IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911
If you have been sexually assaulted/raped and are in need of immediate assistance, call 1-800-656-HOPE.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
What is Rape?
Rape/Sexual Assault is illegal sexual contact (usually involving force) done upon a person without consent.
Rape is also defined as sexual contact inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent, due to either diminished physical or mental capacity.
A third definition of sexual assault is when the assailant is in a position of authority (such as a doctor or teacher) and uses that authority to force someone into sexual acts.
Rape/Sexual Assault are crimes of motive and opportunity and NOT the victim's fault.
People who are raped suffer greatly. They feel victimized, isolated, “dirty” and guilty. It is in no way their fault what has happened to them. Assailants render their victims powerless. After such an attack, victims need to feel empowered to stand up for themselves, report the offense, and to seek help and safety so they can recover from their experience.
It takes a huge amount of courage to stand up, break the silence and report a sexual assault.
Please, know that you are not alone.
Help! I Was Just Raped!
Get yourself to a safe place. Immediate safety is what matters most of all.
Preserve all evidence of the attack. Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, eat or smoke. If you're still at the place the rape occurred, do not clean or straighten anything up. Write down all details you can remember about the attack.
Whether or not you alert the authorities, for your own health, you must receive medical care.
While receiving medical care, you will be asked if the specially trained nurses can perform a forensic examination. This exam is to collect any DNA or other evidence that can link your attacker to the crime. You do have the right to refuse this exam.
Know that what happened is NOT your fault.
Report the rape to the authorities.
Remember that recovering from a rape takes a lot of time and patience.
The numbers are staggering. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime
- Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted/raped in the United States
Taking Care of Yourself After a Rape:
Taking care of yourself after a sexual assault may be a really hard thing to do. You may not want to get out of bed, let alone take a shower, but it's important that you take care of yourself, physically AND emotionally.
Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise, food, and medical care.
Get counseling if you feel it would help. Call 800-656-HOPE to find a center near you.
Write it out. Keep a journal or write about the assault here on Band Back Together. We'd be honored to have you with The Band.
Try meditation exercises to de-stress.
Make sure everyone in your life is supportive and loving. Keep nurturing relationships that make you feel good about yourself. Don't isolate yourself - spend time with friends and family who love you.
Avoid friends or family who only call you when they need something. You don't have to cut them off completely or anything like that, but these aren't the relationships you need to foster at this time.
Make some time for fun. Whatever it is that you like to do (run, paint, write, hang with friends) make some time to enjoy your life again.
Types of Sexual Violence:
There are many different types of sexual assaults, according to RAINN.
Sexual Assault/Rape - anyone an be a rape victim - men, women, children, those who are straight or gay.
Child Sexual Abuse - may involve a family member (incest) or a non-family member and may involve sexually suggestive language, oral sex, prolonged kissing, vaginal or anal intercourse, prolonged groping, forcing a minor to watch pornography, sexual aggression.
Male Sexual Assault - despite what society believes, men can be and are sexually assaulted and raped.
Sexual Harassment - requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances or offensive remarks about a person’s gender or sex. This also includes creating a hostile work environment, such as through posting sexual pictures, leering, or physical contact.
Stalking - a serious, frequently violent, life-threatening crime that can escalate over time.
Sexual Assault As A Hate Crime - victimization of an individual based upon race, religion, national origin, ethnic identification, gender or sexual orientation.
Sexual Exploitation by Helping Professionals - sexual contact between any helping profession - doctors, lawyers, therapists, police officers, nurses, teachers, or priests.
Acquaintance Rape - coercive sexual activities that occur against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, or fear of bodily injury, perpetrated by someone with whom the victim is acquainted.
Partner Rape - rape or sexual assault that occurs between two people who currently have - or have had - a consensual sexual relationship.
Incest - sexual contact between two people who are so closely related that marriage is illegal.
Drug Facilitated Sexual Violence - sexual violence in which drugs or alcohol are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST) - a broad term used by the Veterans Administration (VA) to categorize ANY sexual misconduct, rape, sexual advance or sexual harassment within the military. Victims of MST are no different from victims of any other sexual assault. The same feelings of shame, guilt and anger are common in any trauma victim. The VA has specific resources for victims of MST, whether retired or current active duty military.
Aftereffects of Rape/Sexual Assault
There are many devastating aftereffects of rape that a rape victim has to deal with. These can range from mild to severe and are all normal reactions. Here are the most common reactions following a rape:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - many rape victims experience extreme feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear as a direct result of the attack.
Substance Abuse - many rape survivors turn to alcohol or other substances of abuse to try to relieve their emotional suffering.
Self-Injury - deliberate self-harm or self-injury may be used by rape victims as a way of coping with their emotional pain.
Depression - of all the emotional and psychological problems following an assault, depression is most common.
Sleep Disorders - many of those who have been attacked will experience sleep disturbances and problems.
Eating Disorders - those who have been sexually assaulted often use the control of food in an attempt to deal with the negative emotions.
Suicide - some of those who have been sexually assaulted consider ending their own life as a response to the negative feelings about the assault.
Pregnancy - as sexual assault may have involved bodily fluids, there is a possibility of pregnancy resulting from the attack.
Sexually Transmitted Infections - if the rape involved the exchange of bodily fluids, there is a chance for the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
How To Protect Yourself From Being A Rape/Sexual Assault Victim:
Not all rapes can be prevented, but here are some tips for protecting yourself from becoming a sexual assault victim.
Protect Yourself Socially:
- Attend social gatherings and parties with a group of friends, check in with them throughout the night and leave with them.
- Keep an eye on your friends. Make sure they watch out for you.
- Don't leave your drink unattended and don't accept drinks from people you don't know.
- Trust your instincts.
- Call 911 if you think a friend has been drugged.
Avoid Dangerous Situations:
- Know your surroundings and environment.
- Walk with purpose.
- Trust your instincts.
- Don't load yourself down with heavy packages.
- Keep your cell phone on you.
- Avoid isolated areas.
- Take off your headphones.
How To Handle Being Pressured:
- Try to think of an escape route.
- Be true to yourself and don't do anything you don't want to do.
- Remember that it's NOT your fault.
- Use excuses or lies to get away rather than stay and feel uncomfortable.
How Do I Keep My Child Safe?
- Discuss sexuality directly and openly.
- Teach your child the names of their body parts.
- Explain that some body parts are private.
- ALL children need to be taught that it's NOT okay if someone's touching them in an uncomfortable way.
- Be involved in your child's activities, talk about current events with your child.
- Make sure your child knows they can talk to you if they have questions.
How Do I Support A Loved One Who Has Been Raped?
There are a number of ways to help a friend or loved one who has been the victim of sexual violence. It may be hard for you, the loved one, to handle your own emotions, so if you need help, do not hesitate to talk to a counselor yourself.
Here are some tips to support a loved one who has been sexually assaulted:
Listen to your loved one. Be there for them. Don't be judgmental.
Be patient. It takes a long time to deal with and recover from a sexual assault.
Help empower your friend or loved one. Rape is a crime that takes away the power of the victim - it's important not to put pressure on your loved one to do things he or she is not ready to do.
If your loved one is considering suicide, take extra care to love them and follow up with them.
Encourage your loved one to report the rape to law enforcement. If they do not wish to, respect their wishes.
Addtional Rape Resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): Provides information on how to get help for both victims and loved ones, links to local agencies and international resources, and on reporting sexual crimes to the police.
Joyful Heart Foundation: Created by Law and Order’s Mariska Hargitay for survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. The organization's mission is to educate, empower and shed light onto these terrible crimes and help the survivors heal.
End the Backlog: A charity organization seeking justice for survivors by working in partnership with government, non-profits, advocates and survivors to bring attention, funding and new legislation to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits across the country.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: the nation’s primary information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence.
SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape): runs national awareness, education and prevention programs to empower survivors of sexual violence and enhance the public's understanding and acceptance of rape victims.
It Happened to Alexa Foundation: provide funds for families to travel and be with a rape victim for the duration of the trial.