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  • Stephanie Hansen-Boye

Sexual Assault & Alcohol, from a SANE Nurse



Three years ago I became a sexual assault counselor. During my training the most illuminating teacher I had was a SANE nurse. SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. I asked the nurse after class what percentage of the assault survivors she has helped did she think were under the influence of alcohol when they were raped. Her answer chilled me to the bone. She said "90%". Then she added "but you forgot the second part to that question"... she said "if you asked me what percentage were under the influence of drugs AND/OR alcohol I would have told you 99%". WOW...in her 20 years of being a SANE nurse the chance of random rape is incredibly small, date rape & acquaintance rape being VERY common. The statistice vary, but there is no doubt that alcohol makes assault survivors more vulnerable. This sent me on a mission to talk to my kids very earnestly about the vulnerability we accept when we decide to drink and HUGE risk of drinking too much and or doing drugs. But more importantly I dug deep and went down the rabbit hole of todays sexual culture that our kids are being launched into. A landscape largely influenced by porn. What I found was disturbing & scary and I hope.... hopeful. What I now believe is, it is incumbent upon anyone who has a child to talk to them about sex and more importantly porn. We need to be porn literate, because trust me their culture is. Go way beyond the birds and the bees to open, consistent dialogue. Your kids WANT and NEED to talk to you. It can be overwhelming and awkward but it is MANDATORY.

I have tried my hardest to give my friends this information and they are mouths agape & riveted. They are largely in disbelief and want to know as much as I can tell them. Most of them have asked me to talk to their kids for them and suggested I talk to their friends who are also parents. I always say "I will talk to your kids, but it is so much more powerful coming from you". When they first try they feel awkward but are surprised that their kids eventually do feel like they can talk to them. YOU ARE THE ONLY VOICE THAT THEY WILL HEAR THAT LOVES THEM UNCONDITIONALLY AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE THEIR BACK. That can not be underestimated. Their friends do not have the experience or insight. many times they are in the same unhealthy situations. Their boyfriends/girlfriends likely have their own agendas. But you will be the sole voice of truth and reason. Their knowledge is their power, talk to them.

-XX Stephanie

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