Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rape in Mauritius

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Basic Information About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a broad category of actions in which sexual acts are performed without consent or upon a person who is not able to give consent. Sexual assault is an act of aggression, power and violence. Sexual assault includes such terms as incest, sexual abuse, molestation, rape, and sodomy. One in six women and one in thirty-three men report experiencing a completed or attempted rape sometime in their lifetime. Nearly half of all reports of rape in Alabama involve victims under the age of 18.

There are many myths about sexual assault. Here are some of the facts:

Sexual assault is most often committed by someone the victim knows, not by a stranger.
Most sexual assaults occur in the victim’s own home, rather than in dark alleyways.
Many sexual assaults involve alcohol or other drugs.

Sexual assault is about power, not sex or sexual attraction.
Any person can be sexually assaulted, even males.
No one asks to be sexually assaulted… it is never the victim’s fault, no matter what.
Although sexual assault can happen to anyone at anytime, there are certain things you can do to help reduce the risk. It is important to remember, however, that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault – regardless of anything he or she has or has not done.
Observe your environment.
Trust your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right or if you feel pressured or frightened, listen to yourself and get out of that situation. Do not be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or cause a scene. Your safety is always the number one priority.
Be assertive. Stand up for yourself. It’s okay to get angry or to confront someone who is pressuring you.
Never accept a drink from someone you don’t trust. Never leave your drink unattended. Use the “buddy system” if you choose to use alcohol or drugs.

If you or someone you know is raped, try to remain calm. While some victims may be hysterical, others are in a state of shock. It is important to get to a safe place and call the police. Although it is scary to do this because the victim may be scared, embarrassed, confused, and might not want anyone to know what happened, it is important to file an initial police report. This report allows the police to secure the area and help the victim access the appropriate medical care and be eligible for crime victim’s compensation. Although shame is a normal reaction, this is a serious crime and is not the victim’s fault.

Helping Someone Who Has Been Raped

Finding out that a friend or loved one has been raped can be an overwhelming experience. You may feel shocked, confused and unsure of what needs to be done. For victims to overcome sexual assault, they need empathy, understanding and emotional support. It is important to remember that individuals react differently to trauma, but the following steps can help you when facing such a situation.

Remain Calm. It is normal to feel shock or anger, but expressing these to the victim may worsen their trauma, and they may feel that your anger is directed at them personally.
Take necessary steps to get the victim to safety. The best way to do this is by calling your local law enforcement department.

Seek medical attention immediately. Even if there is no outward sign of injury, encourage going to the local emergency department or the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Facility. Some injuries may not be noticeable or obvious. Also, evidence can be collected during an exam that may be needed if a future decision is made to prosecute.

Let the person who has been victimized express their feelings. It may be hard to listen to what has happened, but this is an important step in the healing process. However, if the victim wishes to remain silent, do not force discussion. And remember, if you don’t know what to say, that’s OK.

Let the victim know you believe them and offer non-judgmental support. Many victims may feel blame toward themselves for what has happened, or may fear that no one would believe them. Believing and providing unconditional support is one of the most important things you can do for someone who has been raped. After all, they have been through one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person, and survived. Here are some things you can say:

“I believe you”
“You survived, and did what you had to do to survive”
“It is not your fault, and nothing you did could possibly justify what happened”
“This does not change how I care and feel about you”
Refer your friend for professional assistance, and seek help for yourself. The crime of sexual assault can have psychological impact on family and friends as well. You may be likely to experience strong reactions when you hear of the assault, such as rage, helplessness, and a desire for revenge. Counseling is available to help you through these feelings.

How to Report a Sexual Assault

If you or a friend has been forced to engage in any form of sexual activity, report the incident to the police immediately. You will need to report the incident to police in the jurisdiction where the assault occurred.

There are advantages to reporting a sexual assault. Reporting is the first step in arresting and convicting the assailant. Most sexual assailants are repeat offenders, which means that they usually assault multiple victims. If you report the crime and the offender is apprehended, it could protect you and other potential victims from future harm. Reporting the crime demonstrates the seriousness of the crime because it becomes a statistic and can alert people to how often and where sexual assault occurs. There is no statute of limitation in reporting a rape, which means that you can report it, no matter how long ago it occurred. Remember to always report the assault to police in the area where it occurred.

Another advantage of reporting the assault to the police is that you may be eligible for Crime Victim's Compensation. Crime Victim’s Compensation can provide reimbursement for medical expenses, counseling, work loss, moving expenses and replacement services that were a result of being victimized.

Once the initial report has been filed, your case will be assigned to a detective who will contact you to get additional information. If the District Attorney decides there is enough evidence to go to trial, there will be several times when you will be called to testify in court.

Date Rape Drugs

Sexual assailants use a variety of methods to take advantage of their victims. One method sometimes used by rapists is to give the victim a so-called “date rape” drug. "Date rape drugs" can be any substance given to a victim to facilitate a sexual assault. Most often, these drugs are secretly put into an individual’s drink. The beverage may or may not be alcoholic. When the drug dissolves in the drink, it is usually colorless, odorless, and in some cases, tasteless. You cannot see it, smell it, or taste it. It is invisible.

After the drug is ingested, it may begin to take effect within minutes, or even seconds. The effects can last up to 24 hours. During this time, the victim may become weak, helpless, or unconscious. When the drug wears off, the victim may not be able to remember what happened, or even who assaulted him or her.

The 3 most common date rape drugs are GHB, Rohypnol, and Ketamine. GHB, known as “liquid ecstasy” or “easy lay,” GHB is extremely dangerous because of the wide variety of homemade recipes. Rohypnol, commonly known as “roofies,” is a very potent sedative, ten times more powerful than Valium. Ketamine, known as “special K,” “K,” or “kitkat,” is an animal tranquilizer. It is important to remember that any drug can be used to facilitate a sexual assault.

Signs that you may have been drugged include:

Feeling more intoxicated than you feel you should, given the amount of alcohol consumed
Feeling “fuzzy,” waking up very hung-over, unable to account for a period of time, or memory loss
Feeling as though you had sex with someone but can’t remember any or all of the event
Taking a drink from someone but not remembering what happened afterwards
How to reduce your risk:
Bring your own drink and/or watch your drink being poured
If you realize you left your drink unattended, get rid of it
Watch out for friends
What to do if you suspect you were drugged and sexually assaulted:
Get to a safe place
Preserve all physical evidence… don’t eat or drink anything, don’t change clothes, don’t shower, don’t go to the bathroom if possible
If you have to go the bathroom, urinate in a cup and save to give to the police so your urine can be drug-screened

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