About Sexual Assault

The trauma caused by sexual abuse is not just physical but also emotional, mental and psychological. It’s a violation of your emotional and mental safety and well-being, not just a physical one. Its normal to feel alone, ashamed, embarrassed and confused.

But, you are never alone and it is not your fault. 

What happens to victims is an incredibly personal violation that creates a flood of overwhelming emotions. Emotions that many are not comfortable sharing. We understand. We are here to listen to your story when you are ready to tell someone, and we will guide you through it. Melissa and her all female team understand the trauma caused by sexual assault. We are here to LISTEN to you and we will BELIEVE you.

Types of Sexual Violence

According to the United States Department of Justice, sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” The legal definition of sexual assault varies from state to state. Click here for information about the sexual assault laws in your state. Sexual assault comes in many different forms – from sexual taunting and harassment to rape.

Stalking: pattern of repeated harassment, unwanted contact and attention. Can include repeated unwanted calls, emails, messages gifts etc. Some states that specifically allow civil lawsuits for stalking: CA, Arkansas, KY, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, RI, SD, TN, TX, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

Sexual Coercion: making someone feel obligated to have sex by using guilt, pressure, drugs/alcohol or force

Drug-facilitated Sexual Assault: often associated with the use of Date Rape Drugs or when ability to consent is compromised due to drugs or alcohol whether consumption was voluntary or not

We are here to help you. Be assured that there is hope.

Sexual shaming among kids and teens: bulling in a sexual nature. These instances often occur in athletic locker rooms or among teammates.

Stalking: pattern of repeated harassment, unwanted contact and attention. Can include repeated unwanted calls, emails, messages gifts etc. Some states that specifically allow civil lawsuits for stalking: CA, Arkansas, KY, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, RI, SD, TN, TX, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

Groping: unwanted touching and fondling of another person’s body parts

Rape: penetration w/o consent

Intimate partner Violence a/k/a spousal rape, marital rape etc.: wide range of violence from physical abuse to rape. A 2007 study showed that most women who were physically abused by their partner have also been sexually assaulted by that same partner.

Child sexual abuse: ANY sexual activity between a child/adolescent and an adult with or without sexual touching. Include forcing child to touch themselves, exposing self to child, viewing or violating private behaviors of a child or teen, taking or showing explicit photos of a child or teen.

Incest: unwanted sexual contact between two member of the same family that wouldn’t be legally allowed to marry.

Elderly sexual assault: when perpetrator engages in sexual activity without the others consent. Often occurs when the elder was unable to provide consent due to medical condition, dementia, Alzheimer’s and perpetrated by a loved one or caretake, person in a position of power.

Prisoner Rape: typically, the perpetrator is another inmate, guard or staff a person in power over the inmate

Multiple perpetrator assault: commonly called gang rape. Can start out as consensual act between 2 partners, but then others join w/o the partners consent. Can be used as form of initiation into a group (Gang, club etc).

What is Consent?

There is no one legal definition for consent because each state has its own laws that determine how consent is defined. However, there are three main ways that states analyze consent in relation to sexual acts:

Affirmative consent:

  • Did the person express overt actions or words indicating agreement for sexual acts?

Freely given consent:

  • Was the consent offered of the person’s own free will, without being induced by fraud, coercion, violence, or threat of violence?

Consent is an active, sober, verbal yes – not the absence of no.

Did the individual have the capacity, or legal ability, to consent? The capacity to consent takes the following into consideration:

  • Age: Is the person at or above the age of consent for that state? Does the age difference between the perpetrator and victim affect the age of consent in that state?
  • Developmental disability: Does the person have a developmental disability or other form of mental incapacitation, such as a traumatic brain injury?
  • Intoxication: Was the person intoxicated? Different states have different definitions of intoxication, and in some states it matters whether you voluntarily or involuntarily became intoxicated.
  • Physical disability: Does the persona have a physical disability, incapacity, or other form of helplessness?
  • Relationship of victim/perpetrator:Was the alleged perpetrator in a position of authority, such as such as a teacher or correctional office?
  • Unconsciousness: Was the person sleeping, sedated, strangulated, or suffering from physical trauma?

Vulnerable adults:

  • Is the person considered a vulnerable adult, such as an elderly or ill person?
  • Is this adult dependent on others for care?

Sexual Assault Statistics

  • One in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 16.
  • 1 out of every 3 American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women will be raped by her husband.
  • 6 out of 10 rape/sexual assaults occurred in the homes of the victim, family members or friends.
  • 1,871 rapes occur per day.
  • 3 women are raped per minute.
  • Three out of five rapes happen before age 18.
  • Three out of ten rapes happen before age 11.
  • Between 80 – 90% of sexual assault victims knew their attacker.
  • An American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds
  • Ages 12-34 at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted.
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