Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse or assault: women, men, children, of any sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, if you were drinking, or who the abuser is, no one deserves to be abused, assaulted, or harassed.
Sexual abuse is defined as any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do.
Types of Abuse/Assault
Rape – rape is a sexual assault that is initiated by one or more against another person without that person’s consent. Examples include: acquaintance rape, intimate partner rape, marital rape, drug facilitated rape, incest, stranger rape
Child Sexual Abuse – child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse where an adult or older adolescent used a child for sexual gratification. Examples include: child pornography, sexual exposure/voyeurism, sexual exploitation, genital contact, penetration, invasive hygienic practices, sexual jokes
Sexual Harassment – sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in which submission or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s work or school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment.
Some sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors may not show any signs something has happened, but there are some common signs to look for in a friend or family member:
- Change in behavior, withdrawn, changes in school performance, depressed, lack of interest in normal activities, frightened, fears being touched or recoils when touched, change in sleep patterns, sudden onset of nightmares, lashing out, complete emotional withdrawal/numbness, lack of trust in adults or in gender that committed the abuse/assault, fear of being alone
If the incident was very recent, getting to a hospital for a forensic exam is very important. Hospitals staff must contact law enforcement whenever a victim of crime comes to receive treatment but it is your choice if you would like to talk with the police to make a report. If you do not wish to press charges, it is still a good idea to go to a hospital to check your physical and emotional condition.
When someone presents as a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse/assault in local emergency departments, the hospital puts a call in for our Medical Advocates. Medical Advocates are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support the victim’s immediate needs and provide information about their rights as a victim. Advocates provide emotional support, information, transportation, and referrals to community services.
If you would like to speak to one of our therapists, are in need of medical advocacy, or would like more information about our available services, please click here or call 309-691-0551 to make an appointment.
All victim services are free and confidential.