Sexual Assault/Abuse Survivors
We’re here to support and empower you.
Lumina Alliance provides support and services for victims of sexual assault/abuse, which include rape, attempted rape, sexual battery, incest, molestation, spousal rape, sexual harassment, sextortion, and statutory rape.
Sexual assault is a term used to refer to a wide range of assaults including rape, attempted rape, sexual battery, incest, molestation, spousal rape, and statutory rape. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is NOT sex. It is a crime in which sex is used as a weapon. It is an act of hostility and aggression in order to control, dominate, humiliate, and degrade the victim. Sexual assault is an act of forced or coerced sexual contact or penetration when one person does not want to participate, even if there has been consensual sexual contact in the past.
No one ever deserves to be sexually assaulted or abused. No matter where you were, what you were doing or who you were with, it is NOT your fault.
Sex requires your consent. Sexual assault and sexual abuse are crimes used to exert power, to humiliate, and to control. Being forced to have unprotected sex or to engage in more sexual activity than you had wanted is also rape or sexual assault. Whether or not a weapon was used, you may have been very scared. You may have cooperated in order to get out alive. This does not mean you consented. Sometimes cooperation is necessary in order to survive.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse are traumatic experiences. You may have physical pain, injuries, and strong emotional reactions. You may experience many different feelings, such as self-blame, shame, anger, fear, guilt, or grief. You may find you are unable to concentrate or focus because you can’t stop thinking about the assault. You may also experience flashbacks that make you feel nervous, angry or afraid.
Everyone copes differently and all of these feelings are normal. Lumina Alliance offers therapy services and a 24-hour support line (805) 545-8888 for survivors who are interested in getting help.
If you have been injured due to a recent sexual assault, seeking healthcare may be the first step. Please see our resource page for local healthcare providers.
The choice to make a police report after a sexual assault is intensely personal and often a difficult one. Some survivors find the process empowering. Other survivors may find the process of reporting too overwhelming. A Lumina Alliance Advocate can be with you every step of the way.
Only you can decide if making a police report is the right thing for you. Lumina Alliance staff and volunteers will support you whether or not you choose to make a report.
If you decide to make a police report, please keep in mind:
- It is important to contact the law enforcement agency in the town where the assault took place.
- If you can, contact the police as soon as possible after the assault. There is a greater chance for evidence collection if a report is made sooner rather than later.
- If you change clothes after an assault, place the clothes worn immediately before, during and/or after the assault in a brown paper bag. Law enforcement may request these items in order to collect evidence.
- You have a legal right, in accordance with California Penal Code 679.04, to request the presence of a Lumina Alliance advocate during the initial interview and during all follow-up law enforcement interviews.
- Law enforcement may be contacted by calling 911, by calling the law enforcement agency’s non-emergency phone number, or by physically going into the police station. If the immediate situation is unsafe or if the perpetrator is still present, call 911.
When you report sexual assault/abuse, you will usually be asked to tell a uniformed police officer what happened. This officer’s job is to be an impartial investigator. They work to understand what happened and decide if the evidence collected is enough to support prosecuting a case against the perpetrator. The officer will ask many questions in an effort to understand the situation.
If it is determined that there is enough evidence of a crime, the initial officer will contact a detective/investigator. You will then be asked to participate in an interview with the detective. You may be asked to repeat portions of the event. The detective will make the determination of whether or not a medical/forensic examination should be scheduled.
- The SART Exam is a medical exam performed by trained nurses who attend to the survivor’s medical needs and injuries as well as collect evidence that may be on the survivor’s body.
- The nurse will take photographs of any injuries.
- The survivor may also receive testing for sexually transmitted infections and antibiotics if they choose. Emergency contraceptives are also available to survivors.
- The entire process may take several hours and all services are provided at no cost to the survivor.