Sexual violence and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
- Inappropriate touching
- Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
- Sexual intercourse that you say no to
- Attempted rape
- Child molestation
Sexual violence can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations: in the home by someone you know, on a date, or by a stranger in an isolated place.
Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations — on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone.
Educate yourself on “date rape” drugs. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink unattended — no matter where you are. Attackers use date rape drugs to make a person unable to resist assault. These drugs can also cause memory loss so the victim doesn’t know what happened.
Rape and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault — no matter where or how it happens.
What do I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?
These are important steps to take right away after an assault:
- Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911 or the police.
- Call a friend or family member you trust.
- You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. Our hotline number is 1-800-527-7233.
- Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
- Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined, treated for any injuries, and screened for possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind.
While at the hospital:
- If you decide you want to file a police report, you or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room.
- Ask the hospital staff to connect you with the local rape crisis center. The center staff can help you make choices about reporting the attack and getting help through counseling and support groups. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional.