NurseAsk Nurse Lisa

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Challenging Topic

This topic can be challenging for some, especially for people with relevant experiences. Remember to take care of yourself, and be aware of your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical status. Be sure to take breaks, if needed.

If you need someone to talk to, please visit the Get Care page for resources specific to your circumstances.

84% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows
 What do these words really mean?

Rape is sexual intercourse vaginally, anally, or orally without consent.

Sexual Assault is any sexual contact without consent.

Sexual Harassment can include verbal or visual assaults, as well as cornering or unwelcome touching. Comments about someone’s gender, sexuality, or sexual activity, exposing oneself, gesturing or mimicking sexual acts, exposing someone to porn, whistles, crude jokes, and unwanted tickling all fall under sexual harassment.

What is consent?

When we talk about consent, that means we’re talking about both people saying yes to having the other person touch their bodies in a sexual way. Without consent is the absence of yes OR the presence of no. There are multiple ways for someone to say no and all of them need to be respected.

  • “I’m blacked out/passed out” means no.
  • “Let’s just kiss” means no.
  • “You’re not my type” means no.
  • “#$!-*& off!” means no.
  • “Not now” means no.
  • “You’ve/I’ve had too much to drink” means no.
  • “Maybe later” means no.
  • “No thanks” means no.
  • “I’m not comfortable going there” means no.
  • “Don’t touch me there” means no.
  • “I really like you but…” means no.
  • “I’m not sure about this” means no.
  • “No” means no.
  • “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend” means no.
  • Silence means no.

“Without Consent” is the absence of Yes.

“Without Consent” is Rape.

Consent should be from both people who are sober, and sex is wanted by both people. Silence or giving in should never be considered consent. Giving in to avoid injury is NOT consent. No person under the age of 16 can legally give consent.

Anyone – no matter their gender – can be a victim of a sex crime. All forms of sexual assault and rape are criminal and never the victim’s fault.

What to do if you are sexually assaulted

After being assaulted, it is almost impossible to think about who and where to go for support and services. You may not feel in control of your emotions or feel numb or not want to think or deal with the assault. Man or woman, being assaulted is traumatic and you deserve to be cared for. In many larger communities and hub cities, there are Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) at local hospitals to help you immediately after you have been assaulted and shortly after you have assaulted to receive medical care and support services, even if you do not wish to report the assault to law enforcement. You do not have to report the assault to law enforcements to receive medical care and support services.

Why talk to a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)?
  • Assists patients to receive needed medical care about an assault (including testing and treatment for STDs, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception)
  • Collects forensic evidence for use in legal prosecution
  • Offers referrals for mental health or social services
  • Offers follow up medical care
After the assault
  • Go to a safe place
  • If you have injuries, go to the village clinic or hospital ER
  • If you can, report the assault to law enforcement, either the village police, state troopers, or local police. Being assaulted is a crime, keep talking to a law enforcement official until you find one that will listen.
  • Do not eat, drink, shower, use the restroom, brush your teeth, floss, wash or clean your hands, or change your clothes until you talk to a healthcare provider or law enforcement
  • Do not clean up or throw anything away at the place of the assault or relating to the assault until you talk to a healthcare provider or law enforcement
You do not have to report the assault to law enforcement to receive medical care and support services.

Remember, no matter what happened or if you reported the assault or not, you deserve to have help. To find someone to talk to or to help in your region, go to our Get Help section.

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Care page.