Sexual assault is a crime that happens when you are forced, threatened or manipulated into sexual contact against your will. Commonly referred to as rape, sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the United States. It is a crime that affects all of us; it is estimated that a woman is raped every 6 minutes. 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males will be sexually victimized before their 18th birthday. Each victim is someone’s friend, someone’s sister or brother, someone’s daughter or son.
Sex without consent is rape, whether the offender is a stranger or someone you know. Rape can happen to anyone at any age, at any place, at any time. The way a person dresses or behaves doesn’t cause rape. Few convicted rapists remember how the victim was dressed or what the victim looked like.
Rape is a crime of violence and power, and sex is used as a weapon. It is prompted by an urge to control another human being in the most personal way, and it is not an act of romance or lust.
No one “asks” or “deserves” to be raped. Rapists surprise their victims by catching them off guard, by tricking them, by taking advantage of daily activities of life or by lying. The victim is not to blame. The victim did not cause this to happen. No one would ask to have their life threatened, or to be humiliated or degraded. The rapist is responsible.
You always have the right to say “no”, even if:
- you have been drinking or taking drugs.
- you are wearing sexy clothes.
- you agreed to go to a secluded place.
- you agreed at first and then changed your mind.
- you have had sex before.
- your date has spent a lot of money.
- you think your date will get mad.
- you have been going out for a long time.
If you decide you do not want to have sex, you have the right to say “no”. Your body belongs to you and you alone!
If someone is pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to,
- say “no” clearly and forcefully.
- move away from the person.
- make an excuse to get out of the room – “I have to go to the bathroom.” – then leave or call for help.
- fight back if you feel you can.
- yell loudly for help. Don’t be afraid to yell “rape”!
- get away as soon as you can.
Remember, sex without consent is rape, whether the offender is a stranger or someone you know!
On these page, you will be able to find information concerning various aspects related to sexual assault.
(Information in this section taken from West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, www.fris.org)