For Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2013, BDN Newsroom Administrator Natalie Feulner and Editorial Page Editor Erin Rhoda took 40 hours of training to become advocates for victims of sexual assault. The training was provided by Rape Response Services, a subsidiary of Penquis in Bangor, to ready volunteers to meet victims at the hospital and accompany them through an examination of their physical injuries and any evidence collection.

Along the way, Feulner and Rhoda wrote columns about what they learned. Find them below:

Natalie Feulner:

Fight, flight or freeze: Understanding mental, physical effects of trauma: The majority of people who receive mental health and substance abuse services in Maine have experienced either sexual or physical abuse. What does this mean for their care?

 Through a nurse’s eyes: Caring for sexual assault victims: How evidence is collected at the hospital from a victim of rape.

Best responses to sexual assault focus on victim: How police responses have changed to be more victim centered.

Victims with intellectual disabilities pose greater challenge, increased need for support: If people with disabilities report a sexual assault and are not believed, it increases future risk because perpetrators will believe they may not be caught or prosecuted.

Erin Rhoda:

Helping sexual assault survivors: It’s their story, not ours: A story about the world of rape begins with ourselves.

 Talking to Maine children about child abuse: It will take a community reaction to reduce the rates of victimization, and talking to children in an age-appropriate way is a good place to start.

Hospital procedures, though scary can help sexual assault survivors heal, regain control: Helping survivors of sexual assault to take back control of their body, at their own pace, is a way toward overcoming the fear and suffering so wrongly thrown into their lives.

Collective trauma: Its impact and how we heal: With Friday’s violent manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers ending a week of one tragedy after another, many people may experience some level of emotional shock. They don’t have to experience an act of terrorism directly to have a heightened response.

On Guard against sexual violence: Maj. Tara Young and Lt. Col. Debbie Kelley speak about efforts within the Maine National Guard to prevent sexual violence.

A letter to Michelle Obama in light of military sex assault epidemic: President Barack Obama should direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to relax standards currently required to determine disability compensation for veterans with mental health conditions related to sexual trauma.

After domestic violence homicides, Cambridge man works to stop cycle of violence: Arthur Jette, who works at Womancare in Dover-Foxcroft, talks about why men must stand up to domestic violence in their communities.

Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the...