Sexual assault or violence is often one of the last things that abused women talk about because it is so deeply personal. It is very common that someone who is abused by their intimate partner has also been sexually assaulted by them. In fact, most sexual assault happens between people who know each other.
Sexual Assault or Rape can happen to anyone regardless of your age, economic status, gender or sexual orientation. If this has happened to you or someone you know, you may feel like you're alone, however there are many places you can talk about it, this is where the Victims of Violence Program can help.
Sexual Assault is any forced sexual contact.
Rape as defined by New York State Law is forced sexual intercourse.
Acquaintance rape, or date rape, is when the rapist is someone the victim knows. It may involve a date, boyfriend, friend, classmate, neighbor or anyone else who is not a stranger. The majority of rape and sexual assault victims are assaulted by someone they are familiar with or know.
Sexual Harassment is a pattern of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted or Raped:
- You can call the Help Restore Hope hotline at 1-855-9NOWSAFE/1-855-966-9723 for assistance with knowing your rights, and/or for accompaniment to both medical care and/or law enforcement agencies.
- IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO NOT REPORT THE RAPE TO POLICE!
- You can seek medical attention to help with physical injury.
- Medical care can be important to assist with the prevention of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
- Medical care can be sought to assist with the prevention of pregnancy due to the rape.
- A Rape Kit can be used to collect evidence of the rape.
- Should you decide to prosecute the rape, a Victim's Advocate from the Help Restore Hope Center can assist you through the Criminal Justice Process.
Important information you should know if you were sexually assaulted!
Wanting to wash, shower, and change clothes is a natural impulse after a sexual assault, but wait. If you have not done so already, do not:
- Take a bath or shower
- Brush your teeth
- Go to the bathroom
- Change your clothes
- Brush your hair
- Eat or drink anything
As uncomfortable as you may be, if you can avoid doing any of these things, you will preserve evidence that can help convict the person who raped you. If you have already washed up, don't worry--but don't wash any more. If you have taken off the clothes you were wearing when you were assaulted, put them in a clean shopping bag and take them with you to the hospital.
Go directly to the hospital emergency room. If you have already called the Help Restore Hope Center, an Advocate will meet you there. If not, ask the hospital to call the Center for you. We will be there as soon as possible. At the hospital, a nurse will offer to call the police for you. This is your choice. The police will not be called automatically, either by the hospital or by Center staff. This is to protect your privacy. There are some circumstances in which hospital staff are required to notify the police: if a gun or knife was used or if there is reason to suspect child sexual abuse. How much or little you choose to tell the police in these cases is still your choice; the intent is to protect you or someone else from further harm in these grave situations.
What is a sexual assault exam?
This is an exam which is performed by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) or another medical professional. This process usually includes: verbal history from patient, head-to-toe detailed examination and assessment of the entire body (this includes an internal exam) the possible collection of blood, urine, hair and other body secretion samples, photos of injuries, collection of clothing and going over treatment options, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections. THE VICTIM HAS THE RIGHT TO ACCEPT OR DECLINE ANY OR ALL PARTS OF THE EXAM. If you decide to report the crime to the police, the reporting police agency will pick up the evidence kit from the hospital. If you are unsure that you want to report the crime, the evidence kit may be put into a lock facility at the hospital for up to 30 days, at which time it will be disposed of by the hospital.
If you choose not to seek medical assistance, still connect with a counselor. Free therapy services are available through the Help Restore Hope Center. Call 1-855-9NOWSAFE/1-855-966-9723 and speak with an advocate on call to assist with a therapy referral. All calls on the hotline are free and confidential!
What to do for a Victim of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault affects not only the victim, but the loved ones and family of the survivor, as well as the community. Family members and friends many times not only have to help their loved one manage the after-effects of the assault but also have to deal with their own feelings about the victimization of someone they care about. Those that live with the survivor may become concerned about their security and may have similar feelings and responses as those the survivor experiences
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: http://www.nsvrc.org/
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence: http://www.endsexualviolence.org/