Chapter Nine: Sexual Assault
May be a discrepancy between the legal definition and common definition
Definition used by this textbook-an unwanted act of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration committed though the use of force, threat of force, or when incapacitated
Benchmark Study: National Violence Against Women Survey (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control, 1998)
1 in 6 (17%) women and 1 in 33 (3%) men have experienced an attempted or completed rape (in the United States)
The Scope of the Problem
Other studies report 15-33% of women and 10-15% of men experienced an attempted or completed rape (in the United States)
3 out of 5 sexual assault victims stated the offender was an intimate, relative, friend, or acquaintance which leads to underreporting
Sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 is rarely reported
The Unique Situation of Sexual Abuse/Rape Survivors
Crises resulting from sexual abuse and rape differ in nature, intensity, and extent from other forms of crisis
The Dynamics of Rape
Four different factors:
Legitimization of violence
Historically, the crime of rape has been seen as:
A crime against the woman’s father or her husband
Psychosocial means by which the victors in wars reward themselves and humiliate their opponents
The Dynamics of Rape Cont.
Personal and Psychological Factors of Rapists
Acts hostile but often feels weak
Lacks interpersonal skills
May need to exercise power
May show sadistic patters
Sees women as sexual objects
Holds stereotypical and rigid views of males and females
Harbors chronic feelings of anger toward women and seeks to control them
Rape as an exercise in power and control
Four categories of rapists:
Myths About Rape
Rape is just rough sex.
Equating rape and sex is perhaps the most destructive myth of all.
Women “cry rape” to gain revenge.
People do not want to believe that rape really occurs
Serves to focus the blame for sexual violence on victims rather than perpetrators
Easier to believe than knowing rape can happen to anyone
Rape is motivated by lust.
Rapists are psychotic or weird.
Survivors of rape provoked the rape.
Only bad women are raped.
Myths About Rape Cont.
Rape happens only in bad parts of town, at night, or by strangers with weapons.
If the woman does not resist, she must have wanted it.
Males cannot be victims.
Homosexuals are usually the perpetrators of sexual abuse of boys.
Boys are less traumatized than girls.
Boys abused by males will later become homosexual or rapists.
If a person experiences sexual arousal, this means it is not rape.
A female can not rape a male.
Date and Acquaintance Rape
Date Rape Risk
Child sexual abuse is a risk factor for both heightened sexual activity and sexual victimization in dating.
Alcohol and drug use (by both the survivor and the perpetrator) is a risk factor for acquaintance rape.
Preventing Date, Acquaintance, and Other Forms of Rape
Educational programs, especially at the secondary school level, have been recommended as preventive measures in reducing acquaintance rape.
Results show changes are only short-term.
Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Immediate Aftermath
Build a Working Alliance
Use Support Systems
Stop Secondary Victimization
Police, medical professionals, significant others
May exhibit no emotions
May feel humiliated
May suffer immediate and long-term trauma
May blame themselves
May be reluctant to go to the police or rape crisis center
Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Following Three Months
Continuing medical treatment
Support system (family, friends, work, etc.)
Understanding without pressure regarding further sexual contact
Understanding mood swings
Ensuring safety without overprotection
Allowing the victim to make decisions regarding reporting the rape
Allowing the victim to talk about the trauma without disclosing the information to others
Recognize that loved ones also exhibit issues
Intervention Strategies for Rape in the Following Three Months Cont.
Rape ranks second in the potential for PTSD
EMDR as a first option for treatment
Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Psychological Trauma and Sequelae
Effects on Adult Survivors
Higher incidence of:
Depression and anxiety
Borderline personality disorder and Dissociative disorder
Social stigmatization and alienation
Early assault is additive
False Memory Syndrome Foundation
“Recovered memory” survey
Intervention Strategies for Adult Survivors
Can be difficult to assess and diagnose due to multiple ways it may manifest
Treatment of Adults
Treat in a similar way to PTSD
Have the client focus on the therapist and the “here and now”
Ask the client to describe current INTERNAL experiences
Orient the client to the current environment
Use relaxation techniques
Validate that the trauma did occur even if it is denied by the client’s family
Advocate for the client
Reinforce the resourcefulness of the client
Be a role model to help the client with childhood developmental tasks
Intervention Strategies for Adult Survivors Cont.
The reduction or termination of a conditioned response as a result of the absence of the reinforcement
Prolonged Exposure/Cognitive Restructuring
Reframing and relearning feelings
Changing behavior through skill building and reconnecting
Support Groups for Adult Survivors
Sexual Abuse in Childhood
Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Childhood
Dynamics of Sexual Abuse in Families
Intergenerational transmission of sexual abuse
Phases of Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual Interaction Phase
Intervention Strategies With Children
Trauma Systems approach
Affirmation and Safety
Regaining a Sense of Control
Prosecuting the Perpetrator
Interviewing the Child
Collect appropriate evidence
Carl Perkins model
Preparing the Child for Testimony
Education on the process
Role play possible situations
Orientation of the courtroom
Placement of the child
Group Support Work With Non-offending Parents
Session 1: Establishing safe ground
Session 2: Introducing traumatic material
Last sessions: Transcending