Sexual Assault Services Office Located:
17222 Hospital Blvd. Suite 214 Brooksville, Florida 34601
Monday - Friday 10am-5pm (Additional hours available by appointment 352-592-1288)
or contact the 24 hour helpline 352-686-8430
SEXUAL VIOLENCE IS A CRIME.
According to the National Department of Justice, Sexual Assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
As shown in the statistics to the left, rapists are not biased. Women, men, and children can be victims of sexual violence. It is important to understand the concept that rapists are the only ones who can truly prevent rape, so we should never blame the victim. Although statistically it is men who commit most assaults--------> Most men do not assault. It is a small population of men who perpetrate sexual violence, so it is very important to make Sexual Violence a conversation that MEN and WOMEN talk about together!
SOME VICTIMS ARE CONCERNED WITH REPORTING!
If you have questions or concerns about reporting to law enforcement, you are not alone. The list below may have answers to some common questions that are on your mind.
The perpetrator got scared away or stopped before finishing the assault.
Attempted rape is a serious crime and can be reported. Reports of attempted rape and other assaults are taken seriously.
I know the person who hurt me.
About 2/3 of victims know the perpetrator. It can be unnerving to be violated by someone you know. Regardless of who the perpetrator is, sexual violence is against the law.
I’ve been intimate with the perpetrator in the past, or am currently in a relationship with the perpetrator.
Sexual violence can occur within a relationship. Giving someone consent in the past does not give them consent for any act in the future. If you did not consent, they acted against the law—and you can report it.
I have no physical injuries, and I’m worried there’s not enough proof.
Most acts of sexual violence do not result in external physical injuries. It's important to receive medical attention to check for internal injuries. You can also choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam to check for DNA evidence that may not be visible on the surface. For a forensic exam in Hernando County you can contact law enforcement or have an exam without reporting to law enforcement by contacting Dawn Center's 24/7 hotline at 352-686-8430.
I’m worried law enforcement won’t believe me.
There has been great investment in law enforcement training on this topic. While there are occasional exceptions, most law enforcement officers are understanding and on your side. If you do encounter someone who isn't taking your case seriously, ask for their supervisor and let your local sexual assault service provider know.
I don’t want to get in trouble.
Sometimes minors are afraid of being disciplined, either by the law or by their parents, because they were doing something they shouldn’t have when the abuse occurred. For example, a teen might have been consuming alcohol, or a child might have been breaking a house rule. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is a crime—no matter the circumstances. Nothing you did caused this to happen and it is NOT YOUR FAULT.
Dawn Center provides advocacy and support services to survivors of sexual assault and their families. Services include a 24 hour helpline, outreach advocacy, group counseling, individual advocacy, forensic exam, legal advocacy, emergency shelter and other services based on the individual needs. For 24/7 helpline services, contact 352-686-8430. For outreach services, contact 352-592-1288. Survivors of sexual assault need support from their loved ones, their friends, and their community. A survivor is not required to report to law enforcement, that is their choice. However, even if they choose not to report they can still have the forensic exam performed to collect evidence in case they decide to report at a later date.
Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on a survivor. These effects aren’t always easy to deal with, but with the right help and support they can be managed. Learning more can help you find the best form of care to begin the healing process.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Prolonged feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear can be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some survivors of sexual assault may use self-harm to cope with difficult or painful feelings.
It’s possible for memories of a past trauma to feel like they are taking place in the current moment.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
STI's can occur during any sex act, even if this contact was unwanted or forced.
Feelings of sadness and unhappiness that have a negative impact on your life could be a sign of depression.
There are a number of reasons that survivors report using substances like alcohol and drugs.
Some refer to dissociation as "checking out". It is one of the many defense mechanisms the brain can use to cope with the trauma of sexual violence.
Sexual violence can have an effect on the survivor's perceived body image and affect their eating habits.
Oftentimes survivors have questions about pregnancy. These questions are best answered by healthcare professionals who can discuss the survivor’s physical health.
Sleep disorders are medical conditions that affect the quality of sleep by interfering with normal sleep patterns. Symptoms can include trouble falling or staying asleep, sleeping at unusual times of day, or sleeping for longer or shorter than usual. Sleep is important for restoring physical and mental health, especially for survivors. Some sleep disorders include nightmares, sleep terrors, insomnia.
It’s important to know that many people think about suicide at one time or another in their lives. If you are having suicidal thoughts, it may mean you are in crisis and need support.
Over 68% of all rapes go unreported. Less than 2% of reported rapes are proven to be false reports. So why does our culture not believe the victim? Even when the victim is believed, well-meaning people ask questions like:
"What were you wearing?"
"Why were you there alone?"
"How much did you drink?"