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About Sexual

Sexual assault can encompass a range of experiences identified by survivors. It occurs when a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. Sexual assault is a term that includes a wide range of victimizations which may or may not involve force or be illegal.

Find someone to talk to for emotional support and information

Sexual violence can deeply affect many areas of our lives: 
health, spirituality, emotions, sexuality, and relationships

Crisis Support Network is an accredited community sexual assault program and provides:

  • 24/7 crisis intervention and information
  • Legal advocacy
  • Medical advocacy
  • Someone to talk to
  • Systems coordination 
  • Community education
  • Prevention through social change and skills building.
  • Support with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
  • Specialized therapy
  • Medical social work services
  • Disability, language and ADA access assistance

Quick Facts

Power & Control

Perpetrators use sexual assault to have power over someone. It isn’t because you did something wrong.

It's Not About Sex

Sexual assault is not usually about sex, but about manipulation, exploitation, and exerting power over another person.

A Person You Know

Often, the person who does the harm is someone the victim knows or loves. This can be confusing. Violating someones boundaries and "taking" is never OK.

Protective Factors Help

People who have experienced racism, homophobia, classism or other oppression may have less access to protective factors. Having a professional on your side is an example of a protective factor.

Your Feelings are Real

There is no "wrong" or "right"way to feel or react when you have experienced sexual assault. Not all survivors of sexual violence are the same, nor will any act of sexual violence affect two people in the same way.

Big Feelings Happen

As the body and mind process sexual violence, many different emotions, behaviors, and physical responses appear and disappear and then may reappear again.

You Deserve Support

Sexual assault includes a wide range of acts that may or may not involve force or be illegal. You always deserve help.

Your Life, Your Choice

You deserve to make decisions about what to do following an assault. An advocate can help you weigh your options and find a path forward.

Sexual assault, rape, coercion, harassment and other crimes are not always simple like you might see in the media. How you feel about what happened is what matters. Many people find talking to a sexual assault advocate helpful. 

How does Sexual Assault impact survivors?

Each person who is impacted by sexual assault is unique in their experience, but there are common effects:


Thinking they are bad, wrong, dirty, or damaged. A survivor may feel that the abuse was their fault. There are different reasons for this reaction. It can be difficult to place the blame on the person who assaulted them. Often the offender was a person close to them that they wanted to protect. Or, it may be that by placing the blame on the offender they then feel helplessness.


Saying, “It wasn’t that bad.” “It only happened once.” “I am fine.” This can be a coping strategy. It might include survivors thinking that their abuse was not as bad as someone else’s. Those supporting a survivor should validate the impact of the abuse and that it is appropriate that the survivor is upset, traumatized, or hurting from it.


This kind of boundary violation impacts the survivor’s perception of when or how to set boundaries. Survivors may be unfamiliar with boundaries in general; they may not know that they have a right to create and reinforce them. Many survivors need support developing and practicing boundaries.


Sexual assault can be a betrayal of trust.
Most survivors find it difficult to trust other people as well as themselves and their own perceptions. On the other hand, they may place an inappropriate level of trust in everyone.


The sense of safety has been altered. A survivor might see unsafe situations as safe and/or perceive safe situations as dangerous.


Feeling alone. This is a big issue for survivors. Many feel that they do not deserve support and that others will not want to be their friends or lovers. A survivor’s culture and (lack of) community connections can compound feelings of isolation. Survivors may have been shunned or avoided by their families and/or communities because they told what happened to them.

Asking for help when life feels hard is important. You deserve happiness and peace of mind.

As a support person, or someone working with a survivor of sexual assault, helping to identify and normalize feelings and reactions can be helpful. Call us if you need support in helping others.