top of page
pexels-landon-parenteau-6631300.jpg

Sexual Assault Guide

Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is coerced, pressured, or physically forced to engage in sexual contact against their will. Any form of sexual touch or behavior that happens without the consent of every person involved is sexual assault. There is no certain kind of touch or contact you need to have experienced to “count” as sexual assault. 

 

Each person’s experience is their own and sexual assault gets to be defined by the person who experienced it. 

What to Know About Sexual Assault Exams

Medical Care and Evidence Collection

 

When a sexual assault occurs, the person who was assaulted may need medical care. Survivors of sexual violence have a right to: 

  • Compassionate and trauma-informed medical care

  • Be informed about all their medical options 

  • Make their own decisions about their medical care

  • Request to have a chaperone or advocate present during their medical exam

  • Choose whether or not to receive a forensic medical exam (rape kit)

  • Stop the forensic exam at any time

  • Decline any medical procedure or treatment

  • Receive the forensic exam without reporting to law enforcement

  • Receive a forensic exam free of charge

 

What are the different medical exam options for sexual assault survivors? 

Free Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)

  • Includes a report to law enforcement, evidence collection, and a wellness exam

  • Usually done when a survivor knows they want to report to law enforcement

  • Must be done within 120 hours of the assault

  • Available to minors

  • Exam is done by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

  • Looks for evidence and injury

  • Includes a pregnancy test, offers Plan B, provides STI prophylaxis

  • The exam is free for survivors, and is covered by the SAVE fund

What if I'm not sure I want to make a police report?

If you are over the age of 18, under the age of 65, and do not have a disability, you can choose to have an anonymous, free Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)

  • Involves evidence collection and a wellness exam

  • Usually done when a survivor is not sure if they want to report, but wants evidence collect to use if they choose

  • Evidence is retained for 60 years

  • Must be done within 120 hours of the assault

  • Not available to minors, people over age 65, or people with disabilities due to mandatory reporting requirements

  • Exam is done by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

  • Looks for evidence and injury

  • Includes a pregnancy test, offers Plan B, provides STI prophylaxis

  • The exam is free for survivors, and is covered by the SAVE fund

 

What if the assault happened more than 120 hours ago, or I don't want evidence collected?

A free wellness exam is usually done when survivor does not want to report to law enforcement, does not want evidence collected, or is outside the window for evidence collection

  • Typically needs to be done within 1 week of the assault

  • Evidence is not collected, but looks for injury and provides medical care

  • Available to minors

  • Exam may be done by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or an ER doctor

  • Includes a pregnancy test, offers Plan B, provides STI prophylaxis

  • The exam is free for survivors, and is covered by the SAVE fund

How Do I Get An Exam?

The Harbor has partnered with Astoria Birth Center to be able to provide 24/7 access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) in a trauma-informed setting. The SANEs at Astoria Birth Center are bilingual (English and Spanish) and provide gender and sexuality affirming care to 2SLGBTQIA+ survivors.

Call The Harbor's 24/7 support line to arrange for an advocate to accompany you to Astoria Birth Center at 503.325.5735.

 

You may also present to either Columbia Memorial Hospital, or Providence Seaside Hospital for an exam at the hospital. We recommend calling ahead to confirm there is a SANE available at either of these locations.

What is the SAVE Fund?

Sexual Assault Victim’s Emergency Fund (SAVE Fund) covers the cost of a SAFE exam, medical exam, medication, and up to 5 counseling sessions for survivors of sexual violence, as long as the survivor seeks care within the 1-week time limit. Hospital staff should initiate the process of accessing the SAVE Fund. 

 

What is Crime Victims Compensation?

Crime Victims Compensation is a fund that can assist survivors of certain crimes, including sexual violence, cover costs related to their assault. This fund can possibly cover additional medical and counseling expenses, loss of earnings, transportation, and rehabilitation. To be eligible for this, crime victims must have reported within 72 hours, or have “good cause” to have waited to report, and remain “cooperative” with law enforcement.
 

What is the exam like?

The Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) provides medical care and collects evidence from the survivor and the survivor’s body. There are typically three stages to the exam: a questionnaire, a narrative interview, and a physical exam. 

  1. Questionnaire: The survivor will be asked a series of specific questions, including questions about the perpetrator(s), parts of their body that were harmed, etc.

  2. Narrative Interview: The survivor will be asked to share what they recall about what happened and the SANE will make notes

  3. Physical Exam and Evidence Collection: The SANE will examine the survivor’s body for injuries or evidence.

 

During evidence collection, the SANE may use swabs to collect physical evidence on and in the survivor’s body. They may ask to collect clothing or belongings; take blood, urine, nail, and pubic hair samples; or to take images of the survivor’s body. These may be used by police as evidence or in court. 

 

A healthcare provider will also offer a pregnancy test, to prescribe emergency contraception, and medications to protect against sexual transmitted infections. Healthcare providers should also discuss any concerns the survivor has and recommend any necessary follow-up care. 

 

Survivors have the right to decline, refuse, or skip any part of the exam process. 

 

Rights for Minors: 

Survivors under the age of 18 may have questions about their rights and what kinds of medical care or legal decisions they can make on their own. Here is an overview of minors’ rights in Oregon: 

Minors at Any Age: 

Minors at any age have the right to: 

  • Receive most information and treatment related to pregnancy prevention, including birth control, confidentially

  • Receive information and treatment for most kinds of sexually transmitted infections confidentially
     

Minors 14 Years and Older: 

If a minor is 14 years or older, they have the right to access outpatient mental health services, including drug and alcohol treatment. Providers are expected to involve the minor’s parents by the end of treatment, unless the parent refuses, it is not appropriate for treatment, or it would be dangerous to do so. 

Minors 15 Years and Older:

If a minor is 15 years old or older, they have a right to:

  • Receive treatment from a hospital, doctor, or dentist

  • Confidentially choose to end a pregnancy
     

Minors 16 Years and Older:

If a minors is 16 years old or older, they have the right to:

  • Apply to be emancipated from their parent(s) or guardian(s)

 

Mandatory Reporting:

A mandatory reporter is someone who is legally required to report when they suspect that there is abuse happening. This is a legal requirement that is attached to many jobs and roles, such as for teachers, doctors, and counselors. Different people have different mandatory reporting duties, but generally, a mandatory reporter has to call the Department of Human Services or law enforcement if they suspect that there is abuse happening to minors. 

If a person is ever unsure about whether they are talking to someone who is a mandatory reporter, they can always ask. For example, they might say, “I want to make sure that what I say to you is confidential. Are you a mandatory reporter?”

 

No matter how old a person is, they can always call The Harbor and receive confidential services and support. 

FAQ

What should I be feeling?

There is no right or wrong thing to feel right now. Some survivors feel angry, others sad, others totally numb. Sometimes, you might feel all those things at once. Everyone reacts differently to sexual trauma. You don’t have to feel any particular way in order to be a “real survivor” or to heal. Whatever emotions you are having are valid and okay. Sexual violence is traumatic. Victims of sexual violence may experience a variety of traumatic responses that present in a number of ways. These may include, but are not limited to: guilt, shame, depression, increased angry, suicidal thoughts, isolation, self-harm, difficulty trusting people, substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, and being flooded and overwhelmed with recollections of trauma. 

 

Partners, friends, and family members of survivors can react in ways that either support the survivor and reduce the symptoms or trauma, or add to the intensity of the negative experience (or sometimes both). Sometimes the people close to a survivor expect particular kinds of reactions or respond to their own discomfort and fear by criticizing or blaming the survivor. Sometimes, they want the survivor to answer questions or explain their experience. You don’t owe anyone anything at this moment. You only owe it to yourself to heal the way you need to heal. 

 

Why Did This Happen to Me?

It is very difficult to say why sexual assault happens. One thing is clear: there is only ever one person who is responsible for a sexual assault, and that is the perpetrator. Sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault. What happened to you was not your fault. 

 

There is nothing a person can do to deserve to be sexually assaulted. Sexual assault doesn’t result from what the survivor was doing or not doing, how they looked or acted, what they were wearing, how old they were, what their gender or sexuality is, or where they were at. People do not commit sexual assault by accident. Sexual assault is a choice that the perpetrator makes. In every case, the person who committed the assault could have chosen not to. And they should have. 

 

It is natural to have regrets and wish things happened differently. You can wish that you hadn’t been in the situation you were in without blaming yourself for being there. You can wish that you had responded differently without blaming yourself for your actions. During an assault, the decisions people make are what enable them to survive the experience. Whatever you had to do, then or now, to stay safe, sane, and alive, is a choice we honor. 

 

What Will Healing Look Like?

Every sexual assault experience is different and every person is unique, so there is no one way that a person will respond to or heal from their experience(s) of sexual violence. There is no “right” way or single way to process the trauma. 

 

Following an assault, many survivors experience a heightened sense of fear - for example, fear of the perpetrator returning, fear of people of the same gender as the perpetrator, or fear of being alone. Specific fears related to the assault may also develop. For instance, someone assaulted in their bedroom may fear sleeping alone in a bedroom. The survivor may also feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, confused, and angry - or perhaps all of those feelings at once. These are common reactions. Other feelings or symptoms survivors might have include: 

  • Having “flashbacks” or what happened during their assault(s)

  • Feeling sad or depressed

  • Feeling confused or bewildered

  • Experiencing shock - a person might have a hard time keeping warm, might shake or shiver, and might have a hard time focusing their thoughts

  • Having dulled senses

  • Feeling significant anxiety

  • Feeling number or being less alert

  • Seeming collected and calm

  • Having short term memory loss or inability to remember particular things

  • Feeling or seeming detached from other people or reality

 

Not everyone exhibits outwards signs of their pain and trauma. Some survivors may appear unaffected by the assault. This does not mean they are experiencing less trauma nor does it call into question the truth of the situation. 

 

It is common for sexual assault to disrupt the survivor’s typical routine. Some people may continue with their usual obligations, but may be unable to do more than what is essential. Others may work all the time or volunteer for every activity possible, feeling that keeping busy helps them block the memories of the assault. Some survivors quit all activities and stay at home, only feeling comfortable leaving the house when someone else goes with them. Sexual assault is often a life altering experience. Survivors often report feeling “changed” by the experience of sexual assault. Some of these changes may include: 

  • Their personal sense of security and safety may be damaged, so they now respond to perceived risks differently

  • They might feel less able to trust people, even those that they already had relationships with, and/or they might hesitate to initiate new relationships

  • They might create new restrictions on their life and activities, no longer wanting to engage in the activities, hobbies, or communities that they used to enjoy

  • They may develop phobias or excessive fears, such as fear of crowds, being alone, the dark, or sleeping, that cause them to behave differently

  • They may develop specific fears related to the specifics of their assault(s) or assailant(s), such as fear of people with facial hair or fear caused by the smell of alcohol or cigarettes

  • They may develop a distrust of strangers, of all people of the gender identity of their abuser(s), or of everyone

 

Survivors may experience an outward adjustment phase, in which they may feel a sense of loss or depression. For some, this can be similar to the experience of grief. They may have once felt a sense of well-being, security, and control over their life, which were taken away by the assault, and they may be mourning the loss of those feelings. These feelings may be very apparent to others or the survivor may cover up these feelings. Other survivors cope by ignoring their feelings or convincing themselves that they are not affected by their experience. They may deny the assault has affected them and will assure everyone that they are fine. They may bury their feelings because they worry about being a burden on order or because expressing their feelings may not be safe. Other common feelings, symptoms, and experiences include: 

  • Withdrawing from social relationships or personal interactions with friends and relatives

  • Changes in eating patterns

  • Feeling a sense of hopelessness or helplessness

  • Feeling persistent fear and anxiety

  • Feeling depressed

  • Having mood swings, where a person might have their mood shift rapidly between feelings like happiness, anger, and depression

  • Being defensive or guarded

  • Having changes in sleeping patterns, either sleeping all the time or struggling to sleep

  • Having vivid dreams or nightmares

  • Having physical symptoms like tension in the shoulders, neck, or jaw, frequent headaches, or feeling fatigued no matter how much rest they are getting

 

In particular, many survivors experience significant changes in their sexual relationships and comfort engaging in sexual contact. Some survivors report that they were scared to engage in sexual contact because of flashbacks. Others feel unsafe being vulnerable with a partner and don’t feel comfortable with nudity. Some no longer feel attracted to people who remind them of their assailant(s). Some survivors have shared that they no longer feel that they are sexually attractive or desirable, like they are “damaged goods”. Many survivors experience shame about how their bodies responded during assault - experiencing physiological arousal even when a person does not feel emotionally aroused is a common physical response, and does not mean a survivor wanted the assault to happen. 

 

Survivors may reach a point where their feelings about the assault are integrated into their lives so that the incident is no longer a central focus. They may be able to go through their daily activities without constantly reliving memories or feeling that the assault is at the forefront of their mind. The changes to their behaviors or feelings that they have experienced may persist, although perhaps not as strongly or as often, or they may dissipate. Survivors may continue to have unpleasant physical reminders of their experience. They may still be “triggered” by sounds, smells, or sights that remind them of their traumatic experience. They may still experience “flashbacks”. These experiences might become less frequent or less invasive, or they may become easier to cope with. 

 

It is important to remember that healing from trauma is not a linear path. Survivors may think that they are “recovered”, only to have something bring up those feelings all over again. This is common and natural. Some people like to think of trauma as a chronic condition: it’s something that they know they’ll always have to manage, but much of the time they aren’t directly affected. If they have a flare up of symptoms they can treat themselves with care, confident they know how to cope. 

 

Coping:

Here is a list of nurturing activities that other survivors have found helpful:

  • Listen to music or make some music, sing in the shower, learn to play an instrument, do karaoke

  • Do an art project, draw or paint, play with clay, journal, make something beautiful

  • Relax outside, enjoy nature, listen to birds, feel the sun, smell the trees, watch the sunset, dip your toes in water, take a walk

  • Connect with your body in ways that feel safe and comfortable, take a warm bath, have a solo dance party, stretch, take a nap, cook a good meal

  • Rethink your living space, rearrange a room, paint a wall, organize your closet, put new art on your walls, change your bedding

  • Nurture something that grows, create a garden or plant some house plants, play with children, spend time with a pet

  • Meditate, practice calm breathing, scan your body and notice how it feels

  • Do something that makes you laugh or smile, watch a funny movie, rewatch your favorite tv show, read some comics, laugh with a friend

  • Reach out for support, pet your favorite animal, say yes when someone offers support that you want, find someone you feel comfortable hugging and let them hug you, get a message, join a support group, call a friend

  • Make time for yourself, go on an adventure, visit a place that is meaningful to you, take a trip, go window shopping, go to your favorite museum, get yourself a special gift

  • Make plans for your future, check in with your goals and work towards them, make a to-do list, journal and imagine what you want next in your life, try new recipes, take up a new hobby, nourish yourself

 

Frequently Questions and Misconceptions

 

Why didn’t I fight back?

During an assault, the brain’s fear circuitry takes over. It can trigger survival reflexes that may not involve fighting or even struggling. Those responses are automatic and normal in such situations. There are a few common reflexes that the brain falls back on during an assault situation. For example, you may “freeze”, space out, pass out, or become paralyzed and unable to move or speak. Or someone might panic and try to resist, but perpetrators often expect this and easily counter the resistance. Your body and mind did what it needed to to survive. Surviving a traumatic event looks different for everyone, and however you reacted to the assault is normal, valid, and completely okay. 

 

Why can’t I just get over it?

There could be so many reasons for that and all of them are completely normal. Traumatic memories are different from normal memories. They are strongly encoded or recorded into the brain, even if you only remember pieces of the experience. Many people continue to struggle with the memories and effects of the traumatic event, long after the event is over. Recovering from trauma takes time and looks different for everyone. You are not broken or weak for continuing to struggle with the aftermath of the trauma you’ve experienced. 

Why do I sometimes feel like it’s happening all over again?

Traumatic memories are encoded in the brain differently from other memories. They are strongly recorded in the brain because of the stress chemicals that are released during the trauma. Even if your memory is incomplete, and you mostly remember pieces of what you felt and went through, it can feel like scenes of a movie playing in your head or like you are reliving the experience all over again. These “movie scenes” or moments of re-experiencing, which can contain really traumatic memories, can get triggered by things that we don’t expect or we can’t control. So sometimes, no matter how much you try to avoid the traumatic memories, they can come up without warning and feel just as intense as when the assault was actually happening. It may feel like it is happening all over again because your body will react to these triggers the same way it reacted to the assault as it was happening. 

 

Why did I feel like I couldn’t move?

There are reflexive responses that can occur when someone is unable to escape a dangerous situation, like an assault. It is a response that developed millions of years ago in evolution to promote survival, and nearly all mammals can have these reflexive responses when experiencing a dangerous situation. There are actual terms for these reflexive responses we experience. One is called “tonic immobility”, which means that your body goes rigid or you couldn’t move - like being paralyzed with fear. Another is “collapsed immobility”, when one feels faint and the body goes limp. The fact that you couldn’t move does not mean that you did anything wrong, that you wanted the assault to happen, that you are weak, or that you deserved what happened. Instead, it indicates that your brain went into extreme survival mode. Evolutionarily speaking, this mode is designed to prevent the perpetrator from becoming even more violent, and allow you to survive the dangerous situation. Your brain and body worked together to help you survive the assault. 

 

Why do I feel numb and disconnected from other people?

Feeling connected to other people, including those we love, requires being able to feel emotions. It requires us to feel emotions such as happiness, love, and caring. A traumatic experience can change the areas of the brain that enable you to feel these types of emotions. Traumatic experiences can affect your ability to connect with others or have positive and loving feelings. These ‘numbing’ symptoms are common for people who have experienced sexual violence. Feeling connected to others usually also requires some degree of trust. Sexual assault may affect your ability to trust others or feel safe within relationships. It is a normal and common experience for survivors of sexual violence to feel disconnected from other people and disconnected from their own emotional experiences. 

 

Why am I doing things to hurt myself or drinking or using drugs?

It is common for people who have experienced trauma to attempt to cope with their experience in ways they haven’t previously, including using substances or engaging in self-harm behaviors. Whenever the brain is having unwanted and unpleasant experiences, it wants to seek relief and escape from those experiences. There is a “seeking circuitry” of the brain, which usually seeks things that are healthy and fulfilling. It can also seek “quick fixes” and other escapes that are unhealthy and potentially addictive. When people are really hurting, their seeking circuitry can get relief from using substances. It is very common for people who have been sexually assaulted to “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol, in an attempt to find relief, even if it’s only temporary. Self-harming behaviors are another means of finding relief. Research has found that self-harming behaviors can function in two basic ways: relieving emotional pain by releasing soothing brain chemicals, and producing a feeling of being alive and real when someone has been emotionally numb and disconnected. Self-harming behaviors can also be a way for people to punish themselves or a way to express feelings of self-hate. These feelings and motivations are common in people who have experienced trauma. Sometimes people feel a lot of shame, guilt, or embarrassment about engaging in substance use or self-harming behaviors. However, engaging in these behaviors does not make you a bad or weak person. Your brain protected you during the assault, and is continuing to protect you now. There is no shame in your means of coping or survival. 

 

Why am I eating and/or sleeping too much or too little?

Sexual assault affects brain circuitries directly involved in the regulation of sleep and eating behaviors. Trauma also affects circuitries involved in depression and anxiety, both of which affect sleep and eating. For example, when experiencing depression, it is common to have an increased or decreased appetite and to sleep too much or too little. Severe anxiety can make it very difficult to sleep. Sometimes the brain turns to food and eating, which can be soothing and calming, as a brief escape from anxiety, or anxiety may make it challenging to eat. The brain also has a remarkable ability to change and heal itself, especially with the right help and support from others. 

 

How do I reconnect with who I am as a healthy and happy person?

Losing connection with these positive potentials is a normal effect of trauma on human brains. Trauma can greatly affect the brain’s circuitry for seeking positive experiences and the ‘satisfaction circuitry’ that allows us to experience enjoyment and satisfaction in life. A lot of research has shown that when people don’t expect to enjoy things they used to before experiencing trauma, they may think to themselves, ‘When I feel better, then I’ll get back into things I used to enjoy”. But then they don’t feel better and remain stuck. Research has shown that if people go ahead and do enjoyable and fun things, even if they don’t enjoy them at first, eventually the brain’s circuits of seeking and satisfaction - as well as connecting with others - will become more active and get back on track again. This process is different for everyone. It might be helpful to try new activities or try to engage in activities that used to be enjoyable for you. It might be helpful to get connected with your social support system. It might be helpful, or necessary, to engage in mental health counseling or a support group with other survivors. You know what you need better than anyone else. It is important to know that it is possible to reconnect with who you want to be. And whatever your journey looks like, however long it takes, it is completely okay. 

 

Why has this assault affected me so much?

Sexual assault, like any kind of major traumatic experience, can have huge effects on a variety of brain systems, especially those involved in fear, anxiety, depression, and addiction, as well as those required for normal functioning of memory, emotions, and various thought processes. If a person has experienced a trauma, a number of traumatic experiences, or ongoing stress, their work and personal lives can be greatly affected. Why the assault has affected you so much as an individual, unique human being, is a bigger question than anyone can answer for you. But there are trained professionals who can help you answer that question for yourself. They can help you heal and recover from the assault and from other traumas in your life, so they will affect you less in the future. Know that you are not alone in being impacted by the trauma. It is common, normal, and valid to be deeply affected by the assault. 

 

Why am I just now remembering what happened?

It is not unusual for people to go through a time with little memory of what happened only to recall it later. A lot of research has found that the human brain is capable of preventing unwanted memories or parts of unwanted memories from coming into awareness - sometimes for long periods of time, months, years, or even decades in some cases. In the aftermath of trauma, it is totally normal to try not to remember or think about it. If and when the memories eventually come back into awareness, it’s usually because something happens that - for that person, at that time - triggers recall or “recovery” of those memories. For some, it’s having another traumatic experience that brings the same feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, violation, or shame. For others, it is when someone important in their life has a similar experience. You may not know exactly why the memories are coming up right at this moment, but it is normal to have memories resurface at later points in life. It does not make the reality of your trauma any less truthful, real, or valid. And you deserve all the support available to help heal from this trauma. 

 

 

Common Misconceptions

 

Misconception: Men cannot be raped. 

 

Fact: Some people believe men should be able to protect themselves, and therefore, cannot be victims of sexual violence. This is based on dangerous gender stereotypes that do not reflect reality. Statistically, researchers have found that 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault. Male survivors are less likely to report or talk about these experiences. However, if you are a male who has experienced any form of sexual violence, know you are not alone, your experience is valid, and the assault was not your fault. 

 

*The organization 1 in 6 is a great resource for male survivors of sexual abuse or assault (https://1in6.org)

 

Misconception: If you are married, you cannot be raped by your spouse.

 

Fact: Rape can occur in any relationship - including within marriages. Stereotypes about women and sex, such as women enjoy forced sex, women say “no” when they really mean “yes”, or that it is a wife’s duty to have sex with her spouse continue to be reinforced in our culture, contributing to the problem. Many survivors believe that they have to have sex with their spouse, even if they don’t want to. However, if you do not want to have sex and your spouse forces, coerces, or pressures you into having sex, it is assault. You have the right to say “yes” or “no” to all sexual encounters and to feel safe within your marriage. 

Misconception: If two people are in an intimate partner relationship or have had sex in the past, then rape cannot occur within this relationship.

 

Fact: Regardless of the nature or status of your relationship or the number of times you have had sex with this person, consent must be given each time two people have sex. Consent given in the past cannot be used as a justification to have sex with someone against their will: this is rape. You always have the right to say “yes” or “no” to sexual encounters and to feel safe within your relationships. 

 

Misconception: If I didn’t fight back, I wanted it to happen.

  

Fact: During an assault, the brain’s sympathetic nervous system takes over. This triggers a “flight or fight” response and activates survival reflexes. These automatic survival reflexes may not involve fighting, or even struggling. You may “freeze”, space out, or become paralyzed, or panic and try to resist. All of these responses are automatic and normal. Your mind and body did what it needed to survive. Surviving a traumatic event looks different for everyone, and however you survived the assault is normal, valid, and completely okay. Not fighting back does not mean that you are weak or that you wanted the assault to happen.

 

Misconception: If I experienced arousal or orgasm during the assault, I wanted it to happen.

 

Fact: Genital arousal is a learned response. Our bodies respond to sex, sometimes entirely without our permission or intention. Orgasm during rape isn’t an expression of pleasure. It is an example of a physical response that occurs whether the mind is on board or not, like breathing or sweating. Survivors may feel shame or embarrassment or betrayal if they experienced arousal during their assault. However, physical arousal in response to an unwanted sexual experience is only an indication of physiological functioning. Arousal is not an indicator of desire, pleasure, or consent. 

 

Misconception: It was my fault because I was _____________ (e.g., drinking, partying, out late, walking alone. . .)  

 

Fact: Rape is never the survivor’s fault. The only person responsible for sexual assault is the person who perpetrated the assault. The way you were dressed, the activities you were participating in, or where you were did not cause the assault to happen. Assaulting someone is a choice. A choice the perpetrator made. You did nothing to cause or deserve what happened to you. 

Call 

123-456-7890 

Email 

Follow

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
bottom of page