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What is sexual assault?
What do I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?
Where else can I go for help?
How can I protect myself from being sexually assaulted?
How can I help someone who has been sexually assaulted?
Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you know.
Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations — on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone. Educate yourself on “date rape” drugs. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink unattended — no matter where you are. Try to always be aware of your surroundings. Date rape drugs make a person unable to resist assault and can cause memory loss so the victim doesn’t know what happened.
Take steps right away if you’ve been sexually assaulted.
If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. Help is available. You can call these organizations:
There are many organizations and hotlines in every state and territory. These crisis centers and agencies work hard to stop assaults and help victims. You can find contact information for these organizations at http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence/state/. You also can obtain the numbers of shelters, counseling services, and legal assistance in your phone book.
There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted. Follow these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
You can help someone who is abused or who has been assaulted by listening and offering comfort. Go with her or him to the police, the hospital, or to counseling. Reinforce the message that she or he is not at fault and that it is natural to feel angry and ashamed.
For more information on sexual assault, contact the National Women’s Health Information Center at 800-994-9662 or the following organizations:
Division of Violence Prevention, NCIPC, CDC, HHS
Phone: (770) 488-4362
Internet Address: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/dvp.htm
Office on Violence Against Women, OJP, DOJ
Phone: (800) 799-7233
Internet Address: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo
National Center for Victims of Crime
Phone: (800) 394-2255
Internet Address: http://www.ncvc.org
National Crime Prevention Council
Phone: (202) 466-6272
Internet Address: http://www.ncpc.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: (800) 799-SAFE
Internet Address: http://www.ndvh.org
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Phone: (877) 739-3895
Internet Address: http://www.nsvrc.org
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Phone: (202) 544-1034
Internet Address: http://www.rainn.org