Information about Sexual Assault

What You Need To Know About Sexual Assault

Definition of Sexual Assault
What to do if you are a victim of sexual assault
Where to go for help
Why you should seek medical treatment after an assault
Ways to take care of yourself
How to Help a Survivor

Definition of Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault/Rape and sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that YOU do not agree to. This can include:

Inappropriate touching
Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
Sexual intercourse that you say NO to
Rape
Attempted rape
Sexual Assault can be in many forms such as verbal, visual or anything that forces you to join in any unwanted sexual contact or attention. It can happen in different situation, done by a stranger or someone you know personally (according to www.4women.gov).

[ UP]

What to do if you are a victim of sexual assault
Get to a safe place as soon as you can.

Notify the police or campus public safety immediately.

Call someone you trust, like a close friend or family member. It’s best to have someone with you for support if you go to the hospital, a doctor, or the police.
Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do NOT bathe, shower, douche, brush your teeth, use the bathroom, eat drink or change clothing until after you had had medical attention. If you have already changed your clothes, place the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag. Plastic destroys evidence.

Get medical attention as soon as possible. Seek help at a hospital emergency department or a clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. Even if you do not feel physically hurt, it is still very important to receive a medical examination.

Remember that the assault is not your fault. You are a Survivor!

[ UP]

Where to go for help

On and Off Campus Resources

Local Hospitals:

LEHIGH COUNTY

Lehigh Valley Hospital                   

1200 S. Cedar Crest blvd.                 

Allentown, PA                                

(610) 402-8000                             

 

St. Luke’s Hospital                          

1837 W Linden St                             

Allentown, PA 18104                           

(610) 439-3263                               

 

Sacred Heart Hospital

421 Chew Street

Allentown, PA 18102

(610) 776-4500

 

Berks County

Reading Hospital

301 S 7th Ave Ste 225

Reading, PA 19601

610) 685-5700

 

St. Joesph's Medical Center

12th and Walnut Streets

Reading, PA 19601

(610) 208-8827

 

 

[ UP]

Why You Should Receive Medical Attention After An Assault

t is important to seek medical attention right away after a sexual assault. Even though you may feel fine physically, your body may be unaware and numb or in a state of shock, so it’s essential to seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if there are no visible signs of physical injury, your need for treatment is and should be considered as an emergency. Taking care of your own health under these circumstances is a key step in your healing process.

By seeking medical help you will be able to:

  • Be examined and treated for injuries
  • Be tested for exposure to STDs
  • Be tested for pregnancy
  • Be able to discuss ways in which you can reduce the risk of pregnancy
  • Collect evidence in case you decide to report the assault to the police

[ UP]

Ways to take care of yourself
  • Get support. Getting support from your family and friends is very important. After an assault you are going through a difficult time and you may feel ashamed or unable to talk about the assault right away. But identifying with people you trust will help. People you trust will help confirm your feelings and verify your strengths.
  • Talk about it. Talking about the assault is a good way to get your feelings. You may choose when, where and with whom you talk to about the assault, but getting things out in the open will help in the healing process.
  • Find ways to reduce stress. Think of something that you enjoy doing. Weather it be some sort of hard exercise like running, exercise classes or walking. Or it could be relaxation methods such as yoga, reading a book, or meditation. Take time out to do things you love, take time out for yourself in general.
  • Stay healthy. Be sure to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Often when experiencing something as traumatizing as rape, it can change your eating habits. Be sure to eat right and get on a regular sleep cycle. As much as possible. You may want to avoid stimulants suck as caffeine and nicotine.
  • Release anger. After an assault, a common feeling that victims have is anger. They are angry at themselves and the situation. First, remember that the assault is NOT at all your fault. Try and take the anger you may feel and find a way to release it in a healthy manner. Perhaps you could write a letter to your attacker expressing the pain and anger you feel. It is up to you if you’d like to send the letter or not. You should also consider taking self defense classes. It is a great way to help you release anger and as an added bonus you will have learned how to protect yourself in the future.
  • Hug people you love. Hugging releases the body’s natural pain killers.
[ UP]


How to Help a Survivor

*For Friends, Parents, and Partners of Survivors

One of the main things that YOU can do is “be there” for your friend, daughter/son, or partner. It is important that she/he has the support of friends and family, it can be very helpful in the healing process. As a friend, parent or partner there are many things that you can do to help… ·

Talk. Tell your friend right away that you care about them and want to help in any way that you can.

Listen. Be a good listener. Let your friend do the talking and let them decide what, when and how they do it. Don’t pressure your friend by asking lots of details and questions.

Believe. Don’t blame the victim. It is not the victims fault. Believe what your friend is telling you. Many victims feel uncomfortable talking about it because they are ashamed and already blame themselves for that happened. Don’t ignore what happened or try to “smooth it over”

Ask. Ask your friend if there is anything they need or want.

Encourage. Encourage your friend to seek medical attention. Even if they do not seem physically hurt or it happened a while ago. Encourage them to seek support and talk to a counselor in person, or encourage them to call a 24 hour hotline.

Assist. Help your friend find information and resources. If your friend asks, accompany them to get help. Go with them to get medical care or to report the assault with the police.


Understand. Try and understand what your friend is going through. It is a very difficult time for them. They have just been though an emotionally painful experience. Just being there when your friend needs you, will help a lot. Be patient with your friend. Understand that the healing process takes time.

Respect. Always respect your friend’s privacy. Do not disclose personal information to others that they shared with you. After all they chose to confide in you because they trusted you. Let your friend decide who they tell and who they do not.

Take care of yourself. If someone you know is raped, you might be very shaken up as well. There is nothing wrong with getting some support for yourself even if your friend does not want to talk to a counselor. A counselor can help you better understand what you are feeling and what your friend is going through. It may also help you get ideas on how to help your friend.

As a friend, parent, or partner of a survivor, you are important and there are many things you can do to help. Make sure you let them know you want to be there for them when they need your support. The support you give to the survivor will help determine how the healing process will move faster. Make sure you assure them that they are NOT to blame for the assault. Be positive and encourage the victim to get help. Let the survivor be in control of the decisions she makes. Be aware that each victim will react differently and in their own way and own time.

[ UP]

The Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself

Written for Oxygen.com in 2005 by Erin Weed

 

There are many websites and chain e-mails out there that call themselves the top safety tips for women. Unfortunately, most of the advice on those e-mails and websites are over-sensationalized and not remotely empowering. Their sole focus is to scare women to death, which in my opinion, doesn’t make anyone safer. It just makes us more paranoid (which is a pretty worthless state of mind when it comes to preventing violence). While there are many things we can do as women to live a safer life, I have complied the top 5 things we can do as women to live a safer life, I have complied the top 5 things you can do TODAY to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

 

1. Accept that violence exists and you may be faced with it during your lifetime.

Many women walk through their life with their head stuck in the sand pretending that violence only happens to people on the nightly news. Accepting that violence is happening can be a great motivator to develop safety plans in your daily life. For example, call your local police department and have them do a home security assessment. Or, take your car in for that long-overdue tune-up so you don’t get stranded in an unfamiliar place. We can only be prepared for events we take time to predict and prevent.

 

2. Learn about the power of intuition and start trusting it.

While some of us have a hard time believing it, out intuition is the best survival instinct we’ve got.  Unfortunately for women, it’s also the survival skill we most often ignore. To learn all about this amazing life-saving instinct that is hard-wired within each of us, I recommend the book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It’s a fascinating, quick read that flows like an action novel, but still teaches crucial survival information.

 

3. Assess your body language, and make changes where necessary.

Have you ever seen a woman walking down the street, who won’t make eye contact, stares at the ground, has slouched posture and doesn’t seem to be paying attention to her surroundings? Or maybe someone who is lost in conversation on their cell phone? Don’t be that girl! Bad guys look for easy prey, in this case, women who don’t appear ready or willing to fight back. Non-verbal communication is actually more powerful than verbal communication. Take a look at what your body language saying. Assess your posture, eye contact and confidence level and make changes where necessary. Be a bad victim!

 

4. Don’t assume other people will save you.

One of my favorite mottos is “Your personal safety begins and ends with you.” We have been raised to believe that if we’re confronted by violence, our daddy, or husband or Mr. Police Officer will save us. In most cases, however we are alone, and trapped and need to save ourselves. Arm yourself with the skills necessary to become your own nest protector.

 

5. Take a women’s self defense class.

No safety tips or checklist can replace the value of learning to defend yourself. For may women, signing up for a self-defense class is their worst fear. But trust me, knowing how to fight back is empowering! Look for programs that have at least one female instructor, are intended for practical self-defense (not just martial arts) and also address preventative measures and verbal de-escalation strategies. You can find a class near you on my website at www.girlsfightback.com

 

This is an article that was taken from the Girls Fight Back website. You can find more of Erin Weed’s tips and knowledge on how to stay safe and be a “bad victim”. Learn how to protect yourself. Take a self defense course or class.