IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911
If you have been sexually assaulted/raped and are in need of immediate assistance call 1.800.656.HOPE
The Difference Between Rape and Sexual Assault:
The legalezzz of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse differs between states and the wording may be tricky. Some states even call rape and sexual assault the same thing.
In general, the difference between rape and sexual assault is that rape is forced sexual intercourse (including anal, oral, or vaginal penetration). Penetration may be an object or a body part. Rape is illegal sexual contact (usually involving force) done to a person without consent, including people who are incapable of giving consent, due to either diminished physical or mental capacity. Rape also includes those in a position of authority - doctor or teacher - using that authority to force sexual acts.
Sexual Assault is unwanted sexual contact - including sexual touching and fondling - that stops short of rape or attempted rape.
Effects of Rape:
Rape is a crime of motive and opportunity and NOT the victim's fault. No short skirt or being all flirty means that someone has the right to force you to have sex. Ever. No matter what.
People who have been raped suffer a lot. They feel scared, alone, dirty and guilty. They might have nightmares and flashbacks to the attack. They might become depressed and have a hard time sleeping. They might engage in risky behaviors like drinking and doing drugs. They might develop an eating disorder or start cutting to take back some of the power their rapist took from them. They might even consider killing themselves.
It takes a huge amount of balls to stand up, break the silence, and report a sexual assault. If we break the silence, we take back the power. If we take back the power, we begin to heal.
If you have been raped, you're not alone:
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime
- Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted or raped in the United States
How Can I Protect Myself From Being Raped?
No one can be 100% safe, however, these are some ways to make yourself safer:
Protect Yourself Socially:
- Go to parties with a group of friends, check in with them throughout the night, and leave with them.
- Watch out for your friends. Make sure they watch out for you.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t take drinks from people you don’t know.
- Trust your instincts. Your gut is pretty good at feeling out the situation. Listen to it.
- Call 911 if you think a friend has been drugged.
Avoid Dangerous Situations:
- Know your surroundings and environment.
- Walk with a purpose.
- Trust your instincts.
- Don’t load yourself down with heavy packages.
- Keep your cell phone on you.
- Have your keys out and ready.
- Avoid isolated areas.
- Take off your headphones.
Someone's Trying To Make Me Have Sex With Them. HALP!
- Try to think of an escape route.
- Be true to yourself and don’t do anything you don’t want to do, even if someone's trying to guilt you into it.
- Lie. It's better to lie and hurt someone's feelings than it is to be put into a situation you don't want to be in. So lie.
- Remember that it’s NOT your fault.
- If you've been drinking (or the other person has), tell 'em you want to wait until you're sober for this experience.
- As gross as it may sound, vomiting, urinating or defecating on yourself can be a deterrent to a potential rapist.
Was It Rape?
Sometimes, it's kinda hard to tell if you were raped or not. Sometimes, it's even harder to admit to yourself.
Clearly, we're not the courts here on Band Back Together, but this is a general idear of whether or not you were raped.
I didn't fight back. Is that rape?
Not everyone responds to a sexual assault by kicking and screaming, so just because you didn't try to fight back doesn't mean it wasn't rape. Sometimes, not fighting back may save your life. You can say "no" or it can be an implied no (if it's statutory rape, you had a mental defect or were afraid to say no because you'd been threatened) to have it still considered rape.
I was wasted. Is that rape?
Being drunk or wasted doesn't give you (or your attacker) the right to force sex. If the sex wasn't consensual, it's rape. Check your states definition of "non-consensual."
I was passed out or asleep. Is that rape?
If you were passed out or sleeping, you didn't give consent. If you didn't give consent, it was rape.
I used to date the guy (or girl). Is that rape?
Doesn't matter if you're married to the attacker or they're a stranger. If the sex was non-consensual THIS TIME, it's rape.
I Got Raped. Shit. Now What?
Get yourself to a safe place NOW. Aunt Becky = Captain Motherfucking Safety. So get SAFE.
Don't get rid of anything that may contain evidence of your attack, including clothes.
Don't take a bath or a shower EVEN THOUGH that's probably the only thing you want to do.
Don't comb your hair or clean up the crime scene.
Don't go to the bathroom.
Instead, get yourself to a hospital or clinic for an exam.
It's up to you whether or not you call the cops, but you absolutely must get medical attention. A doctor can help prevent pregnancy and some STIs.
A specially-trained nurse will perform an exam. This exam collects any DNA or other evidence that can link your attacker to the crime. You do have the right to refuse this exam.
To find a local facility that can collect forensic evidence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE)
Remember: healing from rape isn't an easy thing. It will take time to work through your feelings.
How Do I Get Over This Rape?
Being raped is a super-stressful thing and recovering from rape isn't like recovering from a cold. Here are some simple things to do at home once the dust has settled.
Try and eat regular meals, even when you don't feel like it.
Exercise, even if it's just a quick walk, it can help combat depression.
Get enough sleep.
Make sure you get all the proper medical care, even if it's unrelated to the attack. Keep up with doctor's appointments and physicals.
What works for one person may not work for you. So just keep on keepin' on until you find something that helps you heal emotionally.
Some people benefit from counseling, social worker or therapist. Many rape crisis centers can provide counseling. Here's a number to call to find a local rape counseling center.
Write it out. Here at Band Back Together, in your own journal, however you want to tell your story.
Keep positive relationships with people who make you happy and feel good about yourself. If that means talking to a family member, a friend, or a rape victims support group, do it.
Remember: taking care of yourself is the best way to heal.
National Sexual Assault Hotline:1-800-656-4673
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:1-866-331-9474
The National Domestic Violence Hotline:1-800-799-7233
Other Rape Resources:
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): Provides information on how to get help for both victims and loved ones, links to local agencies and international resources, and on reporting sexual crimes to the police.
Joyful Heart Foundation: Created by Law and Order’s Mariska Hargitay for survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Their mission is to educate, empower, and shed light into these terrible crimes and help the survivors heal.
Hope for Healing: A website dedicated to helping male victims of rape/sexual assault.
End the Backlog: A charity organization seeking justice for survivors by working in partnership with government, non profits, advocates and survivors to bring attention, funding and new legislation to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits across the country.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: the nation’s principle information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence.
SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape): runs national awareness, education and prevention programs to empower survivors of sexual violence and enhance the public’s understanding and acceptance of rape victims.
It Happened to Alexa Foundation: provide funds for families to travel and be with a rape victim for the duration of the trial.