Below are real questions posed by teens. The answers we’ve
given are not meant to be taken as legal or medical advice.
Although all efforts have been taken to protect the privacy
of those asking the questions, this Web site is not secure
If you are seeking answers to personal question(s) or are in
immediate crisis, please contact your local Pennsylvania
rape crisis center at 1-888-772-7227 or
click here for a
listing of centers in Pennsylvania.
Outside of Pennsylvania, contact the Rape Abuse & Incest
National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE or access RAINN’s
Online Hotline at
www.rainn.org, Monday thru Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
(EST) for a secure web-based crisis hotline that provides
live, secure and confidential help to victims.
Question: My guy friend got raped by his guy friend a
couple days ago. Is there any way he can still preserve the
evidence? What charges can be pressed?
Although a forensic rape exam should be done within 72 hours
of a sexual assault to be most effective, valuable evidence
can still remain a few days following an assault. A victim
should still see a doctor (at the emergency room, doctor’s
office, health department, or Planned Parenthood) to be
tested for sexually transmitted infections and internal
injuries. The clothes the victim was wearing the day of the
attack should be placed in a paper bag and taken to the
Under Pennsylvania law, male victims have the same rights as
female victims when it comes to sexual assault. Any charges
pressed would be decided by law enforcement and prosecutors.
Please contact a local rape crisis center (in PA call
1-888-772-7227; outside of PA call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE)
for counseling and more information.
Question: I have a friend who is being sexually abused by
an older man. I want to know what I can do to help her.
A trusted adult – parent, teacher or friend – can help find
the best course of action to take. The most important thing
a victim’s friend can do is provide support and listen.
Ultimately, the decision to report the abuse is up to the
Question: I was sexually abused by my father five years
ago. I was talking to a therapist for awhile, but it was too
expensive. Is there anywhere I can get free help?
Local rape crisis centers offer many ways to help a victim
heal, including free and confidential counseling. In
Pennsylvania, please call 1-888-772-7227 to find the nearest
local rape crisis center. Outside of PA, please call RAINN
Question: My father raped me when I was very young. After
being adopted, I was molested again for four years. I
haven’t talked to anyone about it and think I might be
ready. How do I know if I am?
Everyone’s journey to healing begins at a different time.
When a victim starts to ask the question, “Am I ready?” it
generally means she/he is ready to speak with a professional
counselor. Victims should look for a counselor specifically
trained in sexual assault, local rape crisis centers (in PA
call 1-888-772-7227; outside of PA call RAINN at
1-800-656-HOPE) are a great resource. Most importantly a
victim should find a counselor she/he is comfortable
Also, two books called “The Me Nobody Knows” and “How Long
Does it Hurt” are great resources to read about other teens
who have survived child sexual assault. Public libraries
will offer more privacy and confidentiality than a school
Question: My teenage daughter was raped. She wanted to go
to the police but on our way to the station she changed her
mind. What should I do?
Ultimately, a victim must decide when and if the rape is
reported to police. A loved one cannot make that decision.
However, it might be helpful to tell the victim that
pressing charges can be empowering.
Also, in order to fully support the victim, it is just as
important for a victim’s loved ones to deal with their own
reactions and feelings about the rape. Local rape crisis
centers (in PA call 1-888-772-7227; outside of PA call RAINN
at 1-800-656-HOPE) are a valuable resource. They can help
victims’ friends and loved ones find counseling and start
the journey toward healing—regardless of whether or not
charges are ever filed.
Question: What happens if someone was raped as a child
and waited ten years to tell someone?
Because children seek approval from adults, they are
vulnerable to abuse. Perpetrators often “groom” children for
sexual assault. As a result, children often don’t tell
anyone that they’re being abused. Pennsylvania law provides
for an extended period of time to report child sexual
assault. Any charges pressed would be decided by law
enforcement and prosecutors.
Question: Two years ago I was sexually abused by a friend
of the family. No one knows. What do I do?
Ultimately, a victim must decide whether or not to report
the abuse to authorities. For the purpose of healing,
though, it’s important a victim seek some sort of
counseling. Sexual violence is among the most common causes
of post-traumatic stress disorder. Counseling can help a
victim manage her/his emotions and may even lessen the
long-term effects of the trauma. Free and confidential
support is available at a local rape crisis center (in PA
call 1-888-772-7227; outside of PA call RAINN at
Question: I went camping with some friends. I felt sick
from drinking and lay down in a tent. One of my guy friends
came in and completely undressed me. His penis was touching
all over “the area.” Was this rape or sexual assault?
What’s described is definitely a sexual violation. Whether
an incident falls under the category of rape or sexual
assault is up to law enforcement and prosecutors. Rape and
sexual assault are not just committed by strangers in dark
alleys. Nearly 7 in 10 victims know their attacker.
Rape crisis advocates are available to accompany a victim to
the police station. In PA, call 1-888-772-7227 to reach an
advocate from a local rape crisis center. Outside of PA,
call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE.
Question: My brother’s friend attacked me. I can’t stand
to look at him. Am I just insane or what?
It is completely normal for a victim of sexual violence to
feel a wide range of emotions. It’s OK to be mad, sad,
scared, or numb. The emotions may be so overwhelming that
the victim feels she/he is “going crazy.” For a victim to
acknowledge her/his feelings, and work through them, are the
first steps toward coping with the crisis. Counseling can
also help a victim work through her/his emotions.
Question: It is taking me a long time to overcome the
fact that I was molested? I’ve been living with this for
years and am still not able to forgive the person.
It’s not mandatory that a victim forgive her/his attacker.
The main goal is healing. Healing is a journey, and it is
normal to have setbacks. Victims do not have to go through
it alone. Individual and group counseling sessions are
available. Call a local rape crisis center for information
(in PA call 1-888-772-7227; outside of PA call RAINN at
Question: I was molested for six years as a child. I have
not been able to move on in life. I cry myself to sleep a
lot or I don’t sleep at all. I have gone to counseling but
nothing has helped.
Never give up on counseling. Sometimes, it takes a victim
several tries to find a counselor that she/he will feel
comfortable with. Also, it’s important to find a counselor
who is specifically trained in the area of sexual assault
recovery (a local rape crisis center can recommend one).
Group counseling can be beneficial, too, allowing the victim
to hear the stories of other people who have been sexually
Other healing alternatives are writing/journaling, reading
books on the subject and volunteering at a local rape crisis
If a victim is having trouble sleeping, a 24-hour hotline is
always available (in PA call 1-888-772-7227; outside of PA
call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE).
Question: How do people feel after they’ve been raped?
Everyone experiences sexual assault differently, with
different reactions. Victims can feel a full range of
emotions at any time. Some people may become withdrawn,
others may engage in high-risk sexual behavior. Sexual abuse
survivors are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. The
chances that a victim will experience post-traumatic stress
disorder after an assault are between 50 and 95 percent.
If a victim wants to find out how other survivors are
coping, group counseling could be helpful in letting her/him
hear others’ stories. Some of the participants may be
further along in the healing process and can provide
Question: I was raped for six years. I can’t stand to be
around men. Can’t stand to be in the same classroom as a
guy. Hate having male teachers. What should I do about this?
Not all men are rapists. However, some victims may be faced
with situations that involuntarily evoke a memory of the
assault. Victims are not to blame for this. Counseling can
help begin the journey toward healing. Call the nearest
local rape crisis center (in PA call 1-888-772-7227; outside
of PA call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE) and request a counselor
of the same sex specifically trained in dealing with
survivors of sexual assault.
Question: My boyfriend pushed me down on the floor and
got on top of me. He kept trying to take off my clothes. I
was screaming no, but he didn’t listen. He kept kissing me
and touching me. He got up and said next time he’d get what
he wanted from me. Is that rape?
What happened is a form of sexual violation and domestic
abuse. The fact that it was perpetrated by a significant
other doesn’t make it any less serious. For safety reasons,
a victim should not keep it a secret. An order of protection
against the perpetrator may need to be filed. Be wary of
lines such as, “If you loved me… .” A significant other
should care enough to listen to the word “no.”