The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


Support Groups

Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers are here to help

In 2010, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers in Virginia…

  • responded to 61,860 hotline calls
  • offered 50,949 hours of advocacy services to 4,903 adults
  • provided 26,570 hours of advocacy services to 2,123 children

Survivors of sexual violence who have received advocacy services from Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers have said the following:

“I feel so strong when I am here. I feel safe, supported, and not judged.   I have more tools to help me be safe and happy in my life.”

 “My children are getting the help they need.”

 “Everything about this experience has been positive. I have learned more about myself, who I am, and what I really want in life for me and my children and have been able to set goals for myself to better our future!

  I loved my advocate. She was there for me from the beginning of it all, causing me to feel supported!!!

 “The support group was the most positive experience. I really, really had a need to hear from other women who are survivors of sexual abuse.”

  “It’s rewarding to feel good about myself and the services I’ve received have given me back my confidence.”

 Source of all data on this fact sheet: VAdata: The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Data Collection System, 2010.

The Continuum of Sexual Abuse

Many people ask what are the definitions of sexual violence/abuse.  Today’s column focuses on identifying what is sexual abuse/violence, rape, and coercion.

The Continuum of Sexual Abuse

Abuse of Sexuality is harassment that occurs when somebody does not conform to traditional gender stereotypes or being punished through the use of sex.

Witness Activity is showing a child pornographic materials and unwanted exposure to one or more other people engaging in sexual behavior.

Advances/Seduction is unwanted sexual advances and situations in which seductive dynamics are disguised or confusing.

Coercion is being pressured into participating in unwanted sexual activity.

Physical manipulation is placing a child’s hand on another person’s genitals or other body location(s) that stimulate a response and touching a child’s genitals or other body locations.

Sexual Invasion(coerced or forced) is the insertion or penetration of any orifice of a child’s body with a penis, finger, or an object of any sort and may involve the use of weapons, alcohol, drugs, etc.

Institutionally sanctioned sexual contact is the overt or covert sexual contact by anyone representing or perceived to be representing an institution, this may include agencies that are caretaking, religious, recreational, educational, etc.

This list was supplied by Jim Struve, LCSW at the National Sexual Assault Forum being held this week in Alexandria, Virginia

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