What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact up to and including rape without a person’s consent. The terms “sexual violence” and “sexual assault” are often used interchangeably.

  • Sexual assault can refer to rape, incest, molestation, unwanted fondling, unwanted sodomy, or any type of unwanted sexual contact.

  • Rape is penetration of the vagina or anus by a penis, tongue, finger, or object.

  • Incest is the sexual touching or penetration between two related people

  • Sexual abuse is sexual violence perpetrated by someone in a position of trust or authority; it often refers to sexual violence against children

  • Often involves “grooming,” which is the manipulative planning of a victim to gain control and secrecy

Key Terms

  • Consent is permission to perform sexual acts. Consent must be given freely with no pressure and can be revoked at any point. Consent can be given for some sex acts, but not for others.

  • Coercion is often used to achieve control during a sexual assault. It can be the use of threats, intimidation, fear, or a position of authority.

  • Force is constraint exerted upon another person. Force can be restraining a victim or can be used while a victim is incapacitated.

Sexual Assault Forensic Exam

The SAFE exam is the collection of evidence from a victim’s body by a trained nurse. SAFE exams are done at an emergency room. These specially trained nurses are trained to collect evidence from the victim’s mouth, fingernails, vagina, anus, or other body parts that may have evidence. Nurses offer victims emergency contraception, and medication to prevent some STDs.


Victims have the right to refuse any part of the exam. It is not required for a victim to file a police report to get an exam. Victims will not be billed for evidence collection but may be billed for other services received.


MOCSA advocates in the metropolitan area often go to hospitals to advocate for sexual assault victims. Hope Haven has partnered with MOCSA and is now a part of the Sexual Assault Response Team.

What can I do?

If you have been sexually assaulted and want to receive an exam, do not eat, drink, smoke, or brush your teeth. Go to an emergency room near you, and ask for a sexual assault forensic exam. You do NOT have to report your sexual assault to the police to get an exam. Wear or take the clothes you were wearing during the assault to the hospital. If you have questions about the exam, please contact Hope Haven at 816.380.4663.

If you have been sexually assaulted and do not want an exam, there are many services you may benefit from. Contact Hope Haven at 816.380.4663 to learn more.

If you would like more information on the SAFE exam, reporting an assault to the police, or sexual violence in general, please contact Hope Haven at 816.380.4663.


Hope Haven exists to provide safe shelter, concentrated supportive services, community resources, and education to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Tax ID Number: 43-1596092


200 North Oakland Street

Harrisonville, MO 64701

816-380-2833 (Office)

816-380-4663 (Hotline)

816-884-4712 (Fax)



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