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Our passionate and supportive staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to guide you through the aftermath of this traumatic experience. We can offer information and options but know the importance of you being in control of what happens next.
Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Personal style, culture, and context of the survivor’s life may affect these reactions. Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing the assault, if they ever choose to do so. It is important to respect each person’s choices and style of coping with this traumatic event. Whether an assault was completed or attempted, and regardless of whether it happened recently or many years ago, it may impact daily functioning. A wide range of reactions can impact victims. Some common emotional, psychological and physical reactions follow.
FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. It doesn’t matter what someone is wearing or how they are acting, no one asks to be raped.
FACT: Rape is the least reported and convicted violence crime in the U.S. There are many reasons why victims may choose not to report to law enforcement or tell anyone about what happened to him/her. Some include:
FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.
FACT: Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not an invitation for non-consensual sexual activity. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not cause others to assault him/her; others choose to take advantage of the situation and sexually assault him/her because he/she is in a vulnerable position.
FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.
FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows: a neighbor, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, classmate, spouse, partner or ex-partner. Studies show that approximately 80% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.
FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes, and can be and have been, victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.
FACT: Sexual assault is a crime, never simply a mistake. It does not occur due to a miscommunication between two people. Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.
FACT: Men can be and are victims of sexual violence. Approximately one in six men will be victims of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly underreported. Being a victim of sexual violence does not make a man less “manly” and does not have implications for his sexual orientation.
FACT: Orgasm does not mean that someone “enjoyed” the sex, or that they wanted it. Orgasm can be a natural biological reaction that someone can’t control; it does not mean that forced or coerced sexual activity was consensual and often this is used to silence the survivor
FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. FBI crime statistics indicate that only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.
FACT: Sexual offenders are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who come from all educational, occupational, racial, and cultural backgrounds. You cannot pick a sex offender out of a crowd. This myth exemplifies our cultural tendency to blame victims – it is not the case that victims are assaulted because they failed to spot an obvious perpetrator