According to the Unites States Department of Justice, sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.
Sexual violence is divided into the following types:
- Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences
- Unwanted sexual contact
- Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim
- Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim
- Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally or through intimidation or misuse of authority to consent or acquiesce
- Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
- Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence with sex used as a weapon that can be committed by dates, partners, spouses, friends, relatives, acquaintances and strangers.
- Experiencing sexual assault is never your fault. You are not responsible for another person committing a crime against you.
- It’s okay to ask for help. You are not alone.
- Any reaction or feeling after an assault is normal.
- You have every right to be upset. Take time to understand and deal with your feelings.
- Sexual assault is a major crisis. Take good care of yourself.
- We are hear to help & we are hear to listen. Call us anytime or walk in as often as you need.
How You Might Feel
There is no typical sexual assault or rape survivor, nor is there a typical response to sexual assault. Survivors of rape or sexual assault may experience numbness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal, denial, nightmares, flashbacks, rage, anger, revenge, depression, difficulty eating or sleeping, extreme and explainable fear, guilt and self-blame.
Feelings of shock and confusion are common. Survivors often express that they can’t believe what has happened to them.
Attempts to end the anxiety and confusion are often made by rationalizing the rape. Survivors might try to forget about the rape and appear outwardly that everything is fine.
Insomnia fear and nightmares may be experienced in this stage. This can mean that feelings about the sexual assault are surfacing.
Anxiety and fear about rape decrease. Energy returns. It may take months or years to heal from the impact of a sexual assault.
There are many areas of concern after a sexual assault. With support, a person who has experienced an assault can heal. Women Helping Women can help you understand and clarify these concerns, which may include medical, legal, emotional or family issues.