Sexual Assault



Sexual assault is an act of violence and control by another person. 
A sexual assault or rape is NOT YOUR FAULT!!!!!
You did what you had to do to survive and that is okay!!!!!
Please read through the information on this page for more information or call our
Sexual Assault Hotline at: 1-804-694-5890 or 1-888-289-2102.



Rape and Sexual Assault

What is the difference between rape and sexual assault? (Legally speaking…)
  • Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
  • Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling.


It is important to note:

  • Sexual assault is a crime of violence, power and control.
  • Sexual assault victims can be any race, age, or from any socio-economic background.
  • Sexual assaults can happen at any place and at any time.
  • The vast majority are committed by someone known to the victim.


Types of Rape


Rape by a Stranger

Stranger rape can happen to anyone. The perpetrator may choose his victim randomly or he may plan the attack and try to build a relationship with the victim before the attack. Some perpetrators attack their victims in public locations, but others may invade a victim’s home or other personal spaces.


Rape by an Acquaintance

Rapes are far more likely to be committed by someone the victim knows. The majority of acquaintance rapes are committed in the victim’s home or in the residence of the acquaintance, a friend of the victim’s, a relative, or a neighbor’s home.


Date Rape

Date rape occurs when someone you have been dating forces you to have sex against your will. Date rape can occur at anytime during the dating relationship. The perpetrator may use drugs, physical force, or a weapon to gain control over his/her victim.


Marital/Partner Rape

Sexual violence in a relationship or marriage occurs when mutual consent for a sex act is absent. Sexual violence in a marriage/relationship is often accompanied by other physical violence. Victims of marital/partner rape have often been raped multiple times by their abuser and are much more likely to suffer long-term physical and mental injuries.


Child Sexual Assault/Rape

Child sexual assault/rape is any sexual abuse, sexual contact, or sexual exploitation of a minor. The perpetrator can be one or more persons. Generally speaking, the perpetrator is someone close to the child (relative, family friend, teacher, minister, or other trusted authority figure) who has gained the trust of the child and/or the child’s family. Most importantly, perpetrators groom their victims over a period of time. The grooming begins with seemingly innocent behavior such as the perpetrator showing a preference for the child, but after time the behavior escalates into more sinister acts such as showing the child pornography or engaging in physical contact such as uninvited hugging, kissing, or touching. During the grooming period, sexual contact may not occur. The internet is becoming an extremely popular method for abusers/perpetrators to groom their child victims.


After the Sexual Assault


Victims of rape or sexual assault are survivors! Survivors may have many different feelings and emotions. These feelings are normal and perfectly acceptable. It is OKAY to seek help in dealing with your sexual assault. You were the victim, but now you are a SURVIVOR! Some of the most common feelings are:

  • Tired
  • Ashamed
  • Denial
  • Loss of freedom
  • Insecure around strangers or strange places
  • Loss of control
  • Worry about loved ones
  • Vulnerable
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Shock and disbelief
  • Numbness
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Insomnia
  • Nervous
  • Depressed
  • Mood Swings


Survivor Rights

  • You have the right to report your rape/sexual assault to Laurel Shelter, Inc. and have your information remain absolutely confidential until you choose to release it or report it to law enforcement.
  • You have the right to be treated at medical facilities in Virginia without fear of your rape/sexual assault being reported to law enforcement.
  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • You are just as credible as any victim of any other crime.
  • You have the right to be asked only those questions that are relevant to a court case or to medical treatment.
  • You have the right to receive medical and mental health services whether or not the assault is reported to police.
  • You have the right to be advised of your legal options.
  • You have the right to have evidence collected and handled properly.
  • You have the right to have your name kept out of the media.
  • You have the right to feel and react to the rape or sexual assault.
  • You were the victim!!! You have the right to a secure living environment.
  • You have the right to seek a civil suit against your assailant.
  • You have the right to have defended yourself during the attack without fear of reprisal.

Helping a Rape/Sexual Assault Survivor


What would you do if a friend or loved one admitted to you that he/she was raped or sexually assaulted? There are some simple steps to take to help.

  1. Believe them
  2. Offer support and safety
  3. Encourage them to seek assistance through a crisis hotline like Laurel Shelter, Inc. (804) 694-5890
  4. Encourage them to seek medical attention - they do not need to report to law enforcement.
  5. Encourage them to seek counseling
  6. Encourage them to report the attack
  7. Offer to stay with them
  8. Be prepared to help with their long-term healing
  9. Take care of your emotional needs


For More Information or Any Inquiries, Please Contact the Sexual Assault Program Coordinator at: 

Learn to get the help you deserve.

Contact us

(804)694-5552 Hotline (TTY)

(804)694-5890 Outreach Office) 

(804)684-5056 Thrift Store


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Our Hotlines and escape button will remain at the top of the browser window. The escape button will exit this site. You should also clear your browser hitory.

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