PALO MAYOMBE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: WHAT IS OUR POSITION?
By Engueyo Claudia Diane Delgado, March 11, 2015
Blessings and gratitude to Tata Eric Colon, his god-children, and our Ancestors. I am a little nervous because this is the first writing I have done in a Palo Mayombe forum. This article provides a general overview of what sexual assault is, and a list of community resources to contact when in need of assistance.
Sexual Assault is the result when a person does not respect the forces of nature, life, or another human being, therefore has no place in Palo Mayombe. Palo Mayombe gives new life, preserves life, and changes life. . Sexual assault causes damage to the very foundation of which Palo Mayombe is built upon. Sexual Assault wounds and destroys lives in our community, and can cause irreparable damage to a Muna nso. When Sexual Assault within the Palo community, is seen as a betrayal of our traditions. Oftentimes we respond in outrage and vengeance because this is not who we are or what we do. This is because we are warriors and as warriors we do not leave one of our fallen behind. It is because we have honor and pride in protecting one another’s back; which speaks volumes to our commitment, determination, and loyalty to our Elders, to our brothers and sisters, and to the Religion.
In today’s world of the internet and television’s daily rants on fear and violence, sexual assault has become a topic of discussion in our everyday life. Many of us have been victimized either from personal experience or being a witness to the experience of another. So what can we do when sexual assault occurs to ourselves?a god-child?….a friend…a family member?….a client? What can we do to provide support to someone who is a victim of sexual violence?
A sexual assault victim is anyone who has been coerced, forced, threatened, drugged, and/or manipulated into having sex against their will. Those who have been victimized by Sexual Assault come from every walk of life with their own unique journey. There is no correlation between sexual abuse one’s socio-economic status, education, profession, culture, color, intelligence, looks, make-up and clothing, etc. The Sexual Assault has less to do with the victim and more to do with the perpetrator. One example of a Sexual Assault is when the victim had given prior consent to having sex, but at some point decided she/he wanted it to stop, and the perpetrator refused. Another example is a victim being drugged or passed out and therefore unable to fend for themselves. Another example is when the victim has not given consent, and the perpetrator takes power and control over the victim in order to commit the sexual offense. Another example is when the victim has not given consent, and the perpetrator takes power and control over the victim in order to commit the sexual offense. At the point when the request to stop has been refused, the situation has changed to criminal abuse. In a court of law, it does not matter if the victim was drinking, whether the victim agreed to it, whether the victim is a prostitute, or whether the victim was “begging for it”…what DOES matter is that the victim either had no control over their mind/body, or had expressed the need for the act to stop and be left alone and the perpetrator refused to comply. It is not the victim’s fault for what happened to them. This article provides our Palo Mayombe community with important information on both Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault, as well as resources for the victim.
Sexual Predators are criminal cowards who do not care about who they wound or destroy. They are sex offenders who have problems communicating with others, resulting in their inability to develop lasting intimate relationships. They lack empathy, so are unable to feel or get a sense of how their behaviors are impacting others. Because of this, when engaged in sexual activities, it can result in sexually abusive behavior. They do not have healthy coping skills and cannot handle their emotions in a mature way. When triggered by environmental stressors (for example when they want sex and they are being told “no” they can’t have it), they become angry and act out impulsively without thinking about the consequences of their actions. Impulse control is lacking, therefore when their perceived want or need is delayed, they become agitated, frustrated, and angry. At the time of arrest, it is common that this one event was not the first or only abusive event he/she has been engaged in. There is a great range of variation on the belief that sexual offenders were sexually abused themselves, however there is no research that supports the notion that sex offending causes sex offenders. On the contrary, research supports the notion that many who have been sexually abused in childhood do not commit sex offenses as adults. As the perpetrator ages, the variables related to recidivism seem to be (1) increased hostility, (2) continued problems in establishing intimate relationships (3) continued problems with conflict resolution, (4) emotional identification with children, (5) preoccupation with sexual acts, sexual activities, and sexual matters, (6) instability and difficulties in employment, lifestyle, self-regulation, impulsivity, and substance abuse; (7) non-compliant behaviors and attitudes towards authority, bosses, or treatment expectations.(*1) Verbal requests such as “no”, “enough”, “stop”, “leave me alone”, “I want to go home” are ignored because their perceived needs/wants far outweighs the victim’s needs/wants to feel safe and in control of their own body.
What To Do If You Are Raped (*2)
- Go to a safe place.
- If you want to report the crime, notify the police immediately. Reporting the crime can help you gain a sense of personal power and control.
- Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust who can be with you and give you support.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do NOT shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, and brush your teeth or hair until after you have had a medical examination. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate PAPER bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital emergency department or a specialized forensic clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. If you go to a hospital emergency department, request a “forensic examination” from a qualified personnel specifically trained in sexual assault crimes. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault. Having a medical exam is also a way for you to preserve physical evidence of a sexual assault. Forensic medical examinations are free for victims of sexual assault.
- If you suspect that you may have been given a “rape drug”, ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. Drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.
- Get information whenever you have questions or concerns. After a sexual assault, you have a lot of choices and decisions to make, for example, about getting medical care, making a police report, and telling other people. You may have concerns about the impact of the assault and the and the reactions of friends and family members. You can get information by calling a rape crisis center, a hotline, or other victim assistance agencies.
- Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist rape victims. Counseling can help you learn how to cope with the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. You can find a counselor by contacting a local rape crisis center, a hotline, a counseling service, and other victim services agencies.
REMEMBER: Sexual Assault is a crime, but it is not your fault and you didn’t cause it to happen. Rape is against the law. You have a right to report this crime to the police and to be treated fairly during the judicial process
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) is a national victim assistance organization, at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN will connect you to a rape crisis center in your area.
National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, telephone: 1-717-728-9764
About the Author: Claudia Delgado is the god-daughter of Tata Musitu – Eric Colon. She has 2 Master’s Degrees with Distinction in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy (MFT) and Art Therapy. She is a pre-Doctoral Candidate in Neuropsychology. Claudia has been recognized by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate for her work in the field of rehabilitation at the California Department of Corrections as a Sex Offender Specialist. In 2014, Claudia was requested by the United States Attorney General’s Office to assist in the prosecution of an out-of-state registered sex-offender, charged with running a national child pornography ring. Claudia now enjoys her retirement and religious studies.