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"I may be revered or defamed and decried; But I tried to live my life right." -Tracy Chapman
Sexual Assault
Sexual Violence is any sexual act that is imposed upon another person and is perpetrated through the use of force, fear, coercion, or manipulation. It is a broad term that encompasses all forms of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, incest, molestation, and sodomy.

How often does sexual violence occur?
  • Research shows that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 7 males will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18
  • 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be assaulted in their lifetime
  • 1 rape occurs in the United States approximately every 60 seconds
  • About 44% of rape survivors are under the age of 18. 15% are under the age of 12. 
  • Approximately 85% of survivors knew their attacker.

Rape is a crime and an act of violence where sex is the weapon of choice. Rapists are motivated by the desire to dominate and control another person. It is a way for the offender to feel more powerful. Rapists choose to rape. It may be stranger hiding in the bushes, but more than likely it is an acquaintance, someone the victim has had contact with at some point. Terms referring to this type of rape is acquaintance rape and date rape. Whoever it is, they make a conscious decision to rape: it is not an uncontrollable urge.

Acquaintance rape is a term used to describe sexual assaults in which the survivor and the perpetrator are known to each other. The perpetrator might be an ex-partner, a coworker, or a neighbor. He may be a friend, a doctor, health worker or family friend. Or the perpetrator may be a passing acquaintance-utility worker, grocery carry out person, or lawn care person. Even though the relationship may be casual, the traumatic effects of being assaulted by someone known and trusted is severe.

In 65% of the rapes that are reported, there are no visible physical injuries. Mild injuries occur in 25% of the cases, moderate injuries in 10% of the cases and severe injuries are seen in 1-2 % of the cases. However, the psychological impact of a sexual assault is often severe and may be observed in the following ways: substance abuse, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, fear, guilt, suicidal ideations/attempts, anger, blame, avoidance, numbness, and recurring memories of the assault. 

General health risks include somatic complaints including 
  • stomach problems
  • indigestion
  • problems sleeping
  • migraines
  • irritable bowel syndrome 

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©  Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Center, Inc.