Sexual assault includes many things such as rape or attempted rape, or any unwanted sexual touching or contact. Perpetrators are more often someone the victim knows. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, when you are touched in a sexual way without your consent, this is sexual assault. In 2005, 92% of victims of sexual assault were women and 73% were assaulted by someone they knew. No matter whether you know the person or not, no one asks to be sexually assaulted and certainly no one deserves it.
The most important thing to know if you are sexually assaulted is that the sooner after the crime you report it and get help the less likely you are to develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by chronic anxiety, depression and flashbacks whereby the victim experiences a replay of the trauma over again. This condition needs to be treated by therapy. The sooner after the traumatizing event the therapy interventions begin, the sooner the victim can start to recover and begin to live a normal life again.
Now there is more help and protection for victims than ever. Most agencies for victims of sexual assault now give the victim a trained advocate to guide and protect her. This is a major cause for success for the victim because she can feel safe and therefore she is more able to recover from the trauma of the assault. Also since 2004 there has been a 50% increase in victim compensation.
So if you know someone who has been assaulted you will want to let them know how much help and support is avaialbale for them now and you will want to encourage them to get immediate help so that they don't develop severe symptoms of anxiety that could cause them to live very limited lives.
- Susan Quinn