What is sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is usually undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. Perpetrators (usually known by victim) use force, make threats or take advantage of victims not able to give consent.
Sexual abuse can happen to men or women of any age.
Sexual abuse by a partner/intimate can include derogatory name calling, refusal to use contraception, deliberately causing unwanted physical pain during sex, deliberately passing on sexual diseases or infections and using objects, toys, or other items (e.g. baby oil or lubricants) without consent and to cause pain or humiliation.
What is sexual assault?
When force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. It is non-consensual sexual violation of another person. It is also considered sexual assault if a suspect unlawfully and intentionally inspires the belief in a complainant that he/she will be sexually violated. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.
What should I do if I was sexually assaulted?
- Get help. Call *120*7355 on your cell phone if you need immediate medical or police assistance in South Africa. This number will give you your three nearest rape/assault centres where you can get medical attention.
- Go to a safe place as soon as you can and ask someone you trust to stay with you.
- Try to preserve all evidence of the assault. Avoid drinking, bathing, showering, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. Evidence can be collected at an emergency room and you can decide later whether or not you want to press criminal charges.
- Try to write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident including a physical description of the perpetrator, their identity if you know it, and the use of threats, force or coercion, such as asking repeatedly, pressuring you, getting you to drink a lot or take drugs, etc.
- Consider getting medical care. Go to Health Services or a hospital emergency room that provides medical care for sexual assault victims. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, it’s important to get medical care to discuss STIs, date rape drugs, pregnancy prevention, and evidence collection. All services, except evidence collection and drug testing, can be provided at Health Services.
- You also need PEP ( Post Exposure Profilaxis) ARV’s to prevent you from being infected with HIV if you were raped. You can get PEP free of charge from any government health facility, if you laid a charge of rape with the SAPS. You have to take PEP within 72 hours after the rape occurred.
- If you think you were drugged or consumed a sedative-like substance, ask the medical provider to take a urine sample. Date rape drugs like GHB and Rohypnol are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood. If you still have remnants of the drink, save them for analysis. Since many of these drugs clear the system quickly, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that no drug was involved.
If you need counselling or someone to talk to, you can get help free of charge on the MOBIEG Helpline: Live Chat. You may stay anonymous. It is safe to talk to MOBIEG, because no one can trace your chat. The helpline is online Sunday – Thursday 19h00-21h30.
Call: 0800 055 555 Hours: 24 hour helpline
SADAG Police and Trauma Line
Call: 0800 20 50 26 Hours: 8am-8pm
Call: 0861 322 322 Hours: 24 hour helpline
Sexual Abuse gets stronger in secrecy. Talk to someone. It will help you to stop the abuse.
If you are unsure if what you experience is sexual abuse, you can do a self-test to learn more:
Book a Counselling Session
You can book individual counselling sessions with the following therapists: