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How to describe your assault


Sometimes it can be hard to describe (put into words) what happened to you. You may be embarrassed or feel un-deserved shame.

There is a simple formula you can use to give a comprehensive answer to medical, legal and law enforcement personnel.

Most survivors know that telling people what physically took place is really just the tip of the iceberg. The whole scope of the effects an assault can have is what victim impact statements address. You don't want to read a whole page to someone so here is a format you can use (if you choose to) to briefly state your experience in your own words:


There are 3 parts: TYPE / PERP /EFFECTS

1/ Type of rape. Was is stranger rape, acquaintance rape, gang rape? See more examples here.

2/ Type of rapist or percieved intent of rapist. Did you think they were trying to control or obtain sexual gratification? See examples here.

3/ Effects of rape: Psychological or the four injuries: Body, Mind, Financial, Social. More examples here.

Here is an example:

Drug facilitated fraternity gang rape with perceived intent to humiliate, control and degrade. The effects being life long PTSD, a life threatening eating disorder, temporary self injury and permanent OCD as well as social injuries of stigma of shame.

This is a description based on: Type of rape/Type of rapist or percieved intent of rapist/Effects of rape: psychological or the four injuries.



Research resources on defining rape



Resources to research this subject:

Journals and articles

Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database

Google scholar or Findarticles

Finding books at the library

Online Libraries on sexual assault

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Search terms: rape crisis

Related links: Victim blame


Yehuda, Na'ama (2005). The Language of Dissociation. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 6(1), pp. 9-29.

Jerome, Richard; Comander, Lauren (2006). FACES OF RAPE. People, 3/20/2006, 65 (11), p199-202, 3p.

Esposito, Noreen (2006). Women with a History of Sexual Assault. American Journal of Nursing, 106 (3), p69-73, 4p

Stein, Murray B.; Lang, Ariel J.; Laffaye, Charlene; Satz, Leslie E.; Lenox, Rebecca J.; Dresselhaus, Timothy R. (2004). Relationship of sexual assault history to somatic symptoms and health anxiety in women. General Hospital Psychiatry, 26 (3), p178

Adams-Curtis, Leah E.; Forbes, Gordon B. (2004). COLLEGE WOMEN'S EXPERIENCES OF SEXUAL COERCION. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p91-122

Macdonalds, John (2004). World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.

rape. (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 2, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9376486

Smith, M. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of Rape. USA: Greenwood Press.

Sedney, Mary Anne, "rape (crime)." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 <http://gme.grolier.com> (February 1, 2006).

You may want to print out this page and try writing your description below:

1/ Type of rape.

Was is stranger rape, acquaintance rape, gang rape?



2/ Type of rapist or percieved intent of rapist.

Did you think they were trying to control, humiliate or obtain sexual gratification?



3/ Effects of rape:

Psychological or the four injuries: Body, Mind, Financial, Social.



Paste the above together to make a full statement:




* Author is not a trained counselor or therapist- please see disclaimer. If this triggers you please read these coping skills and seek professional therapy.



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