Nearly 80% of females reported experiencing at least one incident of physical or sexual aggression by the end of college.1
More teens are raped by people they know than they are by strangers.2
Sexual assault involves any kind of sexual contact that is unwanted or happens without consent. Most sexual assaults happen between people who know each other and it is common for someone who has been abused by their partner to also have been sexually assaulted by them. Sexual assault can involve force and coercion, but does not have to. It may also involve being pressured into sexual activity that the person does not really want to do. In many cases (especially on college campuses) the use of drugs and alcohol are involved with sexual assault.
Has This Happened To You?
If you have been sexually assaulted, the first thing to know is that it is not your fault. No one ever has the right to force you to do something that you don’t want to do sexually, no matter what!
Here are some things to consider:
- Getting a medical exam – this is important to make sure you are OK physically, and to document the sexual assault in case you want to report it to the police now or at a later time. It’s best not to shower or change your clothes before getting medical help.
If you go to a hospital in New York State, ask if they have a SAE (Sexual Assault Examiner) program. These programs have medical professionals that are specially trained in sexual assault that will conduct your exam in a private location. Part of the exam involves collecting evidence from the sexual assault (sometimes called a “rape kit”), but having this done doesn’t mean you have to involve the police if you don’t want to. A SAE exam is free of charge.
- Talking to someone – You can reach out to family, friends or someone else you trust for help and support, like an RA (Resident Assistant or Advisor) or school counselor. You can also call the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906 (English) or 1-800-942-6908 (Spanish) to talk to someone immediately and/or to get the names for programs that can help you near where you live or go to school. There are rape crisis centers available in every county in New York State. Calling the hotline is confidential; in fact, you don’t even have to give them your name.
NOTE – Some adults are mandated reporters, which means they may have to report the assault to state authorities if you tell them about it, depending on your age. If you don’t want to report it or aren’t sure, it’s best to ask people about that before giving them too much information. Calling a confidential hotline that doesn’t require you give your name might be the safest option if you are worried about the assault being reported.
- Reporting the assault – You may or may not want to report the assault to the police or your school. Talking to someone and getting information may help you to decide.
For more information on sexual assault:
- White, Jacquelyn and Paige Hall Smith. “Covariation in the Use of Physical and Sexual Intimate Partner Aggression Among Adolescent and College-Age Men: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Violence Against Women. 2009.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2005: Statistical Tables, (Washington, DC: Table 29).