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Sexual assault is a term that is used interchangeably with the word rape The decision on whether or not to use the term rape or sexual assault is made by a states jurisdiction Sexual assault is more readily used in an attempt to be more gender neutral National Victim Center Sexual assault can be most easily described as forced or unconsentual sexual intercourse The individual that is performing these acts on the victim may either be a stranger or an acquaintance In 1994 642 percent of all rapes were committed by someone the offender had previously known Ringel 1997 Regardless this type of crime can have extreme effects on the victim Sexual assault is a traumatic event that can cause extreme psychological effects on the victim These effects can be short-term and they can manifest themselves into long-term effects depending on the individual and how the sexual assault occurred Victims of sexual assault can be either male or female with both sexes having fairly similar psychological effects In addition to these psychological effects some individuals develop Rape Trauma Syndrome or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can be more easily classified as short-term versus long-term responses Every individual is different and may differ in their reactions to this event there is no normal or common way to react Kaminker 1998 pg 23 For individuals that have experienced this disturbing event the effects can be described in terms of different phases in which they go through During the impact phase which occurs immediately after the attack the victim tends to fall apart inside They often experience shock which has a sudden and powerful effect on emotions and physical reactions or denial which is a state of mind marked by a refusal or inability to recognize and deal with what has occurred Bard and Sangrey 1979 pg 34 When the victim is in shock they often ask themselves why me When going through denial the victim may have
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