What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is any type of sexual contact without consent, which includes exhibitionism, molestation, rape, child sexual abuse, sodomy, oral copulation, groping, or torture in a sexual manner. Our office acknowledges that sexual assault is a violent and devastating crime. It deprives us of our most basic human right: The sanctity and safety of our own bodies. Sexual assault is not the loss of control because of passion. It is about the humiliation and control of a victim.
Victims often blame themselves. They may feel anger, fear, denial, hopelessness, hurt or shock. The victims need to hear that it is not their fault! They will need to hear this many times. Most victims have trouble reporting and are embarrassed to discuss the crime.
What happens when you make a police report?
Once reported, a law enforcement officer will take your statement. The location of the crime will decide which law enforcement entity will respond. Victims have the right to a SART exam (Sexual Assault Response Team) without having to file a law enforcement report. The SART is a forensic exam intended to collect evidence for the case. You will be given the option to have an advocate from the Sexual Assault Victim Services (SAVS) assigned to you, and they can help you navigate this process from the beginning to the end.
The District Attorney’s Office will receive the case from law enforcement and decide whether there is enough evidence to prosecute. The Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case will want to meet with the victim and they appreciate their participation. If a restraining order is needed, the SAVS advocate will assist in filing for it. The criminal justice system can be a long process, you will have your advocate every step of the way.
Warning Signs & Impact
- Newly developed food disorders (eating too much, too little, or not at all)
- Newly developed sleeping disorders (sleeping too much, too little, or not at all)
- Work or student’s grades changing significantly
- Changes in self-care (lack of hygiene, appearance, or fashion)
- Self-harming behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
How to Support a Victim of Sexual Assault
- Let them know that this was not their fault.
- Make sure they are safe.
- Help them report the crime.
- Encourage them to speak with a counselor.
- NEWS - Welcome - NEWS - Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Services - Napa Valley (napanews.org)
- SAVS - Sexual Assault Victim Services - NEWS - Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Services - Napa Valley (napanews.org)
- Marsy’s Law - Victims’ Bill of Rights | State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General