Sexual Assault What Every Woman Should Know
By Doctor Seibel – HouseCall®
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
- Fear and anxiety
- Problems trusting others
- Anger and stress
- Eating disorders
- 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
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
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
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
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
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