it’s never too late to seek assistance
Our Sexual Assault Program provides 24-hour legal, medical, and emotional support to victims of sexual assault and their families. We also offer advocacy, support groups, counseling, community outreach, and education opportunities.
Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact without consent or permission—it is not an accident. People do not ask for, cause, invite, or deserve to be sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is a choice made by the offender and is a means of power and control. If you are the victim of such an assault, you need to take care of yourself immediately by:
- going to a safe place
- seeking medical attention
- saving clothing and personal items involved in the attack
- not bathing or changing your clothes or appearance until after evidence is collected
- finding support
for immediate assistance
|call the ywca 24-hour crisis hotline||360 695 0501|
|toll free||800 695 0167|
|for life threatening situations, call||911|
More specifically, our Sexual Assault Program strives to reduce the trauma of sexual assault for victims and their families by providing:
- non-judgmental support, information, and referrals for victims/survivors who have experienced sexual assault at
- advocacy for all ages during medical exams, law enforcement interviews, and the criminal justice process
- individual therapy for women and men ages 13 and up, and support groups for teen and adult women, and non-offending parents/caregivers of children who have been sexually assaulted
- prevention and community education
- sexual assault support groups for adult women, adult men, non-offending parents of victims/survivors, Latina women, Native American women (in conjunction with the Cowlitz Tribe), and incarcerated women
- free and confidential services available and delivered to clients without discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, disability, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, income, veteran status, marital status, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law
keeping children safer
Sexual assault of a child is never an accident. We believe that all children have the right to be protected, safe, heard, and above all, believed. Children who are not able to talk about an assault and/or are not believed are at an increased risk for lifelong physical, emotional, and social problems.
- Let your children know that it’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to leave a situation—especially one that involves someone who has made your child feel uncomfortable.
- Teach your children the proper names for body parts, and teach them about safe and unsafe touching, and what is appropriate physical affection and attention.
- Reduce the occurrence of situations where there is only one adult present with your child.
- Trust your intuition about people around your children.
- Remember that the greatest risk to our children comes from family and friends—not strangers.
If your child or any child you know has been sexually assaulted—which is a serious crime—assure him or her that telling you was the right thing to do, that you are sorry it happened, and that it wasn’t his or her fault. Then, get support immediately. Contact our 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline and/or call 911.
keeping teenagers safer
Sexual assault is hard to talk about. It thrives in an environment of silence and may cause fear, shame and guilt for the victim/survivor. Those affected by sexual assault are often silenced by these feelings every day. Abusers depend on this silence to keep offending. It’s time to support victim/survivors so they can find their voice.
Increasing awareness of sexual assault is a public health and safety issue. The internet provides many great resources for teenagers to increase awareness on this topic. Additionally, protecting your teenager involves:
- Awareness – be aware of the facts and understand the risks, be aware of the signs
- Communication – learn how to talk about sexual assault and how to support someone who has been assaulted
- Education – educate children and teens on safety issues around touching, the internet, dating and how to
create a safety plan
- Supervision – stay involved, minimize opportunity
and act on suspicions
If you would like any support on how to talk with your teen about some of these topics, please call. If your teen or any teenager you know has been sexually assaulted—which is a serious crime—assure him or her that telling you was the right thing to do, that you are sorry it happened, and that it wasn’t his or her fault. Then, get support immediately. Contact our 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline at 360-695-0501 and/or call 911.
how can i offer support to a victim
Because sexual assault is a very traumatic experience, the healing process varies for each survivor. To help, you can:
- verbalize to the victim that the sexual assault was not
- avoid detailed questioning—let the survivor share information about the event at her/his own pace
- respect the victim’s decisions about how she wishes to handle the post-assault situation
- encourage the survivor to seek support.
what can i do to reduce the risk of
- Because sexual assault is never an accident, learn to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Trust your intuition—get away from someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Establish and communicate your boundaries around personal space, touching, and information sharing.
- Avoid leaving your drink unattended, accepting a drink from an open container, or taking sips from someone else’s drink.
- Remember that there is safety in numbers!