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Sexual Assault and Rape

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Treatment After Sexual Assault or Rape

  • If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, you should be examined and treated for sexually transmitted diseases. See a health care provider as soon as possible and get checked again at regular intervals to make sure that no sexually transmitted diseases have developed.
  • Most women are given emergency contraception in the form of birth control pills that decrease the chance that pregnancy will result from the assault.
  • You may be treated for hepatitis B infection if the assailant is likely to have had hepatitis (a series of shots over two months).
  • You will be tested for HIV and pregnancy. HIV testing should be repeated every three to six months. If it has been six months and you have not had a positive HIV test, it is not likely that any infection occurred or will occur.
  • You should get counseling, and the incident should be discussed. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience. The goal for all victims is to recover and put the bad event behind them.

Forms of Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault is defined by law as forced or nonconsensual sexual contact. Victims (both men and women) of sexual assault can be compelled or forced to participate through fear, physical force, deception, other forms of coercion, or the use of intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs. Some forms of sexual assault do not require the use of force, but are still considered criminal. Sexual assault has taken place if sexual contact has happened that has not been consented to in a conscious and voluntary way.

Sexual assault can take many forms.

Forms of sexual assault with force

  • Sexual assault can include any sexual activity, including: 
    • Contact or penetration of the vagina with the penis (intercourse, rape)
    • Anal contact or penetration (sodomy)
    • Oral contact of the male on the genitalia of the female
    • Oral contact of the female on the genitalia of the male
    • Hand to genitalia contact (masturbation, fondling, or penetration)
  • Contact between any body parts and the private parts of another can be construed as lewd and lascivious conduct or sexual battery (a legal term for any other ill-defined behavior that is intended to arouse sexual pleasure for the assailant). Lewd and lascivious conduct and sexual battery are very broad categories of sexual assault used by law enforcement when exactly what happened is not clear.
  • Forced nudity, photography, and video of people in sexual poses against their wishes are also forms of sexual assault.

Forms of sexual assault without force: In other sexualized behaviors, including groping in crowds, secret photographing, or peeping, force or fear of harm may be absent due to the nature of the activity. These behaviors are still regarded as sexual assault. When the acts are ill defined, the lack of consent and the intent to arouse sexual gratification will be used as a test to determine if the behavior is a sexual assault.

WebMD Medical Reference

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