Bay Area Turning Point

Sexual Assault Information and Resources

To find out where registered sex offenders live in your neighborhood visit the Texas Department of Public Safety Online and search the Sex Offender Registration Database by zip code.

You can reduce your risk of a sexual assault by:

  • Being aware of your surroundings looking around you and noticing the people who are near or behind you
  • Being assertive walking confidently and letting people know when you are uncomfortable with their proximity or actions.
  • Checking under your car and in the back seat before entering.
  • Keeping your doors and windows locked, especially when you are home alone
  • Being sure that you know who you are opening your door to by confirming the identity of them. Keep in mind, if someone come to the door that you are unaware of, you do not have to open the door.
  • Taking a self-defense course
  • Trusting your instincts and recognizing risky situations. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.

In Your Relationships

Since most sexual assaults occur by someone known, these prevention strategies can be used to prevent sexual assault:

  • Establish clear boundaries early on
  • Use assertive communication. Be clear, direct, firm and respectful with your statements.
  • Use affirmative answers (clear “YES” or “NO”)
  • Understand how consent works. It must be freely given without coercion, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific.
  • Challenge risk factors, such as male entitlement, sexiest attitudes, hypermasculinity, objectification of women, unhealthy attitudes that sexual violence is normal, rape culture, gender inequality, etc…
  • Watch for controlling behaviors in the relationship. Remember, sexual assault is not about sex, it is about power and control.

If You Are Sexually Assaulted

  • Know that it is not your fault. You did not do anything to cause it, and you are not to blame.
  • Seek emotional support from a friend or relative with whom you feel comfortable or call a Rape Crisis Center.
  • You may go to the nearest hospital for a forensic exam. You may call a rape crisis center to have an advocate accompany you for support and comfort. If you wish to pursue criminal action, you will need to follow guidelines to preserver evidence such as not douching, bathing, showering, eating or drinking anything or changing clothes before you go. While this is an uncomfortable concept, you are the evidence.
  • Speak to an advocate about reporting the rape to law enforcement should you make the choice to pursue charges. The advocate will inform you of your rights and will provide expectations for the reporting process as well as criminal justice process should the case be prosecuted.

Approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. About 25% of men will be victims before they are eighteen. 2/3 of sexual assaults are never reported. ( Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2015-2019 (2020). 

Only 310 out of every 1000 sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement ( Some reasons for low reporting rates are:

  • Fear of not being believed
  • The survivor is unaware an assault has occured (for example, the survivor is in an intimate partner or spousal relationship with the  perpertrator or the survivor is a minor)
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Distrust of law enforcement or fear law enforcement will not help
  • Fear of the case not being prosecuted

Out of every 1000 perpetrators, 975 will walk free. (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010 (2013).

Current or former spouses or intimate partners commit 33% of the sexual assaults. 39% of sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim identified as a friend or acquaintance. 19.5% of victims did not know their attacker.(Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2016 (2017).Sexual assault is about POWER and CONTROL- not sex. Offenders use sexualized violence to overpower and control another person. Sexual assault is a premeditated crime where 71% of offenders plan their assault and deliberately choose their victim. (Sexual Assault Training Manual, Texas Office of the Attorney General and Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, 2000.) Sexual assault also revolves around consent. Many survivors are unaware they were sexually assaulted because they do not understand the role consent plays. Consent, an agreement between parties involved to engage in sexual activity, must be freely given without coercion, must be given every time, and can be withdrawn at anytime in which case the activity must end. Intimate partners and spouses that are offenders believe they are entitled to sexual activity due to the relationship, however consent is needed anytime sexual activity occurs regardless of the relationship. Individuals are also not able to consent when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol remains the number 1 date rape drug.

Sexual assault occurs: 55% in the victim’s home 12% in the home of a friend, relative or neighbor, 15% in a public and open space like a park, 10% in a public enclosed space like a parking garage, and 8% are on school property. (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010 (2013) Teens 16 to 19 were four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. Adolescents ages 12 to 17 are more likely to be sexually assaulted by young adults 18 to 24. Children under 12 are more likely to be sexually assaulted by persons under age 18. (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders (1997).

Safety Strategies for Survivors

If an incident occurs:

  • Try not to be trapped in a place where there is no exit or where there may be weapons
  • Call 911 and report bruises, injury, and damaged property
  • Seek medical attention and have doctor note how you were injured
  • Seek temporary safety at a hotel, with friends, or at a shelter
  • Seek information regarding protective order

Overall strategies:

  • Create an exit plan with your children to prepare for the next incident
  • Observe patterns of abusive behaviors to avoid triggers
  • Keep a list of phone numbers memorized in case something happens to your mobile device
  • Pack a bag with clothes, important papers, money, medications and keys and keep it somewhere you can get to it if you have to leave
  • Build a support system
  • Get an escort to and from your car at work
  • Vary your daily schedule and routes

If you are ready to leave:

  • Have an evacuation plan
  • Become familiar with local resources to help
  • Think of where you can go where you are safe
  • Consider what areas would not be safe
  • Be aware of the abuser’s schedule. Plan you exit when abuser is not home (if possible)
  • Request a civil standby from the local police department

Digital Safety:

  • Keep all evidence of abuse on a flash drive
  • Create a back-up email that the abuser knows nothing about
  • Do not give out passwords to anyone
  • Clear browsing and caching history regularly, especially if you are searching for help online
  • Keep all online profiles private
  • Do not post personal information (for example, “checking-in” on social media or posting identifying landmarks)
  • Keep location services off
  • Monitor devices for Spyware
  • Check Bluetoooth often to make sure nothing is connected, like AirTags

Child Safety:

  • Make sure children know how to call 9-1-1
    Inform children’s school of the situation if it is safe to do so
  • Children know to stay out of a flight
  • Children know who they can call or go to if they are able to safely escape the home during an incident
  • 33% of teens are in an abusive relationship
  • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse
  • 81% of parents that believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue
  • 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs
  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in ten high school students have been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. This almost triple the national average
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those ages 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18
  • The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence
  • Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls 6 times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.
  • Half of the youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys

Statistics were provided by, an informative website for teens whether currently in a relationship or not.

Warning Signs for Teens:

  • They tell you they can’t live without you.
  • They blame you for their problems.
  • They break or hit things to intimidate you.
  • Your weight, appearance, or grades have changed dramatically since you started seeing this person.
  • They threaten to hurt themselves or others if you break up with them.
  • The person you are dating acts jealous, says jealous things, or exhibits aggressive behaviors towards you.
  • They pressure you into having sex, or forces you to do sexual things you don’t want to do by saying things like “if you really loved me you would.”
  • They humiliate you and belittle your opinions.
    The person you are dating slaps or shoves you in a seemingly playful way, but it happens often and doesn’t seem right.
  • They are jealous and possessive about the time you spend with your friends.
  • They are constantly checking up on you and asking where you are and what you are doing.
  • The person you date has severe mood swings or constant bad moods.
  • They want to limit your other school activities, so you can be together more.
  • You’re frightened of them and worry about how they will react to things you say or do.
  • They want your relationship to get serious too quickly and refuse to take no for an answer.
  • They blame past bad relationships on everything or everybody else instead of accepting any of the responsibility.
  • They abuse drugs or alcohol and pressures you to take them too even when you don’t want to.
  • Their statements or actions indicate that they think men should be in control and women should do what they’re told.
  • The person you’re with treats you like property rather than a person they value.
  • They call you names, kick, hit, and pushes you.
  • They are abusive or aggressive towards inanimate objects and animals.
  • The person you are dating forces you to choose being with them over your family and friends.
  • They make you feel that their needs and desires come before yours.
  • They make you feel afraid to express your own thoughts or feelings, make decisions about how to spend your money, what to wear, where to go, or who to hang out with.
  • They lash out or blame you for their bad day.
  • Your family and friends have warned you about this person or have told you that they’re worried about your safety.
  • They may use or own weapons and have a history of violence and fighting.
  • They blow disagreements out of proportion.
  • The person you are with tells you they dislike your parents and friends.
  • They have hit, pushed, choked, restrained, kicked, or physically hurt you.
  • They constantly threaten to break up with you, or constantly accused you of planning to break up with them.
  • They treat their parents disrespectfully.
  • The person you’re with often loses their temper with you, verbally assaults you, sometimes threatens you, or brags about mistreating others.
  • They want you to be available to them at all times.
  • The person you are dating treats their parents badly.
  • Absuive incidents are followed by vows of love and pleas for your forgiveness.

Warning Signs for Parents:

  • Since your teen has been dating this person, they’ve dropped school activities that used to be important to them.
  • Since they have been dating, your teen has been getting failing grades.
  • You see sudden, uncharacteristic changes in your teen’s clothing or make-up that only
    began after they started dating.
  • Since your teen has been seeing this person, you’ve noticed a change in their body language
    (e.g. slouching, biting fingernails, nervousness, little or no eye contact).
    You see constant bruises, notice other signs of injury, or damaged personal property, and your teenager’s explanations seem out of place or don’t make sense.
  • Your child’s dating partner has an extraordinary influence on their behavior and decisions.
  • Your teen is not eating, not talking, and not acting as they normally would.
  • You notice sudden changes in your teenager’s mood or personality since they began dating this person. They have a constant bad temper and emotional outbursts.
  • Your teen seems increasingly anxious or depressed since they have been dating their partner.
    Your child’s conversations with their dating partner are often in the form of explanations, concerning where they’ve been, what they’ve been doing, and whom they’ve been with.
  • Since they started seeing each other, your teen has suddenly become secretive and is acting out. (Teens naturally have some secretive behaviors since this is a period in life when they are trying to establish their identity. Parents should respect that but pay attention to an increase in secretive or odd behaviors.)
  • Your teen has stopped seeing friends and family members, and is becoming more and more isolated.
  • Since they began dating, your teenager is avoiding eye contact with you, having crying jags, or becoming hysterical.
  • Your teen constantly apologizes for their dating partner’s behavior and makes excuses for them.
  • Your teen has a sudden change in dress, which uncharacteristically covers them up (it may be to cover injuries)
  • Your teen’s dating partner acts extremely jealous when others pay attention to them specially when it is people of the opposite sex.
  • Excessive telephone calling can be a sign of an abusive relationship. Pay attention to that, especially if you notice much of the conversation is your teen justifying what they’ve been doing and with whom.
  • You know your teen’s boyfriend or girlfriend has a temper, but when they’re around you they’re extraordinarily charming.
  • Your teen’s partner tells your teen that you don’t like them.
  • When your teen and their partner are together around you, you notice the partner calls them names and puts them down.
  • Since your teenager started dating this person, they have become increasingly insecure, destructive and angry.
  • Your teen shows bullying behaviors, which could indicate they have the potential to be abusive in a dating relationship.

Family Violence FAQs

The following factors are reasons why a victim might find leaving an abusive relationship difficult: economic dependence, fear of greater physical danger to themselves and their children if they attempt to leave, fear of losing custody of children, lack of alternative housing, lack of job skills, fear of involvement in court processes, belief that partner will change, cultural and religious constraints, ambivalence and fear over making formidable life changes, social isolation resulting in lack of support from family or friends and lack of information regarding alternatives, they love their partner.

One of the most alarming reasons that victims of domestic violence stay is that leaving is the most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship. Domestic violence is about power and control. When a victim decides to leave, the abuser loses that power and control which will cause them to go to extremes to prevent the victim from leaving. Abusers will make threats of violence, including death threats, to themselves, the victim, the children, and pets to prevent the victim from leaving. 77% of intimate partner violence related homicides occur upon separation and violence increases by 75% for 2 years following separation. (

If the police are called and there is clear evidence of who the abuser is, the abuser may be arrested, regardless of if the victim wants to press charges or not. A protective or restraining order may be filed to protect the victim from the abuser attacking again. If arrested, the abuser may pay a fine, be ordered into a Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), or both. Agencies like Bay Area Turning Point provide the victim with advocacy, counseling, rental assistance and shelter if needed.

Sadly, in 1/3 of homes where the mother is abused, the children also suffer abuse. Witnessing violence causes psychological trauma similar to that of a physically abused child. Living in a violent home impedes the social and academic progress of children. Violence also breeds violence that is often repeated in the next generation.

Often, a family’s home is the first place an abuser will look for a victim, which may place the family in danger. Some families are unable to help and many really do not understand how to help. Family violence has numerous dynamics that are generally addressed more effectively by those with specific training to do so. Victims leave about seven times before finally staying away( The family may not be willing to keep helping and be overwhelmed by crisis.

A shelter is like its own little community. Everyone has to work together to make the community a safe, clean, positive place to live. Adult clients have the opportunity to attend educational, recovery, and personal development classes. They learn skills relating to healthy communication, problem solving, how to budget, effective parenting, and participate in pathways to healing from trauma. Some return to school, obtain a GED, or enter job training. Many become employed and begin to plan an independent future. Children attend school, the agency’s childcare, and participate in educational and healing activities. For some of the children, it’s the first time their scars and needs have been attended. Each client is assigned a caseworker and the child advocate assists each child.

Typically, no. The abuser is typically unabusive to strangers and symbols of authority. The shelter has a security system with camera monitoring. If an unwelcome visitor arrives, they are informed that it is a felony to trespass on a shelter property. They leave calmly 99% of the time. The shelter is within three minutes of police response. The police have been called because of an unwelcome visitor, but they left before police arrived.

Yes. Domestic violence knows no gender boundaries and can happen in any town, in any family and any socio-economic background. According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Displaying jealous behavior-abusers will constantly accuse their partner of cheating, checking in on them and who they are with, calling frequently, or become upset if their partner spends too much time away from them. Abusers try to use jealousy as a way of showing love or that they care for their partner, but it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.
  • Controlling behavior- abusers will try to control their partner’s everyday activities varying from who their partner sees, where their partner goes, making choices for their partner, or controlling all the money or property to not allowing their partner to access personal items/info.
  • Quick involvement- those in abusive relationships dated or knew their abusers less than 6 months before moving in or becoming engaged. Abuser will often come in like a whirlwind claiming their partner is the only person in the world for them only after a short period of time. They need someone desperately and will pressure for commitment.
  • Isolation- abuser will try to cut their partners off from all resources such as family, friends, employment or even the community. Abusers may claim these outside influences are bad for the relationship to encourage their partner to cut ties with others.
  • Blames others for problems- abusers do not take responsibility for their actions and will often blame their abuse on their partner such as “I hit you because you made me”. Abusers will make their partner feel like the abuse if their fault.
  • Hypersensitivity- abusers are easily insulted and will look for fights. Small setbacks will be seen as a personal attack.
  • Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Personality- abuser will have “sudden” changes in mood and will be nice one minute and explode the next.
  • Battering in previous relationships- abusers may mention violence in other relationships, but often claim it was not their fault, but rather the other person. Abusers will beat any partner they are with, no matter the relationship or circumstance.
  • Unrealistic expectation- abusers are very dependent on their partners and expect their partners to be perfect at everything from being the perfect parent, cook, lover, etc. The expectation is not mutual for them.

Researchers have documented a strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence.

  • A study from 11 U.S. cities revealed that a history of pet abuse is one of the four most significant indicators of who is at greatest risk of becoming a domestic batterer.
  • A Texas study found that batterers who also abuse pets are more dangerous and use more violent and controlling behaviors than those who do not harm animals.
  • Twelve separate studies have reported that between 18 and 48 percent of battered women, and their children, delay leaving abusive situations in fear for what might happen to their animals.
  • Women who do seek safety at shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner has hurt or killed their animals than women who have not experienced domestic abuse.
  • In Wisconsin, 68 percent of battered women revealed that abusive partners had also been violent toward pets or livestock; more than three-quarters of these cases occurred in the presence of the women and/or children to intimidate and control them.
  • Children who are exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals.
  • The Chicago Police Department found that approximately 30 percent of individuals arrested for dog fighting and animal abuse had domestic violence charges on their records.

Why it matters:

  • 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
  • 13% of intentional animal abuse cases involve domestic violence.
  • Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unwilling to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.
  • Pets may suffer unexplained injuries, health problems, permanent disabilities at the hands of abusers, or disappear from home.
  • Abusers kill, harm, or threaten children’s pets to coerce them into sexual abuse or to force them to remain silent about abuse. Disturbed children kill or harm animals to emulate their parents’ conduct, to prevent the abuser from killing the pet, or to take out their aggression on another victim.
  • In one study, 70% of animal abusers also had records for other crimes. Domestic violence victims whose animals were abused saw the animal cruelty as one more violent episode in a long history of indiscriminate violence aimed at them and their vulnerability.
  • For many battered women, pets are sources of comfort providing strong emotional support: 98% of Americans consider pets to be companions or members of the family.
  • Animal cruelty problems are people problems. When animals are abused, people are at risk.
  • Battered women have been known to live in their cars with their pets for as long as four months until an opening was available at a pet-friendly safe house.

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