What Is Sexual Assault? Sherry’s Story You are a counselor in a mental health center. You have a new

What Is Sexual Assault? Sherry’s Story

You are a counselor in a mental health center. You have a
new client named Sherry, a 25-year-old female who made an appointment for
depression and anxiety she has been experiencing. During the initial session,
Sherry reports that she received an associate’s degree at a local technical
college in nursing assistance 6 years ago. Since receiving her degree, she has
worked primarily as a nursing aide in several rehabilitation centers. She
recently quit her job abruptly due to an incident at the rehabilitation center
where she was employed for 2 years.
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What Is Sexual Assault? Sherry’s Story

You are a counselor in a mental health center. You have a
new client named Sherry, a 25-year-old female who made an appointment for
depression and anxiety she has been experiencing. During the initial session,
Sherry reports that she received an associate’s degree at a local technical
college in nursing assistance 6 years ago. Since receiving her degree, she has
worked primarily as a nursing aide in several rehabilitation centers. She
recently quit her job abruptly due to an incident at the rehabilitation center
where she was employed for 2 years. Sherry reports experiencing sleeplessness
and weight loss. She has difficulty getting out of bed every morning and has
not looked for a new job since she left.

Sherry recently ended a 5-year relationship with her
boyfriend, although the couple was scheduled to be married in 6 months. She
describes several episodes where she has been forced to leave public places
after being unable to catch her breath and feeling as if she is being judged by
others. After several sessions, she reveals that while working at the rehab
center, she was sexual assaulted by a 32-yearold male patient named James, who
became a paraplegic after a car accident that left him paralyzed below the
waist. Sherry began to spend extra time with James after learning that he had
very little to no family support and typically had no visitors. On several
occasions, James began to ask questions about Sherry’s dating life, and he
eventually asked her to date him. James then began asking Sherry to help him
deal with his frustrating involuntary erections and ejaculations. When she
laughed-off this suggestion, James began to become more suggestive and
aggressive with Sherry. He would talk about his previous sexual activities
prior to being injured. Eventually,

James’s behavior turned to sexual advances, such as groping
Sherry and suggesting that they should have sex. After enduring his advances
for several weeks, Sherry finally complained to her supervisor and asked to be
moved to another wing. Her request was denied due to a shortage of staff. She
was encouraged to remain professional and told that James was harmless. One day
while Sherry was helping James bathe, James overpowered her and sexually
assaulted her with a shampoo bottle. Due to her shock, Sherry left the rehab
center that day and never returned. She did not report the incident to her
supervisor or the police.

Discussion Questions

1. Does Sherry’s experience meet the definition of sexual
assault? Why?

2. What are some of the additional problems Sherry might
develop resulting from her sexual assault?

3. Keeping these circumstances in mind, how would you
proceed to work with Sherry?

4. What are the legal and ethical guidelines that will drive
your work with Sherry?

5. With a peer, role-play implementation of the task model
for crisis assessment and intervention featured in Chapter 1.

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