The Mighty Phoenix

Support for Survivors of Incest, Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence from author & survivor Marie Waldrep


What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any sexual activity involving a person who does NOT or CANNOT consent.
Some of the things include:

* Rape
* Sexual contact (is unwanted sexual touching and grabbing. This includes, but is not limited to an unwilling person’s intimate parts such as genitalia, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks or the clothing covering these parts, or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.)
* Exposing
* Incest
* Sexual abuse of children
* Sexual harassment

Sexual assault is an act of power. This can be obvious, as in a situation with a weapon, physical force or a threat, used against the victim or someone the victim cares about. In other cases, the violence is more subtle, as when a position of age, size, or status is used to trick, scare, or manipulate the victim.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. Males as well as females are victims. People of all races, economic backgrounds and ages have been victims. All deserve help and support.

Rape is defined in most states as sexual contact achieved:
* with use of physical force, coercion, deception, threat
* without consent
* the victim is:
- mentally incapacitated or impaired.
- physically impaired ( due to being intoxicated with alcohol or drugs)
- unconscious or asleep

What defines consent?
One of the most critical issues regarding sexual assault is consent. Sexual activity should NOT happen unless both parties have freely given consent and consent is understood by both.
-Silence does not mean consent
-if consent is given under duress ( physical or emotional threats) it is not given freely or willingly
- if someone is impaired due to alcohol, drugs or prescription medication, it does not constitute consent ( even if the person says yes)

There was no penetration. Was I still raped?
Legally, probably not as "rape" though this might be covered by your state's sexual assault law. However, you were still violated even if penetration did not occur and you still have the right to hurt and the necessity to heal. The violence involved in an attempted rape is legitimate and can have the same impact on the survivor as a completed rape.

Forced Sodomy is anal or oral intercourse without consent.

Remember that rape can include oral or anal penetration.
This penetration is not limited to penile, but can include other body parts or objects. The legal definition of rape can be tricky, but remember that even if the law is not on your side, you have many others standing in your corner.

What you should do if you are raped?
1. Go to a safe place
2. Call someone you trust ( a friend or a relative)
3. Do not shower or clean up until you have reviewed you options
4. Consider reporting the assault to the police
5. Seek medical attention. Even if you do not intend to report the rape, you need to seek help at your local emergency room.

Why you should seek medical attention?
Because you may have injuries you are not aware of. You are at risk for  STD's and pregnancy. A hospital can provide treatment for any internal injuries and STD's, and collect evidence in the event that you wish to press charges against the perpetrator. You should be allowed to have a friend or victims advocate present during the exam, and be given all your options. Laws and procedures vary from state to state.

Marital Rape
Common experiences of sexually abused wives:
* Most sexually abusive husbands believe it's a husband's right to have sex with his wife whenever he wants to.
* Sexual abuse commonly includes anal and vaginal intercourse, combined with domestic violence- slapping,            kicking, punching, burning, etc.
* Many women are forced into submitting to sex after being beaten.
* Over half of sexually abused wives have been forced to have sex when they were ill, or after coming home from the hospital with a newborn.
* Many women do not preceive themselves as having been forced into having sex, because they were not                threatened or physically forced into it- only coerced (begging and pleading until they give in) they often don't          define that as rape.
* Other physical problems that result include missed periods, leaking of urine, anal or vaginal stretching and bleeding, bladder infections and infertility.

Having a medical examination is just as important as in any type of rape. The rape kit is important because it preserves evidence for possible legal action later. Rape and domestic violence in a marriage are often associated with homicide. Women need to be aware and told that their lives may be in danger and be advised of legal alternatives.

Consider Counseling
The after effects of sexual assault are very detrimental. You may become very depressed and fearful, you may have panic or anxiety attacks, lose sleep, be irritable and angry all the time. At these times, it is important to reach out to a counselor, who can help you turn things around


Don't live in silence! Get help! You are worth it!
Marie Waldrep