Sexual Assault Program

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.

If you are a victim of such an assault, it is important that you are cared for immediately. It is important to also:

  • go to a safe place immediately
  • seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • save clothing and personal items involved in the assault
  • if possible, do not bathe, change clothes or change your appearance until after evidence has been collected by the police
  • find support

 

for immediate assistance

call YWCAs 24-hour crisis hotline 360-695-0501
toll free 800-695-0167
for life threatening situations, call 911

it's never too late to seek support

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 experience sexual assault at any time in their life
  • 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
  • prevention and community education
  • Sexual assault support groups for adult women, teen girls (along with non-offending parent), adult men, non-offending parents of victims/survivors, and Latina women (in Spanish)
  • Free and confidential services available 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 at 800-695-0167 or 360-695-0501 and/or call 911.

We also offer a free bystander intervention skill-building workshop where attendees will learn to identify warning signs of potential perpetrators, as well as safe, effective ways to intervene and address suspicious behaviors. Learn more by contacting De at 360-906-9151 or dstewart@ywcaclarkcounty.org. You can also download a Where We Live flyer or download a Where We Live information sheet.

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. This PDF lists just a few of our favorites. 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 health, 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 creating 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 of assault?

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 her/his fault
  • 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.