The Women's Center, Inc.

The Women's Center Inc. serving Columbia and Montour County

Sexual Assault Info

Sexual assault can happen to an adult or child. Adults are sexually assaulted when someone forces, coerces or tricks them into some kind of sexual activity against their will. Sexual assault happens when someone does not or cannot consent to the sexual acts. This might mean someone does not want to have sex, but is forced to.

Telling about a sexual assault is the first and one of the hardest steps in healing from the pain of abuse. When you tell about your experiences of sexual assault, it may be helpful to know that:

  • You are not to blame for the assault no matter how it occurred or how you responded to it. No one ever has the right to abuse anyone else for any reason.
  • You did not ask to be abused, no matter what you did or who abused you. No one ever wants to be abused; we do want attention, affection, to be touched and comforted. But wanting affection does not mean wanting to be abused.
  • You did not deserve to be abused. No one deserves to be abused, no matter what they do.
  • You are not alone. One in two women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. Sexual abuse is very common in our world and you share these experiences with many other people.

FACTS:

  • Sexual violence remains the most dramatically under reported crime, with an estimated two-thirds of attacks unreported.
  • Every minute in America there are 1.3 rapes of women.
  • Sexual assault remains the most dramatically underreported crime, with two-thirds of attacks unreported. Friends and acquaintances commit more than half of reported sexual assaults and rapes.

Date and Acquaintance Rape

The majority of all rapes of women are known as acquaintance rapes, in which the victim knows her attacker. Eighty percent of victims are assaulted by someone they know. Women who are most often raped are between 16 – 24 years of age. Since this is the period when young women begin to date, they are particularly vulnerable to being a victim of date rape. The peak rate of victimization occurs in the 16 – 19 year-old age group, with the next highest rate of victimization occurring between 20 and 24 years of age. Eight in ten college rapes involved someone the attacker knew, more than half involved a date. Eighty-six percent of these rapes occurred in off-campus housing or in a car—Prior to the rape forty-two percent had not been sexually active.

Take steps to avoid Date and Acquaintance Rape

  • AVOID isolated places;
  • AVOID going by yourself to a room where someone has been drinking;
  • CLEARLY communicate your sexual intentions—”NO” MEANS “NO”;
  • TRUST your instincts – if you sense something is wrong or get a bad feeling, get out of the situation immediately.

FACTS:

  • Over 70% of all rapes go unreported;
  • Only 2% of all rapists are convicted and imprisoned;
  • 61% of all sexual assaults occur before the victim reaches the age of 18;
  • 78 women are raped each hour in America
  • Rape is ALWAYS a crime, whether or not the victim knows the rapist does not matter.

Children’s Issues

The Women’s Center Children’s Program, one of the first in the state, was developed in 1982 to focus on issues specific to children. The Children’s Advocate works closely with children who have been sexually, emotionally or physically abused or who have witnessed abuse. In addition to dealing with safety issues, Children’s Program staff try to counter the many negative effects of violence in the child’s life. Overall, we provide an atmosphere of trust and respect by encouraging non-violent, non-sexist behavior.

The Children’s Program seeks to support and empower children to build self-esteem, express themselves and develop problem solving and coping skills.

Domestic Violence and Children

Each year more than ten million children witness domestic violence. Although parents believe they can hide the violence from their children, research suggests that between 80 – 90 % of these children are aware of the violence. Children that have witness this violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution and commit sexual assault crimes.

FACTS:

  • In homes where domestic violence occurs, children are abused at a rate 1500% higher than the national average.
  • Children in homes where violence occurs may experience, developmental delays, stress related physical ailments, hearing and speech problems.
  • Emotional effects of witnessing domestic violence are similar to the trauma associated with child abuse, the feeling that they are responsible for the abuse, constant anxiety that another incident will occur, guilt for not being able to stop the abuser or for loving the abuser and fear of abandonment.

Child Sexual Assault / Incest

Child sexual violence is any sexual contact between a child and an adult or between a child and another child. Child sexual violence may include, but is not limited to, the following crimes: rape, incest, voyeurism, statutory sexual assault, indecent exposure, prostitution, exposure to pornographic materials and molestation. Victims and offenders come from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, in rural and suburban areas. Child victims are primarily assaulted by a relative or a close family friend that has a high level of interaction with the family. Next to family members, babysitters are the second largest group of child sex offenders. Child sex offenders rarely need to use force. The crime arises from the child’s natural need to please others and gain love and approval.

FACTS:

  • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys is sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
  • 10% of all rape victims are under the age of 18.
  • 75% of child sexual assault victims are assaulted by someone they know.
  • Most child sexual assaults occur during the day and usually occur in   familiar surroundings.
  • Many molesters first engage a child’s trust and later pressure the child to keep the abuse a secret.

Our Services to Children

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Advocacy and Accompaniment
  • Structured Activities, Including:
    • storytelling – creative dramatics
    • cooperative games – art – music
    • and play therapy – relaxation exercises

Our Summer GATEWAYS Program

The Women’s Center offers a six week summer day camp for children who have been exposed to domestic violence and sexual assault. The sessions begin the end of June and run till the beginning of August, meeting once a week for almost a full day. Gateways, combines community involvement with structured activities to provide an educational and fun experience! Children are encouraged to be creative, to interact cooperatively and to express their individuality. Every session is centered around a theme to help them to realize that violence is never a good solution and to show them non-violent alternatives.

Past Gateways activities have included:

  • BTE Children’s Theatre
  • Folk dancing
  • Kite making
  • Outdoor activities
  • Miniature golf
  • Visit to the children’s museum
  • Safekeeping
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Knobels Grove

The Gateways program is designed to be fun and interesting so the children look forward participating in up coming summers.

This program is offered at no cost to the participants.

For more information on this Summer’s Gateways program, please contact our Child Advocate at (570)784-6631.

111 North Market Street
Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: (570) 784-6632 | Toll-free: (800) 544-8293
All services are free and confidential.

© 2002-2014 The Women's Center, Inc. All rights reserved.
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24 Hour Hotline: (800) 544-8293 / (570) 784-6631

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