Rape Victim Advocates

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According to RAINN, someone is sexually abused in the US every two minutes. 60% of sexual abuse isn’t reported which means 60% of survivors of sexual assault aren’t receiving the help they need and are entitled to by law.

Every survivor responds differently to his/her assault but the effects can be both physical and mental.

Possible risks of assault include:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Eating/sleeping disorders
  • Stockholm Syndrome (an involuntarily emotional bonding with the abuser)

But there are things survivors can do. Sharmili Majmudar, executive director at Rape Victim Advocates here in Chicago, urges survivors to seek help from family, friends, and medical professionals to help on the road to recovery. The most important thing for family and friends to do is let the survivor know they believe them and are there for support. Support, Sharmili says, must be unconditional and on the survivor’s terms because after an assault, regaining control is crucial.

Sharmili says small changes can make a big impact and urges individuals to change the way they view and talk about rape:

  • Change the way we talk about rape. Rape jokes and references are not funny or appropriate.
  • Do not place blame on the victim. It does not matter if he/she consumed alcohol or what he/she wore, for example.
  • Educate others. Chances are, everyone has come in contact with a victim of sexual assault, whether they know it or not.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, please contact the 24-hour Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline 1-888-293-2080.

For more information on Rape Victim Advocates, visit http://www.rapevictimadvocates.org/

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