Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Did I get your attention? Even though everyone knows sexual assault is a touchy topic, I bet some of you wouldn't have bothered to look twice at this article, if it wasn't for the absolutely stunning April Rose gracing the front (well okay, ONLY) page. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that. April Rose is using her beauty and brains for the greater good: to raise awareness for women and children everywhere about the strengths and weaknesses of sexual predators. She understands that her sex appeal is empowering; it influences others to listen and come forward about first-hand information or experience dealing with sex offenders. Saying that, she would definitely disagree with that police officer who told students at York University that if they didn't dress like "sluts" (in other words, like sexy, comfortable women free to wear what they want), they wouldn't be raped or touched inappropriately (hence resulting in the news-breaking Slut Walk). April would definitely reinforce the FACT that victims are NEVER to blame, and that there's so much MORE to the way we dress or the way we take home.And it's not even about what we wear; to these men, abuse is all about what's going on UP there and not necessarily what's going on DOWN there). Abuse is about power, not sex.

Before she became Maxim Hometown Hottie in 2008 and Maxim Canada cover girl in the inaugural Spring/Summer 2011 issue, April was employed as an art director, photo editor, talent recruiter, and certified Sexual Assault Medical Counselor on call for victims in 14 Chicago ER’s. Yeah, she knows what she's talking about. Here, in our exclusive interview, April Rose discusses her expert knowledge on how to beat sexual assault as individuals and a whole.

Her job as a counselor

"I believe there’s a specific chemical released from your brain from sexual assault that can’t entirely be explained in words. I was honored to advocate and comfort victims with direct knowledge of this specific emotion."

Why victims and perpentrators alike may overlook abusive tendencies

"Emotional abuse has multiple levels, and the people that perform them may not even be aware of it. They may be predisposed to doing it, because of family history

Not-so-obvious warning signs of an abuser

"Some red flags that can/may be subtle is the abuser attempting to control situations with verbal comments when not directly addressed, domineering eye contact, making the abusee look for approval."

Or of a sexual predator?

"Sexual predators aren't always so obvious. They tend to spend years honing their specific skills. It can take a little time to study them and find their unnatural mannerisms or tendencies. Some subtle signs may be lingering besides the subject they are targeting and staring devoid of conscious thought of what's going on around them. Many predators are devoid of emotion. They do not consider their targets as human beings, but more objects they can force themselves on. At times, they can give themselves away by attempting to "force" an unnatural conversation with a victim. Often, eye contact can be/will be avoided, as a predator does not want to establish or view the victim as a person."

Sexual Assault Prevention

"The common assumption is that sexual assault takes place in dark places by strangers. In contrast, 75% of sexual assault victims know their attacker. I’m not saying you should go play in dark alleys. I’m stating that if you are victimized, it's three times more likely by someone you know. Prevention? No. But trust your instincts; if something is uncomfortable, then remove yourself from the situation."

Self-defense techniques for women

"Naturally, women are taught to go for the ‘goods,' but guys have been quick to protect this area their entire life, and their reflexes to guard it are quick. My best advice: you probably can’t break a guy's arm, but you can break a finger - which is extremely painful - so go for that. The problem with women is when shown signs of pain, they can be quick to back off feeling empathy, which then may result in greater damage."

Hiding from an abuser

"Escaping an abusive situation isn't easy; it takes time and determination. First; TELL SOMEONE! Someone you trust and can depend on. So they are aware, of the who, what, when & where. The worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away. It doesn’t. By not taking proactive steps, you are essentially enabling your "problems" all over again. You have to take control of yourself. No more excuses. No longer accepting what may have been considered okay in the past. You do this by denying someone else the right to make you a victim. By allowing these acts in the past, you've "enabled" this person to take control of you. When you establish yourself as an individual, you take back a little of that control. Get the law involved. File police reports; get Orders Of Protection or restraining orders. Protect yourself. Build a paper trail, and follow through. As much technology as there is out there to stalk you, there’s also technology to defeat it. There are businesses that can assist you with these situations. GPS? Get a bug sweeper. Credit cards and mail? Change it to a post office box, or even get paperless billing. Silence and complacency are always your worst enemy."

Physical and Emotional Recovery

"Everyone has a different filter; they take the world in shaped by culture, experiences, and mental disposition, so its hard to have a single answer to this question. Psychology isn’t an exact science. Its important to remember that nothing you did made you deserve for this to happen. Abuse can diminish your self worth slowly, which is why some people stay in abusive relationships for long periods of time. Confiding in real friends is always a first healthy step. As I said before, 75% of predators are someone you already know, so there really is no ‘look' (these victims have that make them become targets). The best prevention strategy is speaking up about it. Once an attractor gets away with the act, they become enabled by your silence to do it again. They got away with zero repercussions. Speak up, even when the act plays down your self worth, and you don't feel important enough to speak up for yourself. Think to speak up for the next victim, that your voice could prevent someone else’s misery."

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