Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence

What to do if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted: Click Here

It is our goal at The Haven to provide victims with the necessary information, resources,  protected head start and supportive follow-up to transition out of a violent lifestyle and into successful independent living. The Haven aims to provide for the immediate primary needs of family violence and sexual assault clients, including food, clothing, legal advocacy, mental health assistance, and referral for medical care. The Haven interfaces with local, state, and national resources, provides transitional assistance along with the re-education of the victim and family in order to promote a non-violent lifestyle, and educates all aspects of the local community regarding family violence and sexual assault.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center -

The NSVRC believes in the power of information, tools and people.  Resource for anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence.

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) -

The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.  RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault -

GNESA provides resources to those in need and education on ways to help bring an end to sexual assault.

Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence -

GCADV brings together member agencies, allied organizations and supportive individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence. Guided by the voices of survivors, they work to create social change by addressing the root causes of this violence.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline -

LoveYuna Outreach -

LoveYuna Outreach provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Consent Is Sexy

What is consent?

  • Consent is a voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement
  • Consent is an active agreement: Consent cannot be coerced
  • Consent is a process, which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask
  • Consent is never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner
  • A person who is intoxicated cannot legally give consent. If you're too drunk to make decisions and communicate with your partner, you're too drunk to consent
  • The absence of a "no" doesn't mean "yes"
  • Both people should be involved in the decision to have sex
  • Consent is an important part of healthy sexuality
  • It is not sexy to have sex without consent!!

What is sexy?

  • Challenging myths about sex and consent, such as the stud vs. slut stereotype
  • Communicating with your partner about sex
  • To know and be able to communicate the type of sexual relationship you want
  • Knowing how to protect yourself and your partner against pregnancy and STIs
  • Acknowledging that you and your partner(s) have sexual needs and desires: Yes, it is okay for women and men to both want and enjoy sex
  • Knowing your personal beliefs and values and respecting your partner's personal beliefs and values
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • Challenges stereotypes that rape is a women's issue
  • Challenging sexism

Why is consent sexy?

  • Communication, respect, and honesty make sex and relationships better
  • Asking for and obtaining consent shows that you have respect for both yourself and your partner
  • Positive views on sex and sexuality are empowering
  • Questions traditional views about gender and sexuality
  • Eliminates the entitlement that one partner feels over the other. Neither your body nor your sexuality belongs to someone else
  • It is normal and healthy for women to expect to be included in the consent process
  • What do you think makes consent sexy?

How can you make consent sexy?

Show your partner that you respect her/him enough to ask about her/his sexual needs and desires. If you are not accustomed to communicating with your partner about sex and sexual activity the first few times may feel awkward. But, practice makes perfect. Be creative and spontaneous. Don't give up. The more times you have these conversations with your partner, the more comfortable you will become communicating about sex and sexual activity. Your partner may also find the situation awkward at first, but over time you will both be more secure in yourselves and your relationship.

Information above was obtained by the Health Promotion Department at the University of Georgia

Relationship Violence and You

Signs of Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse

Relationship violence is often experienced as a combination of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. The following are some examples of the range of battering and abuse that can occur. This list includes examples of behaviors and actions that are violent and abusive and can help you assess the healthiness of your relationship. If any of these signs are present, you may want to seek professional help to assess the healthiness of your relationship and your safety.

Physical Abuse

  • Pushes
  • Injures with slaps, kicks, or punches
  • Exposure to risks, such as reckless driving
  • Throws objects
  • Threatens or injures partner with a weapon
  • Physically prevents partner from leaving the house
  • Locks partner out of the house
  • Abandons partner in dangerous places
  • Refuses to help partner when sick, injured, or pregnant
  • Prevents partner from seeking medical care
  • Keeps partner awake at night against partner's will
  • Refuses to buy food or other articles necessary (for partner or the family)
  • Destroys property
  • Abuses the children
  • Threatens to injure partner's family or friends

Sexual Abuse

  • Withholds sex and/or affection
  • Forces to strip when doesn't want to
  • Commits cruel sexual acts
  • Forces to have sex against partner's will
  • Forces to have sex after a beating
  • Extremely jealous, accuses of having affairs
  • Forces to watch and/or repeat pornographic acts

Emotional Abuse

  • Continually criticizes, yelling and/or insulting (e.g. telling their partner they are too fat, too skinny, too stupid, a bad parent, a bad partner, a bad lover)
  • Ignores feelings
  • Ridicules most valued beliefs
  • Denies affections
  • Refuses to work and share financial responsibilities
  • Keeps from working outside the home
  • Manipulates with lies and contradictions
  • Insults partner's family and friends to drive them away
  • Refuses to socialize with partner or partner's friends and family
  • Prevents contact with partner's family and friends
  • Keeps from using the telephone or controls use of the phone, internet, etc.
  • Controls all the money and makes all financial decisions
  • Humiliates partner in public
  • Harasses partner at work
  • Threatens to leave or throw partner out of the house
  • Threatens to kidnap the children
  • Punishes or deprives the children

Information above provided by Men Against Violence (MAV)

Warning Signs Someone Might Become Abusive

It's important to remember that abuse usually starts once a relationship gets going, not on the first date. Here are some warning signs that a person may become abusive:

Unrealistic expectations. Pressuring commitment to the relationship from early on.

Extreme jealousy. Trying to pass jealousy off as love, when it's really possessiveness and lack of trust.

Unpredictable mood swings. Sometimes charming and loveable, but that can switch dramatically into explosions of anger.

Isolation. Pressuring to restrict contact with friends and family or participation in activities.

Control. Making all the decisions for the couple.

Previous abuse. A history of violence such as having abused previous partners.

Substance abuse. Abusing alcohol and/or other drugs and claiming intoxication as an excuse for behavior.

Is My Boyfriend or Girlfriend Abusive?

Does your boyfriend or girlfriend…

  • make you feel scared of him or her?
  • always check up on you?
  • make all the decisions?
  • get extremely jealous?
  • control what you do and where you go?
  • criticize, embarrass or humiliate you in front of others?
  • make you feel stupid or inadequate?
  • stop you from seeing friends or family?
  • prevent you from doing things you want to do?
  • pressure you into sexual activity?
  • become violent when he or she drinks or uses drugs?
  • threaten to hurt you, loved ones, property or pets?
  • hit, push, grab, slap or otherwise try to hurt you?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing emotional, verbal, sexual and/or physical violence by your partner. This violence is not your fault.

If You are Being Abused

Be aware of the cycle of violence. Violent relationships usually follow a pattern of abuse known as the cycle of violence. This cycle has three phases. The first is the tension-building phase, when anger, blaming, and arguing intensify. The second is the explosion phase, when violence (physical, sexual, emotional, and/or psychological) is used. The third is the honeymoon phase, which immediately follows the violence and includes the abuser apologizing and promising the violence will never happen again. Nothing changes. The cycle starts again.

You cannot change your partner. Changing abusive behavior requires professional counseling and even with professional counseling, violent patterns are extremely difficult to break.

If a Friend is Being Abused

If you have a friend you think may be in an abusive relationship, talk with her or him about it. Below are guidelines for what you can say to your friend. Whatever you do, don't ignore the problem; it will not go away. Don't let your friend become isolated -- that just feeds into the power and control of the abuser. You can make a difference by talking with your friend about the situation. You don't have to be an expert to talk about abuse, you just need to be a friend.

Approach your friend and say, "I'm worried about you because…" or "Nobody deserves to be treated like this."

Listen and believe what your friend tells you. Don't judge or blame. Avoid "why" questions. Say, "This isn't your fault."

Focus on safety. Say, "This is not going to get any better and it could get much worse. I am afraid for your safety." Ask, "What can you do to keep yourself safe?"

Show concern. Ask, "How is the behavior affecting you?"

Offer practical support. If you are willing and able, ask, "What can I do to help?"

Remember that help is available. You or your friend may want to access some of the resources listed above.  Say, "There are people who can help. Let's think of one you would feel safe talking to. I'll go with you if you'd like me to."

Am I Abusive to My Girlfriend or Boyfriend?

Do you. . .

  • make your girlfriend/boyfriend feel scared of you?
  • always check up on your girlfriend/boyfriend?
  • make all the decisions?
  • get extremely jealous?
  • control what your girlfriend/boyfriend does and where she/he goes?
  • criticize, embarrass or humiliate your girlfriend/boyfriend in front of others?
  • make your girlfriend/boyfriend feel stupid or inadequate?
  • stop your girlfriend/boyfriend from seeing friends or family?
  • prevent your girlfriend/boyfriend from doing things she/he wants to do?
  • pressure your girlfriend/boyfriend into sexual activity?
  • become violent when you drink or use drugs?
  • threaten to hurt your girlfriend/boyfriend, her/his loved ones, property or pets?
  • hit, push, grab, slap or otherwise try to hurt your girlfriend/boyfriend?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be engaging in emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or physical abuse against your partner. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to ending violent behavior, but wanting to change abusive behavior isn't enough. Most people need professional help to stop being abusive. Unless you do something about it, your abusive behavior is likely to get worse.

If a Friend is Being Abusive

If your friend has said or done things that make you think he/she may be hurting his/her partner, it's important to take a stand. It may be one of the hardest things you've ever done, but it could make a real difference for your friend and his/her partner. If you feel safe doing so, talk with your friend privately. Remember, confronting an abusive person can be dangerous, so think carefully about your own safety concerns before confronting an abuser.

Bring it up. Be specific about what you saw and how it made you feel. For example, "I didn't like it when you told your girlfriend she was stupid in front of all of us, and I can only imagine how it made her feel."

Call him/her on it. Say, "I'm not going to sit here as your friend, watch this happen, and not say anything about it."

Give him/her a reality check. "This isn't right. That's not how you treat someone you love." or "This is a crime, and you could be arrested."

Urge him/her to seek help. He/she can get help from a counselor. Express support for your friend if he/she is willing to change.

Take action. If you see your friend assaulting his/her partner, be careful and don't put yourself at risk. Call 911 for help.

Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

Outsiders often struggle with this question. They have a hard time understanding why someone would stay with an abusive partner. It is important to remember that even asking this question focuses attention on the victim's behavior, when the problem is the abuser's behavior.

Why people stay in abusive relationships:

  • Fear of what an abuser may do if she/he tries to leave or end the relationship, often because the abuser has made these threats.
  • Lowered self-esteem due to verbal and emotional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse begin to believe that they do not deserve a better relationship, that the abuse is their fault, or that things will get better.
  • Reluctance to let others know they've been living in an abusive situation: thinking that others will express disbelief or blame.
  • If they are cohabitating, belief that she/he shouldn't have to leave because they haven't done anything wrong.

Information above was obtained by the Health Promotions Department at the University of Georgia

The Counseling Center
  • Powell Hall, East 2nd Floor 1500 N. Patterson St. Valdosta, Georgia 31698
  • Mailing Address
    1500 N. Patterson St.
    Valdosta, GA 31698
  • Phone: 229.333.5940
  • Fax: 229.253.4113
  • Monday-Thursday, 8:00am-5:30pm

    Friday, 8:00am-3:00pm