FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PAGES ON SEXUAL ASSAULT
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not
agree to, including:
- inappropriate touching
- vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
- sexual intercourse that you say no to
- attempted rape
- child molestation
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to
join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism
(when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone
exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family
members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a
stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you
Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many
situations ó on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think
you are alone. Educate yourself on ďdate rapeĒ drugs. They can be slipped
into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink
unattended ó no matter where you are. Try to always be aware of your
surroundings. Date rape drugs make a person unable to resist assault and can
cause memory loss so the victim doesnít know what happened.
What do I do if Iíve been sexually assaulted?
Take steps right away if youíve been sexually assaulted.
- Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then
call 911 or the police.
- Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis
center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. One hotline is the
National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).
Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to
get counseling from a trusted professional.
- Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change
clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not
touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
- Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You
need to be examined, treated for any injuries, and screened for possible
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy. The doctor will
collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or
clothing that the attacker may have left behind.
- You or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency
room to file a report.
- Ask the hospital staff about possible support groups you can attend
Where else can I go for help?
If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Donít be afraid to
ask for help or support. Help is available. You can call these
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
There are many organizations and hotlines in every state and territory.
These crisis centers and agencies work hard to stop assaults and help
victims. You can find contact information for these organizations at
http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence/state/. You also can
obtain the numbers of shelters, counseling services, and legal assistance in
your phone book.
How can I protect myself from being sexually assaulted?
There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually
assaulted. Follow these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
- Be aware of your surroundings ó whoís out there and whatís going on.
- Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the stronger you
- Donít let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment.
- Be assertive ó donít let anyone violate your space.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in your
- Donít prop open self-locking doors.
- Lock your door and your windows, even if you leave for just a few
- Watch your keys. Donít lend them. Donít leave them. Donít lose them.
And donít put your name and address on the key ring.
- Watch out for unwanted visitors. Know whoís on the other side of the
door before you open it.
- Be wary of isolated spots, like underground garages, offices after
business hours, and apartment laundry rooms.
- Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night. Vary your
route. Stay in well-traveled, well-lit areas.
- Have your key ready to use before you reach the door ó home, car, or
- Park in well-lit areas and lock the car, even if youíll only be gone
a few minutes.
- Drive on well-traveled streets, with doors and windows locked.
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
- Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in the tank.
- In case of car trouble, call for help on your cellular phone. If you
donít have a phone, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put a banner in
the rear mirror that says, ďHelp. Call police.Ē
How can I help someone who has been sexually assaulted?
You can help someone who is abused or who has been assaulted by listening
and offering comfort. Go with her or him to the police, the hospital, or to
counseling. Reinforce the message that she or he is not at fault and that it
is natural to feel angry and ashamed.
EXPERIENCE OF THIS LAW OFFICE
Howard A. Gutman has been handling personal
injury claims and other types of litigation for over 15 years. Prior to
establishing his practice, Mr. Gutman was employed by one of the leading law
firms in New Jersey and a prominent international law firm located in the Wall
Street area. He has appeared on Good Day New Jersey been interviewed by NBC
Nightly News and Newsday, and his cases have been profiled in the Star Ledger,
Bureau of National Affairs Magazine, and New York Times.
HOW DO I CONTACT YOU
Law Offices of Howard A. Gutman,
230 Route 206 (near Routes 80 and 46)
Mount Olive, New Jersey 07836
Directions to our office
New York Office
305 Madison Avenue, Suite 449
New York, New York 10165 (212) 886-4838 (please call our NJ
office for initial consultations)
We offer a free initial telephone consultation to
discuss your case. Please feel free to call or e-mail our office.
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