivors of human trafficking and in educating community partners on how to identify possible trafficking survivors.