By Cheryl Branch Coppin

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Extra resources for Everything You Need to Know About Healing from Rape Trauma (Need to Know Library)

Sample text

A personwoman or manalways has the right to control what happens to her or his own body and to say no to sex at any time. But the results of the study show that many teens are unaware of their rights and unclear about how rape is defined. Almost two-thirds of the males and almost half of the females who responded to the survey answered "true" to all of the questions. When a girl believes these kinds of messages, it puts her at a disadvantage. She is more likely to be coerced into having sex, and she is less likely to report or tell anyone about having been raped.

Rape can be especially damaging to the victim when the rapist is someone that she knows. In such cases, the victim is especially likely to feel that she did something wrong, that she is somehow responsible for being raped, or Page 8 that there is something wrong with her ability to judge other people and decide who is a trustworthy friend. All violent crimes damage the victim's belief that he or she is in charge of his or her own life and that he or she can make good decisions about how to behave and how to choose friends.

Instead of continuing to be a victim, you are making yourself the one in charge. As attitudes about rape change, more and more communities are developing special teams of counselors and trained police officers who work together on sexual assault cases. These team members work with the district attorney's office in prosecuting offenders and are specially trained to be sensitive to the victim's feelings and to ensure that the investigation does not add to her trauma. Court rulings have made it more difficult for a defense attorney (the lawyer defending the rape suspect) to make the victim seem like a bad person by exposing any past sexual experiences she may have had.

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