Teen Corner – Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is not just categorized by rape; it is any unwanted sexual activity. Even if you have said “yes” to sex with the person before, or you are in a relationship, no one has the right to have sex with you or pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. Any time you do not say “yes” to a sexual act, it is sexual assault. You have the right to say “No” at any point, even if it is in the middle of intercourse.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 college girls have been forced physically, verbally, actively, or implicitly, to be engaged in sex. Surveys have found that 90% knew their attackers, and 1 in 15 college guys admitted to having forced a woman to have sex. While date rape is most prevalent on college campuses, it can also happen in high schools. In a survey of adolescent girls, 7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. A U.S. Department of Justice survey in 2004 showed that 44% of sexual assault and rape victims were under the age of 18.

On many occasions the guy may decide that the girl is just playing hard to get and really means yes, even though she’s saying no. The bottom line is, yes means yes; and no means NO. If a person says no and is still forced to have sex, then a rape has occurred.

Male Sexual Assault

About 3% of American men – or 1 in 33 – have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In addition to dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, male victims often have to also deal with the stereotypes and myths that sometimes prevent the public from supporting male victims. Some of those myths include: men should be able to fight off attacks; men enjoy all sex, so they must have enjoyed the assault; men shouldn’t express emotion.

It can be difficult for men to seek help for fear of how others will judge them. But it is important for male victims to seek support, and to understand that sexual assault can happen to men as well as to women.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is defined as sexual contact by force, trickery, or bribery where there is an imbalance in age, size, power, or knowledge. Sexual abuse usually doesn’t require physical force, as the older adult can pressure, threaten, trick, and coerce a child to engage in sexual activity. Children are vulnerable, trusting, and dependent. They are taught to do as adults ask, and the perpetrator takes advantage of this vulnerability. Often, the abuser grooms the child by building the child’s trust, doing favors for the child, or becoming a confidant. Sexual abuse often begins gradually and increases over time. As the child gets older and begins to object to these things, they are often threatened with physical harm to themselves or their family to keep this awful secret.

It is critically important that any victim of incest or sexual abuse get the help they need to heal from this abuse and go on to the life they deserve. REMEMBER, THE VICTIM IS NEVER AT FAULT FOR A SEXUAL ASSAULT OR ABUSE.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse please call SARC’s 24-hour Helpline at 410-836-8430, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at 877-739-3895, or RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Statistics

  • 1 out of 3 girls are victims or will become victims of a sexual crime before the age of 18.
  • 1 out of 5 boys are victims or will become victims of a sexual crime before the age of 18.
  • 34% of sexual crimes involve a family member or caregiver.
  • 1.3 forcible rapes of adult women occur every minute. (In America)
  • 78 women are raped every hour. (In America)
  • 1,871 women are raped every day. (In America)

Sexually Abused Children and Crime Rate

  • Abused children are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile
  • Abused children are 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult
  • Abused children are 30% more likely to commit a violent crime
  • Over 14% of males in U.S. prisons were abused as children
  • Over 36% of females in U.S. prisons were abused as children

– from Liz Claiborne Inc. studies on teen dating abuse and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)