What is Sexual Assault?

 An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape: 

-Rape:   the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

 -Fondling:  The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

-Incest:  Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

-Statutory Rape:  Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

While sexual assault can be perpetrated by a stranger, it is more commonly committed by someone the victim knows, such as a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, or acquaintance.

Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator and not the fault of the victim! Whether or not the victim has been drinking is irrelevant. The victim’s previous sexual activities, behaviors, actions, and/or dress is also irrelevant. No one deserves to be the victim of sexual assault.

If you have been victimized, you are not alone.

If You Are a Victim of Sexual Assault, You Might:

  • Feel afraid, ashamed, angry, sad, lonely, betrayed, or depressed.
  • Feel guilty and confused if you knew or had a relationship with the attacker, even though the assault was not your fault.
  • Feel like you have no friends or that your friends won't believe you.
  • Want to hurt someone else or yourself.
  • Feel like taking steps to defend yourself.
  • Feel helpless to stop the assault.
  • Feel hopeless about whether anything can be done.
  • Be afraid to go anywhere that the attacker might be.
  • Feel anxious all the time.
  • Feel bad about yourself or your body.

Getting Help!!

  • Seek immediate medical attention, preferably at an emergency room. Medical personnel are trained to perform a "rape kit" exam, where they are able to gather evidence while examining the victim to help police and prosecutors find and charge the perpetrator. If you might ever want to report the assault, it is important that you do not shower, change clothes, or clean up in any way before going to the hospital, in order not to disturb any evidence medical staff might be able to collect for the police. Sometimes this process can be easier if you have a trusted friend, adult, or victim advocate with you.
  • Even if you don't want to report the assault to police right now, it is still important to have a medical exam to make sure you are all right. Sometimes people change their minds and want to report to the police later. Also, in addition to treating injuries, medical personnel can test for pregnancy and whether or not you may have been drugged. They can also give you drugs to reduce your chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or getting pregnant. You DO NOT have to make a police report to obtain a forensic exam. To learn more about your rights, view this pdf.
  • Tell a trusted friend or adult. See if someone can go with you to get medical treatment.
  • Call a local victim service provider, such as a rape crisis center. You may be able to find a number to call in your local phone book. If you cannot find one, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. If you want to report the assault, call the police.
  • If you choose to tell, you should know that some adults are mandated reporters. This means they are legally required to report neglect or abuse to someone else, such as the police or child protective services. You can ask people if they are mandated reporters and then decide what you want to do. Some examples of mandated reporters are teachers, counselors, doctors, social workers, and in some cases, coaches or activity leaders.
  • If you want help deciding whom to talk to, call an anonymous crisis line in your area. You might also want to talk to a trusted family member, a friend’s parent, an adult neighbor or friend, an older sibling or cousin, or another experienced person who you trust.

More information can be found at victimsofcrime.org or rainn.org

Resources:

Texas Association Against Sexual Assault survivors guide:

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Legal Resources around Texas

Sexual assault lease termination