Sexual assault includes 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 through clothes, without that person's consent. Some types of 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. Perpetrators of sexual assault can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members. Perpetrators commit sexual assault by way of violence, threats, coercion, manipulation, pressure or tricks. Whatever the circumstances, no one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.
Examples of domestic violence may include:
- name-calling or putdowns
- keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
- actual or threatened physical harm
- physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.)
- sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity)
The failure to provide for the childís basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or coats). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use.
The inflicting of physical injury upon a child. This may include, burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or otherwise harming a child.
The inappropriate sexual behavior with a child. It includes fondling a childís genitals, making the child fondle the adultís genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism and sexual exploitation.
A safety plan means things you can do to keep you and your children safe from domestic violence.
If you are still in the relationship:
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
- Keep change with you at all times.
- Memorize all important numbers.
- Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if he\she becomes violent.
Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number.
- Screen calls.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.
- Call a shelter for battered women.
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.
Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)
If you are being abused, REMEMBER
You are not alone
It is not your fault
Help is available