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Shelter: (605) 996-2765 Hotline: (605) 996-4440 Visitation Center: 605-996-8880

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Understanding Sexual Assaults

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Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats.

Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even while clothed, without that person’s consent.

Some Facts About Sexual Assault

  • Rape is a violent crime motivated by the need to control.
  • Rape is not an aggressive act of sex but a sexual act of aggression.
  • Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of physical appearance, dress, body language or age.
  • Assailants don’t always fit the stereotypical image of a menacing, sex-starved criminal jumping out of the bushes late at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
  • Assailants can be anyone-a delivery person, a colleague at work, a neighbor, a physician or dentist, an uncle, an attractive stranger met at a party.
  • Roughly 1/3 of all rapes take place in the daylight.
  • 1/2 of all rapes take place at or near the survivor’s home.
  • Whatever the circumstances, no one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted
Sexual Assault Myths
  • Women who are careful don’t get raped.
  • Women secretly want to be raped.
  • Most reports of sexual assault are false.
  • Men needn’t worry about being raped.
  • It can’t happen to me.
  • If a child I know was being sexually abused he/she would tell me right away.
  • Only the young and attractive are raped.
  • Only those who are provocative are raped.
  • Rape is not a big deal – it is only sex.
  • Most rapes are interracial.
  • Most non-acquaintance rapes are planned.
  • Rapists are usually sexual deviants.

What to do if you are assaulted

Get away from the attacker to a safe place and call 911 or the police.
Call a friend or family member you can trust. Also call a crisis center hotline.
Do not wash, comb or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes or touch anything at the scene of the assault.
Go to the nearest hospital emergency room. You need to be examined, treated for injuries and screened for sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy.
At the hospital you can file a police report.
Ask the hospital to connect you with a local rape crisis center if you have not already made contact.

How to lower your risk of being assaulted

Be aware of your surroundings.
Walk with confidence.
Know your limits when it comes to using alcohol.
Be assertive—act immediately—get angry.
Trust your instincts—if you feel uncomfortable, leave.
Don’t prop open self-locking doors.
Lock your door and your windows—even when leaving for few minutes.
Watch your keys. Don’t lend them and don’t put your name and address on the key ring.
Watch out for unwanted visitors—know who is on the other side of the door.
Be wary of isolated spots.
Avoid walking or jogging alone especially at night. Vary your route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
Have your key ready to use before you reach the door—home, car or work.
Park in well-lit areas and lock the car.
Drive on well-traveled streets.
Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas.
In case of car trouble, call for help on your cell phone. If you don’t have a phone, put the hood up-, lock the doors and put a banner in the rear window that says, “Help. Call police.”
Be aware that nothing you do is a guarantee against sexual assault.



In 75-80% of all cases involving children, the offender is someone known to the victim

Physical force is not usually used

Often there is not actual intercourse

The offender usually makes the child promise not to tell anyone



Talking to your child before an assault happens is the best prevention

Knowing perpetrator tactics and how a child may react can help you detect sexual abuse

Responding appropriately when your child is victimized can make all the difference in her/his healing process

National Center for Victims of Crime - 2010

  • Victims age 12 or older experienced a total of 188,380 rapes or sexual assaults in 2010.
  • 92% of rape or sexual assault victims were female.
  • Of female victims, 25% were assaulted by a stranger, 48% by friends or acquaintances and 17% were intimate partners.
  • 49.6% of all rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement.

Sexual acts which fall under the category of sexual assault include:

  • Forced sexual intercourse (rape)
  • Sodomy (oral or anal sexual acts)
  • Child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape
  • Any sexual behavior a person has not consented to that causes that person to feel uncomfortable, frightened or intimidated

Examples of Sexual
Assault Charges

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Sodomy
  • Lascivious Acts
  • Indecent contact
  • Indecent Exposure

Shelter: (605) 996-2765  •  Hotline: (605) 996-4440  •  Visitation Center: 605-996-8880

Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center
1809 North Wisconsin, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301