Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any sexual contact or sexual attention committed by force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, tricks, or violence. It includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, incest, and sexual harassment. Sexual assault is a terrifying and often brutal crime: assailants can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members. The devastating effects are shared by victims and those who love them.

Rape is a crime of violence, anger, and power. It is not motivated by sexual desire.

Rapists use sexual violence as a weapon to control, humiliate, and hurt their victims. Anyone can become a victim. Victims are not selected for their attractiveness or appearance. Sexual assault of any type is never a victim's fault. No one ever "asks for" or deserves to be sexually assaulted.

Types of Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Facts

Victim Issues

Victims of sexual assault may experience shock, numbness, disorientation, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal, denial, nightmares, flashbacks, rage, anger, revenge, depression, difficulty eating, or sleeping, extreme and unexplainable fears, guilt, and self-blame.

There is no typical sexual assault nor is there a typical pattern of responses to rape. However, counselors report that a victim may experience a number of different responses to rape.

Actions to Take If You Think You Have Been Drugged and/or Sexually Assaulted
If you or a friend feel dizzy, confused, or have other sudden, unexplained symptoms after drinking a beverage, call a family member, friend, the police, a doctor, or 911 for help in getting to a hospital. Here are the steps you should take:

Developed by Coalition Against Sexual Assault ND, with format from the D.C. Rape Crisis Center

If you know someone who has been raped, you can:

1) Know the facts about sexual assault.

The more educated you are about sexual assault, the more likely you are to be a positive support for a loved one who has been assaulted.
It is important to learn:

2) Support the victim.

3) Know what to expect.

4) Get help to deal with your own feelings.

5)"Rape Trauma Syndrome" or "Rape-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" describes what many victims continue to experience long after the rape.

6) Everyone reacts with different feelings.

Respect not only the survivor's feelings and your own, but other family members' as well. Responses will vary but the victim's well-being is the important issue.

(Adapted from Advocate Program at Crisis Services, Inc.)