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Sexual Assault and Rape


***Sexual assault and rape are complicated subjects, and the content below is only a summary of some key information.  For a more thorough treatment, please be sure to see the resources listed at the bottom of this page or talk to an advocate at MayDay, Inc.


Note: Legal definitions of sexual assault and rape vary among jurisdictions, but the following explanations are generally accepted.


Sexual assault includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation.  It includes forced or unwanted touching of an intimate part of the body.


Rape is a specific type of sexual assault that involves forced, manipulated or coerced sexual penetration. 


Consent - "No" means "no" is only part of the issue. The absence of "yes" should also be seen as "no." Sexual contact that is the result of physical force or manipulation is sexual assault.      It is also sexual assault when a person cannot legally give consent due to age, physical or mental impairment, intoxication or drug use.  Both parties need to be clear that they want to engage in the activity.


*Sexual assault and rape are not crimes of passion but of violence and control.


If you've been assaulted


  • Get to a safe location.

  • Get support from MayDay or someone else that you trust.  A MayDay advocate can give you support and help you work through decisions about your next steps.

  • Preserve evidence. As hard as this is, a victim should not shower, douche, or do anything that might destroy evidence of an assault prior to seeking medical attention.

  • We recommend that you contact law enforcement, but we will respect your choice.

  • We encourage you to seek medical attention as soon as possible, but again, that needs to be a victim's choice.


You are not alone. (Facts from RAIIN)


  • Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

  • Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault

  • 1 out of every 6 women in America have been the victim of a completed or attempted rape

  • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed                                                                   rape in their lifetime

  • 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually                                                 assaulted

  • American Indians are twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races


Recovery (Information from the Women Veterans Program)


Healing from a sexual assault is an ongoing process and varies from person to person. While the impact never goes away, there are steps you can take to help you in your recovery. 

  • Respect the way you feel and your right to feel that way.

  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.

  • Talk to other survivors of violence.

  • Take care of yourself by exercising, eating well, and taking deep breaths when you feel tense.

  • Get more ideas and support from an organization like MayDay or a mental health professional.


Giving support to survivors of sexual assault

Start by believing


If a friend or family member has experienced a sexual assault, you may be able to help a great deal by offering your support and by just listening.  You might also offer to go along or cover responsibilities (such as watching children) if the survivor seeks medical or mental health services. Avoid judging the person's actions.  Give advice only if they ask for it. 





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