What is sexual assault?

What is sexual assault?

What is sexual assault — and how does KCSARC help?

Sexual violence takes many forms, and includes behaviors and comments that are designed to make another person uncomfortable. The victim is usually someone with less power in a given situation. An example is a manager who comments on an employee’s body or makes requests for sexual favors.

Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence. It is any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without express consent. That includes rape, child sexual abuse, groping, and other behaviors.

In all forms, sexual violence can traumatize victims and leave them feeling like they have lost power and control, stripping them of their own agency.

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center exists to help survivors and their families overcome trauma of sexual assault and to stop sexual violence from happening.

To address trauma following a sexual assault, we offer direct, comprehensive services that respond to highly specific and individualized needs of each survivor and their family. Cost is never a barrier to KCSARC services, which are available in both Spanish and English. Survivors can access:

  • A 24-hour Resource Line for crisis response, information, and referral for further services.

  • Advocacy to navigate legal and medical systems that can be complex and overwhelming.

  • Support for families, to help them understand how they can support their child’s healing.

  • Trauma-focused, evidence-based therapy that is considered gold standard practice for treating PTSD and serious depression/anxiety, specifically related to sexual assault.

  • Case management to help survivors manage the auxiliary impacts of sexual assault, such as displacement from housing or sources of income.

To change the way victims are viewed and treated in the healthcare and criminal justice systems, the media, and in our everyday interactions, KCSARC works on several fronts. These include:

  • Connecting and educating hospitals, police, Child Protective Services, and other response systems that surround survivors.

  • Training groups and individuals who work with victims to help them avoid language that blames victims or minimizes their experience.

  • Training and supporting survivors who want to share their story in public settings, including in the legislature, media, and speaking engagements.

And to shift learned behaviors and cultural norms that contribute to sexual violence, KCSARC prevention educators work directly in schools and communities to help young people recognize and engage in healthy relationships, while helping educators, parents, and the community surrounding students recognize and respond to trauma.