SEXUAL ASSAULT is an act of violence, which takes female's control over their bodies, rights and feelings away from them. Sexual assault is a criminal offence.
Any behaviour of a sexual nature that makes you feel uncomfortable, frightened, and intimidated and that you have not agreed to constitutes sexual assault or harassment. This includes someone touching, fondling or kissing you when you don't want to and can also include behaviour which doesn't involve touching, such as forcing someone to look at pornographic films, magazines or photos or being forced to pose while someone takes pictures of you or films you. Some forms of sexual harassment (unlawful, unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature) may also constitute sexual assault.
Sometimes people may feel that because the act wasn't as extreme as rape that it doesn't constitute sexual assault. A violation of one's body, no matter how small it may be considered, is still a crime.STATS:
SOME COMMON MYTHS:
- By the time they are 18, 38 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys have been sexually assaulted.
- Approximately 97 per cent of adult sexual assault victims are women.
- A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that three-quarters of sexual assaults on women are not reported to police.
- Sexual assault won't happen to me - this is a very naïve approach as anyone can be sexually assaulted, there is no one type of person.
- Only certain types of girls experience sexual assault like young, sexually attractive girls.
- Children lie about sexual assault - children don't usually lie about sexual assault. Younger children do not understand what it is, and older teens are often too embarrassed or frightened to disclose actual assaults, let alone make them up. In reality, children tend to minimize the situation, rather than make it up or exaggerate.
A person who has experienced some form of sexual assault will notably be distressed, as sexual assault is a humiliating and often violent experience. However, every person who experiences sexual assault reacts in a different way. There is no right or wrong way to feel and no set time for when you should be feeling better.
These are some symptoms which victims might experience after their ordeals:
VICTIMS NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
- Problems with sleeping, regular nightmares.
- A feeling of having no control over things that happen to you.
- Difficulty in concentrating on study or work.
- Feeling guilty or shameful.
- Problems trusting others and being afraid or uncomfortable about sexual relationships.
If you know of someone who has been a victim of sexual assault, the most important help you can provide is your support.
The first step to dealing with any form of sexual abuse is to tell people. By telling carefully chosen and trusted people, you have the opportunity to gain support. Telling the right person may help you feel less isolated and break the silence that may have surrounded your experiences.
REMEMBER: There is NO excuse for any type of sexual assault as NO ONE has the right to sexually assault you!
** If you would like further information or support for 'Sexual Assault' please visit http://www.northern.casa.org.au
- Annemarie Failla