Sexual abuse is not about sex, it is about Power and Control. Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
- inappropriate touching
- vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
- sexual intercourse that you say no to
- attempted rape
- child molestation
Sexual abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT! Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you know. Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations — on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone. See "Sexting" under BULLYING (at this website).
Always remember that ALCOHOL is still the #1 date rape drug. You are 20x's as likely to be sexually assaulted if you are drinking alcohol. Alcohol is involved in over 50% of all sexual assaults. While males are drinking they are more likely to misinterpret a female's behavior such as smiling, laughter, and attire, etc., as permission for sex. Alcohol slows reflexes and can impair a victim's ability to recognize a potentially dangerous situation. Alcohol impairs judgment and lowers inhibitions and your ability to make safe decisions.
Other drugs (date-rape drugs) along with over-the-counter medicines such as Benadryl may be used (drug-facilitated sexual assault). Some victims are incapacitated and have no memory of the events, while others may have only a few drinks and feel intoxicated. If you suspect that a drug-facilitated sexual assault could have taken place, contact a trusted friend or family member and request they immediately drive you to the emergency room at your local hospital. Inform the hospital that you may have been sexually assaulted and that date-rape drugs may be involved. There are many drugs perpetrators can use, and most hospitals cannot screen for all these drugs, but it is important to go to the hospital for your safety and care.
How can I protect myself from a sexual assault?
There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted. Follow these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
- Be aware of your surroundings – who is out there and what is going on, and walk with confidence.
- Don’t let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment. Alcohol is still the #1 date rape drug.
- Be assertive and trust your instincts. Don’t let anyone violate your space, and leave if you are uncomfortable.
- Lock your door, windows, & your car as soon as you are in the vehicle, and don’t prop open doors.
- Watch your keys. Don’t lend, leave, or lose them & don’t put your name/address on your key chain.
- Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know who is on the other side of the door.
- Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, apartment laundry rooms, etc.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone. Vary your route and stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker, and never get into a car with someone you do not know well.
- Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in your tank, and if you have car trouble, use your cell phone, or if you do not have a cell phone, put the hood up, lock your car, and put a banner in your car, “Help, Call Police.”
- 85% of adults know their attacker, 90% of children know their attacker.
If you are sexually assaulted, go to the hospital emergency room immediately, or to your family physician. Do not shower, bathe, douche, wash your hands, brush your teeth, or use the toilet. Don't change or destroy clothing, or straighten up. If you do, you may destroy important evidence. This ensures the best possible evidence collection. If you have already showered, etc., there may still be evidence, and the hospital can treat you for any injuries and provide help for possible sexually transmitted diseases. Newark Wayne Community Hospital, Newark, NY, has a SANE program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner), you can call at (315) 332-2022. This program is a service provided to victims of sexual assault by specially trained registered nurses. SANE exams include a pelvic and rectal exam, DNA collection, photographs, blood sample, urine samples, and retaining your clothing if this was clothing you were wearing during the assault. You will be given medication to prevent the onset of sexually transmitted diseases and medication to reduce the risk of HIV infection. If, at any time during the exam, you wish not to proceed, notify the nurse examiner. During the SANE exam immediate health risks are assessed, and the SANE Nurse and/or physician will discuss ongoing care. The nurse examiner will contact you after your exam to meet with you and discuss the results.
If you decide to contact the police, evidence is collected during the exam and provided to the police, or if the police have not been called, the evidence collected is kept in a locked refrigerator for 30 days. If at any time during this 30 day period you decide to call the police, this evidence will be turned over to the police. After 30 days, if you decide not to call the police, the evidence is discarded. If the police have been contacted, the investigation may proceed with or without your consent.
You have the right to have someone with you during the exam, and you will be asked if you would like a victim advocate to be with you also. If you do not want the victim advocate with you at this time, the SANE nurse should provide you with the contact information for this agency. In Wayne County, NY, the sexual assault victim advocacy agency is the Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc.
You will not have to pay for the exam due to the fact that the Forensic Repayment Act covers the cost of the exam including necessary medications and HIV preventatives for three days. If you have the SANE exam and/or have contacted the police, contact your sexual assault advocate regarding completing a NYS Crime Victims application. See this website "Resources."
Call the Victim Resource Center (VRC) at (315) 331-1171 for advocacy, short-term counseling, criminal justice support (if the police were contacted), and additional assistance. If you live outside of Wayne County, NY, call your local hospital to inquire if they have a SANE or SAFE program or call your local Rape Crisis Agency. For the Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis agency in your county, call information. For a list of the agencies in New York State, go to http://www.nyscasa.org/.
Polygraph Tests and Psychological Stress Analysis Tests for Victims of Sexual Assault: Currently under New York State Criminal Procedure Law 160.45 Polygraph Tests; prohibition against.
- No district attorney, police officer or employee of any law enforcement agency shall request or require any victim of a sexual assault crime to submit to any polygraph test or psychological stress evaluator examination.
- As used in this section, "victim of a sexual assault crime" means any person alleged to have sustained an offense under article one hundred thirty or section 255.25, 255.26, or 255.27 of the penal law.
In 2005, a new provision for VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) was that jurisdictions would no longer be eligible for STOP funding if their policy or practice is to ask or require adult, youth, or child victims of sexual assault to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling devices as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of the crime. In addition, the refusal of a victim to submit to such an examination must not prevent the investigation of the crime. Jurisdictions had until Jan. 5, 2009 to comply with this federal provision.
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