Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers
IT'S not sexual assault if the people involved knew each other.
This is a myth.
According to Janelle Storrie of the Coffs Harbour Sexual Assault Service, most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.
Sexual assault can be committed within any type of relationship, including marriage, dating relationships, or by friends, acquaintances, co-workers or family members.
Sexual assault can also be used as a control mechanism in domestic violence relationships - be it a heterosexual or same-sex relationship.
It does not matter whether there is a current or past relationship between the victim and offender, unwanted sexual activity is still sexual assault and is a serious crime.
What reactions do victims experience following sexual assault?
For many victims sexual assault can be an overwhelming experience.
Just as everyone's experience of sexual assault will be different, so will their response.
There is no right or wrong way to feel.
How can counselling help?
Counselling can provide you with an opportunity to break the silence of abuse, give you an opportunity to explore the impact on your life and explore strategies to assist in overcoming the impacts.
A counsellor can also provide you with information about such things as legal processes and your rights as a victim of crime.
They can assist you to take important steps in navigating your journey to recovery.
Can you give us an overview of this service and the work that you do?
The Sexual Assault Service is made up of a team of specialist counsellors and doctors who provide free, non-judgemental, confidential services for victims of sexual assault, both recent and past.
We provide a 24-hour medical and counselling crisis service for anyone who has recently been sexually assaulted.
This service can be accessed after hours by contacting Coffs Harbour Health Campus on 6656 7000 or by presenting to the Campus' Emergency Department.
The Sexual Assault Service works with children, young people, and adults both female and male. A community outreach service is also provided.
The Sexual Assault Service can be contacted during business hours on 6656 7200.