Courageous Women Association

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Learn about trauma

Trauma is defined as:

  • A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
  • Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis.

Domestic Violence:
Domestic violence involves violence or abuse by one person against another in a familial or intimate relationship.

Domestic violence is most commonly thought of as intimate partner violence, but can also include violence or abuse from a family member.

The term “intimate partner violence” includes the following acts as inflicted or caused by a current or former intimate partner:

  • Actual or threats of physical violence
  • Actual or threats of sexual violence
  • Emotional or psychological abuse (e.g., name calling or putdowns, threats to “out” a person’s sexual orientation to family, work or friends)
  • Stalking (e.g., excessive calls/texts/emails, monitoring daily activities, using technology to track a person’s location)
  • Financial abuse (e.g., withholding money, ruining credit, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job)
  • Threats to “out” a person’s sexual orientation to family, work or friends

Intimate partners can include:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Dating partners
  • Sexual partners
  • Heterosexual and same-sex relationships

Know the facts about violence:

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 10 women in the United States will be raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
  • Approximately 16.9% of women and 8.0% of men will experience sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 40% of California women experience physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes (male lifetime prevalence rates are not available).
  • This same study found younger women, 18-24 years of age, were significantly more likely (11%) to be victims of physical intimate partner violence in the past year than women in other age groups.
  • There are statistically significant higher rates of intimate partner violence among women who had been pregnant in the last five years (12%).
  • Data on sexual violence against men may be underreported.
  • An estimated 9.7% of women and 2.3% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
  • Nearly half of all women and men in the United States will experience psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Over half of female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.
  • Almost half (47.5%) of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 45.1% of non-Hispanic Black women, 37.3% of non-Hispanic White women, 34.4% of Hispanic women, and 18.3% of Asian-Pacific Islander women experience contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime
  • 2 in 5 lesbian women, 3 in 5 bisexual women, and 1 in 3 heterosexual women will experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 4 gay men, 1 in 3 bisexual men, and 3 in 10 heterosexual men will experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • At least one incident of physical dating violence was reported by 5.2% of 9th graders and 8.2% of 11th graders.
  • Among students who had a boy/girlfriend, the rates of dating violence were 8.8% in 9th grade and 12.8% in 11th grade.

Sexual Assault:
Sexual assault is any forced, coerced, unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity.

The terms sexual abuse are also often used to describe the wide range of activities that constitute sexual assault.

Know the facts about sexual assault:

  • Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.
  • Those age 65 and older are 92% less likely than 12-24 year olds to be a victim of rape or sexual assault, and 83% less likely than 25-49 year olds.
  • On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.
  • It is estimated that there are 8.6 million survivors of sexual violence other than rape in California.
  • There are an estimated 2 million female victims of rape in California.
  • 5.6 million women in the state have been victims of sexual violence other than rape.
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.
  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
  • Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely.
  • It is estimated that there are 3 million male survivors of sexual violence other than rape in California.
  • As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.
  • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.
  • 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape.
  • 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape.
  • 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.
  • 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.
  • Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.
  • On average, American Indians ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year.
  • American Indians are twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races.
  • 41% of sexual assaults against American Indians are committed by a stranger; 34% by an acquaintance; and 25% by an intimate or family member
  • 4.3% of active duty women and 0.6% of active duty men experienced unwanted sexual contact in FY16.
  • Of the 14,900 survivors, 43% of females and 17% of males reported

Prostitution and Human Trafficking:
Human Trafficking is the business of inducing a person to perform labor or engage in prostitution through force, fraud, or coercion.

Sex Trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Types of sex trafficking in the US include: Bar/Club operations (cantina bars, Stripping or exotic dancing clubs, salons, massage parlors, hostess clubs and karaoke clubs, domestic strip clubs and gentleman clubs); Residential brothel settings (homes, apartments, hotels, mobile trailers); Escort services (bar/hotel based, internet-based, private, boat cruises, chat lines); Pimp-controlled prostitution (hotel-based, internet-based, private parties, street-based, truck stops).

Know the facts about prostitution and human trafficking:

  • There are an estimated 100,000 - 300,000 prostituted children in the U.S.
  • 244,000 American children and youth are estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation. Runaways and unaccompanied minors make up the majority of at-risk youth for both sexual and labor exploitation.
  • Average age Male becomes a prostitute is 14 years old
  • 41.4% of suspected or confirmed child victims of domestic sex trafficking were repeat runaways.
  • 46.7% of suspected or confirmed child victims of domestic sex trafficking ran from a group home, foster care, DCFS care or a shelter.
  • 40-70% of all street youth engage, at least occasionally, in prostitution to meet their basic needs.
  • The population of street youth engaging in prostitution is almost equally divided between boys and girls.
  • American citizens made up 72% of all human trafficking victims according to data gathered from California Human Trafficking task forces.
  • 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the US annually (this is not the total number of trafficking victims in the US as it excludes US nationals who are victims of human trafficking within US borders).
  • The potential number of unauthorized immigrant labor trafficking victims in the U.S. is 2.47 million.
  • 82% adult victims and 56% child victims of trafficking in the US were labor trafficking victims.
  • 53% of adult victims and 66% of child victims of trafficking were women.
  • Victims came from 47 different countries. The top 5 host countries include: Thailand, Mexico, Philippines, Haiti and India, in that order.
  • Estimated ratio between sex to labor trafficking is 1:9, In 2011, 83% of reported incidents in the US were sex trafficking and only 12% of reported incidents were labor trafficking, leaving 5% categorized as “o t h e r .”
  • Traffickers are reaching more victims and customers through recruiting and advertising online.
  • Mexican cartels build and operate underground cross-border tunnels for the trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings. This is concerning because it is estimated that 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are annual victims of human trafficking in Mexico.
  • Forced labor is most prominent in sectors of the California economy that experience a large demand for cheap labor and have little regulation. The largest number of documented cases in the California were prosti-tution (47.4%), domestic service (33.3%), agriculture (10.4%), and sweatshop or factory work (5.3%).
  • About 40% of prostitutes are former child prostitutes who were illegally forced into the profession through human trafficking or once were teenage runaways. Many of the runaways fled because their homes were abusive, poor, or did not approve of them.


Homelessness is the state of having no home.

Homelessness is defined as living in housing that is below the minimum standard or lacks secure tenure. People can be categorized as homeless if they are: living on the streets; moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family and emergency accommodation; living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom and/or security of tenure.

The legal definition in the US include people who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing due to a lack of, or an unsteady income. Homelessness and poverty are interrelated.

Know the facts about homelessness:
While it’s tough to say precisely how many Californians are experiencing homelessness, the federal Housing and Urban Development Department estimates the number statewide at 130,000 on a given night. That’s 25 percent of the entire nation’s homeless population.

  • Since 2016, California experienced a larger increase in homelessness than any other state.
  • California has the highest percentage of unsheltered homeless individuals in the country, at slightly under 70 percent.
  • The vast majority of the state’s homeless population does not utilize temporary living arrangements provided by either charitable organizations or government programs. Rather, they have been found living on the streets, parks, or other places not meant for human habitation.
  • In 2017, Los Angeles County had the highest population of homeless individuals in all of California at roughly 55,000, and was only second to New York for holding the largest population of homeless people in the nation. And while 95 percent of New York’s homeless population was sheltered, only 25 percent of those in Los Angeles were sheltered.
  • California comprises 12 percent of the nation’s population of homeless families with children. From 2016 to 2017, the state experienced one of the largest increases of homeless families in the nation, leaving 1,000 more families on the streets.
  • Outside of homeless families, California also reported the largest number of unaccompanied homeless youth, which includes any individual under the age of 25 who does not live with a family member.
  • Overall, 58 percent of the nation’s unsheltered homeless youth resides in California.
  • California is home to 29 percent of the nation’s homeless veterans
  • In California, there are approximately 129,972 people experiencing homelessness
  • 33 out of every 10,000 people are homeless
  • Most people experiencing homelessness are individuals (67 percent). The remainder (33 percent) are people in families with children.
  • Youth who are under the age of 25 and living on their own (without parents or children) is 7 percent of the total homeless population.
  • The homeless population is largely male. Among individual adults, 70 percent are men.
  • White Americans are the largest racial grouping, accounting for 49 percent of those experiencing homelessness. However, African Americans and American Indians are dramatically overrepresented in the Point-in-Time Count compared to their numbers in the general population.

Incarceration is the state of being confined in prison; imprisonment. It also means a confining or state of being confined.

Know the facts about incarceration:
An estimated 80,600 inmates each year experience sexual violence while in prison or jail.

  • 60% of all sexual violence against inmates is perpetrated by jail or prison staff.
  • More than 50% of the sexual contact between inmate and staff member—all of which is illegal—is nonconsensual.
  • California “hosts” the world’s largest women’s prison, the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. There are 3 major women’s prisons in California. CCWF and Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW), both in the Central Valley, and the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona.
  • There are currently 8268 prisoners being held in these three facilities.
  • Though African-American women make up roughly 7% of California’s female population, they constitute 29.8% of California’s female prison population. While white females are around 47% of females in California, they are only 39% of the state’s female prison population. Latinas constitute 26.6% of the female prison population.
  • Since mandatory-sentencing laws went into effect in the mid 1980’s, the California female prison population has skyrocketed. At the end of 1986, women in California’s prisons totaled 3,564. In 1998, the population numbered 10,897–an increase of 305% in twelve years.
  • As of December 31, 2005, 65.7% of women in California prisons were imprisoned for non-violent offenses, the majority of which were drug-related.
  • Despite the fact that drug addiction is a reality for many women entering California’s prisons, there is no comprehensive support structure for detoxification when a female addict enters the prison system.
  • Prisoners who work earn as little as $0.08 per hour. Females incarcerated in federal prisons make a minimum of $5.75 per month. Though inmates from the United States can sometimes make more money through Federal work programs, non-nationals are not permitted to make more than the base monthly amount.
  • In California state prisons, women are forced to pay inflated prices for basic hygiene products. “Indigent” female prisoners (those with less than five dollars in their prison account) are provided a total of five sanitary pads per month. The prison commissary sells such items at two to three times the market rate. Federal prisons are required to supply a short list of basic supplies to female inmates such as shampoo, soap and sanitary pads; however, the number and the frequency of distribution is up to each warden’s discretion. Such practices combined with the repressive pay scale create an environment where women will barter sex or other acts in order to acquire their most basic necessities.
  • Persistent privacy violations are a fact of life for women in California prisons. Although Rule 53 of the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that women prisoners be supervised only by female officers, male guards observe female inmates at all times–taking showers, dressing, going to the bathroom and being strip searched. Until early 2006, male guards were allowed to pat search female prisoners.
  • Female prisoners have reported experiencing degrading and sexually explicit language and frequent harassment from guards. If a prisoner protests or files an appeal to the prison administration, it can potentially mean more mistreatment, limited privileges or an increased sentence in retaliation. It is in this powerless environment that some prisoners have endured sexual assault from guards.
  • 71% of women in California prisons report experiencing continual physical abuse by guards or other prisoners. (Human Rights Watch).
  • Most women in California’s prisoners are from urban areas of the state. However, the majority of prisons are in rural regions of the state. Chowchilla is home to CCWF and VSPW, which house 62% of the total female prison population in the state.

Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.

Also means a condition characterized by an overwhelming desire to continue taking a drug to which one has become habituated through repeated consumption because it produces a particular effect, usually an alteration of mental status.

Know the facts about addiction:

  • 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017.
  • Almost 74% of adults suffering from a substance use disorder in 2017 struggled with an alcohol use disorder.
  • About 38% of adults in 2017 battled an illicit drug use disorder.
  • That same year, 1 out of every 8 adults struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.
  • In 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.
  • Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs.
  • Genetics, including the impact of one’s environment on gene expression, account for about 40% to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction.
  • Environmental factors that may increase a person’s risk of addiction include a chaotic home environment and abuse, parent’s drug use and attitude toward drugs, peer influences, community attitudes toward drugs, and poor academic achievement.
  • Teenagers and people with mental health disorders are more at risk for drug use and addiction than other populations.
  • In 2017, approximately 4% of the American adolescent population age 12 to 17 suffered from a substance use disorder; this equals 992,000 teens or 1 in 25 people in this age group.
  • About 443,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 had an alcohol use disorder in 2017, or 1.8% of adolescents.
  • An estimated 741,000 adolescents suffered from an illicit drug use disorder in 2017, or about 3% of this population.1
  • About 5.1 million young adults age 18 to 25 battled a substance use disorder in 2017, which equates to 14.8% of this population and about 1 in 7 people.
  • Heroin use among young adults between 18 and 25 years old doubled in the past decade.
  • Approximately 13.6 million adults age 26 or older struggled with a substance use disorder in 2017, or 6.4% of this age group.
  • More than 1 million adults age 65 or older had a substance use disorder in 2017.
  • Two-thirds of the population over the age of 65 who struggle with alcohol use disorders developed the disorder before age 65.
  • In 2017, about 9.4% of men and 5.2% of women age 12 and older had a substance use disorder.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives age 12 and older had the highest rate of substance abuse and dependence in 2017, at 12.8%.
  • Whites had a 7.7% rate of substance abuse in 2017.
  • About 6.8% percent of African Americans struggled with substance use disorders, while the percentage of Hispanics or Latinos who suffered from substance use disorders was 6.6%.
  • Approximately 4.6% percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders suffered from substance use disorders.
  • Asian Americans had the lowest rate of substance use disorders at 3.8%.
  • Almost twice as many people who are unemployed struggle with addiction than those who are full-time workers, CNN Money Around 17% of the unemployed and 9% of the employed population struggle with a substance use disorder.
  • Of the 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails, more than 65% meet the criteria for addiction.
  • Around 75% of individuals in a state prison or local jail who suffer from a mental illness also struggle with substance abuse, and the opposite is also true.
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