Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact forced upon a person without his or her consent. Sexual assault does not have to involve physical force, but may instead involve threats, intimidation, or coercion. Examples of sexual assault include:
Eighty percent of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. It can happen to anyone regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, age or economic status. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control. No one “asks” or deserves to be assaulted.
“What can I do for a friend or family member who has experienced sexual violence?”
First and foremost, believe them.
Listen without judging. It is important to be patient and let your friend tell you their story at their own pace. Do not try to ask specific questions such as “Why were you there?” or ”What were you wearing?” Sometimes questions may come across as judgments to a victim of sexual assault.
Ask how you can help. Offer to accompany them to seek medical attention, counseling, or to the police department. You may suggest that they seek help from a trained sexual assault advocate. Encourage them to seek medical attention.
It is important that you do not tell anyone else about the assault without the victim’s permission.
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