This online brochure from the HELP Brochure Series of the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) addresses the characteristics of sexual violence, identifies victimization needs that frequently occur as a result of sexual violence, and provides information on services available for victims and how to access them.
The brochure advises that the term "sexual violence" refers to a broad range of unwanted sexual activities that include sexual assault, rape or attempted rape, child sexual molestation or abuse, incest, statutory rape, spousal or intimate partner rape, fondling, forced or coerced pornography, sex trafficking, and forced or coerced prostitution. Sex offenders are motivated by the need to control, humiliate, and harm their victims. The brochure indicates that victims often experience a variety of physical reactions, including changes in eating habits and sleeping patterns. Emotionally, victims may become socially withdrawn, feel powerless, lose a sense of self-worth, and become depressed. The brochure advises victims that rape crisis centers or sexual assault centers have hotlines and staff trained to assist victims in dealing with adverse effects of a sexual offense and provide resources, whether or not the victim reports the crime to police. The brochure reviews the type of support victims can expect from a rape crisis center or sexual assault program. Options for accessing victim services are listed, including contacting a person you trust to provide support, accessing medical attention from a professionally trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), and obtaining advice from the SANE or a rape crisis professional on reporting the offense to the police. Statistics are provided on sexual violence in the United States, along with contact information on nationwide resources for victims of sexual violence.