Sexual Assault – What Every Woman Should Know

 

 

By Doctor SeibelHouseCall®

This article is about a very sensitive issue – Sexual Assault. I'm writing it for two reasons: 1) April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and 2) my hope is that by talking about it openly, it won't happen to you or your loved ones.

 


How common is it? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 1 in 6 women report that they have either been raped or an attempt has been made to rape them in their lifetime. The first time for 60% of these women was before age 18.

What is it? Sexual violence is any sexual activity for which you do not freely give consent. That includes both sex against your will and sex that happens when you cannot freely give your consent. If you have been drinking and suddenly find a man having sex with you, it is rape. If a man has sex with a woman who is under the influence, it is rape. Think of it like this, if you are under the influence, you cannot sign a consent form for a medical procedure, and you cannot give consent for a sexual act, either.

Rape is more than unwanted sex. It's an act of violence and it's a crime.

Who commits it? Unfortunately, all kinds of people; a current or former intimate partner; a family member, friend, or acquaintance; a person in a position of power or trust or a stranger.

What are the risks? The short-term risks are getting pregnant, acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, or being injured. But there are also long-term risks that can affect your physical or emotional health:
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Problems trusting others
  • Anger and stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts


What can I do to prevent it?
  • Avoid using excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs. It interferes with clear thinking.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be cautious and alert.
  • Try to walk in groups rather than alone, especially at night.
  • Take a self-defense class.
  • Lock all doors to your car and residence at all times.
  • Believe in your right to set limits that match your sexual desires and limits.
  • State your limits clearly and loudly and "NO" if necessary.
  • Yell "Fire" or carry a whistle and blow it. It attracts people's attention.
  • If the rapist is unarmed, fight back, should "NO" and run away as soon as possible.
  • If the rapist is armed, try to talk him out of continuing the assault or resist passively by pretending to faint, vomit or urinate


What do I do in case of rape?
  • Go to a safe place and call a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Take some slow deep breaths and realize that what happened is wrong, it's not your fault and that you have value.
  • Call the police; rape is a crime.
  • Do not bathe, douche or change clothes.
  • If you choose not to contact the police, go to a hospital emergency department to be checked. You do not have to report to police to get medical care.
  • Write down as much as you can remember what happened and the person who did it while it is most fresh in your mind.
  • Contact a rape treatment center. A counselor there can be of great help.


What is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence is more than physically hurting someone. It also means hurting someone psychologically, emotionally, verbally or sexually.  Every nine seconds a woman in the United States is beaten by someone who claims to love her.

When I first began in practice, I didn't want to believe that so much domestic violence and sexual assault took place. But now that I routinely ask patients about these issues, I realize sadly that everybody knows someone who has been sexually assaulted. There's a 1 in 6 chance that person is you.  To support Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I'm offering a free download of my HealthRock song called Love Doesn't Hurt. I hope it is helpful. I've put the lyrics below.

Love Doesn't Hurt

Words and Lyrics by Mache Seibel

Verse 1
Love doesn't hurt
Matter of fact, love feels safe and good
No, love doesn't hurt
There's just one situation where it could
If love ends and breaks your heart
Love could hurt when it departs
Otherwise love doesn't hurt

verse 2
Love isn't cruel
It doesn't lock you up or put you down
Love isn't cruel
It's supposed to make you smile, not make you frown
No love does not cause you shame
Or emotional pain
‘cause love isn't cruel

Chorus

Don't think there's something wrong with you

For doing what you need to do

It's not your fault, get help, don't wait for more


Don't be ashamed or be confused

Hurt isn't love, hurt's called abused

And it won't stop till you walk out the door


Verse 3
Love doesn't hit
It doesn't leave you looking black and blue
Love doesn't hit
Love wouldn't do a thing like that to you
Love don't kick or slap or shove
That's assault, it's not love
‘Cause love doesn't hit


Machelle M. Seibel (ASCAP)

© 2009 All Rights Reserved

 

Machelle  Seibel, MD

 

It is a real pleasure to contribute a regular article to Families Online Magazine. Over the past 30 years I've had the privilege of providing care to over 10,000 women. I've helped them face their challenges, answered their questions, and heard the frustrations they deal with as they transition from their reproductive years to and through menopause.

As a result, my goal is to share the wisdom I've gained that applies directly to women's health and menopause, or provide insights that can be of help with their families. Some articles will be on things that are ongoing health and wellness topics, and others will be comments or perspectives on important issues you notice in the news.

You will find my two most recent books helpful. They are Eat to Defeat Menopause and Save Your Life: What to do in a Medical Emergency. Click their titles now to learn more.

My websites are http://www.doctorseibel.com/ & http://www.healthrockwomen.com/. There are many FREE downloads, songs, videos, eBooks and other useful content that I hope will help you stay well. My comments here aren't intended to take the place of your healthcare provider. If you have a medical problem, be sure to ask your doctor.

If you have a topic you want me to cover, drop me a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll do my best to cover it for you. Receive my content-rich FREE NEWSLETTER at www.DoctorSeibel.com.

 

 

Editor's Note: Do not consider medical editorial reviews, news items and other general information found in any Families Online Magazine medical or natural health columns as a prescription, medical advice or an endorsement for any treatment or procedure. Always seek any medical advice from your doctor. Medical editorial reviews and other news items that you read about may or may not be appropriate for your particular health problem or concern. Always refer these matters to your physician for clarification and determination. Any information provided in may be controversial, totally unrelated to your own situation, even harmful if taken merely at face value without appropriate evaluation of your specific condition, and therefore must be considered simply to be an editorial review, a news review or a general medical information review and not as relating to your specific condition or as information for diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of your specific condition.

 

 
 

 

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Editor's Note: Do not consider medical editorial reviews, news items and other general information found in any Families Online Magazine medical or natural health columns as a prescription, medical advice or an endorsement for any treatment or procedure. Always seek any medical advice from your doctor. Medical editorial reviews and other news items that you read about may or may not be appropriate for your particular health problem or concern. Always refer these matters to your physician for clarification and determination. Any information provided in may be controversial, totally unrelated to your own situation, even harmful if taken merely at face value without appropriate evaluation of your specific condition, and therefore must be considered simply to be an editorial review, a news review or a general medical information review and not as relating to your specific condition or as information for diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of your specific condition.

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