What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any nonconsensual sexual contact. These acts may include coercion (being persuaded or manipulated into having sex) or acquaintance rape (being forced to have sex by someone known or familiar).
Who are the Victims of Rape?
Rape knows no boundaries. The patients who come to a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program come from all walks of life, all economic classes, all ethnic backgrounds and all age groups, male and female.
The example case studies below came from our START program in Oakland County, but they could have just as easily come from any community:
- A young girl was out for a walk when a man approached her from behind, pushed her against a brick wall and forcibly raped her. Her small dog barked and nipped at her assailant but couldn’t stop what happened. She was just 14 years old, and he raped her.
- An 89-year-old grandfather of six was in a nursing home. His assailant was his caretaker and told him what happened was part of his treatment. It wasn’t until his daughter noticed blood on his sheets that the rape was reported.
- A 22-year-old woman was out with some friends at a local bar. There was a lot of drinking, and when it came time to leave, she knew she couldn’t drive. A young man she had met that night offered to drive her home. She said yes. In the car, he gave her a drink from a bottle of beer that he provided. That is all she can remember of that night. She woke up several hours later on the grass in a park, with her clothes scattered all around her. She had been drugged and raped.
- A 68-year-old woman was asleep in her bed when she woke up to a strange man pushing a pillow over her face. The rape that came next will forever haunt her and her family.
- She was 14. He told her not to tell anyone about the things he did to her when everyone went to sleep in her house. He told her no one would believe her if she told. He told her everyone would believe him, not her. He was her brother-in-law.
- A woman’s boss asked her out for dinner after a meeting. She was flattered. He must have noticed how many late nights she had been putting in on the big project. Maybe there was a promotion in her future. When he said he had something in his hotel room to help her, she thought nothing of it. After he raped her he told her to keep quiet about it. If she said anything he would deny it and she would lose her job.
While their situations, ages, gender and backgrounds differed, they all shared something in common. They didn’t ask for this to happen. They didn’t deserve it. And they were powerless to prevent it.
By working together, we can help those who have been raped or sexually abused and help give people the power to prevent these horrible acts of violence from happening to others.
If you have been raped or sexually abused, please remember it is not your fault. You don’t deserve this, and no matter how scary it seems, you are not alone. HAVEN is here to help.