Apr 22, 2018
Welcome to this special Sexual Assault Awareness Month Episode!
I'm sharing two episodes from early in Therapy Chat's life on the
issue of sexual assault. After the #MeToo movement, founded by
Tarana Burke, ignited on social media over the past year, the
general public began to understand what most women and many men
already knew: sexual violence can affect anyone, and its effects
are deep and longlasting. This is a problem in our culture which
can be ended, but not without everyone gaining awareness.
Statistics indicate that one in four women and one in six men will
be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. April is Sexual
Assault Awareness Month, a great time to learn more about this
important issue. Here's an article from the New York Times about
why Tarana Burke started this movement:
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- Two types of sexual assault are Childhood Sexual Abuse (to be
covered in a later episode) and Sexual Assault/Rape not involving a
child. This is our focus today.
- If you are assaulted, you have several options to
- Call a Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline. Visit the Rape, Abuse,
and Incest National Network at www.rainn.org.
- Most hospitals provide a forensic evidence exam at no cost to
you, within 120 hours of the assault. Your state's sexual assault
coalition can give you a list of hospitals with forensic
- It is your personal decision whether or not to report the
assault to the police and you can usually receive an evidence
collection exam without reporting to police.
- The victim should tell someone who will be supportive. Visit
Violence Against Women International.) Check out their “Start by
- The US military and most colleges/universities have separate
options for reporting sexual assault.
- Keep in mind that the civil legal process is another option
outside the criminal investigation; a settlement can be obtained
without bringing criminal charges.
- The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Abuse (MCASA) is an
outstanding resource for survivors. http://www.mcasa.org/
- Find a Sexual Assault Crisis Center Directory at www.centers.rainn.org.
- There are some common reactions of victims following sexual
abuse. Find a comprehensive list at www.musc.edu.
- There are many community events across the country in April to
bring awareness to sexual assault. Some events include The
Clothesline Project, The Monument Quilt, Performances of The Vagina
Monologues (find info at: www.vday.org), Take Back the Night, and
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.
This is Part 2 of a series about Sexual Assault Awareness, and
today’s focus is on Childhood Sexual Abuse. Let’s jump right into
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- Childhood Sexual Abuse is “a form of child abuse including
sexual activity with a minor who is not capable of consenting.”
Remember that a child CANNOT give consent to sexual activity!
- Childhood Sexual Abuse is not always physical contact, but can
include digital/online interaction, fondling, exhibitionism, child
pornography, sex trafficking, and much more.
- In 93% of cases, the sexual abuser of a child is someone known
to the child or the family.
- Most statistics under-represent the frequency of occurrence,
but data indicates 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be sexually
abused during childhood.
- Up to 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males have been
sexually abused during childhood.
- There is an increased risk of sexual assault later in life when
a child has had their boundaries violated in this way.
- Most offenders are male, with about 33% being juveniles.
- There is often a “grooming process” used by the abuser to draw
the child into a sexual relationship, and usually, the abuser will
fill roles of trust and value in the victim’s family. This makes it
harder for children to come forward and makes them more likely to
believe they are responsible for the abuse
- The effects of childhood sexual abuse can include emotional
problems, mental health issues, behavioral problems, and academic
- The effects can also include PTSD, depression, anxiety,
suicide, and eating disorders.
- Many times these behaviors are not recognized as signs of
- Protect children by showing interest in their lives, knowing
the people in their lives, and knowing caregivers especially
- Background checks and the sex offender registry are NOT
- Know how to ask questions to the child and how to respond
without judgment and blame.
- Report abuse to the police and, if applicable, to Child
- Call the Child Help National Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
- Help is available at sexual abuse crisis centers. Visit
search by zip code.
- When seeking a therapist look for one with specific training in
the field of sexual abuse. Not all therapists are qualified to help
in all areas. The therapist should have knowledge and experience in
- Other resources include: victimsofcrime.org and
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 to speak to
someone who can help you if you need someone to talk to after
listening to this episode. The phone number (US Only) is:
The RAINN chat hotline is available at: https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp
Register for the Authentic Self Two Day Retreat with Charlotte
Hiler Easley, LCSW and Laura Reagan, LCSW-C at: https://laurareaganlcswc.com/retreat