What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact made by one person against another that is unwanted. If a person does not or cannot consent and sexual contact is made, it is considered sexual assault.
- Rape and attempted rape
- Intentional and unwelcome sexual touching (including disrobing or exposure), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, without effective consent, of a person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals (or clothing covering such areas), or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch you, themselves, or a third party with any of these body parts or areas when such touching would be reasonably and objectively offensive
- Any sexual act in which there is force, violence, or use of duress or deception upon the victim
- Any sexual act perpetrated when the victim is unable to give consent
- Sexual intimidation, which includes but is not limited to:
- Threatening, expressly or impliedly, to commit a sexual act upon another person without his or her consent
- Stalking or cyber-stalking
- Engaging in indecent exposure.
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under pressure of intimidation or threat, that isn’t considered consent because it was not given freely. Unequal power dynamics, such as engaging in sexual activity with an employee or student, also mean that consent cannot be freely given.
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time for every type of activity. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND AT ANY TIME.
YES. Anyone can be victim of sexual assault, regardless of gender. One in six males will be sexually assaulted sometime in their lifetime.
Rape can happen to anyone, and no one is to blame for rape other than the rapist. The victim is never at fault, no matter what they did or did not do to thwart the attack, what type of clothing they were wearing, or whether or not they were using alcohol or other drugs. No one deserves to be raped!
Just because someone doesn’t remember being assaulted doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t sexual assault. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other drugs, and from excessive alcohol consumption. It also does not necessarily mean the case cannot be investigated or prosecuted. If someone wakes up and believes they may have been drugged and assaulted, we encourage them to call 911, go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible, or call our hotline number associated with where the person lives. Some drugs disappear from the body quickly, and time is an important factor.
What Happens Next?
Make sure they are in a safe environment. If they believe they are still in danger, call 911. Once they’re out of physical danger, they can go to their nearest hospital or contact our hotline number associated with where that person lives.
Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Washington County: 1-866-218-4738
Walton and Okaloosa County: 1-866-944-1222
Santa Rosa and Escambia County: 1-866-585-2040
When a victim of a sexual assault calls the hotline, on the other line is a victim advocate. Victim advocates are available by phone 24/7. Any phone call made to the hotline is free and confidential. Victim advocates provide immediate telephone crisis intervention that includes safety planning. No matter what the language barrier might be, help is available in all languages. It is up to the victim what the next steps will be and the victim advocate can be there to help someone navigate those options without ever having to tell personal information.
A victim advocate’s purpose is to provide emotional support to the victim, as well as information about resources, while the victim is in a medical setting. Victim advocates also serve as a liaison, helping the victim and anyone who may have come with her/him understand the medical and legal processes that occur while the victim is in the medical setting. Our victim advocates value and maintain the victim’s privacy and confidentiality except if they are informed of potential threat to the life of the victim or others and/or if they have reason to believe that a child, a disabled person or an elderly person is being abused and/or harmed. In such cases, the advocate is obligated by law to report the information to the appropriate authorities.
If the victim is an adult, they do not necessarily have to report the assault at all. Some people wait to report the assault later, and some people never report. But if a victim would like evidence gathered and they’re still not sure if reporting is right decision for them, the law allows adult sexual assault victims to obtain a medical forensic exam without making a police report. This is also called a \”non-report\” exam. If the victim would like to not make a police report, the medical forensic exam will be completed up to 120 hours after the time of the assault. Evidence collected without an accompanying police report will be packaged and kept with the law enforcement agency. The time varies with each department on how long they can keep a kit. The time that a police department will hold onto the kit is on average 1 year.
Facts About the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program
24/7 Crisis Hotline
- Free and Confidential
- Safety Planning
- Crisis Intervention
- Advocacy available for acute or historical cases of sexual assault
- Forensic Medical accompaniment
- Court hearings
- Assist victims in applying for victims compensation
- Community outreach and education
- Law enforcement assistance
- Crisis intervention
- Support group
- Forensic Services
- Forensic examination
- Emotional assessment
- Written and electronic and photographic documentation
- Collection and management of forensic sample
- The SANE also testifies in any legal proceedings related to the examination
- Ensures the proper chain of custody and integrity of the samples is maintained so that the evidence will be admissible in court
- Safe Sips – Bystander intervention training for bars/restaurants
- Safe Stays – State approved human trafficking awareness trainings for hotels and motels in Florida
- Safe Snips – human trafficking awareness training for hair and nail salon professionals
- Safe Smiles – human trafficking awareness training for dental offices
- Trauma-Informed Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Equine Therapy (Available in Circuit 14)
100% Free. No insurance is required.
Anyone who has been affected by sexual violence regardless of age, gender, or orientation, including family members of a victim (secondary victims of sexual assault).
No! All services are available regardless of the outcome of a case or if someone chooses to not file.
Victims of violent crime, their families, or others who have taken on crime-related costs on behalf of a victim, apply for compensation.