Presentation Minutes

Sexual Assault Center – (I was trying to fit too much into one meeting, so I sort of shrank their time down to less than ideal – so they flew through the presentation.  The presentation below is a great place to read more info, and community training and education is part of what they do, so contact the to setup more in depth training for you and your staff/coworkers. –ed)

  • (Presentation at –ed)
  • Carlyn Sampson, Deputy Director, Rebuilding Hope! Sexual Assault Center for Pierce County -
  • Sarah Ciambrone – Program coordinator - (I can’t say enough about how nice it is to have on-line agency staff directories – I didn’t quite catch the name, but I found her name and e-mail on their website.  –ed.)
  • Goal is to discuss how to identify and respond to sexual assault.
  • If you want formal training – 1-2 hours or even half a day – that is a service we provide at no charge – we are certified to provide both state and federal curriculum.  We always want to see what type of training you need.  
  • History – mission & philosophy
    • Started in 1972 – first and longest continuously running sexual assault center in Washington – been here for almost 50 years – 1972 – from the original name of Pierce County Rape Relief  to what we have now.  (it is interesting how language and euphemisms evolve over time. Choice of language carries weight and can impact whether people seek help when assaulted. The New York Times had a great article on this a couple years back - .  On the theme of language, just the other day my better half and I were arguing over whether Bill Clinton Raped Monica Lewinski or not.

me: <in jerk mode when I think I’m right> it was rape.

much better half: <in normal, decent tone of voice> she said it was consensual

me: <still in jerk mode> any sexual relationship with a subordinate is rape

14 year old: will you two be nicer to each other <stomps out of room>

much better half: he means you, you do sound like a jerk


much better half:

me: yeah.  Dang it. I’m sorry. I’ll go apologize to him too. But still rape.

much better half: <*sigh*>

                                An interesting article on Monica Lewinski and her evolving notion of consent is at .-ed)

  • We are the only state accredited center to serve folks in Pierce County
  • Have also done advocacy work
  • Advocates for victims, survivors and their loved ones. 
    • Empower clients
    • All services are confidential
  • 24x7 crisis intervention/referral
    • Crisis intervention
    • Information provided to  all client and community members, as well as professionals
    • Medical and legal victim advocacy
      • Our advocates are dispatched to any hospital when a survivor arrives – we rely on volunteers and interns - we are understaffed.  Recently, we had 4 unrelated cases happening at once on one night, and we could only get 3 folks to respond to the need.  (we need to figure out how to resource them to meet the demand – this seems important. –ed)
    • Survivors have a right to a community advocate during any legal proceedings relevant to the sexual assault – trial, medical, reporting, etc.
    • Al – is communication between survivor privileged?  Carlyn – yes
  • Therapy services - Specialized on sexual assault - trauma-focused.
  • Provide prevention education
  • Human Trafficking – definition
    • Anytime the victim or seller is under the age of 18 - or force, fraud or coercion exists when they are over 18 – it is trafficking.  If you are under 17, even if you are consenting to the sex exchange, it is stills ex trafficking.  Over 18, must prove coercion to hold the john liable.(am I the only one who gets pissed off when I read an article in the newspaper about a sting operation that arrests not just the johns but also  the sex workers? –ed)
  • Bruce – do you work nights?  Carlyn – the
  • Sex acts are considered prostitution, pornography, and nude massage.  Can be anything of value – money, drugs, clothing, protection – offered in exchange for those acts.  It isn’t just a financial transaction – it is a transaction of anything of value. 
    • While sex trafficking is known as “commercial sexual exploitation”, it is often called “the life”, “the game”, etc.
  • Neighborhood and Community Services hired Leslie Briner to do a needs assessment – found sex trafficking was indeed a signification issue – occurring in a variety of locations. 
    • Identified much of it is gang related,
    • It is caused by a lack of emergency or long term housing, shifting social norms, and the general demand for sex .
    • City offered funding for case management and services in 2015.  Expanded the name to sex trafficking and response in 2017 –locally and state-wide
  • What we offer
    • Specialized, confidential, wrap-around services for anyone aged 13+
    • Support for non-offending care givers as well
    • Community therapy
    • 24x7 hotline and dispatch services at law enforcement and hospital locations
    • Low barrier supports
    • No aging out
    • Non judgmental
    • Resource connections
    • Drop in center
      • program for youth and adults in Stadium district – past or present clients – can access the safe space
      • operates 8am-8pm, Wednesday through Friday, and Tuesday and Saturday by appointment
      • facility offers space for clients and space for case managers
    • sex trafficking affects all genders, all races, everyone
      • disproportionately affects young people experiencing poverty, LGBTQ, people of color, and those experiencing homeless. 
      • Vast majority have experiences of childhood sexual trauma (and we wonder why so many in our community struggle to be self-sufficient. –ed).
      • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual assault before age 18. 
    • 23 unduplicated clients in 2015, 48 in 2016, 178 in 2017, and 179 in 2018.  These numbers are similar to King County, a region with more services and more far more people. 
    • In 2018 – over 38,000 direct service hours – serving people aged age 5 to 55.  Most are between 14 and 25.  We take referrals from the Juvenile justice system, law enforcement, victim advocate, professional. 
  • Impacts to public health
    • Awful (this is all I had in my notes – I’m sure she said more, but I think this sums it up pretty well. –ed)
  • Recommendations
    • Critical to make public aware how sex trafficking impacts our community
    • Must hold buyers accountable
    • This is as preventable an issue as child abuse – and should have the same response
    • We need more sex trafficking education
    • Need housing
    • Need criminal record expungement
    • Need Job training
  • Theresa – that stat about Pierce County vs King County is appalling.  Why is it that way?  Answer – buyers are held responsible in King County more than in Pierce County – so the buyers come to Pierce County – so that demand is there.  Pierce County is unique a high-urban, high-rural area – and that expands how trafficking can happen.  Military installation contributes to the demand side.  Our Prosecuting attorney’s office is doing more stings to hold people accountable – we hope that reduces demand. 
  • Don P. – I deal with gangs and run a statewide program.  where do you send these young ladies once they exit trafficking (not just women, of course –ed)?  Answer – we don’t have places to send them. King County has more options.  The domestic violence shelters in King County isolate beds for trafficking victims.  We’ve had clients placed in shelters out of county.  Data shows clients attempt to leave 8 or 10 times before they are successful.  We often send folks out of state.  Sex trafficking is growing – and it is a renewable resource, unlike drugs.  Our case managers struggle to get folks out of trafficking. 
  • Al – what working relationship do you have with the homeless outreach workers. Carolyn – we make sure they know we are available – we see most of those folks at Emergency Rooms – our long term issue is we have no shelter for them.
  • Question – I used to do this work – we had a shelter - but traffickers found our victims.  Shelters have trouble maintaining confidentiality – we worry about the safety of our clients and others.  Answer – yes, there are lots of struggles in figuring out how to adapt services to this population. (The YWCA Domestic Violence shelter focuses energy on maintaining confidentiality – they are always pushing partners to better protect the identifies of their clients. They’ve definitely made us a better agency for that hard-core advocacy. But keeping folks hidden isn’t an easy task, that is for sure. –ed) 
  • Roxanne – can an underage that is trafficked still be arrested?  Answer – we see drug or other convictions , but not criminalizing the juvenile services.  But all those other things cause problems. 
  • Question – how do we bring a solution – because I do work within a community – we must identify organizations – we take and bring them back to traffickers – how do we work together to help them out.  We work across areas – this is often done across a family or a community.  How do we come together outside this group.  How can we come together?  Answer – we are working to create a  high functioning, multidisciplinary response so we can start putting together a cohesive action plan. 
  • Question – I’m a former prostitute – and I listen to the difficulties in getting out – from my experience – drug additions, addicted to money and lifestyle – it takes a lot of money to change that thinking in – and that struggle is with individuals.  You are in survival mode – to shut out other abuse and escape from it – it is a power thing – it has affected my life – even though I’ve been clean and sober for 15 years.  Our part is that we want help, but don’t want help.  We go back to what we know, what we think is family and support. (I am continually impressed that our coalition feels like a safe enough place for folks to share some pretty personal narratives. It is hard to overstate the value these contributions make. I love folks’ willingness to share and the rooms willingness to hear and support them. Yay us. –ed)
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