Sexual assault, or rape, is a violent crime, not a sexual act. The myth that men who rape women are sexually deprived or pathological has begun to be dispelled and replaced with the understanding that rape is an act of power and control, rather than lust. The following talks about sexual abuse and how you can get help.
The occurrence of forcible rape in our country appears to be on the rise. The Senate Judiciary Committee in its Majority Staff Report entitled Violence Against Women: The Increase of Rape in America determined that more women were raped in 1990 than in any other year in American history.
The rate of rape will continue to increase without appropriate prevention and response. In 1993, the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that only two percent of rapists are imprisoned. Attitudes about women who are raped and rapists continue to present barriers to justice. Because we doubt the validity of victims' experiences, rape remains the silent crime, reported at least less than 15 percent of the time it occurs.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female and 9% are male. (Nearly 99% of the reported offenders are male.) The National Victim Center reports that 683,000 women are raped per year, and 13.3% of college women say they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation. The National Violence Against Women Survey found of the women who reported being raped, 54% were under the age of 18 at the time of the first rape and 83% were under the age of 25. However, sexual assault affects women, children, and men of all ages, racial, cultural and economic backgrounds.
Unfortunately, rape or is the violent crime least often reported to law enforcement. Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police. In a survey of victims who did not report rape or attempted rape to the police, victims gave the following reasons for not making a report: 43% thought nothing could be done; 27% thought it was a private matter; 12% were afraid of police response; and 12% thought it was not important enough. Remember, sexual assault is against the law. You have the right to report this crime to the police, and to be treated fairly.
The following links contain more information on this subject.
Poetry & Stories
The following links contain poetry and personal accounts of those who have experienced sexual abuse.
Important Questions & Answers
The following questions are very important questions to ask. The answers are very important to remember.
What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
- Find a safe environment - anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend stay with you for moral support.
- Preserve evidence of the attack - don't bathe or brush your teeth. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day: 1-800-656-HOPE.
- Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
- To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam.
- If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will need to be analyzed later on by a forensic lab.
- Report the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information you'll need understand the process.
- Remember it wasn't your fault.
- Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
- Know that it's never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.
How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?
- Listen. Be there. Don't be judgmental.
- Encourage your friend to seriously consider reporting the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information your friend will need to make this decision.
- Be patient. Remember, it will take your friend some time to deal with the crime.
- Let your friend know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Encourage him or her to call the hotline, but realize that only your friend can make the decision to get help.
What can I do to reduce my risk of sexual assault?
- Don't leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other, and leave together.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don't know or trust.
- Think about the level of intimacy you want in a relationship, and clearly state your limits.
[Friendship & Love]