The Awareness Center, Inc. is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). We are dedicated to ending sexual violence in Jewish communities globally. We do our best to operate as "the make a wish foundation" for Jewish survivors of sex crimes, by offering a clearinghouse of information, resources, support and advocacy.
We are a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
the years I have watched many survivors of sexual violence struggle
with trying to figure what they need to do to heal. For many it can
take years to just tell another person that they had been victimized,
let alone to make a police report or even enter into counseling. There
are many different factors that one has to consider when trying to
understand how and why a survivor will or might respond to a particular
survivor has to decide for themselves what is best for them. No one
can decide for them. And yet it is vitally important for each individual
who has been sexually victimized to know that they have choices and
what those choices are. By being provided with accurate information,
the survivor (and or their family members in cases of child sexual
abuse) will be able to make an educated decision.
adults and children who are survivors need people in their lives who
are unbiased, without an agenda, and who are not connected to their
personal lives, community or that of their offender(s) -- and who
can provide them with a safe place to open up and share their
experience, thoughts and feelings so that they are able to come to a
place where they can choose for themselves what to do next. This is
especially true since the ability to make choices was taken away from
them by their offender during the time that they were being victimized.
A survivor needs to take back the control and the ability of deciding
all need to realize that when a boy or girl, man or woman are sexually
harassed, abused, assaulted or violated in any other way; their lives
are forever changed on many different levels.
victimized individual will have to deal with issues pertaining to their
ability to trust, to feel a sense of safety and security. The sad
reality is that once a survivor start talking about what happened to
them, there is a strong possibility that they will also lose
friendships, sometimes their employment, connections with their
synagogue, community and in some cases -- connection with family
one is immunized to being sexually victimized, no matter what their
life experiences is, who they are related to, their age and or social
economical status, or even what they do for a living. Not even me.
have to admit that I am still in a state of shock and have not spoken
out publicly before about the fact that this past summer (July 2009) I
to the fact my case is currently in litigation I am not at liberty to
go into some of the details of the assault. The reason I am speaking
out now is because I feel it is important to share the fact that it took
me thirty-three days to make a police report. ME, Vicki Polin, who is
the founder and executive director of The Awareness Center; a licensed
mental health professional who has been advocating for survivors of
sexual violence for the last twenty-five years!
was in a state of shock following the assault. The offender was a
relative of dear and trusted friend, a relative of someone whom I looked
up to and respected and someone who has been like a father to me. I
don't know what I was thinking, yet I didn't do what I would have
expected of me... I was confused by my own hesitation to make an
immediate call to the police. Instead I found myself care taking the
family of the offender instead of taking care of my own personal needs.
I consulted with several different professionals who are also victim
advocates, none of whom had a connection to my personal life nor my
community. It took thirty-three days before I found the strength to
make a police report. I was fortunate to have a friend with me when I
did this. The offender was charged with second degree assault and forth
degree sexual assault. I was fortunate to have had a group of friends
with me the day that the case went to trial, as their presence gave me
the strength to do what I needed to do. The man who assaulted me was
found guilty on both charges.
reason I am making this public at this time is because I want others to
realize that if it took someone who has been advocating for survivors
for a quarter of a century thirty-three days to make a police report,
it makes perfect sense that it could, and often would take others much
you have been a victim of a sex crime--you are not alone. You are not a
bad person, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The
shame and blame belong totally to the individual(s) who assaulted you
and also with anyone who attempted to cover up the crime(s). I want to
encourage everyone who has been sexually victimized to make police
reports, even if it takes you much more then thirty-three days to do so.