busy as a bee

I know, long time no update. However, I plan on letting you know a little bit about what I’ve been doing recently. Starting June 1st, I started training for my practicum. Many of the BSW (and I’m sure MSW) practicums don’t have any training associated with them, but MOCSA (Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault) has 46 hours in 2 weeks (compared to my domestic violence training, which was 40 hours in 2.5 months!). Needless to say, I am incredibly busy (and overwhelmed).

While it has been interesting and helpful to learn about sexual assault & rape, I find it incredible exhausting. I have a hard time placing myself outside of the situation, and I dwell at lot. It has also made me realize that I have poor coping skills (surprise, I know). Additionally, the hour commute there and back is long, and tiring (though not nearly as stressful as I had imagined).

I thought it might be nice to briefly go over some of the things we’ve talked about. We started with a brief introduction to MOCSA, along with discussing all the gender stereotypes and expectations in our society. There was a wonderful film clip we watched from the film, “Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture.”

We’ve also talked about Childhood sexual abuse (abuse a child has during their childhood, currently) and adult survivors (adults who have had sexual abuse in their childhood, past). We also discussed the high rates of suicide ideation in those survivors of sexual abuse/assault. We discussed community education, where MOCSA goes into the community and discusses good touch, bad touch, confusing touch to younger children (kindergarden-5th grade) and teen dating violence, date rape, drug facilitated rape to older children (middle and high school). This is something I will be required to do as an intern at MOCSA. I’m nervous, but excited.

A lot of the discussion has been about how to respond to victims and providing excellent advocacy. The focus has been empowerment based, i.e., the victim is the expert in their life, so they have a right to make their own decisions. Letting them have a rape kit if they want, letting them have the right to not prosecute, not requiring the victim to talk to law enforcement etc. Empowerment and strengths based advocacy is a really big social work component. We also learned the prosecution and law enforcement perspectives on sexual abuse/assault. We got to visit the hospitals in the KC Metro area that have SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) programs, and were allowed to tour the hospital, and ask questions to the nurse about rape kits and how they’re processed and done. This is another huge source of advocacy, as a volunteer or an intern like me, has to go to the hospital and provide support during the hospital process.

Yesterday we focused on the different diversities in sexual assault/abuse. This ranged from survivors with disabilities and deaf survivors to those survivors who have limited English proficiency. We also talked about LGBTQQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questioning, Queer and Intersex) populations and male survivors. The rest of the week seems easy enough (as easy as sexual assault information can be). We will have information on how to work with teen and survivors with mental health or substance abuse issues. We will also be visiting the Rose Brooks Domestic Violence shelter in KC, and begin understanding Orders of Protection (PFAs and PFSs). A lot of this I already know from my DV training.

And Saturday, the training will finally be over. And as interesting as it has been, I’ll be glad to have it be done.

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