Survivors Manual for Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can include rape (sexual intercourse without consent), attempted rape, criminal deviate conduct (forced oral or anal sexual contact), sexual battery, incest (sexual abuse by a family member), public indecency, and voyeurism.

It Is Not Your Fault

People do not deserve to be sexually assaulted or abused, no matter what they say or do - regardless of who attacks them.

Sexual assault is the only crime in which the survivor may be treated with suspicion. Myths about sexual assault encourage this problem. Knowing the facts will help you understand how you and those around you may react.

Myths & Facts Regarding Sexual Assault of Adults

Myth: Sexual assault is an impulsive crime of sex conducted by a sexually frustrated individual.
Fact: Sexual assault is a violent crime of power and control. Sexual perpetrators often carefully plan their attack and wait patiently for a vulnerable victim. Perpetrators often have intimate partners with whom they have ongoing sexual relationships.

Myth: Rape happens only to the young and the poor.
Fact: Victims, male and female, have been identified from ages 4 months to 92 years and cross all socio-economic, racial, and ethnic boundaries. Rape can happen to anyone.

Myth: Sexual assault is a non-violent crime.
Fact: Eighty-seven percent of rapists either carry a weapon or threaten to hurt or kill the victim.

Myth: Women's dress or behavior invites sexual assault.
Fact: Rapists look for victims who are easy targets. The victim's dress or behavior has nothing to do with it.

Myth: If two people know each other, a forced sexual encounter cannot be considered rape / sexual assault.
Fact: Forced sexual assault is forced sexual assault; no matter what the relationship.

Myth: All victims of sexual assault have a similar predictable response to the trauma.
Fact: Every victim experiences, deals with, and recovers from sexual assault in a different way. There is no set response.

Myth: If a heterosexual male is sexually assaulted, he will become homosexual.
Fact: If a man is not homosexual to begin with, then being assaulted by another man will not cause him to become homosexual. This is a myth perpetuated by society's notion of what a man should be.