Sexual assault trauma can impact everyone differently - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sexual assault trauma can impact everyone differently

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

The suspect in the reported Lee University sexual assault has been identified as a 16-year-old. He has been charged with aggravated rape.

Within the last few days, Lee students have been concerned.

READ MORE | UPDATE: 16-year-old charged in aggravated rape at Lee University

Official documents say a Lee student was alone in the ceramics room when she was approached by a man with a knife, demanding sex.

She tried to take the knife away but was unsuccessful.

Sexual assault advocates say trauma from such incidents can have a variety of effects on victims.

Rachel Alonge is a sexual assault advocate at "Partnership" in Chattanooga, which offers assistance to victims.

She said this type of trauma can be difficult for people to process.

“It's stripped them of their power, and their control,” Rachel Alonge explained. “When you're in a space that you feel most comfortable that is going to be taken from you.”

Alonge said she spends as much time with new clients as they need.

She said her first job is to learn what happened to that person, and then determine the services they may need.

At "Partnership" no client is required to file a police report, but that option is available.

“Basically swabs and testing get forensic evidence collected for the rape kit,” Alonge explained.

Advocates say the first five weeks of classes on college campuses are known as the red zone.

Alonge said early in the school year, the chances of a sexual assault increase.

“People being in a new environment having people having this sense of freedom and being away from restrictions at home,” Alonge added.

Alonge said there's no way to tell a survivor of the severity of their assault. Instead, you should support them emotionally.

“Trauma looks different in every survivor; there are different psychological effects, emotional and even physical effects,” Alonge said.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault you are encouraged to call the crisis hotline at 755-2700.

Remember, every session is confidential, and you are not required to report anything to the police.

Lee University has already increased campus patrol.

The victim is now out of the hospital. She suffered minor injuries.

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