By Yaire Alfaro
There are others who have gone through the same situation as you. You are not alone. Sexual assault is a major issue in the United States. In fact, nearly every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, a statistic which includes all ages and all genders. The thing about sexual assault is that it’s vague and multi-dimensional—a term of many different meanings. But one thing will eternally remain the same—it’s never the victim’s fault. However, this fact can get lost in translation with the culture of victim-blaming and “slut-shaming,” which are both disincentives to seek help or understand about what happened. For anyone that is confused about what constitutes sexual assault, below are some acts that fall under the umbrella term that is sexual assault.
- Fondling or groping – To touch someone in a sexual manner without consent
- Rape – non-consensual sex
- Attempted rape – A crime in which rape, or non-consensual sex, was the motive for an assault, although no rape was carried out.
- Human Trafficking – The action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another for the purpose of sexual exploitation
These are of course only a few forms of sexual assault, but the effects of any one of these forms of sexual assault can be traumatic and troublesome for a person psychologically, emotionally, and physically. It’s very common for survivors to have feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, or fear, but with the proper help and support from loved ones they can be managed. This makes it difficult to move forward for some time. After someone has been sexual assaulted, it’s hard to know how to react or what to do next. They may be physically hurt and emotionally drained.
If you have been sexually assaulted, it’s normal to have fears or worries. There are people out there who are able to help. Tell someone you trust, like a parent, family member, teacher, coach, or a friend’s parent. You can talk to them face-to-face, on the phone, or even write a letter or text if you don’t want to talk about it. There are many actions you can take. The most important thing is to tell someone. Keep telling an adult until you get help. If you really need assistance but are uncomfortable with any of the previous ways we mentioned, contact any one of the resources listed below—they are certified to help you.
If you are a teen and dealing with the issue of sexual harassment, below are some resources you can call or email:
- Call RAINN (National Sexual Assault Hotline) at (800) 656-HOPE(4673)
- E-mail @focusonthefamily.com or call 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Use Tustin High’s Text to Tip—(657) 229-1847.