Who is eligible for this service?
Any individual whose life has been affected by sexual violence either directly or indirectly and past or present.
Is it free?
Is it confidential?
Yes. Anything you share with the Cottage will be kept private. The information will not be shared with anyone without your permission. The only limitation to confidentiality is if we learn of an individual’s plans to harm themselves, harm someone else, or if we learn of child/elder abuse, or abuse of an individual with a disability that has not been reported.
How do I enroll in this service or find out more information?
For all services, you can make contact either by calling the 24/7 hotline or by calling the office line (706-546-1133) and speaking to an Adult Advocate during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).
I’m not sure if I was sexually assaulted. Was this my fault?
If any sexual contact was not consensual then it was assault. If the sexual contact was forced or coerced it was assault. If threats were made, it was an assault. It does not matter if there were injuries or not. It does not matter if you didn’t fight back. It does not matter if you’ve had sexual contact 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 engage in sexual activity and then changed your mind. It is not your fault. The only person responsible who had the ability to stop it from happening was the perpetrator.
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 you’ve 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, difficulty to trust anyone, and a variety of health concerns. This can be very isolating for the survivor. Many survivors never tell anyone. All of these reactions are common and normal given what the survivor has been through.
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 don’t 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.
Do you have services for survivors in the LGBTQ community?
Yes, The Cottage is committed to serve every survivor of sexual violence and understands the issues and barriers that are unique to the LGBTQ community.
Do you have services for male survivors?
The Cottage has always been a resource for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. According to the organization 1 in 6, “at least 1 in 6 men has experienced unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood” and 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male (RAINN). Yet, men are an underserved population when it comes to treating the trauma and symptoms of sexual abuse and assault. The Cottage wants to do our part in helping everyone who has been affected by sexual trauma and to reduce the amount of males whose suffering exists without relief.
I am an 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 “date rape” or drug and/or alcohol facilitated rape?
Drug and/or alcohol facilitated rape is when a survivor is subjected to a sexual act while under the incapacitating effects of alcohol and/or drugs. The effects of these substances prevent the survivor 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 enforcement about all drug and alcohol use during 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. Lastly, alcohol is usually voluntarily ingested. The perpetrator doesn’t have to do anything except be in the right place at the right time.
How can I protect myself?
It is important to acknowledge that there is a difference between preventing a sexual assault and practicing risk reduction. A survivor is never responsible for preventing a sexual assault. The only person who is able to prevent an assault is the perpetrator.
Risk reduction strategies are techniques to try to interrupt a sexual assault in progress either by the survivor or a bystander. Listen to your instincts and your gut feeling- they are usually right. Don’t trust people you’ve just met. Even if they seem “nice”, you don’t 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 is 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 don’t 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 reduce risk. 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.
Anything additional that someone would need to know about this service?
Our services are designed to support survivors in any way they need. We can help locate and explore options and will support the decisions that the survivor makes for themselves.