Sexual Assault is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse. Sexual Assault, sometimes also called Rape, can happen to both men and women of any age.
Rape is about power, not sex. A rapist uses actual force or violence — or the threat of it — to take control over another human being. Some rapists use drugs to take away a person’s ability to fight back. Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance, or a family member.
No matter how it happened, rape is frightening and traumatizing. People who have been raped need care, comfort, and a way to heal.
What Should I Do?
What’s the right thing to do if you’ve been raped? Take care of yourself in the best way for you. For some people, that means reporting the crime immediately and fighting to see the rapist brought to justice. For others it means seeking medical or emotional care without reporting the rape as a crime. Every person is different.
There are three things that everyone who has been raped should do, though:
- Know that the rape wasn’t your fault.
- Seek medical care.
- Deal with your feelings.
It’s Not Your Fault
Whatever happened, it wasn’t your fault. No one has the right to have sex with you against your will. The blame for a rape lies solely with the rapist.
Sometimes a rapist will try to exert even more power by making the person who’s been raped feel like it was actually his or her fault. A rapist may say stuff like, “You asked for it” or “You wanted it.” This is just another way for the rapist to take control. The truth is that what a person wears, what a person says, or how a person acts is never a justification for rape.
Most people who are raped know their rapists. That can sometimes lead the person who’s been raped to try to protect the perpetrator. Make protecting yourself your priority; don’t worry about protecting the person who raped you. If you want to report the crime, do so. If you don’t feel comfortable reporting it, though, you don’t have to. Do whatever helps you feel safe and heal — without blaming yourself.
Anyone who has been Sexually Assaulted needs to seek help to find solutions for dealing with this issue. This could be through a school counselor or a professional therapist or a support group. Whatever the setting, the outcome should be finding healthy outlets for overwhelming feelings. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with Sexual Assault and you don’t know where to turn for help, you can always start by calling Safe2Tell™ at 1-877-542-7233 (SAFE).
For additional information on Sexual Assault, link to The Children’s Hospital website.
 The Children’s Hospital website, September 2007.