Sexual Trauma

Our team at Safe Passage is dedicated to the personal healing of each survivor. The services below are offered at no cost to the survivor or their family:

  • Victim Advocacy

    domestic-violence-programs-2An advocate at Safe Passage can assist you and your family with a variety of things following an assault. This may include helping you with paperwork related to the assault, going with you to an appointment, finding referrals in the community to meet your basic needs or accompanying you to court hearings. Our advocates are available to answer any questions you may have about the investigation process, reporting options and crime-related expenses.

  • Individual Counseling

    Our licensed counselors offer personalized and trauma-focused services to both adults and children, as well as their family members whose lives have been affected. Speaking with a counselor can help you better cope with the effects of sexual trauma and get back parts of your life you feel are lost. We understand that choosing to see a counselor can sometimes be a scary decision. Feel free to call our 24-hour crisis line about whether this is a good option for you.

  • 24-Hour Crisis Line

    Our hotline is available 24-hours, 7-days a week. Anyone may call our hotline if they have questions, concerns or are in crisis

  • Hospital Accompaniment

    Following a sexual assault it is important to receive immediate medical attention. Our advocates are available 24/7 to meet you and your loved one at the local hospital. It can be very helpful to have an advocate present, helping you understand the investigation process, medical exam and follow-up care.

Prevention

Safe Passage, Inc. is the local safe haven for survivors of domestic violence, sexual trauma, and child abuse. It is our mission at Safe Passage, Inc. to provide free, quality services to male and female survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse who reside in York County. We are committed to educating others about these issues and partnering with local organizations in efforts to end violence in our community. We are available to provide free presentations on these three areas of focus.

Prevention is a systematic process that promotes healthy environments and behaviors and reduces the likelihood or frequency of violence against individuals. Primary prevention is taking action before violence against a victim may occur.

The presentations would consist of weekly sessions covering and discussing different topics related to domestic violence, sexual trauma, child abuse, and bullying. The subject matter of the presentations comes from research based curriculum that focuses on violence prevention in the community. The curriculum can be tailored to fit groups of almost any age or gender.

Domestic violence, sexual trauma, and child abuse have no prejudice against age, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status. Therefore, prevention education is beneficial to each and every person in our community.

Learn The Facts!

  • It is estimated that 1 of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN). This number is about 1 in 33 for American men. Approximately 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.
  • According to RAINN, 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by someone the victim knew. More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home. The average age of a rapist is 31 years old, and 52% are of Caucasian decent. 22% of imprisoned rapists report that they are married.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injuries to women age fifteen to forty-four, more common than auto accidents, mugging, and cancer combined. (U.S. Surgeon General)
  • 1 in 4 women will experience DV during their lifetime. (Tjaden & Thoennes, National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Extent, Nature and Conse-quences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000
  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescent girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. (SCCADVASA)

What is Consent?

  • Consent is based on CHOICE
  • Consent is ACTIVE, Not PASSIVE
  • Consent is possible only when there is equal POWER
  • Giving in because of fear is NOT Consent
  • Deception or manipulation eliminates the possibility of Consent
  • If you can't say no comfortably, Then YES has NO MEANING
  • Consent means to give your Permission by saying YES
  • Giggling, Changing the subject or Squirming away does NOT communicate a YES or a NO
  • To give your permission you must be able to say YES or NO without pressure
  • If someone gets you to do something through lying, you DID NOT GIVE CONSENT, because that person tricked you
  • The legal age of consent in South Carolina is 16. However, individuals as young as 14 years old are able to consent to have sex with a partner who is 18 years old or younger
  • Submitting to coercion, especially of an aggravated nature, is not consent. If a person threatens to use force or violence to overcome the victim, and the victim has reason to believe that the assailant has the ability to carry out that threat, then he or she may comply with the assailant’s demands out of fear
  • Consent cannot legally be given by someone who is intoxicated
  • Consent should never be assumed, even in the context of a marital relationship. An individual must have consent from his or her spouse in order to engage in sexual activity with him or her

After the Assault

After a sexual assault your body is in what is called "alarm mode”; its main goal is to protect itself from all potential danger which is why you may react strongly to certain triggers. Triggers are persons, places, things, words or bodily feelings that remind you of the assault.  Some of your own triggers may include: nighttime, physical touch, crowded places, people looking like the attacker, loud noises, being home alone...etc

For all Survivors of Sexual Assault, we hope you will remember these things:

  • It was not your fault - So many survivors blame themselves for what happened.  But remember that only one person made the choice to hurt you: the perpetrator.  You are NOT to blame for someone else's choice.
  • There is no "right" way to heal - We all heal differently.  We understand that sexual violence isn't something you can just "get over".  Attempting to "get over" the trauma is a lot to expect of yourself.  It is a process.
  • There is hope - When you're feeling low and experiencing tremendous pain, it's hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel; it's hard to imagine that you'll ever be the same.  Although this experience will change you, there is hope for a new normal.  If you are willing to walk that tunnel, we recommend surrounding yourself with those who love you and can be patient with your healing process.

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, it is important for you to know the following:

  • Get medical attention immediately - you may go to the nearest emergency room or call Safe Passage for help on what to do.  If you live in York County, most victims respond to Piedmont Medical Center Emergency Room Department.
  • A sexual assault is a crime - you are entitled to a forensic medical exam.  This exam collects evidence that may have been left on your body.  Forensic evidence can still be collected 72 hours (3 days) after the assault.
  • You have a right to remain anonymous after the crime - Some victims are hesitant to report to the police; in this case, you may still have a forensic medical exam and remain anonymous.  You have a year to decide whether to make a report.  There are positives and negatives to this decision; a Victim Advocate can help you weigh the pros and cons.
  • If the assault occurred more than 3 days ago, we still encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor.

Helpful information for survivors and their families:
An assault is a very traumatic experience.  Many survivors have said they feel as though they are going crazy when in fact their bodies are responding in a normal way after being traumatized. Below is a description of common reactions survivors feel following a sexual assault:

  • Nightmares about the sexual assault, including  feelings of helplessness and fear
  • Flashbacks— mental pictures, emotions, smells or physical feelings associated with the assault that can "flash” up in your mind; this is very scary and makes you feel as though you are going through the assault again.
  • A range of physical symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, muscle tension and tiredness
  • Guilt and self-blame
  • Shame - feeling as though you are bad
  • Constant jumpiness - always being alert and on guard
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Low self-worth; change in how you view yourself
  • Problems with emotional closeness, intimacy and attachment
  • Numb and withdrawn
  • Constant fear; changes in your daily routine because of ongoing fear
  • Low mood that continues; suicidal thoughts
  • Problems with sexual intimacy
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