For Youth

For Parents

Trauma

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Help for Youth

Whose Fault is Sexual Assault?

It is always the offender’s fault. You did nothing to deserve being sexually assaulted. Some people blame victims for putting themselves in a situation or doing something that made the sexual assault happen. This is never true. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.

There are some situations, though, which can put a person at greater risk. For example, it can be risky to go somewhere with someone who you don’t know very well. Using drugs or alcohol can also increase risk. Still, no one has the right to force sex on another person.

Criminal Justice System:

The law requires professionals to make a police report when they find out that teenagers are raped or sexually abused. However, victims have a say about whether they want to participate in the criminal investigation or prosecution. Victims may have a good reason why they don’t want to participate or they may not know what is involved. You have a right to a legal advocate who can explain your rights and the legal process.

Child Protective Services (CPS) has to be called if you are in danger or the offender is in the family. CPS is a state agency with the legal responsibility for making sure that children and teenagers are safe in their homes. The social worker, doctor, nurse or psychologist will tell you if a report has to be filed and help you figure out your options.

How will the Sexual Assault Effect Me?

Sexual assault affects people differently. Some people don’t seem to have many problems, some have problems for a while and then get better, and others can be seriously distressed by the assault for a long time. Some people may experience problems right after the abuse is reported, and others may not have problems until much later. Most people are very upset in the beginning and gradually feel better.

The most common effects are feeling afraid, remembering what happened and getting upset, having trouble concentrating, nightmares or difficulty sleeping, being nervous, jumpy or irritable, crying or being sad. These reactions are normal. However, they can be difficult to cope with alone and sometimes they don’t seem to be getting better. Counseling can help you deal with your reactions.

Getting raped or sexually abused can also change how victims think about themselves as a person, how trusting they are of other people, and their views on how safe and fair the world is. Some changes from the experience are to be expected, but they do not have to interfere with having a normal life. Again, counseling can help.

Getting Help After Sexual Assault

Medical Care

It is important to have medical treatment after a sexual assault. There may be physical problems from the assault that can be treated. You may need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Also, if needed, medical evidence may be collected for legal purposes.


Counseling

If you want someone to talk to, a psychologist can help. He or she will listen, help you feel better and help you solve problems. You can get counseling at CASARC, from a counselor elsewhere, or through your school. You might not want counseling now, but at a later time feel that counseling might help.


Legal Advocacy

This is help answering questions about the legal system, preparing you for what will happen, helping find out what is happening with your case, or going with you to appointments or court. You have a right to have an advocate.

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