Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV)
Understanding Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence
When most of us hear the words sexual assault, we think of rape. However, rape is not the only type of sexual assault. Even minor forms of sexual violence, such as obscene phone calls, can be distressing. An attempted sexual assault can also be frightening.
Force can happen in any type of relationship.
Sexual assault occurs any time a person is forced into a sexual act. However, force does not always include physical violence. Force can happen in different ways, such as verbal threats, overpowering the person, using a weapon, drugging someone, abusing authority, or taking advantage of a person who passes out from drugs or alcohol or is under anesthesia and cannot consent to sex. Likewise, someone who does not mentally understand sex cannot give consent. Taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability uses another kind of force. It can happen with friends, acquaintances, family, co-workers, and intimate partners. It can also happen to doctors and patients, students, teachers, clergy and parishioners, parents and their children, and it can happen between strangers.
Sexual assaults include any type of sexual contact that is nonconsensual, forced, or coerced.
Online Support and Information for Teens about Dating Violence
www.loveisrespect.org provides online support for 13 to 18-year-olds. Teens who are experiencing dating abuse can log in and get help from trained peer advocates in a one-on-one private chat room.
If you are assaulted
Sexual assault can happen to anyone; it happens to adult women, adult men, persons living with disabilities, elderly persons, teens, and young children. It crosses all societal lines and can affect anyone's life. If it has happened to you, know that you are not alone.
Sexual assault is a crime. It is not your fault. Nothing you have done has caused the assault. It is a frightening and disturbing event in someone's life. There are many fears, questions, and thoughts you may have because of the assault.
You may experience the immediate reactions of shock, denial, anger, anxiety, and disorientation. Your emotions may go from one extreme to the other. You may blame yourself, have stomachaches, or feel exhausted or fearful of being alone. Whatever you are feeling is okay! Everyone handles their emotions differently, you might mask or hide them or become expressive with crying, restlessness, and so forth. The process of resolving your feelings will vary with your age, personality, and available support system. You will make it through this process!
Understanding the facts about sexual assault can help you cope with your resulting feelings and thoughts. Speaking with a SAFV advocate can assist you with the immediate crisis or with the aftermath of a sexual assault. At SAFV, we will assist and support you coping with your feelings and decision-making processes, in a way that is best for you. The advocates at SAFV are ready to help you whenever you need them, now or in the future.