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Sexual Assault/Abuse Information

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Bluelight Crew
Mar 7, 2007
In the shadow of the mountains by the sea
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault

What is 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.
This includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration), inappropriate touching, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the victim in a sexual manner.

What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another.
When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester.
The term also covers any behavior by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexually.
When the victim is younger than the age of consent, it is referred to as child sexual abuse.

Types of Sexual Assault/Abuse:
  • Rape: a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent.
  • Groping: When used in a sexual context, groping is touching or fondling another person in a sexual way using the hands.
  • Child Molestation: Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of Child Sexual Assault include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, actual sexual contact against a child, physical contact with the child's genitals, viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography.
  • Sexual Harassment: intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors
  • Spousal sexual abuse: a form of domestic violence. When the abuse involves forced sex, it may constitute rape upon the other spouse, depending on the jurisdiction, and may also constitute an assault.

Emotional effects

Traumatic events such as rape and sexual assault have, aside from obvious physical traumas, profound long-term psychological effects on all victims including but not limited to children who are assault victims.
These include: denial, helplessness, dislike of sex, anger, self-blame, anxiety, shame, nightmares, fear, depression, flashbacks, guilt, rationalization, mood-swings, numbness, promiscuity, loneliness, social anxiety, difficulty trusting oneself or others, difficulty concentrating. Family and friends experience emotional scarring including a strong desire for revenge, a desire to "fix' the problem and/or move on, and a rationalization that "it wasn't that bad".

Effects of Sexual Assault from RAINN

  • PTSD: a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.
    (As classified by the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of PTSD can be grouped into three main categories)

    This is a repeated reliving of the event, and interferes with daily activity. This category includes flashbacks, frightening thoughts, recurrent memories or dreams, and physical reactions to situations that remind you of the event.
    These symptoms stem from the desire of a person to change their routine to escape similar situations to the trauma. Victims might avoid places, events, or objects that remind them of the experience. Emotions related to avoidance are numbness, guilt, and depression. Some have a decreased ability to feel certain emotions, like happiness. They also might be unable to remember major parts of the trauma, and feel that their future offers less possibilities than other people have.
    Hyper-arousal symptoms are all physiological. They include difficulty concentrating or falling asleep; being easily startled; feeling tense, and ‘on edge’; and angry outbursts. These can sum up to make it difficult for victims of PTSD to complete normal daily tasks.​

  • Substance Abuse: Victims of rape or sexual assault may turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to relieve their emotional suffering. In the U.S., victims of sexual assault report higher levels of psychological distress and the consumption of alcohol than non-victims, in part, to self-medicate.
  • Self Harm/Self Injury: intentional injury of body without suicidal intent. (Can also manifest itself in a non-physical way, think: self-sabatogers)
  • Depression: a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, world view, and physical well-being.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder : previously referred to as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a dissociative disorder in which two or more separate and distinct identities (or personalities) control an individual's behavior at different times.
  • Somatic Body Memories: Body memories are when the stress of the memories of the abuse experienced by an individual take the form of physical problems that cannot be explained by the usual means (medical examinations, etc.).
    These maladies are often called "psychosomatic symptoms" which does not, as many people think, mean that it is "in your head." Rather, it means that the symptoms are due to the connection between the mind and the body.
    Physical problems that can come of these somatic memories include headaches, migraines, stomach difficulties, light headedness/dizziness, hot/cold flashes, grinding of teeth, sleep disorders, etc.
  • Eating Disorder:
    Anorexia Nervosa- a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
    -Four primary symptoms:
    resistance to maintaining body weight, intense fear of weight gain, denial of the seriousness of low body weight, and loss of menstrual periods in girls/women
    -Warning signs include:
    Dramatic weight loss, preoccupation with weight and food, refusal to eat certain foods, frequent comments about feeling “fat,” anxiety about gaining weight, denial of hunger, development of food rituals, consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes, rigid exercise regimen despite weather or fatigue, withdrawal from usual friends and activities.
    -Health consequences:
    abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), muscle loss and weakness, severe dehydration, fainting, dry hair and skin​

    Binge Eating Disorder: - eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.
    -Four primary symptoms:
    frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food in short periods of time, feeling out of control over eating behavior, feeling ashamed or disgusted by the behavior, eating when not hungry and eating in secret
    -Health consequences:
    high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, gallbladder disease
    Bulimia: serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
    -Three primary symptoms:
    regular intake of large amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating behavior; regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior such as self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse or fasting; extreme concern with body weight and shape
    -Warning signs:
    disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time, frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, rigid exercise regimen despite weather or fatigue, unusual swelling of cheeks or jaw area, calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles, discoloration or staining of teeth, withdrawal from usual friends and activities
    -Health consequences:
    electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure, inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting, tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during vomiting, chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse, gastric rupture
  • Sleep Disorders: Due to the number of Sexual Abuse victims who develop PTSD and depression, sleep is often disturbed.
    -Insomnia: trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.
    -Nightmares: can result when an assault is replayed mentally and when there is a fear that it will reoccur. Nightmares typically involve feelings and emotions felt at the time of the assault or abuse, or immediately following, and can cause difficulty in falling sleep and staying asleep.
    -Sleep Terror Disorder: occurs with the repeated abrupt awakenings from sleep, usually beginning with a panicky scream or cry. During an episode, the individual is going through behavioral manifestations of intense fear and is difficult to awaken or comfort. After finally waking, the individual has no recollection of the event except perhaps a single image​

What do you do when assaulted?

-Find a safe location away from the perpetrator.
-Ask a trusted friend to be with you for moral support.
-Know that what happened was not your fault.
-Preserve all evidence of the attack.

-Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, eat, or smoke.
-If you are still in the location at which the crime occurred, do not clean or straighten up or remove anything.
-Write down all the details you can recall about the attack and the perpetrator.
-Report the attack to law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.)​

Reporting Sexual Assault: There is no time limit to when you report a sexual assault, though it is best to call 911 immediately or go into the hospital. (Though some states/countries have statutes of limitations.)
Getting into a medical facility as soon as possible will ensure you are cared for emotionally, actions are taken to prevent pregnancy, the proper collection of evidence is gathered to build a case against your assailant (if you choose). A counselor can help you understand the reporting process. [/list]



Bluelight Crew
Mar 7, 2007
In the shadow of the mountains by the sea
Getting Help:
Some people may feel intimidated or too afriad to take action with law enforcement, if so, reaching out to a friend or loved one, or anonymously to a hotline (which we will provide numbers and links below) can be of great benefit.
The stressful and frustrating feelings may seem overwhelming and confusing.
You've just been through a traumatic experience, but you do not have to carry the weight alone.
Recovering emotionally from sexual assault can take a lot of time, do not place added pressure on yourself to 'get over it' quickly.
Give yourself time to heal.
Reach out for support, allow yourself to process it in your own way- there is not a right way to tread the murky waters of the aftermath of rape.
Remember, it was not you fault, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

United States:
If you are in the US, you may reach out 24/7 to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE - This is FREE and confidential.

Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline:
800.621.HOPE (4673)

Safe Horizon’s Crime Victims Hotline:
866.689.HELP (4357)

Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline:

TDD phone number for all hotlines:

Rape Crisis Center: 24hr. Hotline 210.349.7273


Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres
Vancouver, British Columbia
604-876-2622 (p)
604-876-8450 (f)


Victoria Women's Sexual Assault Centre
Victoria, British Columbia
250-383-5545 (p)
250-383-6112 (f)
250-383-3232 (hotline)


Sexual Assault /Domestic Violence Care Centre
Hamilton, Ontario
905-525-4573 (p)
905-525-4162 (hotline)

The Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel
Mississauga, Ontario
905-273-9442 (24/7 Crisis Line)
1-800-810-0180 (Only for Caledon residents)


Regional Sexual and Domestic Assault Program, Simcoe
705-325-2201, ext. 3284 (p)
705-327-9155 (hotline)
1-877-377-7438 (toll free from 705 area code only)

Ottawa Rape Crisis Center
Ottawa, Ontario
613-562-2334 (p)
613-562-2333 (hotline)

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 597-1171 (hotline)

Montreal Rape Crisis Centre
Montreal, Quebec
514-934-0354 (p)
514-934-4504 (hotline)

United Kingdom:
'freephone helpline' (Rape Crisis Network Europe)
0808 802 9999)12 - 2.30pm/ 7 - 9.30pm)

Rape Crisis Federation-Wales and England:
0115 934 8474 (p)
0115 934 8470 (f)

[email protected]

Scottish Rape Crisis Network

Victim Support Scotland
Edinburgh 0131 668 4486 (p)
0131 662 5400 (f)


Victim Support National Office
0845 303 0900 (hotline)

Drug Rape Trust
+44 (0) 1702 317695 (p)
[email protected]

Europe Rape Crisis Network: Listings for hotlines and services by selecting your country


National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 737 732 (Also online at www.1800respect.org.au/ )

NSW Rape Crisis Centre: 1 800 545 017

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: 02 6247 2525

Northern Terrioty Crisis line: 1800 019 116

Queensland: Freecall 1800 010 120 (For persons with a hearing impairment: TTY 1800 003 98)
Brisbane Sexual Assault Service: (07) 3636 5206 (24 hours 7 days)
'Living Well' website with a number of contacts for assistance

New Zealand:
Auckland Rape Crisis
09-3667214 (p)
09-3666887 (f)
09-3667213 (hotline)


Victim Support
To reach your local Victim Support Group, call: 0800 VICTIM


Crisis Centre for Women
+395 2 465869 (p)
+395 2 465509 (f)

South Africa:

Rape Crisis--Cape Town
Includes links to other centers around South Africa

Rape Outcry


+358 9 50 363 7872 (p)
+358 9 685 19 79 (f)
0800-97899 (hotline)


National Center for Battered and Raped Women
Akademiska Sjukhuset
S-751 85 Uppsala
+46-18-611 27 93 (p)
+46-18-50 7394 (f)
18-611 40 00 (hotline)
[email protected]

National Centre for Knowledge on Men's Violence Against Women (NCK)
Telephone: +46 18-611 27 93
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.nck.uu.se / www.nck.uu.se/en

Out-patient Clinic - Kvinnofridsmottagningen
Telephone: +46 18-611 27 92
Website: www.akademiska.se/nck_en

Kvinnofridslinjen – National Helpline
Telephone: 020-50 50 50 (can only be reached from within Sweden)
Website: www.kvinnofridslinjen.se

Additional Links and Sources used here:
The Rape Crisis Center
Pandora's Project
Dancing in the Darkness
After Silence
Rape Help
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