Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Services

Will my information be kept confidential?

Yes. Anything you share with The Cottage staff will be kept private. The information will not be shared with anyone without your permission.

Will this cost money?

No. The Cottageís services are FREE.

I'm not sure if I was raped. Was this my fault?

If the sex was forced or coerced it was rape. If threats were made, it was rape. It does not matter if there were injuries or not. It does not matter if you didnít fight back. It does not matter if youíve had sex with the perpetrator before. It does not matter if you had been drinking alcohol or using substances. It does not matter if you had planned to have sex and then changed your mind. If sex was not consensual then it was rape.

What is Acquaintance Rape?

Acquaintance rape is when someone is forced into some sexual activity against their will by someone they know. The perpetrator could be a friend, date, neighbor, partner, spouse or someone youíve just met. Survivors may feel ashamed and may blame themselves. They may feel that they were somehow responsible, or that they should have been able to prevent the rape or should have seen it coming. There may be an inability to sleep, trust issues, health concerns. This can be very isolating for the survivor. Many survivors may never tell anyone. All of these reactions are common given what the survivor has been through. Acquaintance rape accounts for the majority of rape in society, by far.

I was molested in my childhood. Do you have services for me?

Yes. Many adults who were sexually abused in their childhood and/or adolescence reach out for help in their adulthood. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may carry this secret, never telling anyone. Some may have told someone but were told they were lying or told not to speak of it to anyone. Many survivors block the memory of abuse. Others remember but donít recognize the courage they showed as a child and the impact that the abuse still has on their lives. Our services are available to you.

I am adult now but I often wonder if what happened to me as a child/teen was sexual abuse.

Childhood sexual abuse includes any sexual contact with a child, including touching or fondling, oral, anal or vaginal penetration, using a child for sexual films or prostitution, and/or exposing a child to adult sexual activity, such a photographs or videos.

What is ďdate rapeĒ or drug and/or alcohol facilitated rape?
Drug and/or alcohol facilitated rape is when a victim is subjected to a sexual act due to the incapacitating effects of alcohol and/or drugs. The effects of these substances prevent the victim from being able to consent.

What if I think I was drugged?

Call local law enforcement immediately. These substances move through the body very quickly and a blood or urine sample should be taken as soon as possible. It is good to be truthful with law enfrocment about all drug and alcohol use during within the time period in question, even those ingested voluntarily, because this will play a part in lab procedures.

What is the most common "date rape" drug?

ALCOHOL. Why? Consuming alcohol, often in mass quantities is socially accepted. Unlike drugs, alcohol is a legal activity, if of age. And lastly, alcohol is usually voluntarily ingested. The perpetrator doesnít have to do anything except be in the right place at the right time.

How can I protect myself?

Listen to your instincts and your gut feeling- they are usually right. Donít trust people youíve just met. Even if they seem ďniceĒ, you donít know them well enough. Look out for your friends and stay with people that you know when you go somewhere. Get your own drinks. Do not accept drinks from others. Be assertive and direct about what you do and do not want to do. Take note of red flags, for example if someone if very touchy feely. Do they stop when you tell them to? Do they invade your personal space, testing boundaries? Do they ask you about sex and talk about things of a sexual nature, continuing even when you donít seem to respond? Do they seem eager to buy you drinks or use substances with you? Do they seem eager to give you a ride? These are just a few examples of ways to protect yourself. Keep in mind that perpetrators make the decision to rape and despite taking precautions rape can still happen. No matter what, it was not your fault.

Do you have services for males?

Yes. Contrary to some myths in society boys are sexually abused as children and men can be sexually assaulted in their adulthood. Our services are available to any person who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault at any point in their lives.

How can I help someone that I care about who has been sexually assaulted or raped?

  • Educate yourself about sexual abuse/rape and the healing process.If you have a basic idea of what the survivor is going through, it will help you to be supportive. A rape crisis center is a great place to start. There are many good information sites on the internet. Talk with other survivors and supporters of survivors. Many are willing to share what has helped them, or can give you ideas on how to deal with a certain situation.
  • Believe the survivor. Even if they sometimes doubt themselves, even if their memories are vague, even if what they tell you sounds too extreme, believe them. Survivors donít make up stories of sexual abuse or rape. Let them know that you are open to hearing anything they wish to share, and that although itís painful and upsetting, you are willing to enter those difficult places with them and to receive their words with respect.
  • Validate the survivorís feelings: their anger, pain, frustration, confusion and fear. These are natural, healthy responses. They need to feel them, express them, and be heard. Do not tell them to try and forget- if the survivor does not work through the emotions now, they will resurface later.
  • Acknowledge and deal with your own emotions. But do not let them take center stage. Be aware that outburst of emotion may cause the survivor to feel responsibility. Donít add to her/his worries.
  • Join with the survivor in validating the damage. All sexual abuse and rape is harmful. Even if itís not violent, overtly physical, or repeated, all abuse and rape has serious consequences. There is no positive or neutral experience of sexual abuse or rape.
  • Be clear that the abuse or rape was not the survivors fault. No one asks to be abused or raped. The survivor did what they had to do to survive. Fault always lies with the perpetrator.
  • Donít sympathize with the perpetrator. The survivor needs your absolute loyalty.
  • Listen. It is important to listen to the survivor and let them talk then for you to ask questions about the assault.
  • Respect the time and space it takes to heal. Healing is a slow and personal process that canít be hurried.
  • Encourage the survivor to get support. In addition to offering yourself as a source of support, encourage them to reach out to others. Offer to go with them to appointments or meetings. Be sure that your support is non-judgmental. Get support for yourself as you will have many feelings about the abuse or rape also. It is important to take care of yourself so you can be there for the survivor.
  • Get help if the survivor is suicidal. Most survivors are not suicidal, but sometimes the pain of the abuse or rape is so devastating that the survivor may want to kill themselves. If you are close to a survivor who is suicidal, get help immediately.
  • Resist seeing the survivor as a victim. Continue to see them as a strong, courageous person who is reclaiming their own life.
  • Accept that there will very likely be major changes in your relationship with the survivor as they heal. They are changing, and as they do, you may need to change in response.
  • Do not measure pain. Every assault is traumatic and should be treated sensitively and seriously. Comparing assault scenarios does not do anyone any good. Acquaintance rape should be treated the same as stranger rape.
  • Empower the survivor to make their own decisions. Being assaulted means losing power and control over oneís body. Restoring decision making power and control as quickly as possible will help them to heal. This means they get to decide whether or not to report the assault to the police and who they want to tell.