Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (abuse) is a pattern of behavior that one person uses to gain power and control over the other. These behaviors can include:

Isolation from friends and family
Emotional abuse and psychological abuse
Controlling the finances (financial abuse)
Physical and sexual assault

The fundamental harm of abuse is a loss of autonomy. Autonomy means independence and freedom from external control. Everyone should be free to make their own choices in relationships.

How Can I Help???

Educate yourself and others about domestic violence.
Get involved! Show your support.  Volunteer. Make donations.
Be a friend.  Help a friend in an abusive situation by being a good listener.  talk about it. Tell them “This is not your fault.”  Help them find resources.
Be nonjudgmental.  Domestic violence does not discriminate against race, socioeconomic status, marital status, lifestyle or age.  Know that violence is not acceptable.  She/He did not “ask for it.”  She/He did not “deserve” it.  She/He does not “like it”.
Be an example.  Make a commitment to the cause.  Join a community or parish.  Let others know about your commitment.
Tell – Guilt and shame belong to the perpetrators.

Domestic violence is complicated, but help is available. You can talk with and advocate anytime (you don’t have to be in crisis) to sort out how to help someone who is in an abusive relationship or to get help yourself. Call Healthy Families at 360-452-3811 or our 24/7/365 Crisis Line @ 360-452-HELP (4357).

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. Sexual assault is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of victimizations which may or may not involve force or be illegal.

The dynamics of sexual assault are complicated. Typically, sexual assault is not about sex, but about manipulation, exploitation, and exerting power and control over another person. Sexual assault is a tool of sexism, or sexist oppression, and perpetrators use sexual assault as a weapon to humiliate and dominate others.

There is no one kind of person who experiences sexual assault. We know that sexual assault affects people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The stories and statistics show us that sexual assault crosses boundaries of race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexuality. Perpetrators use sexual assault as tool of oppression. People who identify as members of oppressed or marginalized communities experience the intersections of other oppression (e.g. racism, homophobia) and sexual violence as well as greater rates of sexual assault.

Sexual assault affects every survivor differently, and each person’s response may be impacted by the nature of the assault, your individual and family history, or other life circumstances. There is no right way to react after a sexual assault, and you know best what choices are right for you. As you decide want you want to do next, remember that what happened to you is not your fault. The perpetrator alone is responsible for their actions.

Healthy Families of Clallam County can help you navigate the emotions, choices, and systems that you may encounter following a sexual assault. Advocates are available to discuss your concerns and connect you to resources. Specifically, they can answer questions about your options and rights, provide support and coping strategies, accompany you to medical or legal appointments, and help you navigate systems and situations related to your experience of sexual assault. You are not alone.