Defining Sexual Assault and Prevention

By: Women's Care Florida Staff

Sexual assault feels uncomfortable to discuss especially if you or a loved fell victim to this violent crime. Women’s Care Florida stays committed to keeping women healthy and safe. Therefore, we fight to raise awareness about it in defining sexual assault and prevention. To understand more about sexual assault, read through the educational resources below. If you have concerns about the health risks associated with sexual assault, make an appointment with us today.

Sexual assault defined

When defining sexual assault, think of any sexual activity in which you say no or disagree with. Sexual assault can include rape or attempted rape, inappropriate touching of your body, sexual advances, or sexual contact or molestation. Furthermore, a stranger or someone you know such as a date, friend, or family member can all instigate sexual assault.

Facts to know about sexual assault:

  • Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
  • Only six out of every 1,000 offenders end up in prison.
  • Hundreds of thousands of individuals are sexually assaulted every year.
  • However, the majority of victims and bystanders never report these crimes to the police.

How to handle sexual assault

If you are sexually assaulted, then distance yourself from the offender as quickly as possible. Find somewhere safe. Call a trusted friend or family member, or call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Then, await further instructions so you can take care of yourself and pursue criminal charges as needed.

If you experienced sexual contact with the offender, such as rape or attempted rape, go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. Don’t change clothing or cleanse yourself in any way before getting help to avoid removing any evidence. Hospitals will conduct a medical examination, treat any injuries, and screen you for sexually transmitted infections.

However, many hospitals do not provide rape kits. While current legislation aims to change that in the next several years, the hospital will point you in the direction on how and where to obtain one.

Prevention tips

Prevent is part of defining sexual assault. Not everyone can prevent incidents of sexual assault. However, you can minimize your risk as much as possible in a couple of ways. Practice the following tips to help prevent it from happening:

  • Know your limits with alcohol consumption. Drinking to the point of intoxication can lower your inhibitions. This leaves you more vulnerable to attacks, especially when leaving bars and going home. If you are out drinking, try to travel with friends and avoid walking anywhere alone. Remember, even if you were drinking alcohol, rape is not your fault.
  • Have your car keys in hand and ready when walking to your vehicle. This helps prevent you from fumbling and looking for keys when you’re vulnerable and unprepared for an attack. Plus, keys can be used as a weapon against your attacker.
  • Avoid talking on your mobile phone when walking alone in a secluded area. Your voice can alert offenders of your location, and your phone conversation can prevent you from staying aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep doors to your home locked at all times. Don’t open the door to strangers, or to people you don’t know or trust.
  • Don’t walk or exercise in secluded places alone — especially if you’re listening to headphones. This prevents you from being aware of your surroundings, and of approaching offenders.
  • Consider obtaining something to defend yourself such as pepper spray. Keep it near you at all times. As stated above, many offenders can be people you know and trust.

The aftermath

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you may experience feelings of fear, sadness, confusion, anger, or shame. While these feelings are normal, don’t let your emotions prevent you from reporting the crime, or from visiting a healthcare provider. Your gynecologist has resources that can help you if you’ve been sexually assaulted. Lastly, sexual assault can affect you mentally and emotionally. The Crisis Center offers many resources to those looking to get help.

If you have concerns about the health risks associated with sexual assault, then make an appointment with Women’s Care Florida.

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