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Emergency Information - If you need help right now!

telephone

If you need help right away, in the United States you can call: 1-800-656-HOPE ( RAINN - Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and you will be connected to a rape crisis center near you 24 hours a day, every day of the week. If you live in the UK, see below...

About Rape
How Do I Get Medical Help?
What NOT To Do Before A Checkup
How Do I Report An Assault To The Police?

How You Can Help A Survivor Of A Sexual Assault

sad woman The rape of women and children seems to becoming more and more common, even though it is estimated that a majority of rapes, sexual assaults and incidences of sexual abuse go unreported. One of the reasons why it's difficult for girls, boys, and women to report rape is because it often occurs between people who know each other, making it hard for the person to prove that it happened. The victim is also very fearful of not being believed or being blamed for the crime.

Some statistics state that the incidence of rape has decreased in the U.S. over the past couple of years. According to the U.S. Department of Justice the incidence of rape has decreased since the laws punishing rape perpetrators have gotten tougher. But it is hard to really find the true statistics since this crime so often goes unreported.

An estimated 80% of people who have been raped knew the person who raped them. Women ages 15 to 25 are the most frequent victims. Rape is not about sex to the rapist; it has to do with control and power.

Although exact figures are not available, we can make a fair estimate of the number of stranger or acquaintance rapes in this country each year. The FBI states that about 82,000 rapes are reported to the police each year in the United States. Those are primarily stranger rapes. It is believed as we have already stated that acquaintance rapes are much more frequent.

A survey of college women indicated that they had experienced acquaintance rape much more often than stranger rape, but they were more likely to report the stranger rape to the police. It is NOT know what percentage of rapes are reported to the police.

Whenever a person is forced to have sex with someone, a rape has occurred. It doesn't matter if a guy rapes a stranger, a friend, his girlfriend, or his wife. Even if you have been intimate with someone before, no one has the right to demand a sexual act from you against your will.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

One of every four rapes take place in a public area or in a parking garage.
28% of female victims reported that the offender was a stranger.
70% of rapes occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
At least 48% of rapists were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In 30% of rapes, the offender used a weapon.
In 47% of rapes, the victim sustained injuries other than rape injuries.
75% of female rape victims require medical care after the attack.

(All statistics are taken from: Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 2001.)

Definition of Rape:

In the United States the definition of rape may vary from state to state, but it is most often defined as:

1. Forced sexual intercourse
2. Sexual intercourse against the victim's will and without his or her consent.
3. Sexual intercourse if the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated.
4. Sexual intercourse if the victim is under the age of consent.

How Do I Get Medical Help?

hospital If you were assaulted recently, you may want to consider going to the hospital to have a sexual abuse evidentiary examination right away. This examination preserves evidence in case you decide to press charges. It is a time when you can get medical advice and medication in case you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In the United States, the evidentiary exam is paid for by your state. Some survivors don't seek medical care right away. Even if you were assaulted some time ago, it is okay to go to the doctor in order to get checked out for STDs, pregnancy, etc. Some local clinics may provide free or reduced rates for people who have been sexually assaulted but choose not to have the evidentiary exam.

Whether or not you want to seek medical help is your decision. The following information may help you in making that decision:

You are entitled to have an advocate from a sexual assault crisis center present with you to provide support during the exam.

 

The sexual assault evidence exam and follow-up treatment are paid for by the State. You should not receive a bill.

 

The exam is available to women and men. When children are assaulted they are often seen at one of the State's Child Protection Centers. You may want to check with your local law enforcement agency about this possibility.

 

You can get an evidentiary exam even if some time has passed since you were assaulted.

 

If the assault just happened, try and wait until after the exam to shower or bathe, so that the greatest amount of evidence might be preserved. However, it is still fine to go ahead and have the exam if you have already showered.

 

If you have had any period of amnesia associated with the assault, try not to urinate until you get to the hospital (if possible) and tell the hospital you'd like to give a urine sample to screen for possible drugs. If you cannot remember what happened you may have been given drugs without your knowledge. (See our Date Rape Drugs section for more information.)

 

If you are still wearing the clothes you had on during the assault, it might be best to wear them to the exam and bring a change of clothing with you to wear home.

 

If you have already changed your clothes, you may want to bring the clothes you were wearing during the assault with you to the hospital in a paper bag. The clothing you wore during the assault will probably be kept as evidence. Even if the assault was some time ago, your clothing may contain evidence.

 

If you have just been assaulted, it may be helpful for you to call your local rape crisis center or sexual assault program to find out about which hospitals near you perform the exam.
What NOT To Do Before A Checkup - Important!

Do not wait more than 48 hours before going to the doctor or hospital.
Do NOT take a shower before the exam.
Do not change your clothes.
Do not eat or drink anything - (in case you were drugged).
Do not brush your teeth.

After being raped, the person often feels ashamed. It is only natural to want to feel clean and get rid of the memories by washing, but doing this may removed EVIDENCE. Also, eating or drinking will make it harder to detect any drugs that you might have been given to you by the perpetrator. The first 48 hours is the most important time for collecting evidence! Call a friend. Call the police! If you think you have been drugged, it is imperative that you get tested. This will be an important factor if and when you decide to press charges or get the police involved. Read about how you report an assault to the police. It is not as scary as seen on TV. It is done very privately and with respect. I know; it happened to me.


How Do I Report An Assault To The Police?

You may be thinking about reporting the assault to the police. In many jurisdictions, you may be able to talk to a detective or police officer about what happened to you without having to make an immediate decision about whether or not you want to press charges. You may not have a choice about charges being filed in cases of domestic abuse or child abuse. It is okay to talk with the police about an assault even if it happened some time ago.

Whether or not you want to report an assault to the police is your decision. You know what's best for you.

You can call your local sexual assault crisis center and ask for an advocate to be with you when you report. Sexual assault victim advocates have special training in working with law enforcement to help you. They can give you support and make sure your questions are answered.

If you are speaking with the police and a sexual assault advocate hasn't been called, you have the right to ask for one. If you are unsure whether you want to report an assault, in some jurisdictions you can meet with a detective to talk it over before making the decision. Call your local sexual assault crisis center for more information about law enforcement policies in your area.

police

Many victims of sexual assault are afraid that they will be blamed or not believed if they report the assault to the police. In general, detectives who have training in working with sexual assault cases should understand the feelings you are experiencing and be sensitive to your needs and concerns.

What Are My Rights As A Victim Of Crime ?

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