What kinds of things are sexual abuse?
- Having parts of your body touched in a sexual way
- Being kissed inappropriately, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
- Being told to touch parts of your own body
- Being made to touch parts of another person's body
- Being made to watch someone masturbate or touch their own body in a sexual way
- Being made, by coercion or physical force, to act or model for pornographic purposes, or to watch pornographic material
- Being watched while showering or changing
- Putting objects (including penis and fingers) in the anus or mouth, and for young women, the vagina
- Making you have sex, or do sexual things with other people (rape)
- Making sexual comments and suggestions to you
- Sending sexual comments or suggestions to you via SMS or email.
- Forcible, coercing, or manipulation between partners; oral, anal and vaginal sex.
How can I tell if I have been given a date rape drug?
Many times when people are unknowingly drugged, they will experience similar effects as those felt after drinking alcohol, but the effects will often occur more rapidly. For example, if you can normally drink 5 beers without feeling any effects, you may feel "drunk" after 1 or 2. Often, people will black out and forget many of the events of the previous night. For more information on date rape drugs click here.
If someone forced me to have sex while I was drunk, will I get in trouble for underage drinking?
California state law says that one cannot consent to sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This does not mean that anyone who is drunk and has sex is violating the law, but what it does mean is that you have personal rights that must be respected even if you are drinking. Most law enforcement officials consider rape a more serious offense than underage drinking and although your parents might not be happy you were drinking, it does not change the fact that you were violated and should consider reporting.
If I think I have been raped, how long do I have to report?
In general, the rule for evidence collection and prevention prophylaxis (i.e. prevention from STDs, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS) is 72 hours. This does NOT mean you cannot report if more than 72 hours have passed. Law enforcement officials will conduct an investigation and transfer the file to the District Attorney's Office who will decide whether to file charges. The statute of limitations for reporting a sexual assault in California is currently 10 years.
If I report a sexual assault to the police, will my parents find out?
Maybe. You can undergo an exam (read about Reporting Options) without your parents’ consent, however, medical providers are required to report crimes to law enforcement. If your parents are there during the police report, you can ask to complete the full interview in private. This way your parents won't know the full details of the incident. If you are scared or worried about telling your parents or guardian, feel free to talk to us about that too. We can help you through that process.
What is the normal reaction to sexual assault?
There is no "normal reaction" after a rape. People are not trained on what to feel and how to react during and after a sexual assault. Some responses include: anger, frustration, self-doubt, self-blame, confusion, sadness, feelings of loneliness, etc. Know that you are not alone and there are people here to help you.
Who abuses young people?
The commonly held stereotype of a sexual abuser is that of an old man in a raincoat hanging around in parks. The reality is that most sexual abuse is perpetrated by people known to the victims. Men and women who sexually abuse young people are of many different ages and appearances.
Coming forward - why is it hard to tell?
People feel that if they disclose (tell someone about what happened) they will be harshly judged by those around them. Sometimes they feel like they are to blame in some way. Often the abuser will say things to discourage a victim from coming forward.
No one can make anyone think sexual abuse is OK. People choose what they want to think or do. What is important is to remember that sexual abuse is an abuse of power and it is not your fault.
People who abuse may use tactics to stop you telling anybody about what has happened to you. Some of these may include the following:
- making threats of violence to you or your family
- giving you gifts, money or favors to keep you from telling anybody
- making friends with your family
- convincing you that it was your fault
- convincing you that it will be bad for you and your family if you tell someone
- threatening that you will lose your job
- threatening to send or post information about you (including photos of you) on the Internet
- sending threatening text messages.
What am I feeling?
There can be many different feelings which result from sexual abuse. A survivor may believe that the abuse has not affected him/her, but then might feel a wide range of emotions or mood swings. A person may also feel confused because his/her body responded physically during an assault. A biological reaction to stimulation does not mean a person consented to the abuse.
Will I become an abuser too?
There is a myth in society that people who are sexually abused go on to become abusers themselves. This is not true. There is no reason to believe that if a person has been abused, he or she will become a perpetrator of abuse in the future. People have control over their lives and can make choices about how they conduct them.
Does this mean I'm gay?
A common misconception is that if a person is sexually abused by a person of the same sex, it means that he/she will become sexually attracted to his/her own sex. Being attracted to others is not related to whether or not a person was sexually abused.
Source: Teen Health website