Welcome to the Restoration Center Inc.’s Topic of the Month. The Restoration Center is dedicated to promoting educational, mental, physical and spiritual well being. Our purpose is to inform, and educate readers about issues affecting mental health.
The information provided is for educational purposes only. Diagnosis should only be made by a licensed professional. If you have further questions, or would like more information or need help dealing with issues related to these topics, please contact us: email@example.com
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?
The exact definition of “rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse” and similar terms differs by state. The wording can get confusing, since states often use different words to mean the same thing or use the same words to describe different things. Following are general definitions of several terms.
Sexual Assault: Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)
Rape: forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Sexual Abuse can have serious mental health effects for the survivor including:
Survivors of sexual assault may experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress or fear, known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a direct result of the assault.
Victims of rape or sexual assault may turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to relieve their emotional suffering.
There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape and sexual assault can experience. One of the most common of these is depression.
Many survivors of sexual assault suffer from sleep disturbances and disorders.
Victims and survivors with eating disorders often use food and the control of food as an attempt to deal with or compensate for negative feelings and emotions.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously referred to as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a dissociative disorder in which two or more separate and distinct identities (or personalities) control an individual's behavior at different times.
If you are currently thinking about suicide, or know someone who is, please reach out for help.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM SEXUALLY ASSAULTED?
1. Find a safe location away from the perpetrator. Ask a trusted friend to be with you for moral support.
2. Know that what happened was not your fault.
3. Preserve all evidence of the attack.
1. Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, eat, or smoke.
2. If you are still in the location at which the crime occurred, do not clean or straighten up or remove anything.
3. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack and the perpetrator.
4. Report the attack to law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.)
1. If you want more information, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org). A counselor can help you understand the reporting process.
5. Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (women may also be at risk for pregnancy).
1. To find a local hospital or healthcare facility that is equipped to collect forensic evidence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE). The hotline will connect you to your local crisis center, which can provide information on the nearest medical facility, and in some instances, send an advocate to accompany you through the evidence collection process.
2. Ask the health care professional to conduct a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE).
3. If you suspect you have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected to preserve evidence.
6. Recognize that healing from an attack takes time. Give yourself the time you need and know that it is never too late to get help.
1. For free, confidential help 24/7, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org).
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SEXUAL ABUSE