8 Things You Should Know About Rape

Someone is sexually assaulted or raped in the United States every two minutes. While sexually violent crimes may be prevalent, many misunderstandings continue regarding these crimes and what actually constitutes as rape. Rape is defined as a type of sexual assault that usually involves sexual intercourse or some other form of sexual penetration that is carried out against a party without their consent. Rape can occur by someone you know, a loved one, or a total stranger. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual assault, here’s what you should know.

1. Many Victims Do Not Acknowledge Rape

While approximately 1 in every 6 women is a rape victim, few acknowledge this status. Instead of using the term ‘rape,’ many women believe that their experience was simply a miscommunication in the bedroom or just ‘bad sex.’ However, this is not always the case. Even if you say ‘no’ just once, it can be considered rape. The circumstances surrounding the incident do not matter as long as the intercourse was forced or coerced. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult for someone to acknowledge that they were actually raped, a circumstance that can distort their views on sex for a lifetime.

2. Many Victims Do Not Report Rape

Rape may go unreported by victims who do know acknowledge that they have been raped and by victims who realize that they have been raped. There are a number of reasons a knowing victim may not report a rape to law officials, such as fear of retaliation. Some victims believe that the police will not do anything to help them or that the incident was not important enough to report. If the perpetrator was someone that the victim knew, he or she may believe that it’s a personal matter that should be dealt with in private. In some instances, the victim does not want to get the perpetrator into legal trouble.

3. It’s Important to Seek Medical Attention Immediately

After you have suffered a rape, time is of the essence. If possible, seek medical attention from the closest emergency room immediately. Once at the hospital, staff can collect forensic evidence to ensure that the perpetrator is caught. However, these samples are time sensitive. Do not shower or bathe before going to the ER, as this can wash away crucial evidence. You may also choose to undergo a rape kit, which involves collecting hair samples and acquiring swab samples and scrapings.

4. Males Can Also Be Victims of Rape

While rapes are most often associated with women, men too can be victims. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Both boys and men can experience the social stigma that surrounds the survivors of sexual assault. Many men will also face more difficulties after reporting a rape due to the stereotypes that say that men must be tough and masculine. However, men and boys who have experienced rape have many of the same problems as women, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

5. Not All Rape Cases Go to Court

If you are hesitant to report a rape because you do not want to bring your case in front of a judge, know that not all rape cases go to court. Many sexual assault cases are settled with a plea bargain, which is a mutual agreement between the perpetrator and the victim’s prosecutor. In most plea bargains, the perpetrator will accept plead guilty to rape in return for a lesser penalty than the perpetrator would get at trial. While the perpetrator may not deserve a lighter sentence, a plea bargain can prevent a victim from having to testify in court.

6. Many Victims Find Solace through Outside Support

After experiencing a horrible situation such a rape, it’s important to have people around you that you can count on. Family, friends, trained counselors, and mental health professionals may provide the support you need to help you recover from your assault. Having someone there to talk to and share your feelings with can be comforting. It’s also important to realize that you’re not the only one who has experienced such violent assaults and that it is possible to move on and be happy again.

7. It’s Normal To Have Concerns

Many victims of rape have concerns that may prevent them from reporting the incident to law officials. If the victim suffered an attempted rape and the perpetrator got away, you may be worried that he or she will return or that your report will not be taken seriously. If you know the perpetrator, you may be wondering how you will manage to continue your normal life without running into that person. Many victims also worry that there will not be enough proof to prove a case. However, it’s important to know that an experienced lawyer will know how to put a case together based on what you do have.

8. Know that the Rape Is Not the Victim’s Fault

Victims often blame themselves after they’ve experienced a rape. Many victims believe that they “asked for it” by wearing certain clothing, dancing seductively, flirting too much, or by consuming alcohol or drugs. No matter what the circumstances are that led to the sexual assault, rape is never the victim’s fault. There is only one person to blame for a rape and that is the rapist.

When to Contact a Lawyer for Help

If you or a loved one has been raped or sexually assaulted, know that you have rights. After contacting the authorities, it is wise to speak with a seasoned Atlanta sexual assault attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases. Contact The Dixon Firm for advice and information to ensure that you’re well informed about where you stand and how you should proceed with your case. We will always have your best interest at heart and will do our best to ensure that you receive the recovery you deserve for any physical, emotional, or mental trauma you have suffered.