What is Sexual Assault ?

Rape is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse. Rape, sometimes also called sexual assault, can happen to both men and women of any age.
 
Rape is about power, not sex. A rapist uses actual force or violence — or the threat of it — to take control over another human being. Some rapists use drugs to take away a person's ability to fight back. Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance, or a family member.
 
No matter how it happened, rape is frightening and traumatizing. People who have been raped need care, comfort, and a way to heal.
 
What Should I Do?
What's the right thing to do if you've been raped? Take care of yourself in the best way for you. For some people, that means reporting the crime immediately and fighting to see the rapist brought to justice. For others it means seeking medical or emotional care without reporting the rape as a crime. Every person is different.
 
There are three things that everyone who has been raped should do, though:
  • Know that the rape wasn't your fault.
  • Seek medical care.
  • Deal with your feelings
 
It's Not Your Fault 
 
Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault. No one has the right to have sex with you against your will. The blame for a rape lies solely with the rapist.
 
Sometimes a rapist will try to exert even more power by making the person who's been raped feel like it was actually his or her fault. A rapist may say stuff like, "You asked for it" or "You wanted it." This is just another way for the rapist to take control. The truth is that what a person wears, what a person says, or how a person acts is never a justification for rape.
 
Most people who are raped know their rapists. That can sometimes lead the person who's been raped to try to protect the perpetrator. Make protecting yourself your priority. Don't worry about protecting the person who raped you.
 
If you want to report the crime to the police, do so. Reporting a rape may help protect others from that person — and may help you feel a little less like you were a victim. But making a report to the police may be difficult for some people. If you don't feel comfortable reporting it, you don't have to. You may prefer to get advice about what to do from an experienced adult who can be sympathetic to you. Do whatever helps you to feel safe and heal without blaming yourself.
 
Seek Medical Care
The first thing someone who has been raped needs to do is see a medical doctor. Most medical centers and hospital emergency departments have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (S.A.N.E.) who have been trained to take care of someone who has been raped. It's important to get medical care because a doctor will need to check you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and internal injuries.
You should get medical attention right away without changing your clothes, showering, douching, or washing. It can be hard not to clean up, of course — it's a natural human instinct to wash away all traces of a sexual assault. But being examined right away is the best way to ensure you get proper medical treatment.
 
You will not be charged for the Rape Exam, Rape Victims Comp takes care of that and you do not have make a police report to get a Rape Exam.
 
Anonymous Reporting - The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (“VAWA 2005”), provides that states may not “require a victim of sexual assault to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam, reimbursed for charges incurred on account of such an exam, or both. This means that the forensic exam will take place and the kit will be sent to a holding center for a minimum of a year. During that year, you may want to press charges and the kit will be available. If you do not wish to press charges, the kit will be kept until the holding center runs out of room (minimum of one year) and then disposed of. It’s your choice, and a difficult one that does not have to be made immediately.
 
Another option is Blind Reporting.-Blind reports are not official police records and are maintained in a separate file. Blind reports should contain as much information as possible and whether the victim wishes to be contacted in the future and under what circumstances. For example, some victims may agree to be contacted later if the same assailant is charged with another assault.
 
Not only will a Sexual Assault Victims’ Advocate with Reach be able to give you your options, but they can be with you every step of the way. 
 
More to come on this page.