Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual disability or other disability such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Sexual violence can occur between friends, classmates, spouses, romantic interests, short acquaintances, or strangers. Examples of sexual violence include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. Dating violence and stalking are also serious offenses.
Are you a witness to an incident of sexual violence?
If you are a witness to sexual violence, you should report the incident to campus or local police. You may also speak with the Dean of Students who can assist you with the reporting process.
What to do if you're a victim
Unfortunately, no matter how well you prepare, it is impossible to protect yourself against every possible situation. If you are attacked, it is important to know what to do. The following steps will ensure you get help safely and quickly, and the resources will help you recover from the trauma.
If possible, get to a safe place. In the event of an emergency, make sure that you move to a well-lit, populated area before calling for help.
Call 911. As soon as it is safe to do so, call 911 or have someone call 911 for you.
Follow the operator’s instructions until help arrives. 911 operators go through hundreds of hours of training to learn how to handle emergency situations. They will instruct you until police or paramedics arrive.
Let emergency services guide you through what to do. Depending on what happened, a number of tests or procedures may be required. The officers or paramedics should walk you through this step-by-step.
Contact a trusted friend or family member as soon as you can. Not only do you need to let someone know what is going on, you should have somewhere to go after all the official procedures are taken care of. Emotional support will be very important.
Take care of yourself and take time to heal. Becoming a victim can be incredibly traumatic. The healing process will take time and attention. There are plenty of free resources available to help you heal. See our resource guide below and be sure to check with your campus mental health services about how they can help in your recovery.
Resources for crime victims
National Organization for Victim Assistance NOVA is one of the oldest organizations of its kind, dedicated to helping victims of crime and crisis. Their site has a number of resources to inform victims about available services and how to fully exercise their rights.
Crime Victims Designed by the Office for Victims of Crime for volunteers, victims and victim service providers, crimevictims.gov offers a host of resources to help in the recovery process.
Office for Victims of Crime This government office responsible for managing the Crime Victims Fund, a national collection that is maintained through fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders. Their site contains information about state victim assistance and compensation programs, as well as other national resources.
Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline Created in 1981 as the Victim Services Agency, the organization behind this crisis line became known as Safe Horizon in 2000. Based out of New York City, this service offers face to face counseling for victims in the area, as well as phone counseling for victims nationwide.
National Center for Victims of Crime This national organization partners with local, state and federal governments to accomplish three main goals: advocate for stronger rights, protections, and services for victims; provide education, training and evaluation; and serve as a trusted source of current information on victims’ issues. They provide a directory of resources covering topics including crime awareness, victim recovery and legal assistance.
Victim Support Services This nonprofit organization based out of Washington state is also known as Families and Friends of Missing Persons and Violent Crime Victims. They provide a 24 hour crisis line, advocacy services, courtroom support, medical advocacy, information and referrals, all free
of charge. Though this organization is primarily for people residing in Washington, they will refer you to an appropriate local agency if calling from another state.
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline Organized and maintained by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), this online hotline will provide victims with 24/7 counseling and advice. Their services are free, confidential and secure.
Know Your IX Know Your IX (KYIX) is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending sexual violence on campus. This site is an excellent resource for both activists and victims. They contain links on how to raise sexual violence awareness on campus, as well as what to do if you’ve become a victim.
Clery Center for Security on Campus This nonprofit was founded by Connie and Howard Clery after the death of their daughter, Jeanne. They are responsible for the creation of the Clery Act which revolutionized how schools has to address and monitor campus crime. The organization focuses on advocacy, education and collaboration, providing resources for both schools and students.
PACT5 Focused on ending sexual assault and rape on campus, PACT5 is a five campus collaboration with the unique vision of producing student documentaries that help illustrate the issues of sexual violence. In addition to raising awareness, the site also provides resources for recovery and counseling, as well as preventing sexual assaults.