One in five women will be sexually assaulted while at college (According to a study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice)
One in 6 boys and one in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 2006)
Silence does not equal a verbal "yes." Make sure you have verbal consent before engaging in any sexual acts.
The sexual violence continuum is an attempt to explain how social norms and beliefs allow for an environment where sexual violence can occur.
Many survivors of sexual violence are orally, anally, or vaginally penetrated. This type of sexual violence may or may not include other types of physical abuse.
Often sexual assault survivors are not penetrated but are forced to engage in sexual acts. They many also be forced to watch others do so or to watch pornography.
This type of sexual violence is a pattern of unwanted or uninvited sexual attention that is aimed at coercing someone to do or act in a way the harasser wants. This may include verbal and/or physical acts.
This type of sexual violence is blatant or implicated touching in a sexual manner. This may include: fondling, grabbing of sexual body parts, and forced or coerced kissing.
This type of sexual violence is perpetrated by violating a person's sense of safety in a sexual context. This may include: jokes/cat calls, obscene phone calls, leering at a sexual body part, "accidentally" rubbing up against someone, and voyeurism.
This is the way people think about sexual norms and gender roles. This may include beliefs such as the notion that if one person buys the other dinner the other person "owes" them sex, or a belief that only men can initiate sexual activity.
Social norms are accepted behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that create an environment in which all individuals are not treated equally. These norms allow a person or group to have power over another. Violence is an act of taking away someone's power and it can only occur when social norms allow power differences between people. Some social norms include: portraying women and children as sexual objects versus full human beings; believing in strict gender or racial stereotyping; believing that victims are responsible for their own victimization.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence (SV) violates a person's trust and feeling of safety. It occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The continuum of sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
Sexual Assault (SA): Occurs whenever an individual feels forced, coerced and/or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity. This assault includes rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
Even though the attack is not your fault, you may feel or experience:
Since each individual's experience is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for victimized loved ones. For those who care about a person who has experienced a violent trauma, finding ways to be helpful and maintaining a healthy relationship can be challenging. The following are some tips to help your loved one who has been victimized.
Listen: Talking about the experience, when the survivor is ready, will help acknowledge and validate what has happened to him or her and can reduce stress and feelings of isolation. Let your loved one take the lead, and try not to jump in with too many comments or questions right away.
Research: If the victim wants more information, would like to report a crime, or has other questions, you can help find answers and resources.
Reassure: As strange as it may sound, survivors often question whether an incident was their fault or what they could have done to prevent the crime against them. They may need to hear that it was not their fault and be assured that they are not alone.
Empower: Following trauma victims can feel as though much of their lives is beyond their control. Aiding them in maintaining routines can be helpful, as can offering survivors options or possible solutions.
Be patient: Every journey through the healing process is unique. Try to understand that it will take time, and do what you can to be supportive. The healing process has no pre-determined timeline.
Ask: Your loved one may need help with any number of things or have questions on many different topics. Even a favor as mundane as running a few errands or taking the dog for a walk can be a big help, so consider lending a hand.