Sexual violence is any type of sexual activity where one (or more) person forces someone to participate in sexual activity when consent is not obtained. Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim and it is a crime. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or was a victim of another type of sexual violence — either recently or in the distant past — you have the right to report it to the police. For emergency situations that require immediate assistance call 911.
Why are people sexually violent toward others? Often times sexual violence is not about offenders getting pleasure from sex or any other form of harassment, but rather about them asserting power and control over someone else. Some offenders have been abused themselves, but this is not always the case, and there’s no evidence that a victim or survivor of sexual assault will become a perpetrator.
How experiencing sexual violence might affect you. Everyone reacts to the types of sexual violence differently. Individuals can experience a variety of immediate, short-term and long-term effects on her (or his) physical and emotional well being.
Where to get help. Finding the courage to talk about sexual violence is important. If you need help, you can call the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-4673 or the National Center for Victims of Crime hotline at 1-800-FYI-CALL. You can also call The Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 to find help in your area. And remember do not hesitate to call your doctor, nurse, or local health professional if you feel comfortable doing so.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.