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National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.656.HOPE
At any given moment, more than 1,100 trained volunteers are on duty and available to help victims at RAINN-affiliated crisis centers across the country.
How does the National Sexual Assault Hotline work?
The concept behind the hotline is simple. When a caller dials 1.800.656.HOPE, a computer notes the area code and first three digits of the caller's phone number. The call is then instantaneously connected to the nearest RAINN member center. If all counselors at that center are busy, the call is sent to the next closest center. The caller's phone number is not retained, so the call is anonymous and confidential unless the caller chooses to share personally-identifying information.
Why was the hotline set up this way?
When RAINN was founded, we surveyed the directors of dozens of rape crisis centers and state and national anti-sexual assault organizations as well as many victims of sexual violence. The advice was unanimous: The best support services for rape, sexual assault and incest victims are those offered at community rape treatment centers.
In the year 2011/12, police recorded 38,100 most serious sexual offences in England and Wales, encompassing rape, sexual assault and sexual activity with children. Many more offences are unreported. Find out where to get help if you're sexually assaulted.
Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre freephone helpline: 0808 802 9999
The helpline is open 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year, providing support for female survivors, partners, family and friends
Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help.
What is sexual assault?
A sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching, to a life-threatening attack, rape or any other penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus. It's a myth that victims of sexual assault always look battered and bruised. A sexual assault may leave no outward signs, but it's still a crime.
“Some people are afraid they won’t be believed if they haven’t got signs of injury,” says Bernie Ryan, a counsellor and manager at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester. “But that isn’t so. We don’t necessarily expect to see injuries. For the victim, the extent of the sexual assault is no indication of how distressing they find it, or how violated they feel.”
Survivors of rape may have a hard time deciding whether or not to report their sexual assault to the police. Rape prevention and counseling experts strongly advise victims to report the rape to the authorities so that their assailants can be brought to justice. While there is no way to undue the rape, reporting it to the police will help to stop the perpetrator from harming other victims in the future. Additionally, rape victims can feel a sense of closure when the rapist is brought to justice and convicted accordingly.
Rape victims are not required to report their experience to the police. Although it is unlikely that the district attorney will pursue the case without the consent and cooperation of the survivor, the district attorney does have the right to pursue the rapist even if the survivor chooses not to participate. If a third party is witness to the crime, however, they are required to report it to the police.
Don't let the people on this board bully you into silence, or to thinking it's "your fault" for being drunk or any other way unable to make a consensual "yes".