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What Is Rape/Sexual Assault?

Definitions of Abuse

Many people believe that rapes and sexual assaults only occur when someone is attacked by a stranger in a dark alley. The truth is that over 80% of those who are raped nationally, and 99% of those raped in Cache Valley, know their attacker. Rape and sexual assault can include:

  • Forced sexual acts, including oral sex
  • Rape
  • Object rape
  • Sodomy
  • Unwanted use of pornography
  • Unwanted photographing or videotaping of sexual acts
  • Forced sexual interaction with others; or
  • Forced sexual acts with animals

NO ONE DESERVES TO BE RAPED

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, it was not your fault. Anything you did to survive the rape is a good thing. For most people, the main task during an assault is survival. Every survivor of sexual violence is different and reacts in his or her own unique way to an assault. Many people freeze, which is an automatic response in the primitive part of the brain meant to increase survival. Anything you did to survive the rape is a good thing.

Important note: If you are under 18 and you disclose that you have been raped or sexually assaulted to CAPSA, and also disclose identifying information such as your name, address, phone number, etc., we are required by law to report it to police.

If you are 18 or older any information given to a CAPSA crisis hotline employee, CAPSA caseworker, or other CAPSA staff member will remain confidential. You can have the option to discuss the assault with law enforcement, but will not be required to do so.

Much of the information contained below was taken from "You Are A Survivor", an informational packet created and distributed by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA). More information about UCASA can be found at the UCASA website.

Rape Myths & Realities

Most of us are taught to think that if we are smart, careful, and follow certain rules, we can stop something like sexual violence from happening to us. We want you to understand the facts about sexual violence so you know that you did not cause yourself to be attacked. Rape can happen to anyone.

Rape is a devastating violation of body, mind, and spirit. A sexual assault takes your feeling of control and safety away no matter who you are and no matter who the perpetrator is. Every survivor has characteristics or previous experiences that impact the way the assault feels to her or him.

Survivors often wonder what they did to cause a sexual assault to happen to them. Sometimes placing responsibility on yourself feels safer, as if by blaming yourself you can make sure it will never happen again. This does not really keep you safer because you did not cause the assault. Although experiencing some feelings of guilt is common, you are not responsible for the rapist's behavior. The rape was not your fault.

Myth: It could never happen to me.
Reality: Anybody can be raped, regardless of age, gender, class, race, occupation, religion, sexual orientation or physical appearance. In Utah, one in eight women will be raped and one in three will be sexually assaulted.

Myth: I can spot a rapist.
Reality: A rapist looks like anyone else.

Myth: Rapists are acting on impulse.
Reality: Sexual assault is an act of violence, power and control - not passion. Rape is not the result of sexual arousal. Offenders seek power by taking it away from someone else. Sex is the weapon used to commit the crime. The youngest rape victim reported to the FBI was just days old – the oldest was 97. Rape is NOT about sex – it is about power and control, using sex as the weapon.

Myth: If I didn't fight back it's my fault or not really rape.
Reality: Submitting to sexual assault to save your life, to keep from being hurt, or because you were afraid does not make it any less of a crime. Some survivors "freeze" or "space out". Deciding to be still or pretend to "go along" with a rapist is another way to fight back and is not the same as consent. SUBMISSION IS NOT CONSENT. If you did not want it, it was sexual assault.

Myth: Rapes are committed in dark alleys by strangers.
Reality: In the U.S., over 80% of sexual assault cases were perpetrated by an attacker who knew the person he or she assaulted. In Cache Valley, 99% of those assaulted know their attackers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 6 out of 10 rapes and sexual assaults occur in the victim's home or at the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor.

Myth: If I was using illegal drugs or consuming alcohol underage at the time of the rape, I will get be cahrged if I tell the police about it.
Reality: If you were raped, most likely you will not be charged for other activities you were participating in at the time, even if you were consuming alcohol under the age of 21 or using illegal drugs. You may be asked about those activities, including whether you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the assault, but you will generally not be charged for it. It is important to be completely honest with law enforcement so they have all the facts of the case from the beginning. Their main concern is the rape, so generally they will overlook other illegal activity on the part of the person who has been raped or sexually assaulted.

Myth: If I tell a CAPSA advocate or caseworker I was raped, they will call the police, or tell my parents or friends about the rape.
Reality: If you are over the age of 18, anything you discuss with a CAPSA advocate is completely confidential. If you do not want to tell your parents or friends about the assault, that is your decision. If you are not ready to report the assault to police, that is your decision. You have control over who you decide to tell about your assault. A CAPSA advocate or caseworker will just be there to support you and help you through the process, and provide you with information about resources that are available.

Important Note: If you are under 18 and you have been raped and you give CAPSA identifying information about yourself, such as your name, address, phone number, etc., we are required by law to report the assault to police. You can still call the CAPSA 24-hour crisis and information hotline to speak with an advocate, but if you do not want the assault reported to police, do not give identifying information.

What to do if you have been raped or sexually assaulted

  • Try and find safety.
  • If you are in immediate danger or have serious injuries, call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, call someone you trust, such as a friend, and/or a confidential rape crisis CAPSA advocate at 435.753.2500.
  • Please remember that the assault was not your fault. There are people at CAPSA and throughout Utah who will believe you and support you as you decide what to do.

Whether or not you wish to report to the police or go to the hospital, or if you have questions, call the CAPSA 24-hour crisis and information hotline for confidential support and crisis intervention at 435.753.2500. If you think you might go to the hospital, don't bathe or douche. This could destroy valuable evidence. If oral contact took place, try not to smoke, eat, drink, or brush your teeth until after you have been examined.

Medical attention is vital, as you may have injuries of which you are unaware. A medical professional can also test you for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, and provide appropriate treatment. If you are over 18, you can access these services without reporting to the police (by seeking assistance for "unprotected intercourse"), however if you tell the healthcare provider you were a victim of rape, or if the healthcare provider suspects abuse, s/he has to report it to law enforcement.

If you've already changed clothes, place them in a paper bag (plastic may destroy evidence – if you don't have a paper bag, just carry them) and bring them with you. If you haven't changed, keep your original clothes on, and bring an extra set to wear home from the hospital, in case your clothing is kept as evidence.

You can request a CAPSA advocate. If you are not provided one at the hospital or police department, ask for a CAPSA advocate who can meet you at either place. The CAPSA advocate will meet with you, help you understand what is happening, provide assistance with any legal documents that need to be filled out, and provide information, referrals, and support following the rape. CAPSA rape and sexual assault services are provided completely free, and if you are 18 years or older, everything you tell a CAPSA advocate will remain completely confidential. If you are under 18, CAPSA advocates, staff, and/or caseworkers are required by law to report the rape to law enforcement if they have any identifying information about the victim (name, phone number, address, etc.).

Remember, you are not alone. As a survivor of sexual assault, you are not alone in what happened to you, or in how you feel. There are people who care about what you have endured and what you are going through now as you heal. The feelings, reactions and questions you may be experiencing are similar to those of other people who have been victimized through no fault of their own. Sexual assault is never your fault. You are not to blame for what another person has done to you. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the CAPSA 24-hour crisis and information hotline at 435.753.2500. Reaching out is a very important step toward recovery.

The events that have touched your life are dramatic, disturbing and will probably be very confusing and painful. Many individuals have experiencedf sexual assault. You, like them, can learn to regain a sense of power over your life. You may feel very isolated and alone, but CAPSA is here, ready to help you and your loved ones. There is support available.

Getting Medical Attention

Medical attention is vital, as you may have injuries of which you are unaware. A medical professional can also test you for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy and provide appropriate treatment. If you are over 18, you can access these services without reporting ot the police (by seeking assistance for "unprotected intercourse"); however, if you tell the healthcare provider you were raped or sexually assaulted, or if the healthcare provider suspects abuse, he or she has to report it to law enforcement.

Medical Care with a Forensic Exam

You have several options in obtaining medical care. You may want to have a forensic exam (Code R) so that evidence is collected in case you ever want to pursue prosectutions. You don't ahve to make a decision today about whether or not you might want to mover forward with prosecution. But, if you have the Code R exam, any evidence is collected and saved and can be used should you consier prosecution later.

A CAPSA advocate can be with you during the Code R process, regardless of whether or not you decide to provide law enforcement with a statement. A CAPSA advocate can provide emotional support during the examination and report-taking. Your advocate can help explain medical procedures and the process of evidence collection. This person can provide inromation for friends or family members who may be at the hospital supporting you. Your advocate may assist you with follow-up medical and counseling appointments and provide support through the criminal justice process. If you have any questions before or after seeking medical treatment, call the CAPSA 24-hour hotline at 435-753-2500.

If you think you might go to the hospital for a Code R exam, don't bather or douche. This could destroy valuable evidence. If oral contact took place, try not smoke, eat, drink, or brush your teeth until after you have been examined. If you haven't changed, keep your original clothes on, and bring an extra set to wear home from the hospital, in case your clothing is kept as evidence. If you have changed your clothes, place them in a paper bag as plasitc may destroy evidence. If you don't have a paper bag, just bring them with you.

In Cache Valley, Code R exams are conducted at Cache Valley Hospital in the Emergency Department. You can call CAPSA, who will contact the hospital and send an advocate to meet you there. Or, you can call the hospital at 435-713-9700. Cache Vally Hospital is located at 2380 N. 400 E., North Logan. The Emergency Department is on the southeast side of the hospital. Your CAPSA advocate will meet you there.

You can request a CAPSA advocate at the hospital or police department if you have not been provided one. A CAPSA advocate can meet you at either place. The CAPSA advocate will meet with you, help you understand what is happening, provide information and assistance with any legal documents such as protective orders or civil stalking injunctions that might be appropriate, and provide information, referrals, and support following the rape. CAPSA rape and sexual assault services are provided completely free, and if you are 18 years or older, everything you tell a CAPSA advocate will remain confidential. If you are under 18, CAPSA advocates, staff, and/or caseworkers are required by law to report the rape to law enforcement if they have any identifying information about the victim (name, phone number, address, etc.)

Medical Care without a Forensic Exam

You may also choose to get medical care without a Code R exam. Getting medical care is a major step toward recovery and healing. There are several resources in Cache Valley for medical care, including:

  • A personal or family physician
  • Logan Regional Hospital- 435-716-1000 (1400 N. 500 E., Logan)
  • Cache Valley Hospital- 435-713-9700 (2380 N. 400 E., North Logan)
  • Planned Parenthood- 435-753-0724 (550 N. Main, Suite 17, Logan)
  • USU Health and Wellness Center-435-797-1660 (850 E. 1200 N., Logan)

By law, all health care providers are required to report any crime including sexual assault to law enforcement. You can seek medical attention for "unprotected intercourse" without having the assault reported to law enforcement. Just know medical personnel are required to report if they suspect abuse or assault. Whether or not you wish to report to the police or go to the hospital, or if you have questions, call the CAPSA 24-Hour crisis and information hotline for confidential support and crisis intervention at 435-753-2500

After An Assault

Taking care of yourself is the first step in the healing process after an assault. You have important decisions to make even if the first decision may be that you are not ready to make them right now. Some of the things to think about are:

Who to Tell - You have the right to have control over your story. Sorting through who to tell about a sexual assault is an important step in the healing process. Many survivors do not tell anyone. It can be very scary to risk letting strong feelings out and to wait for another person's reaction.

The perpetrator may tell others his or her side of the story or someone else may spread rumors. If you had injuries that made it necessary for you to seek medical care, others may know too. Losing control of the disclosure process can be very painful.

Many survivors find themselves telling everyone, because at least that way the truth is being spread instead of rumors. Many survivors also hope that if they tell enough people, someone will help them.

Think about who has been supportive in the past. Maybe there is a person you trust, a friend or a loved one that you can confide in. You can always call the CAPSA 24-hour information and crisis hotline at 435-753-2500 and speak to a local rape advocate confidentially.

Many of the resources listed on this website are confidential yet governed by mandatory reporting laws. If you have concerns, ask before disclosing personally identifying information.

Reporting a Rape

The decision to report the assault to law enforcement is solely up to you if you are 18 years or older. (If you are under 18 and you disclose identifying information about yourself to CAPSA, we are required by law to report it). Deciding whether or not to report a sexual assault is very difficult for most survivors. Reporting may simply not be possible for you right now. Only you know. Before you disclose that you have been raped or sexually assaulted to a medical practitioner, be aware that all medical professionals are required to report to law enforcement when they treat injuries that are clearly the result of a crime.

Many survivors see reporting as a good way to take back some control in their lives. On the other hand, the process can be both slow and unsatisfying. If you choose to report the crime, it is very important to report a sexual assault to the police as soon as possible. In many cases, the ability to catch and prosecute the offender depends on it. The hospital staff or a victim advocate can contact the police for you, or you may contact them yourself.

Reporting is the only way that law enforcement will know that the rapist is dangerous and hopefully protect you and others from him or her. However, you are entitled to decide what is best or possible for you right now.

University Students

Utah State University is a jurisdiction separate from the cities and towns in Cache Valley. The USU jurisdiction extends to premises used or controlled by the university. In addition to criminal and civil remedies, students have options for resolution of their sexual assault, stalking, and other violent crime cases through a campus judicial process. If you are a student, contact the USU Sexual Assault & Anti-Violence Information office (SAAVI), regardless of where the crime occurred. Survivors of sexual and physical assault, relationship/domestic violence, stalking, and/or harassment which violates the USU student code of conduct may receive specific victim accommodations.

USU Sexual Assault & Anti-Violence Information Office
Hotline: 435.797.RAPE (435.797.7273)

These accommodations may include:

  • Offender sanctions
  • A campus restraining order to prohibit harassment
  • Assistance with pressing criminal and/or civil charges (if desired)
  • Housing transfers (victim and/or offender if living in campus housing)
  • Academic schedule modifications (victim and/or offender)
  • Letters of absence
  • Attendance/enrollment options
  • Procedures for campus disciplinary actions
  • Information on your rights as a victim on campus
  • Information and referrals