OUACHITA PARISH, La (KNOE 8 News) - According to the Centers for Disease Control, sexual assault includes intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent.
The Wellspring's Program Director Melanie Clark says one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18, while one in five women and one in sixteen men will be assaulted in college.
Clark says victims often excuse this behavior because the person who assaulted them is usually someone they're close to, but she says there's no excuse for this kind of behavior.
"What happened to you is not your fault, you didn't deserve it, there are people who believe you and there are places and people who will support you, it's important to take care of youself through this, pay attention to you needs and wants, and go where you can get those supported," says Clark.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, here's what you should do:
-Get to a safe location away from the person who assaulted you.
-If it's possible, do not take a bath, shower, brush your teeth or use toilet tissue before going to the emergency room.
-If you have removed your clothing, take it to the emergency room with you in a paper bag.
Remember, you don't have to report assault to law enforcement. You can go to any hospital emergency room in Ouachita Parish and say you have been sexually assaulted. You also won't be charged at the hospital for forensic medical care.
You can call The Wellspring's Rape Crisis Phone Line at 318-323-1505 or 1-800-716-7233.