Though the Stanford rape case has received an enormous amount of attention, it is nowhere near a solitary event. There are millions of sexual-assault victims in this country who don’t think they will ever see, or even deserve, justice.
The statistics don’t lie: 82 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone who isn’t a stranger to the victim; 68 percent of sexual assaults aren’t even reported to the police—likely because of those that are reported, only 2 percent of rapists serve prison time, not to mention bringing a rapist to court often leads to more trauma for the victim.
“This issue is far too often swept under the rug, but when you have a high-profile case like [Stanford rapist Brock Turner’s], it is an opportunity to shine a much-needed spotlight on this sad reality, as well as on the resources available,” says Brian Pacheco, a spokesperson for sexual-abuse support resource Safe Horizon. “Make no mistake about it, it can be very difficult to come forward as a survivor of sexual assault. No one situation is the same. We encourage survivors to speak to an advocate who can help explain the options available to them, whether that is making a report to law enforcement, seeking counseling or even support on how to disclose to your loved ones.”
There are numerous online resources like Safe Horizon’s that offer information and support for survivors of sexual abuse, so victims don’t have to feel so helpless and alone. Some of these include:
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is one of the largest anti-sexual violence organizations in the country. They run an online hotline for sexual assault victims and their family and friends, and provide specific resources for children, members of the military, and for Spanish speakers. They also have a database of local sexual-assault service providers.
2. Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon was founded in 1978, and provides support for victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, and more. As well as connecting victims with advocates who can help them report their assaults or find counseling, it also offers direct legal assistance to low-income victims, as well as free legal information and advice.
NSVRC offers support tools for sexual violence victims as well as encourages prevention, providing e-learning courses like “Bringing hope: Responding to disclosures of child sexual abuse” and “Violence against American Indian and Alaska native women and men: 2010 findings from the national Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.” Their extensive online library is also a resource for researchers.
4. Not Alone
This project from the University of Texas provides students with rights, instructions, and guidelines for when a sexual assault happens on campus, from how to file a complaint against a school to how to help bystanders.
AVP provides support to LGBT and HIV-affected communities for any type of violence, and offers support groups, legal assistance, and even “arts expression groups” for victims of hate violence, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence.
This organization promotes nonviolent expressions of masculinity by mentoring male youth and teaching them about consent. It also lists many resources for male sexual assault victims and male perpetrators of sexual violence.
Some researchers say that one in six men experienced unwanted sexual conduct before the age of 18—and 1in6 provides resources for those men and their families, including an online hotline as well as a questionnaire focused on helping men sort out their experiences.
This national trans anti-violence organization provides services to transgender, gender-nonconforming, and gender nonbinary sexual assault victims and their family and friends. It offers training and assistance for those who work with sexual assault survivors, as well as connects victims with therapists in their area. It also runs a listserv, where victims and their supporters can share their stories.
This organization’s mission is to end partner abuse in LGBT, BDSM, and polyamorous communities. It has created manuals on how to identify partner abuse—especially how to distinguish consensual BDSM behavior from abuse—and provides advocate information, hotlines, and even free short-term housing in the Boston area for victims.