If you have
been sexually assaulted the most
important thing to know is
It Is Never Your Fault!
NOTHING that you say or do can
EVER make it okay for someone to hurt
What is Sexual Violence?
The exact definition of
“rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse” and similar terms differs by state, so
for a precise legal definition, you need to check the law in your state.
Sexual violence can
include sexual actions and words that coerce, manipulate, or are forced upon
someone with the intent to intimidate, humiliate, dominate, subjugate or
control. Most often these acts are perpetrated by someone the victim already
knows such as a friend, relative, or intimate partner. It takes many forms:
rape, intimate partner sexual violence, sodomy, incest, molestation, human
trafficking, forced prostitution, unwanted sexual touching, sexual harassment,
and more. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age,
race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or ability.
Sex offenders use many
methods to intimidate the victim. They might use trickery, manipulation,
coercion, bribery, blackmail, or threats. Offenders often take advantage of
people they perceive as vulnerable or less powerful
Effects of Sexual Violence
In the United States, 1
in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in
their lifetime. Many other people have survived other types of sexual violence,
as well. The experience of sexual violence has different meanings for each
person. No one knows precisely how an individual will react. There is no
“right” way to act after experiencing sexual violence. After the violence, some
victims are very emotional and some are numb initially. However, sexual assault
advocates have found that many people experience sexual violence as a severe emotional and physical violation. The effects of that violation can be seen in
victims directly after or many days later. Trauma can produce pronounced
feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, as well as physical symptoms such
as breathing problems, vomiting, nightmares, and the inability to remember
Sexual Violence in Kansas
- In Kansas, approximately 245,000 women and 40,000 men will be
raped in their lifetime and many more Kansans will experience other forms of
sexual violence such as human trafficking, sexual harassment, child
molestation, and other forms of sexual violence.
- In Kansas, one rape is reported to law enforcement every seven
- In 78 percent of law enforcement reported cases of rape in
Kansas, rapists know their victims.
- Sexual violence happens in every community in Kansas.
If You Are a Victim of Sexual Violence
- Your immediate safety is important. Go to a safe place such as a
friend or family member’s home.
- Get support. Local sexual assault programs can provide free and
confidential support and advocacy for you and your friends and family.
- Protect your health. You may have a range of health concerns as
a result of the sexual violence. It is best to seek medical care as soon as
- Reporting the violence is your choice. Depending on the type of
sexual violence you've experienced, you may consider reporting to law
enforcement, an employer, a school official, or other person. Many factors may
weigh into your decision to report or not to report the violence. There is no
right way to handle the effects of sexual violence. If you decide to report the
violence to someone, it is important to explore the potential effects of the
report on your work, school career, and all areas of your life. A local sexual
assault program advocate will be able to more fully help you understand the
process in your area and to support you through it. If you decide not to report
to anyone, you are still fully entitled to advocacy services and medical care.
When Someone You Know Is a Victim of Sexual Violence
Listen and Believe
Listen without judgment, believe what the victim tells you, and acknowledge
feelings. Confusion, anger, sadness, guilt, numbness, helplessness,
hopelessness, and self-blame are all normal reactions to trauma.
Offer Your Support
Let the victim know you are there for support now and in the future.
Make a Referral
1-800-874-1499 and the sexual assault program in
your area (see map).
Speak out when you hear someone blaming the victim for the violence. Victim
blaming can take many forms, most often referencing the victim's clothing or
behavior. Remind others that the responsibility for the violence lies with the
perpetrator and nobody deserves to be sexually violated.