I am so often surprised by the misinformation of brilliant people in my life. So, in that vain, here is some info regarding sexual assault (much of which comes from the YWCA Rape Crisis Center of Silicon Valley).

If you are a woman, have ever loved a woman, are the friend of any current or future women, please educate yourself. You will never be sorry that you knew where to turn when faced with an incident of sexual violence.

DEFINITION: Sexual Assault is ANY unwanted sexual act a person is forced to perform or receive. This includes, but is not limited to, rape.

MYTH: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.
In reality, the majority of the time the offender is someone that the victim knows. Victims are usually coerced, manipulated, tricked or threatened by someone they are acquainted with. One study found that 84% of women who were raped knew their attacker and for 57% of those women, the offender was a first date or romantic acquaintance.

FACT: Alcohol or drugs increase a person’s vulnerability to sexual assault.
Alcohol and drugs can increase anyone’s vulnerability. In one study, 75% of males and 55% of females were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the rape occurred.

MYTH: GHB and roofies are the most common date rape drugs.
In fact, alcohol is the number one date rape drug. It is readily available, socially acceptable and plays a significant part in 50-72% of all college campus sexual assaults.

FACT: The most common place for rape to occur is in the victim’s home.
The second most common place is the offender’s home, because the offender is usually someone the victim knows. Many people think that sexual assaults happen in dark, abandoned places, but the greatest risk lies where we feel the safest.

FACT: Most of the time, rape is planned.
Rape is not an impulsive act. If it is a single offender, the rape is planned 60% of the time; gang attacks are planned 90% of the time.

MYTH: Rapists are deranged, psychopathic, under-educated men from poor backgrounds.
Rapists are found in all socioeconomic classes. Offenders can be anyone: doctors, lawyers, the homeless, blue-collar workers, classmates, co-workers, etc.

Survivor Rights
As a survivor of a sexual assault, you have rights. From the right to be treated with respect, to the right to choose to do nothing with your case.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
A complete list of state and territory anti-sexual violence coalitions and their contact information

Recent Sexual Assault Statistics (US focused)
For stats on cost/impactof sexual violence, perpetrators, gender, and criminal justice system.

World Report on Violence and Health
This report is the first comprehensive review of violence on a global scale. Chapter 6 provides detailed information on sexual violence.