Hope For Healing. Org

Formerly the Rape Recovery Help and Info. Page

 Frequently Asked Questions

Email with any questions can be sent to me here. Put "F.A.Q" in the subject line. While I cannot respond to each email individually all are read. If I don't know the answers (and I may not) I'll do my best to find the answer to your question and post it here even if you don't get an emailed response. Other questions may be posted in the Delphi chat room at http://customforums.delphi.com/customforums/rapehealing under the folder "Asking Others"

What is the difference between rape and sexual assault?

The legal answer
is going to vary with different localtions.
If you are searching for a legal
definiton on either rape or sexual assault,
please consult your local district attorney's office.

 The general working definition
that most rape crisis centers use is this:
Rape is a completed act of sexual violence
forcefully performed against the will of another person.
According to R.A.I.N.N., this includes the
use of psychological force and
coercion, as well as the use of foreign objects .

Rape victims can be women, men or children.
Rapists can be heterosexual or homosexual and victims may be
of the same or different gender as the perpetrator.  Offenders may or may not be known to the victim. The crime does not have to be reported for a victim to have been raped.

A Sexual Assaulthowever is any unwanted sexual contact between an unwilling victim and a perpetrator that does not lead to rape. Things such as fondling, touching, being made to unwillingly sit on someone's lap, being poked or patted in a sexual manner, being kissed or hugged against your will are all examples of sexual assault.

Victims may be any age, gender or sexual orientation.
(added 4/17/02)


A coworker was raped and hasn't yet returned to work.

She begins to cry whenever the subject is brought up. How do I help her?
You don't say how long
it's been since your coworker was raped.
My assumption
is that it hasn't been very long
(say within the past few months).
She may be needing time to adjust,
something at work could be making her
feel unsafe or she may be scared to leave her home.

Any of this is understandable. Survivors
usually need counseling to recover from
a trauma of this magnitude.
However, not all survivors are
comfortable with receiving this
kind of help. Stigmas help keep the
survivor enshrouded in shame. Often,
victims falsely believe it was their
fault or they could
have done something to prevent the attack.

The fact that she was able to survive
is not to be taken lightly. No matter how
"minor" the rape happened to be it is
still an act of violence against the victim.
Not all survivors will live through it.
Some will be killed by the perpetrator
while others will die by their own hand later.

You may want to do some research
on PTSD and it's aftereffects to better
understand her possible
frame of mind. You can start by looking here
or by utilizing any search engine.
Virtually all rape survivors develop ptsd after an attack.

If you believe she is suicidal then she
needs professional help immediately.
If you feel she is afraid to come back to
work you might want to ask if something at work bothers her.

Give her space to cry. Tell her that you
know it's hard to talk about. It might be
a conversation you leave open for further
discussion later if she wants someone
to talk to. Letting her know you support
her and will welcome her back when
she's ready is of paramount importance.

She might not be able to return to
work today, tomorrow or even next
week or next year but knowing that
she has support there can be a
key factor in helping her along the healing process.

I've become a victim and want to talk to somebody. Where do I go on the internet?

There are a couple of chat rooms off of my site. One is http://customforums.delphi.com/customforums/rapehealing
and the other one is a yahoo club
Either will require a free membership.
It only takes a minute, then you'll be
able to have the benefit of all the other
rooms or clubs hosted with that particular company.
Now, if you are wanting to set up counseling
or speak with someone privately there
are a couple of other places
on the new. A couple of the urls are found http://www.hopeforhealing.org/counseling.html
For information on
a women's list support group please visit

 I'm working on a paper for school.
Can you email me some statistics or more information to use in it?

No. I'm sorry but because of the
sheer volume of email that I get it's
pretty impossible for me to look up
statistics for you and everyone else.
You might want to start looking here though: http://www.hopeforhealing.org/stats.html

Doesn't it matter what the victim is wearing when the attack happened?

In my opinion, no.
The victim was not the
one who chose to commit a crime.

Why would a person want to do this? Rape is awful!

Rape is a crime about power and control.
It is a choice made by an individual to
commit a crime. There are different
types of rapists and different
reasons why a perpetrator makes this choice.
However, no reason can ever be
a good reason to hurt another person.


This is one of the most painful questions
that each Survivor faces. Rape isn't a
crime of sex, but of power and control.
It happened because one person
decided to take advantage
and take control of another person.

What did I do to deserve this?

There was nothing that you did, said, wore or anything that would have made you responsible for another person's behavior. We are only responsible for our own conscious actions, not for the actions of anyone else.

My friend was raped. What do I do?

I'd suggest that you encourage medical and/or emotional help as soon as possible. Be supportive of your friend and realize that there may be ongoing problems associated with the aftermath of this crime. Read and educate yourself as much as you can. Explore resources in your community, online, and any other available areas for support.
 Is it really possible to get pregnant from being raped?
Unfortunately yes.
Anytime there is sex, consensual or not, between a male and female there is always the possibility of pregnancy. It is always wise to seek medical care as soon after a rape as possible.

 How long is it possible to test positive for HIV after being raped?

For the answer to this I emailed Project Inform. Thank you very much Project Inform for your response. For more information please visit their website from the link below.

Thank you for emailing Project Inform.
As you undoubtedly know, we are
an HIV treatment information
hotline, and we refer other issues to
other resources, such as to other web
sites (we have links to several on our
web site) and to other hotlines,
including the CDC National AIDS
Clearing House
1-800-458-5231, the CDC National
AIDS Hotline 1-800-342-2437,
and their state AIDS hotline.
However, the question you pose is
very difficult and important
and so I'll make an exception
and give you some information
about it. If I may, I think
the question isn't "how long is
it possible to test positive
" but rather is "how
long is it possible to
test negative" after being
raped by someone HIV ,
and yet possibly still have been infected with HIV.

A positive HIV antibody test
result means one is infected with HIV.
If one tests HIV positive,
one should go to the most
experienced HIV doctor
available, and get a full
HIV & STD checkup.
A negative HIV antibody
test result means one
is not infected with HIV
as of 6 months prior to the
test. This 6 month period is referred
to as the "window period," the
time between HIV infection and
how long it can take for enough
antibodies to HIV to develop to
show up in the antibody test. Actually
approximately 50% of people infected
with HIV would test positive
about 21 days after exposure. However
50% of infected people would test
negative at that time, and for them, it will
take a longer time to develop enough
antibodies to show up in the test. Therefore,
most AIDS information hotlines suggest
that people take an HIV antibody test 3
months after their possible exposure,
because at 3 months, almost
everyone infected would test positive.

Then it's recommended people take another
HIV antibody test 6 months after the possible
exposure. Only an extremely small number
of infected people would take as long
as 6 months to test positive. Then safest
policy would be to take another HIV antibody
test 1 year after possible exposure,
to be certain one was not infected.
Most AIDS hotlines would advise this last
test wouldn't be necessary, but some people
have their anxiety reduced by taking that 1 year test anyway.

We're sorry, but we're unable to answer HIV
treatment questions through email
or by fax. We are a small, nonprofit HIV
treatment information organization with
limited resources. All of our publications,
including fact sheets and the PI
Perspective, are posted are on our
website Project Inform along
with links to other websites for additional information.

 If I am 18 and I want to just date (no sex) a girl younger how young is the age that I can date without it being considered rape?

This question varies from state to state.
You might want to try calling your
local police department or rape crisis
center and asking. Another option is to
find someone closer to your age to date.

I have a friend that got raped. She won't tell her parents or the police. I'm the only one that knows. What should I do?

I would really urge your friend to
contact your local rape crisis center.
They will be the best help for her. If she
can't get into a center she can call on
the hotline. Should she not want to
call it won't be a bad idea to go ahead
and call for her. There is usually
support available for partners and friends as well.

I was raped several months ago and put it out of my mind.
Why isn't that working anymore? How do I deal with this quickly and effectively?

Rape isn't always something you can
heal from in a couple of months.
You may need face-to-face counseling
to help with the flashbacks and any other
PTSD symptoms that may be going on.
Best is usually to
contact a rape crisis center for counseling.
It well may be that E.M.D.R. would
work for you. That's only something
that a trained therapist would have
to help you decide. E.M.D.R. can
make a tremendous difference after only
a couple of sessions.
Info is available at http://www.emdr.com

Generally though, putting it out of your
mind won't help forever. It will for the
short term but then symptoms will crop
up that will wind up eating you alive.
My best suggestion is to talk to someone
with experience in abuse issues
so you may heal as fully as possible.


Spiritual Questions

Why the saying "vengence is mine sayeth the Lord"?

                                                                  What most people don't realize is when you
                                     commit an act of violence like this against a Christian you're
                                     committing that act against God at the same time.

                                                It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if
                                    accept Christ and He lives in you then whatever is done to you is
                                                 also done to Him.

                                                     Looking at this from our perspective it allows us
                                              the ability to let God deal with the perpetrator
                                             (especially if we cannot prosecute) and to use that energy would
                                    would spend in retaliation instead in our healing.

                                        I'm not saying don't prosecute. If we can prosecute and choose to
                                 do so God will help us along the way. But if we can't, well,
                                                      let's just say I'm glad God is on our side.

Where was Jesus when this happened to me?
He was right there with you
help you to survive the attack.
God will never leave you nor forsake you.
 Why did he let this happen? I'm can't handle it!!
Yes, you can.
With God's help we can achieve
anything we cannot do on our own.

God doesn't allow these things
to happen so He will know what we
can handle but so we will
know what we can handle through Him.
By leaning on Him for strength our
faith has
the opportunity to become more solid.

 Why doesn't He help me when I ask?

 If we allow God into our life and
truly ask, He will send help.

This help can come in many different forms.
It could be people coming into your life
when most needed, medication to ease
your distress, Bible and book
passages which seem to help. It could
be counseling, internet sites or books to
read. It could be a well timed phone
call from a friend or even an
inspiring email. Help is there. Our
task is to recognize and be ready to take
advantage of the help when it is sent to us.

 What do you mean "if we allow Him, He'll send help". That's what I'm looking for, help!

Is it? Sometimes we confuse wanting
help with wanting someone else to deal with
our problems so we won't have to.
When we ask for help it will be sent.
When we ask for someone else to carry this
burden that might not happen.
It's already been given to us to carry.
Recognizing help can be hard. I confess,
there are times when I didn't realize
what help was right in front of me.
That's part of what makes recovery so difficult.
Through prayer, we are more able
to see the help and use it.
Keeping a prayer journal
is tremendously helpful.

  My life is pretty much a mess right now. How can I please learn to be more aware of the help God's sending?

Keeping a prayer journal is one way you
can pay more attention to God's movement in your life.
Spending quiet time in prayer will not only
recharge your soul but heighten your
awareness as well. Other ways are
attending worship services you feel
comfortable in, reading your Bible and
seeking guidance from strong Christians
such a pastor or Sunday School teacher.

 The church stuff is all well and good but I stopped going a long time ago. You don't need to be in a church to find God.

You're right on one point. God doesn't
exist only in a building. He lives in the
hearts and minds of those who believe
in Him. However, to  strengthen our
faith and keep us spiritually on track
we need to connect regularly with other
Christians. One of the best ways of
doing this is to
regularly attend the church of your choice.

 If God loves me why didn't He stop the attacker?

Most of the time, God doesn't directly
intervene in ourown lives. He
does work for the good of
those who believe in him.
(Psalm 66:5 "Come and see what God has done,
how awesome are his works in man's behalf" NIV)

 How do we know what God thinks about rape?

His voice on the subject of rape is quite clear
(Deuteronomy 22:25 "But if out in the country
a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be
married and rapes her, only the
man who has done this shall die.
22:26 Do nothing to the girl for she has
committed no sin deserving death")

Copyright 1996-2001
All Rights Reserved
Gayle Crabtree

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All answers on this page are my opinion unless otherwise noted. This page is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help. It is merely put together by a survivor who has found much of this information helpful to her healing and offered as a possible help to others. All information here is strictly my opinion and I am not responsible for what may happen if you take my advice. If you feel you need a professional to speak with please contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional. I claim no responsibility for the use of this page, use of content, or content of any links leading from this page. This page is offered for support of other survivors and basic information only.