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Help for rape victims and survivors of all kinds of sexual assault. Find definitions, causes, effects, survival-recovery help and related pages on incest, child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Stop:  If you have recently been sexually assaulted, call 1.800.656.HOPE.   This is the number for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.  They can help you begin your recovery process.

Rape Victims Help:  Before we start, I must admit I've never been raped.  Not only can I not identify, I can't imagine what it would be like to have someone force me to have sex with them.  Of all the various forms of abuse we've covered, this must be among the most harmful. I want you to know no matter how you feel right now, you did nothing to cause this.  As we go through all this, try to keep focused on the fact that there is hope to regain a normal happy life.

What Is Rape or Sexual Assault?  Sexual assault (rape) is when one person forces another to engage in or endure sexual activities against their will.  The victim may not even participate, but be forced to witness sexual activities.  On the other hand, the victim may be forced by the rapist to engage in sexual activities with a third party, an animal or an inanimate object...it's still rape.  The force can be knife or gunpoint, brute force, drugs, alcohol, threat of bodily harm...even threat of dismissal of employment.  Despite the insulting clich√©'s, there are many male rape victims.  In fact, the prevailing attitudes about manhood probably result in far fewer male rape victims reporting the crime, so they won't be further demeaned.  It's sad that people who would never suggest a female rape victim "got what she wanted" would have no problem saying of a man, "you can't rape the willing."  Let's face two facts:  1.  Men and women have sex drives.  2.  Rape isn't about sex.  Here are some of the recent top-selling books to help rape victims recover.

When you accept that sexual assault is not about sex, you can understand rape far better.  Rape is about exerting power and control...making someone powerless, even over their own body.  There has been much attention made of the "questionable" motives of women going willingly into a hotel room, then claiming rape.  I say, why couldn't she expect to be able to say, "stop."  Sexual relations are about mutual satisfaction and respect...not dominance.  I can easily see someone who originally wanted a sexual encounter saying "stop."   As a young man, I heard the word "stop" a few times.  There is no "point of no return."  Date rape is real.  Marital rape is just as real.  If someone suggests you asked for it, don't accept this.  It isn't your fault!

Effects Of Sexual Assault:  As harmful as rape can be physically, the real effects usually hide deep below the surface to come out at unexpected times and in unanticipated ways.  Predictable common effects include avoidance of normal sexual relations, depression, phobias, anxieties, self-loathing and anger.  If you're going through some of this, understand that it's normal.  There are normally surprise effects, for instance, years later, you could be in a meeting with a particularly assertive business associate and react as if they were about to rape you.  When someone is pressuring you, your mind can associate the pressure with the assault and cause serious consequences, particularly if you've taken self-defense since the rape.  Even if you don't beat them up, you could verbally attack or threaten, or emotionally shut down, none of which are considered good business skills.  A similar normal long-term consequence is an oversensitivity to pressure you see applied to others.  Maybe you see kids arguing (being kids) and overreact by separating them and not letting them play together again.  You could hear a neighbor couple disagreeing and call the police, thinking an assault was taking place.  Understand that long term you will be hypersensitive to pressure situations so you can try to moderate yourself somewhat.

A group of emotional responses to rape can be so harmful, they deserve their own paragraph.  It starts immediately, usually during the assault and can be with you for years if not resolved.  These emotions usually revolve around guilt, but include anger, powerlessness and fear, and are very unexpected and shocking to rape victims.  It's common among both male and female rape victims, to feel guilty because the attack resulted in their body responding literally against their will.  Their mind associates this with "pleasure" they weren't supposed to have, so they feel guilty, along with all the other emotions.  If this is one of the feelings you've had, understand that orgasm is a bodily response to physical stimulus...it doesn't mean you wanted or enjoyed what was happening.  Rape renders you powerless even over your own body.  This is one of the most harmful things about sexual assault, because it causes you to despise yourself and deny yourself a normal, healthy and happy sex-life as you were designed to have.  You can have that again.

Rape Recovery Help:  As a rape victim, after you've experienced some of the terrible things we just covered, it may be difficult for you to believe you can have a happy, healthy, fulfilling life...even an enjoyable sex life again...but you can.  I'm not promising there is anyone or anything that will go back into the past and make your rape un-happen.  What I am saying is, despite the fact it happened, you can be made whole.  There is a lot of work you and everyone around you will do to help you recover.  I hope some of the books and sites I've referred you to will help.  Even with all that help, even with the work, and counselors and the most patient people in the world in your life, that can only take you part of the way.  The One who can heal you and make you whole is God.  He made you and knows exactly where you need His help the most.  He can restore you to a happy and fulfilling life.  If you want God's help, click on God help me.

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