Do you know what sexual assault really is? Do you know how to define it? For a long while I didn’t. Did it mean someone gave me a quick grope? or become more physical where you are fighting someone off you?
The definition of sexual assault is rape, sodomy, sexual penetration and unwanted contact of a sexual nature against a person, man, woman or child. This means touching of a sexual area, even over clothing i.e. fondling. A perpetrator will use coercion, violence, threats, manipulation and tricks.
Sexual assault effects women, men and children, anyone can assaulted. Women generally are assaulted by a boyfriend, acquaintance, someone close to them, where as male sexual assault is usually perpetrated by by multiple assailants and multiple times. The effect on men is usually more physical than women due to the amount of assailants involved. However the mental traumatic effects are the same and usually show as symptoms of RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome) or RR-PTSD Rape Related Post traumatic Stress Syndrome, which I covered in a previous blog: Rape Trauma Syndrome; There is light at the end of the tunnel
I could give you all of the statistics but you can read those at the links I have provided at the bottom, lets break it down to a personal level, because statistics are interesting, but I always want to bring you in on a discussion.
Ask yourself this, “Were you ever fondled inappropriately?” “Where you ever coerced into an act you didn’t want to do?” Think about it… a kiss you didn’t want to either receive or give? Did someones hands stray on you when they shouldn’t? Or make you watch porn, when you didn’t want to? Yes, it includes rape, sodomy, oral but it’s a subject which covers so much more, including verbal pressure, wolf-whistles even!
Most people can tell what happened to them, here’s mine:
I ran a mortgage company back in the UK specializing in residential and commercial loans which were hard to place, non-conforming basically. The rates for clients were amazing, some cheaper than the “High Street” Banks and with less redemption. I loved it! Especially helping people which, for me is really what it was about. Those suffering financially after a divorce or split, losing a job or a loved one, every one of my clients had a heartfelt story and just needed to be placed back into the marketplace again as a good consumer with their lives pieced back together. I worked with several lenders, each had their own specialty.
One evening, I received a fax to say one of them had gone out of business, that was it… overnight! I had clients completing their purchases the next day, boxes packed and ready to move as soon as the confirmation came through that the wire transfer had hit. It was a difficult time. I re-arranged the loans and people moved but the company kept telling me how they were coming back after an 8 week re-group. Okay, not a problem I thought and invited one of the directors down of a weekend , which had been done previously many times. We got on well, we were “work family” after all!
I cooked a nice meal, he was staying in our house. We visited the local fair. It was a wonderful evening. I sat next to him on the sofa, my boyfriend sat in chair, because he would go to fetch things constantly, until one time when he walked out of the room and the director pounced on me! I’ve thought back over this and the only way to describe it was “pounce”, hands everywhere, telling me he loved and I had the “x factor” which at the time was just to weird to comprehend! My boyfriend would walk back into the room and the director would behave like nothing had happened. I was stunned because although telling him to stop, he’d try something different. The last time my boyfriend walked out, when I was giving him the signals to “Stay!”, but he didn’t see me. The last time he walked out of the room the “director” offered me a “Quid pro quo”, which was sleep with him that night … in the bedroom next to mine, I shared with my boyfriend or… I wouldn’t get his mortgage funding when he came back into the marketplace.
The Police informed me when I went to see them it was classed as “Sexual Assault” I started the process of pressing charges. The director even had to drive the 250 miles back to make a statement, but my employees panicked that every lender would drop us. To keep my happy workplace, and my employees who were like family to me and needed wages to survive, I dropped the case, needless to say… I didn’t get funding when they did come back into the marketplace! And neither did I want it!
Now I don’t just yell assault for the sake of it, but you’re going to fight with me physically, using your fists, try to kiss me, when I already said no and place your hands on my breasts and squeeze? After what I had been through already? I think not!
Now I know there are men, women and children suffering from this everyday, day in and day out. If you have been assaulted say something! To someone! It’s not you’re fault, you are not alone. There is help out there, get it. Don’t clean up or brush your teeth, your hair or cover the bruises… GET HELP! You cannot deal with this alone. Go to the Police, call a helpline, you will need help both physically and emotionally!