Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Does sex sell movies? Uh, not really

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

December 29, 2009 1:39 p.m. EST
(CNN) -- When it comes to movies, it may be that sex doesn't sell.

A recent study concluded that nudity and explicit sex scenes don't translate to success for major motion pictures.

"Sex Doesn't Sell -- nor Impress! Content, Box Office, Critics, and Awards in Mainstream Cinema" examined more than 900 films released between 2001 and 2005.

The study found that, contrary to popular belief, sex and nudity failed to positively affect a film's popularity among viewers or critics and did not guarantee big box office receipts.

One of the study's co-authors, Dean Keith Simonton, said theirs was the largest sample of its kind used for film research. The results surprised him, he said.

"Sex did not sell, whether in the domestic or international box office, and even after controlling for MPAA rating," said Simonton, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. "In other words, even among R movies, less graphic sex is better."

The top-grossing films in the study included movies like "Shrek 2;" "Spider-Man;" "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," all of which contained mostly minor to mild sex and/or nudity.

Simonton said the research went beyond others in that it also examined other forms of "objectionable" material that might earn a film an R rating including violence.

The study was prompted by an experience almost a decade ago of its co-author, Anemone Cerridwen.

Cerridwen had been taking acting classes and increasingly became uncomfortable with some of the sexualized content she was encountering. That led her to consider the work experiences of film actresses and the pursuit of data about the lucrativeness of sex in movies.

"I assumed sex sold, and wanted to know by how much," Cerridwen said. "I braced myself for the worst, and got quite the surprise."

Craig Detweiler, director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University, said the study's findings reflect the culture's post-sexual revolution sensibilities.

"Nothing is as shocking anymore," Detweiler said. "You can see it in Britney Spears' kiss with Madonna and Janet Jackson's Super Bowl performance. Things that were a big controversy among some, the next generation kind of yawned at it."

Rather, Detweiler said, he has seen among his students that the new form of rebellion against the older generation includes "not doing drugs, not sleeping around and not getting divorced." That might explain the popularity of some of the Jane Austen films and movies like the "Twilight" series, he said.

"Those stories are really about sexual separation," he said. "They are all about wooing, not winning."

Tom Jacobs, staff writer for the academic research periodical Miller-McCune, wrote about the study and said there has long been the belief that the many young males who make up movie audiences are enthralled by female nudity.

"These researchers really put that belief to the test and crunched the numbers," Jacob said. "What I took from the study is that a hint of sex is perhaps more enticing than out-and-out nudity."

The study's authors are hopeful that their findings will have some impact on moviemaking.

Simonton said he has had one inquiry from a researcher at a major studio that he declined to name, though he has no idea if the studio plans on acting on the data.

Cerridwen said she thinks movies continue to be influential on the public and believes their study could also have an influence, especially if other academics pick up the torch and continue the research. Until then, she hopes Hollywood takes notice.

"I do believe that there are a fair number of people in the film industry who want to make better films, and this study may give them some ammunition," she said. "I know that Hollywood has been trying to make more family-friendly films for a while (since the '90s) and it seems to be helping ticket sales, so my guess is that this research would complement that."
So the actual act of sex is not what sells, its partial nudity and the idea of fantastic sex that sells. Makes sense to me. What do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

April will be here before you know it

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center) just announced that their SAAM materials for 2010 are currently available on-line. These are excellent resources and they are free -- just in time for the holidays!

Check it out and pass it on.

The NSVRC is pleased to announce new resources for the 2010 Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign! The 2010 theme is “Prevent Sexual Violence…on our campuses” and we have provided a variety of materials to assist you in planning your SAAM activities and events, both on and off campus. All materials are available online at There you will find all the campaign materials for 2010 and materials from previous years and other organizations, arranged in categories for ease of use. If you would prefer to receive the materials on CD, please contact the NSVRC at 877-739-3895, ext. 118, or email Lauren Sogor, Prevention Campaign Specialist, at

Want more free stuff? You can go to Unite for Change for campaign ideas and educational  resources. If you would like help choosing an awareness or prevention project that will work best for your campus communnity or creating a one of a kind program perfect for your campus just shoot us an e-mail at we are more than happy to help.

Monday, December 07, 2009


People always ask us how long we’ve known each other and how we met. This past year Becca and I realized that we have been friends longer than some of the students we work with have been born. That’s depressing and wonderful all in one. Anyhow the story of how Kelly and Becca came to be goes a little something like this…

In January of 1990 the World Wide Web did not exist yet. Cell phones were mostly for doctors, attorneys and Zack Morris. We were still watching the Cosby Show on Thursday nights and thanks to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure everyone was saying "dude" and most girls we knew were crazy for a man twice their age, Patrick Swayze of Dirty Dancing fame. Everyone was begging Mc Hammer, Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, Tone Loc was gett'n funky with the Cold Medina and Vanilla Ice, was busy rolling in his 5.0. All the cool kids were sporting labels like Guess, Z Cavarichi and The Limited. Hair was tall and crunchy thanks to mass amounts of aerosol hair spray, this is likely about the same time scientists started to become concerned with the condition of the ozone. This is also the time that a twist of fate brought two strangers together that now almost 20 years later could no not imagine life without the other.

Kelly was the new kid on the block.

In the 9th grade I transferred high schools half way through the year. I knew one person in the entire school, who I was relying on to show me around, introduce me to new friends, save me a seat in the cafeteria and all the other important stuff that comes with attempting to fit in. On my first day at Pinellas Park High School I was excited about a fresh start but mostly nervous about being noticed as the “new girl.” On Monday morning, I was working my way down the hallway feeling pretty confident when suddenly I was distracted by the loudest voice I had ever heard. It was this girl talking to a group of students who appeared to be the “popular crowd.” She had her finger pointing, her neck rolling and she was flipping her hair too; this girl was really working it out. I walked by trying not to stare and the girl doing all the talking walked towards me, threw her arm around me and said, “Hey, you’re Kelly! Great hair, nice pants, love the shoes, oh I’m Becca it’s great to meet you. I’m going to need your class schedule to coordinate note passing and locker meetings. My locker’s down in the senior section. I have connections and I figure we can share lockers cause who knows where they’re going to put you. Oh my God, I can’t believe I didn’t tell you this first Kelly, I hear that Mike Winters is hot for you already! Is that exciting or what? Dude, lets walk.”

Lots of information, I know, but what’s even more impressive is that I’m pretty certain she got everything out in one breath. I was overwhelmed and honestly a little scared but mostly happy about meeting a new friend. I handed Becca my schedule, she grabbed me by the arm and started guiding me down the hallway. About two seconds later she screamed, “Awesome, we totally have third period together, the class is kind of boring but at least we’ll be together.” We stopped outside of a classroom doorway that I assumed was our Language Arts class. Becca introduced me to a couple kids as they were walking in and we hung out until about ten seconds before the bell rang. So far, the only thing I could see that I had in common with Becca was teased bangs that defied gravity.

Once we got into the classroom Becca said hello to the girl sitting in the desk next to her, paid her a couple of quick compliments and then asked if she would switch seats with me so that we could sit together since I was new and all. The girl did not seem to mind and so I sat next to my new friend Becca who clearly knew how to make things happen. She continued to inform me of all the clubs and organizations I had to join, where to sit in the cafeteria, how to get out of certain classes a little early and most importantly, she told me all about her new boyfriend. Even though it had only been 3 days, she was sure he was “the one.” She started talking about plans for the weekend as the teacher was walking towards the front of the classroom. Class began and I finally had a moment to take a deep breath and relax a little bit. A few minutes into third period Language Arts with Mr. Buchus I started thinking that my first day at PPHS wasn’t going to be that bad.

Meeting that day remains one of the most pivotal moments in our lives. We both always wanted a sister and here we found one in each other, the fact that we wore the same size shoes was merely a bonus. From that moment on we grew up together, we have shared all of life’s moments both big and small. What makes our friendship so special besides the fact that we can finish each others sentences is that without hesitation the good, the bad and everything in between we will always be there for one another. Our friendship is truly a matter of two souls meeting and realizing that we are actually family.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"Lived loudly, loved fully, slept soundly."

I love unconventional magazines, the ones who proudly divert from the herd, Ode mag is one I dig. So I did as any networked gal (or guy) would do I joined the FB fan page. There I found this neat little ditty now cut and pasted below.

Writing your life story in six words or less.

I dug it, was moved by it and for good measure I have included mine both here and in the title.

I would love for you to do the same.

"Lived loudly, loved fully, slept soundly."




Michael Sean Symonds, an avid Ode reader, posted this question to the Ode Exchange  Six word memoir

If had to write the story of your life as it was, is and as you hope it to be, in six words or less what would you say? What words, impulses, visions, themes, experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, dreams, desires, losses, hurts, perceptions, fears, and associations would you express within those few words or sentence? What unspoken words would be shared? What would be denied or implied in the gaps between those words and thoughts?

Here are a couple of my favorites that people came up with:

Everything happens just at it should

Enjoyable ride, still learning to steer

Intellectual gypsy, tired of peeling onions

There was love around every corner

Lived, loved, lost, learned, loved again

Big hair, big heart, big hurry

What's your six word memoir

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"The Journey" unfolded

Sabrina shared the article below and video about Emma Thompson’s interactive art exhibit on Trafficking with me earlier this week noting the powerful images and suggesting it would be a good post for the blog (thanks Bina!). I’ve watched the piece several times and am amazed at the way the artists are able to bring life to these horrific stories of sex trafficking without losing the most powerful message, for me anyway and that message is hope.

If you have 5 minutes please watch the video of Emma Thompson who walks viewers through her brilliant project which shares a young woman’s personal story of sex trafficking.

Emma Thompson’s ‘Journey’ Exhibit Spotlights Sex Trafficking
Huffington Post 11/9/09

Two-time Academy Award-winning British actress Emma Thompson is focusing her attention on the issue of human trafficking of women and young girls by co-curating an interactive New York City art exhibit titled Journey.

In an interview with "Good Morning America," Thompson reveals that she got involved with the cause when she realized that trafficking wasn't just an international occurrence. She discovered it was a local phenomenon happening at a massage parlor down the street from her house. The aim of 'Journey' is to emphasize that prostitution in slavery and commercial sex is happens closer to home than many think -- sometimes literally around the corner.

Thompson remarks that in many ways, human trafficking is much easier to commit than dealing with drugs or weapons: "You can make $150,000 from one girl in a year...because moving people around the place is easier than moving guns around."

She explains that girls and women were often forced into the sex trade by a male relative or family friend who lured them out of the country with job offers. This was the case of Elena, a Moldovan girl who Thompson encountered in 2006 through her work with the Helen Bamber Foundation, an organization that helps abuse victims. Elena was led to the United Kingdom with the promise of a job as a receptionist, but was forced into the sex trade at age 19 after her passport was taken away once she entered the country.

It was partly due to her conversations with Elena that Thompson was moved to take on this project. The art exhibit uses seven shipping containers to chronicle the seven stages of a trafficked woman's experience. Thompson hopes that the exhibit helps people understand the plight of those forced to work in human trafficking, which numbers about 2.5 million individuals at any one time, according to the International Labor Organization.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Is your organization looking to enhance your online presence?

If it's true that the company you keep is an indication of your character then we are rocking baby! We hope by now you know that is our incredible fall tour title sponsor. This socially conscious company cares about students, your organizational success and providing the best web sites and hosting on the market, hands down. You might think they would charge through the roof for such service but they don't. They want to be within reach of their audience and we love that. If you or your organization is looking to create an online presence or you want to amp up what you already have please reach out to our friends at Celect to learn more about all they have to offer. We think you'll be impressed with what you find. Their offerings are excellent, customer service is spectacular and they are passionate about making a difference. Who could ask for anything more? Oh how about they help your two soul sisters reach countless more students, to talk about "IT". Celect, if lovin' you is wrong we don't want to be right.

Celect will empower your organization with the tools you need to manage, grow, and succeed.

Celect is home to over 1,300 national and local fraternities, sororities, student organizations, and alumni groups. Within these groups, there are hundreds of thousands of members that use Celect to strengthen their connection to the organization and other members. Websites that utilize Celect are also integrated with Facebook through two of the top Greek applications, which Celect developed, called The Greek Community and Greek Family Tree. By combining Celect with Facebook applications, your members are free to move between their individual and organizational networks with just a click – further cementing ties to your organization.

Enhance Your Presence

Finding the right online website management and networking tool allows your organization to enhance its community presence and public outreach. Sharing news, policies, and calendars, coordinating fundraisers and donation campaigns, managing member profiles, and sharing photos and videos online will help centralize and promote your organization’s values, goals, and purpose. Click here to see a full list of the features, tools and benefits that Celect offers.

Celect will help you build the public image that is right for you as well as assist in the management your organization’s day-to-day activity. There is no need to have a tech-savvy “administrator” who controls your website. The Celect platform allows organizations to assign different permission levels to different types of members, which promotes participation.

Connect, Reconnect and Network

Celect realizes that many smaller or local groups are often part of a larger organization. Our online organizational networking system can help bring your members, sub-organizations, and national/parent organization together, more often and more effectively. With features that create unlimited groups, individual members can connect with other groups within the organization or with other individual members, and vice versa.

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Celect is designed to help you reach out to your members, build effective channels of communication and retain their membership. The Celect platform can also help recruit new members with special tools designed to focus on recruitment efforts and building membership – allowing your organization to better target potential new members and follow-through with specific recruitment communications.

To learn how Celect can help your College, Greek, or Alumni Group create a web presence and manage its day-to-day member activity, call 1-888-88CELECT, or e-mail

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unite for Change Seeks Amazing Student Leader

Spring 2010 Opportunity: Program Development Intern

Unite for Change is currently working on a ground breaking outreach project for campus communities across Florida. We are seeking a driven, visionary thinker to assist in developing this revolutionary initiative that will unite college students and communities to promote sexual assault awareness, healthy sexuality and sexual health. This is a chance to gain real experience in organizational outreach and leadership development while addressing sexual violence.

Qualified applicants must be a leader within their college community and be comfortable working with various groups such as Res Life, First Year Experience, Student Government, Greek Life, and Athletics from both their home campus and campuses across the state of Florida. Candidates must have strong communication skills both oral and written and have previously held or currently holding a leadership position on campus.

The ideal candidate will be an articulate, creative and organized self starter who is knowledgeable in sexual health and sexual violence reduction or possesses the skills and has an interest in learning about the issue(s).

This is a part-time telecommuting intern position. Start date is January 2010 and will conclude in May 2010. Stipend will be paid upon completion of internship. Prefer applicants within the state of Florida but not required. If desired, we will work with the student and university to ensure college credit is provided for the internship.

Please submit your resume and cover letter no later than 12/15 to with subject line: Intern Resume.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sexual Health Report Card

The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card started four years ago with the concern of some scary statistics. As Bruce Tetreault, a group project manager for Trojan said… “Only one in three sex acts in singles uses a condom, there are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections every year and over 700,000 unplanned pregnancies under the age of 20 every year in the United States. That drove us to spark conversation and increase awareness of the state of sexual health awareness in America and by doing the Report Card we are able to do that and increase availability of information and resources.”

Kudos to Trojan for taking action and highlighting college campuses for promoting sexual health!

Congrats to the University of South Carolina for ranking #1!

Make your sexual health a priority. Learn how to get down with sexual empowerment here.

The annual study analyzed 141 schools in the major NCAA conferences, grading them on a wide array of factors, including health center hours of operation, condom availability, HIV testing costs and the availability of anonymous advice. Scores are tallied similar to grade point average, with 4.0 being the best, and 0.0 the worst.

Top 10 Best Schools for Sexual Health

1. University of South Carolina (3.43 Sexual GPA)

2. Stanford University (3.40 Sexual GPA)

3. University of Connecticut (3.38 Sexual GPA)

4. Columbia University (3.24 Sexual GPA)

5. Florida Atlantic University (3.23 Sexual GPA)

6. University of Georgia (3.21 Sexual GPA)

7. Michigan State University (3.17 Sexual GPA)

8. Cornell University (3.17 Sexual GPA)

9. Brown University (3.15 Sexual GPA)

10. Duke University (3.15 Sexual GPA)

The 10 Worst Schools for Sexual Health

1. DePaul University (0.62 Sexual GPA)

2. St. John’s University (1.24 Sexual GPA)

3. Providence College (1.37 Sexual GPA)

4. Baylor University (1.54 Sexual GPA)

5. Bringham Young University (1.57 Sexual GPA)

6. Arkansas State University (1.58 Sexual GPA)

7. University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1.63 Sexual GPA)

8. Louisiana Tech University (1.64 Sexual GPA)

9. Seton Hall University (1.71 Sexual GPA)

10. Troy State University (1.71 Sexual GPA)

USC tops sexual health rankings
Availability of information, testing help Carolina excel

By Ellen Meder
Assistant Mix Editor
Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Everyone comes to college for education but, according to a study released Tuesday, the University of South Carolina is currently leading the nation in a non-academic field of education: sexual health.

USC was ranked No. 1 out of 141 NCAA colleges and universities nationwide for availability of sexual health information and resources according to the fourth annual Trojan Sexual Health Report Card. Never having slipped below No. 11, South Carolina embodied many of the 13 points of criterion for an overall 3.43 sexual health GPA.

Trojan Brand Condoms has been in the contraception business for over 90 years, according to Bruce Tetreault, a group project manager for Trojan, and aligns its business objectives with public health needs.

“Four years ago we got some really sobering statistics about the state of sexual health in America,” Tetreault said. “Only one in three sex acts in singles uses a condom, there are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections every year and over 700,000 unplanned pregnancies under the age of 20 every year in the United States. That drove us to spark conversation and increase awareness of the state of sexual health awareness in America and by doing the Report Card we are able to do that and increase availability of information and resources.”

Trojan enlisted Sperling’s BestPlaces, a Portland, Or. data analysis company, to measure both the access and availability of information and resources. Sperling’s BestPlaces graded universities based on data from campus health centers, student polls and other readily available information like school Web sites. Cost of and access to contraception, HIV testing Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing as well as outreach and peer groups factored in to the grading. Amount of sexual activity and STI rates were not included in the study because such information is difficult to accurately obtain said company president Bert Sperling. With a Facebook campaign targeting each school, Sperling’s BestPlaces ran advertisements for questionnaires that asked students five question: Would you consider contacting the health center for a sexual health issue? Does the health center do a good job? Are the services complete? Is he staff trustworthy? And, is there room for improvement? Over 6,000 students responded nationally, with 89 USC responses.

“In those scores, USC received one of the very highest scores in student responses,” Sperling said. “It has a very good Web site and they have student peer groups, they have programs for assault and sexual harassment awareness, and outreach and lecture programs are all top notch. In many areas very excellent.”

Thompson Student Health Center helped in many ways, including everything from free Pap smear testing and free condoms to informative pamphlets. The Sexual Health & Violence Prevention’s (SH&VP) services is where USC especially excelled, offering healthy relationship services, STI information, sexual assault and stalking prevention and lots of campus outreach.

“Our overall goal is seeing students have healthy relationships, including partners, roommates and friendships,” said Ryan Wilson, the Sexual Health Program Coordinator at SH&VP. “My focus is just the sexual health piece of that whole.”

With the University 101 outreach program, SH&VP representatives go class to class with a “What your peers never told you about sex” presentation that gives students full information on both safe sex and abstinence and sparks discussion about personal beliefs.

“We ask students to decide on their own sexual health, to do make those decisions on their own timeline, when they’re ready,” Wilson said.

Additionally, SH&VP spends a lot of time researching student sexual health and holds events like the Nov. 17 World AIDS Day forum, as well as Greene Street condom handouts throughout the year and the Project Condom fashion show in the spring. The branch of the health center also helps out the student sexual health group, Share, in their dissemination of information.

“What we’re doing is on target from the research I’m reading about how peers can help other peers with a lot of this,” Wilson said. “We all need to make responsible decisions and then help others as well. That is one way we can improve, is to take care of each other in every area.”

Kat King, a third-year visual communication student and the president of Share, agreed that students listen more to people like themselves.

“I’m really thrilled about the honor,” King said. “I think it’s really the visibility of our peers and the amazing research of the SH&VP office that got us here.”

Share has about 40 undergraduate members, and is holding many events this month to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and participates with SH&VP in World AIDS Day activities, Safe Spring Break Week, Project Condom, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Stalking Awareness Day and Homophobia Awareness week.

“I’m really proud of the work we’ve done and definitely feel that in certain areas we are leading the way,” Wilson said.

The healthy discussion of formerly taboo topics at USC is not an isolated occurrence, though.

“Now students are asking how they can help their schools improve the availability of this information and we’ve really seen student empowerment happening,” Tetreault said. “For us, that’s been the biggest change and the most gratifying.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Safety Aboard Cruise Ships

We have been following the work of International Cruise Victims and recently had the pleasure of meeting Laurie Dishman and Caitlin Burke with ICV to learn more about the organization and their work. To say we were impressed is an understatement. These ladies are passionate, driven and down right spunky so we were not at all suprised to learn that some of their hard work is paying off in a big way. This week the Matsui Cruise Safety Bill passed in the House of Representatives. Congratulations! This is a huge.

You can read the full press release below. To learn more about safety on cruise ships or to get involved with the ICV visit-

Another great day for ICV and future victims of crimes on Cruise ships
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
(202) 225-7163
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES MATSUI CRUISE SAFETY BILLStand-Alone Legislation Will Protect Americans Aboard Cruise Ships

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (D-CA) joined with hercolleagues in the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 3360, the CruiseVessel Security and Safety Act of 2009 by a bipartisan vote of 416-4.Introduced by Representative Matsui earlier this year, the legislation is acritical and common-sense fix which will provide safety and security toAmericans who go on cruise vacations without realizing they are notprotected under U.S. laws when they leave its territorial waters.

"Unfortunately, the status quo has allowed cruise ships to operate underforeign flags of convenience - but leaving our territorial waters does notmean that cruise ships should be allowed to operate without basic laws thatprotect American citizens," Matsui said today on the House floor duringconsideration of her legislation. "Over the past several years, I have metwith far too many victims and their families who have experienced tragedy onthe high seas, only to be left to fend for themselves. It has becomeincreasingly apparent that this landmark legislation is both urgent andnecessary."

Rep. Matsui was contacted regarding the need for increased protections forAmericans on cruise ships in 2006, when her constituent, Laurie Dishman,wrote to her for help. Ms. Dishman was the victim of a sexual assault whileon a cruise vacation, and was given no assistance by the cruise line inproperly securing evidence of the assault, identifying her attacker, orprosecuting the crime once back on shore. Devastated, she reached out toCongresswoman Matsui for help. Matsui immediately began working on thislegislation and held multiple hearings with the support of Transportationand Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Chairman ofthe Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Elijah Cummings(D-MD), to bring the reality of what was happening on these ships to light."

Unfortunately, incidences of sexual attacks, missing persons and otherserious crimes have continued to be reported on board cruise ships in recentyears, despite increased media and Congressional attention on this issue,"stated Matsui. "The passage of my Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Actwill not only help recent victims of cruise crimes and offer them enhancedprotection, but will help from preventing further crimes from happening. Wecannot sit back and witness these violent and reprehensible acts tocontinue."

Matsui's legislation will require the cruise industry to comply with anumber of security provisions including specific rail heights, peep holes,warning devices, and cabin security measures. Additionally, the billnecessitates that vessels are equipped with a video surveillance system toassist in documenting and prosecuting crimes, and requires vessels tomaintain a log book to record reports on specified complaints. Finally, thelaw will mandate cruise vessel personnel to contact both the Federal Bureauof Investigations (FBI) and the United States Coast Guard as soon as a crimeinvolving homicide, suspicious deaths, missing U.S. nationals, kidnapping,assault, and other serious occurrences are reported.

Passage of this legislation is in addition to the inclusion of the CruiseVessel Security and Safety Act of 2009 in the Coast Guard ReauthorizationAct f 2010 recently passed by the House of Representatives. CongresswomanMatsui and her colleagues are hopeful that the Senate will soon take upconsideration of companion legislation introduced by Senator John Kerry(D-MA) that was passed unanimously by the Senate Commerce, Science andTransportation Committee this summer, and be sent to the President as soon as possible.
# # #

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our friends at JUST IN CASE would like to know…

What will you be doing for World AIDS Day 2009?

Let JUST IN CASE® Intimacy Compacts be a part of the Celebration of Education, and a valuable tool of prevention.We are offering extraordinary discounts to Non-Profit agencies across the US through December 31, 2009. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

Give your clients and donors a valuable tool to promote disease prevention and further sexual health education. Statistics and education are vital to understanding the need for change in behavior. TREND can take the information and put it into action, The JUST IN CASE® Intimacy Compacts are a trend that will have a direct and lasting positive impact on behavior and just might save a life. The JUST IN CASE® Intimacy Compacts will be utilized by clients and donors far beyond other hand-outs that may be read and thrown away.

Please contact Rachael for further information!


WORLD AIDS DAY 2009: Universal Access and Human Rights

The theme for World AIDS Day 2009 is 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, recognising these as fundamental human rights. Valuable progress has been made in increasing access to HIV/AIDS services, yet greater commitment is needed around the world if the goal of universal access is to be achieved. Millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year. In low- and middle-income countries, less than half of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are receiving it, and too many do not have access to adequate care services.

The protection of human rights is fundamental to combating the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV, putting marginalised groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers, at a higher risk of HIV infection. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.

World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us - individuals, communities and political leaders - to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

Universal Access and Human Rights - The - I AM theme

The World AIDS Campaign arrived at the selection of the theme Universal Access and Human Rights after close consultation with representatives of various constituencies, communications and media representatives of partner organizations, and friends of the World AIDS Campaign.

Why I AM?

Understanding HIV and AIDS from a human rights perspective can be difficult. Human rights are often misunderstood and can sometimes be seen as abstract ideals with not much practical relevance for real people. The slogans for the World AIDS Day materials were designed to bridge that gap and underscore the importance of awareness of Human Rights.

Among the key slogans adopted:

I am accepted.

I am safe.

I am getting treatment.

I am well

I am living my rights.

Everyone deserves to live their rights

Right to Live

Right to Health

Access for all to HIV prevention treatment care and support is a critical part of human rights.

The aim was to provide concise, informative texts designed to illustrate the relationship between Human Rights and Universal Access.

Supporting materials are now available in campaigning packages (four posters and two post cards) printed in English, Spanish, French and Russian and are available on the World AIDS Campaign website. Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi and Portuguese versions are also available to download from the website.
To find out more about how you can get involved in your community please visit

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Determined to make a difference!

Often news outlets only report about the issues related to sexual assault when tragedy strikes but in this case renowned columnist for the St. Petersburg Times Ernest Hooper was simply inspired by Sabrina, our friend and social outreach intern who is driven by the moniker determined to make a difference.

When we decided to start our internship program we had no idea how great its impact would be on us. We hoped to teach but what we have been taught is far greater. Sabrina Sadler, our current intern has inspired us more than she could ever know. We are grateful for the impact her commitment to ending and addressing sexual violence has had on Unite for Change. She is a visionary rock star and at our staff retreat this week she helped us guide the future of Unite for Change, offering ideas and direction. We can’t wait to introduce Sabrina to some of our allies at the 2009 Sexual Assault in our Schools conference in Orlando this weekend.

In the article Ernest Hooper beautifully outlined how we all make choices, difficult choices but what we do with the deck we are dealt is what defines who we are and what we are capable of doing. Sabrina reminds all of us that we can and will make a difference. You just have to be willing to believe in yourself and others.

After meeting with Sabrina, Ernest Hooper said it best, "Anyone with a heart, anyone who cares about humanity, anyone who wants to end sexual assault and promote sexual empowerment should learn about Unite For Change".

We hope you too feel the same way.

Please follow the link to read the article and leave a comment, thank you again to the Times for covering such an important issue.

Unite for Change- fights sex abuse

Ernest Hooper, Metro Columnist

In Print: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November’s Featured Program for Change

The University of Maine Athletes for Sexual Responsibility

College athletes struggle with a number of sexuality issues ranging from pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted disease prevention, dating dilemmas, communication problems, date rape and gang rape. The University of Maine is addressing these serious national problems through a unique peer education program that shows athletes as more than role models for physical strength, agility and stamina, but also as role models for appropriate social and sexual behavior. This program has become a model for colleges and universities across the country.

The semester long program trains student-athletes to present a variety of workshops including: "Rape Awareness," "Smart Sex" and "Drinking & Dating." It uses athletes as role models and actors who portray characters in damaging or potentially harmful sexual situations who then engage the audience to explore positive alternatives. The current troupe includes male and female student-athletes, representing the various intercollegiate sports at the University of Maine.

Feeling inspired? If you would like more information about Athletes for Sexual Responsibility or want to find out how to join a Program for Change on your campus, enhance your current mission or start a new campaign/ organization in your community please contact us at

We are currently accepting nominations for Programs for Change. Please contact Sabrina Sadler at for more information.

Hopeful, Determined and Focused,

The Unite for Change Team

Monday, November 02, 2009

Violence Against Women on Television: Are you desensitized?

Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

What are you watching on Television?

As the years go by more and more violence appears on T.V. Even movie ratings have changed from previous years. As each year passes our tolerance in accepting profanity, violence, female victimization and nudity seems to increase.
The article below takes a look into violence against females on television, how It has changed between 2004 through 2009.
Are you surprised?

Women in Peril: PTC Report Finds Increase in Violence Against Females on Television

LOS ANGELES (October 28, 2009)

In a new special report, the Parents Television Council® found that storylines depicting violence against females are increasing and being shown more graphically and in ways that have not been seen in the history of television.

The PTC’s report, Women in Peril: A Look at TV’s Disturbing New Storyline Trend, examined fatal and nonfatal female victimizations on prime time broadcast television and found that there was a significant increase in all forms of female victimization storylines; an increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims; an increase in the use of female victimization as a punch line in comedy series; and an increase in the depiction of intimate partner violence.

“Our new research points to a disturbing trend: by depicting violence against women with increasing frequency, or as a trivial, even humorous matter, the broadcast networks may ultimately be contributing to a desensitized atmosphere in which people view aggression and violence directed at women as normative, even acceptable,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Just last week, actresses like Nicole Kidman testified before the Congress that Hollywood probably has contributed to violence against women by portraying them as weak sex objects. We all must pay attention to the fact that this is a problem in our society. The fact is that children are influenced by what they see on TV and that certainly includes media violence,” said PTC Director of Communications and Public Education Melissa Henson.

The study compares the qualitative and quantitative differences in the treatments of violence against women on prime time broadcast television between 2004 and 2009. PTC analysts examined all primetime programming (excluding sports and news programs) on the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC)* during the February and May 2004 and 2009 sweeps periods for a total of 209.5 hours of programming.

Major Findings

1. Incidents of violence against women and teenage girls are increasing on television at rates that far exceed the overall increases in violence on television. Violence, irrespective of gender, on television increased only 2% from 2004 to 2009, while incidents of violence against women increased 120% during that same period.

• The most frequent type of violence against women on television was beating (29%), followed by credible threats of violence (18%), shooting (11%), rape (8%), stabbing (6%), and torture (2%). Violence against women resulted in death 19% of the time.

• Violence towards women or the graphic consequences of violence tends overwhelmingly to be depicted (92%) rather than implied (5%) or described (3%).

2. Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009.

3. Although female victims were primarily of adult age, collectively, there was a 400% increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims across all networks from 2004 to 2009.

4. Fox stood out for using violence against women as a punch line in its comedies -- in particular Family Guy and American Dad -- trivializing the gravity of the issue of violence against women.

5. From 2004 to 2009 there was an 81% increase in incidences of intimate partner violence on television.

“Our study today serves as a clarion call to all Americans about a critical issue with dire consequences. We are calling on television producers and network executives, members of the advertising community, elected representatives and appointed government officials, and most importantly, the viewing public, to stand up against this disturbing trend. In a country where more than 60% of children have been exposed to violence in their daily lives, according to recent research by Justice Department, we must take the utmost care not to normalize violent behavior – especially violence against women – through our television programming,” Winter added.

To read at the full report and view video clips from the study, visit:

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Safe is sexy and we have proof: the first high fashion “must have” accessory for safe sex, created with a woman’s sensibility of style and discretion in mind.

We have the pleasure of knowing a socially conscious mother/daughter duo whose mission is to empower women to make safe sex a priority; to help women raise their personal requirements by offering them a beautiful reason to carry condoms. Together, Marsha Bartenetti and her daughter Rachael Sudul developed their award-winning JUST IN CASE® line of intimacy compacts, redefining personal care to include sexual health. And they bring a whole lot of sass and style to the cause.

Taking charge of your sexual health can be fashionable with a JUST IN CASE® accessory with mirror and hidden compartment for condoms. This little trend just might save a life.


What inspired JUST IN CASE®?

Marsha: It was back in 1980, believe it or not, before HIV/AIDS was known to us and STD’s became an epidemic that I first came up wit the idea for JUST IN CASE®. I was having dinner with my then neighbor in Northern California – Dr. Carl Djerassi. Carl is a renowned chemist who invented the birth control pill. We were discussing birth control – and the subject of condoms came up. He said they were still one of the best means of contraception – but that they just had a bad image – Since I was in the Entertainment Industry, he said, and was creative, I should come up with something to change that. And thought about it I did. In fact, it was directly after that dinner that I visualized the entire concept of a compact for women that held condoms. Women had historically been the ones responsible in birth control and it just made sense to me. But, remember, it was 1980 – so everyone I brought the idea to laughed at me and said, “No woman is going to carry a condom!”

No one knew the devastation of HIV/AIDS – and sexual protection was only thought of to keep from having an unplanned pregnancy – STD’s were not in society’s pulse of understanding, either.

The idea haunted me for years – I knew women would love this product. I, of course, had discussed it with my daughter over that time. Finally a few years back Rachael and I talked about it seriously again. She wanted to join me in getting it out there and believed it was time. We began our partnership – and research and development – I took $$ I had earned from doing voice-overs, Rachael cashed in some of her stocks and off we went!

And we have never looked back.

We are committed to this not only as a fabulous product for women – but as agents for change in what has become a dire situation women are facing in the area of sexual consciousness and health.

Mine was definitely an idea before its’ time. And now, 32 years later - having unprotected sex is like playing a game of Russian roulette. One’s life may actually be at stake. JUST IN CASE® is a product whose time has come – and we are proud to have created this product for women. Our company continues to evolve as do the customers we serve; with one thing in mind to: Love Well. Love Wisely.®

What’s your ideal customer?

Rachael: Our ideal customer is a woman who takes her education/information to the next level of pro-action. If she has decided to be sexually active, she takes an active role in her sexual health. She is not afraid to ask her partner questions about his health and share her own concerns. She is a woman who finds strength in discretion and courage in honesty. She is a strong woman even when she is at her most vulnerable place… and that strength gives her partner comfort to be vulnerable and honest with her as well.

The customer who inspires us is the woman who is just learning how important her sexual health is… and how boundaries and requirements don’t push partners away but rather teach them how she wants to be treated. We keep the conversation alive for her to join in so she may become our “ideal” customer.

How do the JUST IN CASE® intimacy compacts contribute to a sexually empowered culture?

Marsha: We believe in the power of education, no question about it. But, we also know the power of trend. Together, we have a huge potential for change – in a positive direction.

JUST IN CASE® products are the tool that creates confidence. And when a woman has inner confidence it radiates in all areas of her life. She will make better choices.

This is not a man/woman debate – this is the integration of honoring and love between a couple – raising the requirements from a woman’s part allows her man to see her in a whole new light – and will trigger an innate man’s desire to look after his woman and protect her - in a truly feminine sense – as a truly masculine man. If she has high regard for herself – and holds that before anyone else – and does it in a non-aggressive way – but, from within - which is a strength beyond the battle of the sexes – it is integrative and very powerful. And elevates the bar of behavior.

Remember – at the time you are about to have sex – the brain is not in charge – so what you “know” won’t necessarily kick in - in a matter of seconds you could make a poor choice that might affect your life forever – This is usually when the pleas to God begin…hoping you aren’t pregnant, have an STD..or HIV/AIDS. Having your own protection will spark something in a matter of seconds that will trigger a good choice. You will actually have what you need to protect you –with you - and take an active step to be in charge of your future.

We are creating a bridge between beauty and sexual health.

And our trend is to honor women – to honor their sensibility for style and discretion – and to honor themselves when it comes to sexual health choices. And what a beautiful way to look after yourself and carry protection!

Remember - we are all about the pretty! And look for our new products to come out in early 2010. We are over the moon excited about what’s next!

In addition to offering really great products what sorts of community efforts/ philanthropic projects does Just in Case, Inc. support?

Rachael: We support a large number of philanthropic efforts because that has always been a core element of our business model, but of course there have been a few that really stood out for us. We have been a sponsor for Macy’s Passport, a phenomenal fashion show event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars that directly impact community AIDS organizations and AIDS research. We also held a contest across the US where people could nominate their local women’s non-profit clinic or organization. We chose one clinic per state entered and sent them a case of our Classic JUST IN CASE® Compacts to use at their discretion. The winning clinics used the compacts for outreach events, and to give to clients. We had a nurse from one of the winning clinics write us an email about the impact the compacts had on some of her clients. She gives a class on STDs and sexual health to women who are about to be released from prison. She said she is usually met with very blank stares during these courses but once she introduced the compacts, the tone in the class was shifted and there was a little excitement... they were given something beautiful that reminded them that they are beautiful women and that they are worth taking care of. Our hope is that those women remembered that beyond their class and taught the girls and women around them the same thing, that we are all beautiful and worth the tremendous effort to keep ourselves healthy and strong in all aspects of our lives.

My mom and I also had the privilege of speaking to a class of high school girls during a health class. In the beginning the girls were guarded and “tough”… with a defensiveness of “I don’t need a talk from you; I know what I’m doing.” When they saw the compacts, the girls opened up to us and it gave them a feeling that we weren’t there to dictate to them what they were going to do with their lives, but have a conversation with them about how to make the right decisions for themselves. Questions they will want to have answered when the time is right, and requirements they will have for all of their partners whether or not they choose to be sexually active.

Sex is a morally charged issue, and when we talk about sex the conversation can get clouded with mores, guilt, misinformation, and blame… when we can talk factually without pointing fingers we can get so much more accomplished. Sex is a profound and deep way to communicate and bond with your partner; it can also bring incredible distress and consequences when it isn’t treated with the respect and understanding it requires. We will continue to work with women’s groups in the US and abroad to keep the conversation alive.

If you could do anything other than the work that you do what would it be?

Marsha: We have so much work to do at JUST IN CASE® - We’ve just gotten started. And we are so excited about where our company is headed. We also want to start a foundation.

Outside of JUST IN CASE - I am an artist – my roots are in singing/acting/writing – I would get back on stage and sing – and get my screenplay in production. And there is always the element of the message I want to impart – and that is –to re-connect with who you are – know the power of truly knowing yourself – and the beauty of that in the larger scheme of life. I believe it’s all about remembering what we already really know – and have forgotten.

That we matter – and that we have something wonderful to contribute while we are here on earth - And I will be a voice for that no matter what the genre happens to be.

You do so much for others, what do you do to take care of you?

Rachael: I have two small children so I “take care of myself” in little tid bits! I read when I can (LOVE my Kindle!!) I exercise, and I take the time (sometimes it’s only 10 minutes) to look around at all I have to be grateful for. On those more challenging days I am grateful for the basics…my family’s health, the roof over my head, and the opportunity to share my thoughts and gifts with so many women through a product that I am tremendously proud of. Being grateful fills me when I feel overwhelmed, then I’m able to reach out even further.

Featured Product:

Classic Conversations Gift Pack

The perfect way to start a very important conversation. JUST IN CASE® intimacy compacts and Sexversation® cards together can encourage honest and healthy conversations about sex and sexual health. Get yours today! * Be sure to use the LOVEWELL code during checkout for a discount.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Sexy Halloween

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

Halloween is just a few days away! Have you picked out your costume yet? Will it be sexy, classy or scary?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized Halloween has become more about dressing sexy rather than a day to be anything you want. At the costume shop there is a section for children’s costumes, men’s costumes, and then the section for women, which seems to be over populated with sexy costumes.

When did Halloween become about women showing skin? I rarely see men trying to show off their legs in a Halloween costume. Halloween is a day for kids to be kids and adults to be kids again, be anything we want to be, right?

Is it just me or has this October holiday become less about dressing up and more about sex appeal? As women, are we dressing sexy for ourselves? For the opposite sex? To feel desired?

Does this say anything about sex in our culture?

Friday, October 23, 2009

When Patients are Denied: The Battle Over Mental Health Benefits

a decision no one should have to face

Can you imagine being faced with the decision to risk losing your health insurance or risk contracting AIDS?

Rape Victim's Choice: Risk AIDS or Health Insurance?

The Huffington Post - Danielle Ivory
First Posted 10/21/2009

Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month's worth of anti-AIDS medicine.

Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable.

Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem.

Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.

Stories of how victims of sexual assault can get tangled in the health insurance system have been one result of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's citizen journalism project, which is calling on readers to provide information and anecdotes about the inner workings of the insurance industry. The project aims to uncover details and data that can inform the larger debate over how to fix the nation's health care system. As the Investigative Fund reported in September, health insurance companies are not required to make public their records on how often claims are denied and for what reasons.

Some women have contacted the Investigative Fund to say they were deemed ineligible for health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition as a result of a rape, such as post traumatic stress disorder or a sexually transmitted disease. Other patients and therapists wrote in with allegations that insurers are routinely denying long-term mental health care to women who have been sexually assaulted.

Susan Pisano, spokeswoman for the health insurance industry's largest trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said insurers do not discriminate against victims of sexual assault and ordinarily would not even know if a patient had been raped.

"These issues you are bringing up, they deserve to be brought up," said Pisano. "People who have experienced rape and sexual assault are victims and we want them to be in a system where everyone is covered."

Turner's story about HIV drugs is not unusual, said Cindy Holtzman, an insurance agent and expert in medical billing at Medical Refund Service, Inc. of Marietta, Ga. Insurers generally categorize HIV-positive people as having a pre-existing condition and deny them coverage. Holtzman said that health insurance companies also consistently decline coverage for anyone who has taken anti-HIV drugs, even if they test negative for the virus. "It's basically an automatic no," she said.

Pisano, of the insurance trade group, said: "If you put down on a form that you are or were taking anti-HIV drugs at any time, they [the insurance companies] are going to understand that you are or were in treatment for HIV, period," she said. "That could be a factor in determining whether you get coverage."

Some doctors and nurses said that the industry's policy is not medically sound. "The chance of a rape victim actually contracting AIDS is very low. It doesn't make any sense to use that as a calculus for determining who get health insurance," said Dr. Alex Schafir, faculty instructor at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore.

Nurses who deal with sexual assault cases say the industry's policy creates a significant problem for those treating women who have been assaulted. "It's difficult enough to make sure that rape victims take the drugs," said Diana Faugno, a forensic nurse in California and board director of End Violence Against Women International. "What are we supposed to tell women now? Well, I guess you have a choice - you can risk your health insurance or you can risk AIDS. Go ahead and choose."

Turner, now a life and casualty insurance agent, said she went without health coverage for three years after the attack. She second-guesses her decision to take the HIV drugs. "I'm going to be penalized my whole life because of this," she said.

Several women told the Investigative Fund that after being sexually assaulted they had been denied care or ruled ineligible for health insurance because of what were deemed pre-existing conditions stemming from their assaults -- particularly post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

A 38-year-old woman in Ithaca, N.Y., said she was raped last year and then penalized by insurers because in giving her medical history she mentioned an assault she suffered in college 17 years earlier. The woman, Kimberly Fallon, told a nurse about the previous attack and months later, her doctor's office sent her a bill for treatment. She said she was informed by a nurse and, later, the hospital's billing department that her health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, not only had declined payment for the rape exam, but also would not pay for therapy or medication for trauma because she "had been raped before."

Fallon says she now has trouble getting coverage for gynecological exams. To avoid the hassle of fighting with her insurance company, she goes to Planned Parenthood instead and pays out of pocket.

A New Mexico woman told the Investigative Fund she was denied coverage at several health insurance companies because she had suffered from PTSD after being attacked and raped in 2003. She did not want to disclose her name because she feared that she would lose her group health insurance if she went on the record as a rape victim. "I remember just feeling infuriated," she said.

"I think it's important to point out that health plans are not denying coverage based on the fact that someone was raped," said Pisano of the insurance trade group. "But PTSD could be a factor in denied coverage."

"That might not be a discriminatory action, but it certainly would seem to have a discriminatory impact," said Sandra Park, staff attorney at the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Insurance discrimination against rape victims will only further discourage them from coming forward to law enforcement and seeking medical help."

Even when patients have coverage, there are fundamental disagreements between insurance companies and doctors about what mental health treatment is medically necessary. The Investigative Fund spoke with doctors, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers around the country who work regularly with victims of sexual assault. They said that their patients have been experiencing an increase in delays and denials, particularly for talk therapy.

"There's a lot of anger about this in the medical community," said Dr. George Shapiro-Weiss, a psychiatrist in Middletown, Conn. "You don't realize what an Alice in Wonderland web this has become."

"A lot of my patients are being told that their treatment isn't medically necessary," said Keri Nola, an Orlando, Fla., psychologist, who said about 75 percent of her patients are victims of sexual violence.

Several therapists cited problems with managed care companies that specialize in mental health. Such firms generally work under contract with health insurers to hold down costs while still authorizing appropriate care.

Some therapists and patients said the managed care companies have cut off necessary treatment for sexual assault victims in the name of cost containment. "The companies are peppering them with questions about their symptoms, and about their histories, and asking, 'Well, are you sure you really need therapy?'" said Jeffrey Axelbank, a New Jersey psychologist. "For someone who has been traumatized, it can feel like another trauma, and it makes the therapy less effective."

Pisano, of the insurance association, said it was not fair to draw a larger pattern from such anecdotal evidence. "These situations are evaluated on a person-by-person basis," she said. "There is nothing routine about this."

Jim Wrich, a Madison, Wis., a consultant who helps employers evaluate the companies that manage their mental health care, said his work has made him wary of the industry. "This is absolutely routine - these denials," Wrich said. "The default position is to reject care."

Magellan Behavioral Health Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest managed-care companies with more than 58 million customers, said that it does not routinely turn down treatment requests from victims of sexual assault or other clients. "We're not denying care. We are exercising our responsibility to make sure that medical necessity is met," said Dr. Lawrence Nardozzi, Magellan's medical director. "I think the process works well."

Asked if cost is a factor in the company's decisions, Magellan spokeswoman Erin Somers said: "If all the safeguards are in place to determine whether treatment is medically necessary and appropriate" then "the cost takes care of itself."

A former care manager for Magellan said in an interview that she felt pressure to deny care for cost reasons. Lois Gorwitz, a psychologist with thirty years of experience who went to work for Magellan in California in 2000, said her superiors would tell her: "We are not denying this person treatment, we are denying them their benefit. If they want the treatment they can still pay out of pocket." But, Gorwitz said, "You know that means that the person is not going to get the treatment because they can't afford to pay out of pocket."

Gorwitz quit after two years. "It's a very uncomfortable feeling of not being able to offer help," she said.

Asked for a response, Magellan's Somers said, "I think you should keep in mind that there have been a lot of changes at Magellan in the last seven years. I think the people who work at Magellan now are not having that experience."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

OCTOBER is Sex Ed Month of Action

Re-post from one of our favorite blogs A big thanks Jos for the 411.

October is Sex Ed Month of Action and organizers from Advocates for Youth, Catholics for Choice, Choice USA, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, Sierra Club, and Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom are joining forces to Congress it's time to finally get rid of failed abstinence-only programs and fund comprehensive sexuality education.

You can find information and tools for organizing a Call-In Day here. You can also sign on to a petition in support of the REAL Act which would authorize funding for comprehensive sexuality education.

This is a crucial moment for comprehensive sex ed. For the first time in a while we should have the support in the White House and Congress to de-fund abstinence-only programs and support real, accurate education about sex and sexuality. However, politicians in DC are continuing the same old fight despite overwhelming evidence that ab-only doesn't work. Electing people who say they agree with us is only the first and easiest step in bringing about political change. The real hard work comes after elections, when advocates need to hold officials accountable, push them to support our issues, and create a climate where that's the most expedient political move for them to make. The time is now: let's finally make federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education a reality!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Search engine dodges the word rape

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

What search engine do you use…Google, Yahoo, MSN? Search engines can now usually detect what you’re searching for before you type in the whole word or phrase. A drop bar will appear with a list of possible searches you may be looking for.

Working as an activist for sexual assault prevention and education I am constantly searching for new college programs, conferences, and fellow activists. In doing so, a thought crossed my mind, when using Google I typed the word rape into the search bar and a drop bar does not appear. My initial thought was how can a word that is used so frequently in our daily culture not appear in the drop box? I tried searching for ‘Men Can Stop Rape, I typed in ‘Men Can Stop’, but Google’s drop box suggested ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ so I decided to see what that search would bring up. The first search result for ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ was actually ‘Men Can Stop Rape’. I have a question Google, why are you censoring the word ‘rape’ in your search engine?

I did try other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN, and although neither of them have a drop bar of suggestions for ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ they both did have drop bar suggestions when I typed the word ‘rape’.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thirty Republicans Vote Against Justice for Gang Rape Victims

I tuned into The Daily Show last night as I often do before my evening slumber and I became enraged with the government, well really it was 30 specific government officials. I'm not going to rant about it here, I did my fare share of it last night but I'm still a little pissed off  and most definitely confused about why anyone would vote against protecting someone from rape.
Al Franken proposes getting rid of the old "it's OK if you get raped" clause in government contracts, but 30 Republicans object. Stewart of course finds humor in this and you can't help but appreciate his brilliance and laugh but when it comes down to it, there is nothing funny about this situation. It is sad, really sad. Some government officials actually say that gang rape is none of their business. Seriously? Words cannot adequately articulate the stupidity, stubbornness and selfishness I find in that statement.

Follow this link to watch the video and see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Football Hoes and Average Joes

A flyer I came across from a recent event at a local bar...

We all may hold a different interpretation of what this flyer represents. But take a second look to really think about the image and the words used. How does this represent women? How does this represent men? For those of you who may not work in the sexual violence field does this flyer concern you in any way?

- Sabrina

Friday, October 09, 2009


Are sorority women/ fraternity men more promiscuous than non-Greek college students?

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Are purity balls sexually empowering or oppressive?

Serious Over-Reporting Situation at UC Davis

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

This was the first article I’ve had the chance to read, regarding the over-reported sex crime statistics from UC Davis.

My immediate thoughts first raised question to the school. How was UC Davis unaware of the over-reported sex crimes for 3 consecutive years?

I also wondered which statistics are actually correct. I know college campuses do not want to have high crime statistics. Is this a way for UC Davis to lower campus sex crimes while not taking fault for it?

Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% of crimes being left unreported. (U.S. Department of Justice.2005 National Crime Victimization Study. 2005)

I do not know all the facts to this story, but from the articles I have read, the blame seems to focus on the director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program, Jennifer Beeman. Although this action may fall back on her, it is important that UC Davis is not an innocent bystander in the situation. The media and society should hold all parties responsible.

Read the article posted below or take a peak at the article links and let me know what you think.

Campus Safety Magazine: UC Davis Over-Reports Sexual Offenses by 140%

The Sacramento Bee: Feds investigate allegedly inflated UC Davis crime reports

UC Davis: We Thought Those Sex Crime Stats Seemed High...

School doesn't know why stats were over-reported, but UC Davis is in lead for $1mil Department of Justice grant

By: Matthew Keys FOX40 News

October 1, 2009

DAVIS - An internal review of sex crime reports shows the University of California at Davis accidentally reported higher than accurate statistics, a new press release from the school read Thursday.

In February, FOX40 News reported UC Davis had more reported cases of sexual assaults on campus than all other University of California schools combined, a statistic that the school spun as a positive sign that students felt comfortable reporting crimes on campus.

Now, the school says an internal review shows the campus mistakenly reported a higher than accurate instance of sex crimes.

UC Davis said the school first became aware of a problem when a staff member began compiling statistics for the Clery Act report for the previous school year. The staff member found a total of 17 sex crime reports, significantly lower than the 57 reports filed in 2007 and the 52 reports filed in 2006.

Upon further review by UC Davis campus police, the school found only 10 reports of sex crimes were reported in 2005, 4 reports in 2006 and 16 reports in 2007.

"The problem with the reporting of these statistics was an isolated incident related solely to one individual," assistant executive vice chancellor Robert Loessberg-Zahl said.

UC Davis admits the school error began by relying on a single sole individual, director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program Jennifer Beeman, to review and report statistics relating to the Clery Act. The school said they're not sure why Beeman over-reported the crime statistics; however, UC Davis is one of several schools in the lead for a $1 million federal grant from the Department of Justice aimed at "enhancing services for crime victims," the school said.

Beeman retired from UC Davis in June after being employed as the director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program for sixteen years. FOX40's Kenny Lopez attempted to interview Beeman at her Sacramento home this afternoon; Beeman greeted Lopez at the door by saying "No comment." She later called our newsroom, asking to speak to a different reporter. When Lopez called her back, she once again said she had no comment.

The school now says a panel comprised of officials from the UC Davis Police Department, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, the City of Davis Police Department and the City of Sacramento Police Department will review statistics for both on and off-campus crimes relating to information found in future reports under the Clery Act.

Copyright © 2009, KTXL-TV

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Call for Programs

We are thrilled to introduce our new Programs for Change initiative developed by our fabulous social outreach intern, Sabrina Sadler.

We invite you to join the Unite for Change Campaign. With so many students and campus professionals creating and joining programs and organizations throughout the world that are doing all kinds of good in their communities to help prevent sexual assault and promote healthy sexuality we want to do our part to help spread the word and inspire others to take action in their respective hoods.

The first Monday of each month starting November 2nd Unite for Change is going to highlight a Program for Change. If you are currently a member of a campus or community project that’s making a difference or would like to nominate a program that has impacted you please e-mail Sabrina at

Approved programs will be shared through the Unite for Change Facebook group page, posted on the blog and also featured on

These are the deets we need to get started-

1. Name of your school and/ or organization

2. Title for the program/resource

3. Target audience

4. Goals/ objectives

5. Program description

6. Contact information and website if applicable

Thank you in advance for your submissions. We look forward to showcasing your community initiative as a Program for Change.

Hopeful, Determined & Focused,

The Unite for Change Team


Is long-term monogamy a natural behavior or cultural ideal?

P.S. Penguins are the most monogamous of all the species. Just one of the many things we learned at the Sex Lives of Animals Exhibit during our field trip to the Museum of Sex in NYC last week.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Check out what fellow activist Angela Rose, Founder/ Execuitive Director of PAVE and her team are doing this weekend. Join if you can! To learn more about how to be a part of the Rape is Rape Rallies visit PAVE.


Nationwide Rallies October 10, 2009

On October 10, rallies will be held in front of movie theatres across the country and abroad in response to the startling media and Hollywood support of Roman Polanski, the film director convicted of sexual assault and fleeing the country. These powerful demonstrations happening on October 10 are part of a global campaign, Rape IS Rape: Join Team Ten.

This effort is being orchestrated by the nonprofit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, who was responsible for the 2007 nationwide “Call it RAPE Protest” that was held in over 40 cities and covered on CNN, TIME, and NBC’s Today Show.

PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a national, grassroots nonprofit. PAVE uses education and action to shatter the silence of sexual violence with targeted social, educational and legislative tactics. PAVE initiatives have been implemented in over 55 cities and in 3 countries.

Daily Sexversation

Can a man fake an orgasm?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall Conference to Consider

Unite for Change is proud to be a co-sponsor for the 2009 National Conference on Sexual Assault in Our Schools hosted by the Safe Society Zone . This years conference is being held November 13- 15 in Orlando, FL . The annual conference brings together campus and community professionals, students, peer educators, safety and security, health professionals and military personnel to address the issues surrounding sexual violence on campus. There's lots of opporunity for learning and networking and a great program line-up including presenters such as yours truly, Ben Atherton-Zeman, Andrea Cooper, Saundra, Schuster, Brett Sokolow, Joesph Vess and many more.

Early registration is open until October 31st. Check out the web-site and see if it's something you can swing this year or maybe put on your calendar for next year.

We hope to see you in warm, sunny Florida in November!

Daily Sexversation

Should condoms be made available in public high schools?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Texas may be changing their ways

I'm glad to see that some folks are finally willing to recognize that abstinence only education simply does not work. It looks like some schools in the lone star state are turning their back on abstinence only education. I suppose some is better than none but Texas and many if not all of the other states in the great U.S. of A. have a long way to go. This recent article posted on the Women's Health Policy Report gives me a tiny glimmer of progress toward accurate sex education.

Some Texas Schools Abandon Abstinence-Only as Teen Pregnancy Climbs, Funding Shifts

September 29, 2009

Some Texas school districts are abandoning abstinence-only curricula in favor of abstinence-based programs that also teach about contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Many of the school districts, including Austin's, made the change after it became clear that teen pregnancy rates were climbing under the abstinence-only approach, according to the American-Statesman. The change also comes as the Obama administration seeks to shift federal abstinence-only dollars to programs proven to reduce teen pregnancy rates.

More government money has been spent teaching abstinence in Texas than any other state, and it has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country, the American-Statesman reports. A Texas State University study released earlier this year found that less than 5% of Texas districts have comprehensive sex education. The school districts in Austin, Lufkin and some other areas have adopted "abstinence-plus" curricula, which teach that abstinence is the safest choice but also stress the importance of using contraception if teens become sexually active. "

Our data says that what we're doing isn't working, and our community is ready for us to do something different," Roy Knight, superintendent of the Lufkin Independent School District, said. Whitney Self, lead teacher for health and physical education in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, which switched to abstinence-plus, said, "We mainly did it because of our pregnancy rate. We don't think abstinence-only is working."

One federal abstinence program -- known as Title V -- expired in June. Congress, with support from the Obama administration, is also considering replacing a second federal program, the Community-Based Abstinence Only Program, with one that funds initiatives "proven to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), reduce the transmission of [STIs] or reduce teen pregnancy."

The American-Statesman reports that Texas could face challenges as it seeks to implement the types of federally funded programs envisioned by Congress. Sex education is not required in the state, but when it is offered, it must meet strict abstinence mandates under the Texas Education Code, which is "widely interpreted as barring detailed instruction about birth control and condoms," according to the American-Statesman.

Austin Tries New Approach
The revised sexual education program in the Austin school district was created by Janet Realini, a San Antonio physician and public health expert who testified before the state Board of Education in 2004 about faulty medical information in school health textbooks. Realini's program teaches students about STIs and the success rates of various forms of contraception. "The key message is, if you're sexually active, you need to use a condom because it will reduce the risk of [STIs] and reduce the chance of pregnancy," Realini said. Her program, available online and free of charge, has been adopted by school districts in Hays County, San Antonio, Lufkin and the Rio Grande Valley. The Houston school district, Texas' largest, is considering the program for next year. Houston has more children born to teens under age 15 than any city in the country (Bell, Austin American-Statesman, 9/27).