Sexual assault is a complex and sensitive social issue that affects many people. If you have questions at any time, please do not hesitate to call to speak with an advocate at (509) 525-2570.
Understanding Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented.
There are many common misconceptions about sexual assault. Often they are perpetuated in the media and by political figures. There are a few things that should be made clear.
- Sexual assault is an act of violence and a crime.
- It is always the perpetrator’s fault.
- It is never the victim’s fault.
- Sexual assault occurs in all communities.
- Sexual assault is usually committed by someone the victim knows.
- Sexual assault is more about power and control than sexual gratification.
Has someone you know been hurt?
If you know or believe that a family member, friend or acquaintance has been sexually assaulted, you may feel overwhelmed, uncertain or even helpless. Sexual assault can be a traumatic experience, but there is something you can do. If they have confided this information in you, you can:
- Believe him or her.
- Listen without interruption.
- Do not blame or judge.
- Accept all responses and feelings (or lack of) as normal.
- Reassure her/him that it was not their fault.
- Encourage them to report the assault and seek professional health care.
- Allow them to choose and control what happens.
- Support their decisions.
- Be patient.
- Respect their privacy and confidentiality.
- Contact the YWCA of Walla Walla for help at (509) 529-9922.
Information courtesy of the Sexual Assault Resource Agency.