What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any forced or coerced sexual contact against a person's will. The law separates sexual assault into three degrees ranging from unwanted sexual touching to forced oral, anal or vaginal penetration. Sexual assault includes the two categories listed below: rape and acquaintance (date) rape.
Rape is forced, manipulated, or coerced sexual intercourse. It is an act of violence motivated by an assailant's need to dominate, control or humiliate the victim.
Acquaintance (date) rape is forced, manipulated or coerced sexual intercourse by a friend, lover (domestic violence) or acquaintance. It is an act of violence, aggression and power.
What To Do If You Are Assaulted Or Raped:
- Contact a friend or someone for support.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not bathe, douche, change your clothes or rinse your mouth – take a clean change of clothes with you to the hospital or police station.
- Write down what happened.
- Consider pressing charges.
- Get professional help and support (see resources below).
If Someone You Know Is Assaulted Or Raped:
- Be supportive and listen; do not judge them.
- Assure the survivor that it was not his/her fault.
- Remember that the survivor’s feelings are the most important right now – not yours.
- Verbalize your support by saying things like "I am so sorry that this happened to you".
- Encourage the survivor to determine their own choice of solution to the assault or rape and respect their decision. Don’t vow revenge on the perpetrator as this can make matters worse for the survivor.
- Encourage the survivor to seek medical assistance and counseling
- Be patient and understanding. Don’t ask for details or specifics.
- Don’t neglect your own feelings about the occurrence such as anger, helplessness or frustration that are so strong that they are interfering with your ability to be supportive of the survivor. Seek professional help for yourself if necessary.