Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Info

Domestic Violence Warning List
This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people.  The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship.  The more of these traits you recognize, the more dangerous the relationship may be.

  • Psychological Abuse
  • Destructive Criticism / Verbal Abuse
  • Pressure Tactics
  • Abusing Authority
  • Disrespect
  • Abusing Trust
  • Breaking Promises
  • Emotional Withholding
  • Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming
  • Economic Control
  • Self-Destructive Behavior
  • Isolation
  • Harassment

What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or sexual attention committed by force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, deception, entrapment, surprise or violence.  It is a crime.  Sexual assault is usually physical, but can be verbal or emotional.  Sexual assault may be committed by a stranger, acquaintance, trusted friend or family member.

RAPE is unwanted penetration (oral, anal or vaginal) by any body part or object.  Rape can happen to anyone.  It is a crime of violence, anger and control.  Rapists commit the crime out of a desire for power and revenge, using sexual means.  Rape severely disrupts the lives of victims and those who love them.

ACQUAINTANCE RAPE is committed by someone the victim knows – a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker.  Date rape is rape committed by a person one is dating.  In acquaintance rape, there may be physical violence, deception, manipulation, drug and alcohol abuse or pressure.  After this type of rape, a loss of trust occurs that can be psychologically damaging.

MARITAL RAPE is rape committed by one’s spouse.  This is common in violent domestic relationships.  Victims of marital rape suffer physical and emotional harm.  Marital rape is illegal in Tennessee.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE includes forcing, tricking or pressuring a child into: sexual penetration, sexual touching, watching adult sexual activity or sexually explicit movies/photographs, posing or performing in a sexual fashion on film or in person.  Children who have been sexually abused seldom disclose the abuse unless they are taught and encouraged to do so.  Child sexual abuse can cause emotional and physical problems for victims throughout their lives.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT refers to any unwanted sexual attention.  This includes abusive or suggestive advance, comments, looks, propositions, exposure or obscene phone calls.  Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by law and victims can file complaints through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or consult an attorney about other options.

What to do if you are Sexually Assaulted

  • IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!  Recognize the strength that enabled you to survive.
  • GO TO A SAFE PLACE.  Call someone you trust for emotional support.  The CEASE crisis line is available 24 hours a day at 423-581-2200 or 800-303-2220.
  • DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE SCENE.  Do not shower, bathe, comb your hair, douche or change clothes.  This could destroy important evidence.
  • GET MEDICAL ATTENTION.  A medical exam is important to treat injury and for prevention of pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.  Medical attention is important so that evidence can be collected.  Hospital emergency rooms are the only facilities equipped to perform evidence gathering exams.  Without this you may not be able to pursue your case legally.
  • REPORTING THE ASSAULT TO THE POLICE.  The sooner you report, the stronger your case will be.  Your cooperation with police and the Attorney General’s office is critical for the case to be prosecuted. However, this is your choice and if you choose to not report, you can still receive medical care and a kit can be administered with out reporting. The kit will be held for 3 years and you can report at anytime.
  • VICTIM’S COMPENSATION is a state fund to help survivors pay for medical costs, losses and suffering.  To qualify, report the crime to law enforcement within 48 hours, cooperate with the investigation and prosecution, and submit a written claim within one year of the assault (unless the victim was a child).
  • SEEK COUNSELING OR A SUPPORT GROUP.  Many survivors say they feel guilty, ashamed or “dirty” after an assault.  It takes time to heal.   CEASE offers support groups and referrals.