October 05, 2022

A complete guide to the misunderstanding, prevention, and self-help response of sexual assault

In the South Korean movie “The Melting Pot”, children with disabilities endure hellish torture in charity organizations.

The principals and teachers here will sneak their hands into the girls’ clothes to commit sexual assault. If children do not obey, they will be beaten or even killed.

This film adapted from a school incident for the deaf-mute and impaired violently attacked the real crime.

According to a WHO survey, 35% of women worldwide will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, excluding sexual harassment. Even in some countries, this proportion is as high as 70%.

I hope that this manual can help you understand sexual assault, how to deal with and deal with the sexual assault that occurs on you, and how to help your relatives and friends who have been sexually assaulted.

-01- What are our misunderstandings about sexual assault?

1. Misunderstandings about “without my consent”

The definition of sexual assault refers to the act in which the perpetrator uses threats, power, violence, money or sweet words to induce and coerce others to have sex with them, or to cause sexual harm to the victim.

One of the most important elements is “without my consent.” Many people will have a misunderstanding about this. What is “consent”? There are several points:

No explicit rejection does not mean consent

Agreeing before does not mean agreeing now

Couples or spousal relationships do not mean consenting to sex

Wearing sexy clothes, agreeing to dance together, flirting, etc. do not mean that you want to have sex

Some people may not be able to express their opinions clearly, such as minors, mentally handicapped groups, fainting or unconsciousness (taking drugs or alcohol, sleeping), nor does it mean that they agree

Only when you clearly say “yes” can you express your willingness to have sex, otherwise it means that I did not agree

2. Misunderstanding about “who is the perpetrator of sexual assault”

Generally speaking, 70%-80% of sexual assault occurs between acquaintances, that is, it is more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know than a stranger. The following persons may be perpetrators of sexual assault:








3. Misunderstandings about the gender of the perpetrator

It should be noted that women may also be sexually assaulted by women.

Same-sex sexual assault (lesbians) will imitate male actions and use aids to cause physical and mental harm to her.

-02- Who is more likely to be the perpetrator of sexual assault? How to prevent and avoid being sexually assaulted?

According to previous investigations and studies, we should focus on preventing people with the following characteristics:

1. Narcissistic, self-centered, doing things only consider their own needs and interests, not caring about the feelings of others;

2. Poor social skills, severe self-repression and isolation;

3. There is a “rape myth”, that women say “don’t” actually “must”;

4. Be hostile to women, for example often say something insulting to women;

5. There is “sexual pressure”, which may be the absence of a normal sex life;

But at the same time, we must also remember that we must not arbitrarily label people as “potential sexual assault”.

According to previous investigations and studies, the occurrence of sexual assault is closely related to two factors: alcohol/drugs and confined spaces. Therefore, we can mainly start from these two aspects and make countermeasures in advance.

1. When attending a party, go with multiple friends and go back together;

2. When you first date or meet a stranger for the first time, choose a public place;

3. Believe in your intuition: When you are alone with someone you know, but you don’t trust or feel comfortable with them, choose to leave, don’t be afraid to hurt their feelings or be disliked by them;

4. Arrange a signal with trusted family members or friends, which means that you are in distress and need help;

5. Always pay attention to how much alcohol you drink. Investigations show that almost half of the sexually assaulted people are drunk. Therefore, pay attention to your drinking and avoid being unconscious;

6. Pay attention to your own diet and avoid being drugged by others;

7. Pay attention to the surrounding buildings, and remember not to wear headphones when walking alone.

-03- What are the reactions when being sexually assaulted? Do you want to resist?

1. During the process of sexual assault, up to 88% of victims will experience transient paralysis[6]

When human beings are in a state of extreme fear, the body will automatically enter the third protection mechanism: stiffness.

2. Do you have to resist when you are sexually assaulted?

You can resist and protect yourself through words, such as speaking out your thoughts aloud, firmly rejecting; actions, such as pushing the other person away, leaving the scene; or making a big noise to attract the attention of bystanders; to resist and protect yourself.

-04- What should I do after being sexually assaulted? How to recover from sexual assault?

First of all, if it is very unfortunate, when you encounter such a violation, the following operations will help you:

First, go to a safer place to ensure the safety of your life;

Do not scrub the body to ensure valid evidence. If you want to change clothes, please put the clothes in a paper bag to avoid affecting the evidence;

Within 72 hours, go to the hospital for sampling and inspection as quickly as possible; preferably, a tertiary hospital affiliated with a judicial appraisal institution for human injury. (You can search for “location + judicial appraisal agency inquiry” on the Internet, or dial 114 to inquire about the appraisal agency’s telephone number and registered address);

If skin, clothing, towels, sheets, toilet paper, condoms, etc. are stained with semen, keep them as much as possible; this can be used as evidence for future DNA testing (it can be stored for a long time under dry conditions).

Audio recording or surveillance camera recording is also very powerful evidence.

If the perpetrator is an acquaintance, do not delete the TA’s contact information and call and chat records.

Other things to pay attention to: find a trustworthy friend to discuss countermeasures, and try not to find someone who has a stake in the abuser (including his partner).

Effective evidence collection and retention of evidence can greatly increase the possibility of the perpetrator being punished.

Secondly, how to get out of the shadow of sexual assault? We need to understand that after a woman is sexually assaulted, the following symptoms may appear:

1. Uncontrollably recall the experience of sexual assault. The perpetrators of sexual assault are the people around them. When they see them again, they will involuntarily remember the traumatic events they have experienced;

2. Avoid stimulation or information related to sexual assault, because it makes women feel particularly scared;

3. There will be changes in thoughts and moods, for example, more negative thoughts, more depression, anxiety, and anger. In addition, they are highly vigilant and easily frightened.

After being sexually assaulted, how to effectively reduce these reactions and effectively reduce the psychological trauma caused by sexual assault? Psychologists gave the following suggestions:

1. Get support from trusted family and friends;

2. Talk about sexual assault incidents and express your emotions, choose a suitable time and place, and reveal to others the experience of sexual assault that you feel is safe;

3. Use some techniques that can reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga, walking, listening to music;

4. Ensure a balanced diet and sleep as much as possible, and avoid excessive use of caffeine and nicotine;

5. Carry out some creative activities, such as playing the piano, drawing, gardening, and handicraft;

6. Allow yourself time to relax. You can choose a quiet place and stay alone for a while when the pressure is high;

7. Try to read, reading can make you feel relaxed;

8. Express your thoughts and feelings through writing or traveling;

9. Write a letter to the perpetrator and tell him how he feels. The more detailed the better;

10. Embracing someone you love deeply can relax yourself and reduce stress and pain;

11. Always remember that you are safe now, even if you don’t feel it

Note: The most ineffective way to deal with sexual assault may be to try to forget it, such as not calling the police, not asking for help from others, thinking about it alone, as if it had never happened…

If we choose to escape, it will still bring us a lot of psychological pain in the future.

-05- How do we recognize the signal that a family member or friend has been sexually assaulted?

What signals suggest that family members or friends may have been sexually assaulted?

1. Self-harm

Victims are caught in the painful emotions of excessive self-blame and self-denial, and sometimes feel divorced from reality.

2. Change eating habits, anorexia or binge eating

Sometimes overeating, sometimes not eating or drinking, women who suffer frequent sexual assaults will develop anorexia or quickly gain weight.

3. Sudden change in personality

Those who were originally quiet and introverted became irritable and irritable; those who were originally lively and active became taciturn and even locked themselves in the room. For example, suddenly becoming very introverted and afraid of contact with people (especially men).

4. Sudden anger

Self does not accept external attacks.

5. Talk about or attempt suicide (suicidal ideation)

For example, hope to die, search for some relevant information about suicide, and even start planning how to commit suicide.

6. Show depression, fear or anxiety

Some people who are afraid to visit or participate in a regular activity they usually expect to participate in, are strongly unwilling to be disturbed, unwilling to make friends with people, and unwilling to be noticed. There will be fear in contact with people (especially the opposite sex), requiring parents to be with them.

7. Run away from home

One of the ways to avoid reality is to avoid sudden inquiries from family or friends.

8. Promiscuity

Have sex with multiple people.

9. Drug or alcohol abuse

The concrete manifestation of anger will be the abuse of certain substances.

10. Have money and gifts from unknown sources

Rationalize the behavior of being sexually assaulted by accepting gifts or money from the offender to avoid the identity of the victim and gain a sense of control.

-06- What should we do if a family member or friend is sexually assaulted?

If a family member or friend is unfortunately sexually assaulted, what should we do?

1. Believe her unconditionally. Accept anything she says without judgment;

2. Always emphasize to her that it is not her fault. Avoid asking “why”, such as “why are you there at that time?”

3. Understand that she cannot control how she feels about sexual assault and how to fix it;

4. Listen carefully and patiently;

5. Help her regain control of her life;

6. Respect her privacy needs;

7. Avoid suggesting that her life should continue and forget this sexual assault;

8. Whether to call the police or not, respect her decision;

9. At the same time, take good care of yourself. If you cannot cope with the sexual assault of your family or friends, please seek help;

10. When you cannot give her good help, please contact a professional for help (see “Part 8” for specific information).

-07- When should I seek help from a counselor?

Psychologists believe that all women who have been sexually assaulted can seek professional help, and the sooner the better.

In particular, in the following situations, you should seek professional help as soon as possible:

1. Relatives and friends cannot give effective support and help, or relatives and friends do not understand themselves, or even demean themselves;

2. Substance abuse. Excessive use of caffeine, alcohol and other substances, and even use of some drugs, such as cocaine;

3. Normal life is seriously disturbed. Two weeks after being sexually assaulted, if you still cannot live, study, and work normally, you may need professional help;

4. Suicidal thoughts and behavior. When there are suicidal thoughts or even suicidal behaviors, such as slashing your wrists, taking sleeping pills… Please immediately seek help from a suicide intervention specialist.