What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault occurs when a person is forced to take part in sexual acts against the will and consent of the person. The attacker may be a stranger, but is more often a date, a friend, authority figure, or family member. As many as 75-80% of all survivors of rape know their assailant. Sexual assault includes pinching, kissing, fondling, and molesting. It also includes incest, rape, or attempted rape.
Who is Affected?
- People from all socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial groups are affected by rape. Infants, children, teens, and adults of both sexes can be raped.
- As many as 1 in 3 women will be raped in her lifetime, but only 1 in 10 rapes are ever reported to the police.
If you are Raped
Remember, no one deserves to be raped, and it is not your fault. You were not raped because of anything you did. Many victims are raped in their own home, and are raped regardless of their appearance and actions. You are not responsible for the behavior of a rapist.
You have a right to your own feelings and reactions to the rape. Different people react in different ways. You may respond at times by feeling very anxious and upset, or at other times feeling numb - as if what happened wasn’t real.
You have the right to share your feelings and talk about what happened to you with important people in your life, with an advocate, or a counselor.
You have the right to survive. During the rape you did what you felt was necessary to survive. Do not blame yourself afterwards. Seek support and services you need for your recovery.
If Someone You Care About Is Raped
- Listen carefully to her. Let her know you care about her and her feelings.
- Do not pry for details, or ask for explanations. Let her talk about her feelings, fears, and reactions as she chooses.
- Encourage her to talk to someone trained to help victims deal with the ordeal of rape.
- Do not tell her what she must or must not do. She needs to make decisions herself regarding her case.
- Do not put pressure on the survivor to deal with your feelings; talk with a rape crisis advocate or a counselor instead.
- Remember that males can also be rape survivors. Use these guidelines to help them also.
Volunteers help the Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention Program in many ways:
- Assisting with publicity
- Computer work
- Community Events
Donations may be made to First Step for assistance in the Sexual Assault Program.