What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is any unwanted physical contact that is sexual in nature (kissing, fondling, intercourse, etc.) and that occurs against a person’s will and/or without her/his consent.
Any individual who is mentally incapacitated, unconscious, or unaware that the sexual activity is occurring is considered to be unable to give consent.
Force may involve physical violence, the threat of physical violence, coercion, and the intentional impairment of the person’s power to appraise the situation through the administration of any substance.
This definition applies whether the perpetrator is a stranger or an acquaintance.
Use of drugs or alcohol by the accused/perpetrator is not a defense against allegations of sexual assault and does not diminish personal accountability or criminal liability.
Points to Remember
Rape is not the survivor’s fault.
Rape is not sex. It is violence.
Nobody asks for or deserves rape.
Survivors do not cause rape.
Rapists cause rape.
Previous sex does not imply continued permission.
NO means NO in all situations.
Myths & Facts
Myth It could never happen to me.
Fact Everyone is a potential rape victim: females/males of any age, race, class, religion, occupation, education, or sexual orientation.
Myth Most rapes occur in a dark alley by a stranger or a crazed individual.
Fact Over 50% of reported rapes occur in the home and 80% of sexual assaults reported by college women and adult women were perpetrated by close friends or family members.
Myth Women secretly enjoy or want to be raped.
Fact No woman, man, or child enjoys or wants to be raped. It is the brutal intrusion on the mind, body, and spirit that can result in lasting trauma.
Myth Women “ask for it” by their dress and actions.
Fact Rapists look for victims that they perceive as vulnerable, not those who dress or behave in a particular way. Assuming that women provoke attacks by where they are or the way they dress is victim-blaming. No one asks to be hurt or degraded.
Myth Women “cry” rape.
Fact Only 2% of reported rape and related sex offenses are false, the same rate of false reports for other crimes. Although many cases are dropped because of insufficient evidence for convictions, this should not be confused with false reporting.
Myth Women who are drunk are ready and willing to engage in sexual activity.
Fact The fact that a woman has been drinking does not imply consent. Alcohol and drugs can render a woman or man incapable of consent.
How to Protect Yourself from Sexual Assault
Be clear and assertive about your limits.
Say NO clearly.
Keep track of your own drink and get a new one if it has been out of your sight.
Never accept beverages in an open container.
Set up contacts with your friends to watch out for each other and help each other in unsafe situations or places.
Trust your gut instinct. If you are uncomfortable in a situation or with a person, it's okay to leave. It’s better to be safe.
What To Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
DO consider seeking immediate medical attention to rule out injury, pregnancy, and/or STDs.
DON’T shower, change clothes, or eat or drink before seeking medical attention. These are important factors in the event you decide to report it.
DO talk with a trusted individual about what happened.
DON’T blame yourself or play the “what if” game.
DON’T feel pressured by anyone else’s point of view on reporting or prosecuting. Remember, just because you contact the police does not mean that you are required to file a report.
DO write down everything you remember as soon as possible
DON’T be afraid to ask questions of professionals or authorities or let them know if you feel uncomfortable.
DO seek counseling to help you deal with what happened
SHSU Sexual Assault Response Team
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, there are resources on campus and in the community to help you. Please consider speaking with a member of the SHSU Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). SART was developed to provide support and information to sexual assault survivors at any time following a sexual assault. To speak to a SART member, contact the Counseling Center at (936) 294-1720, notify your resident advisor, or call University Police.
Where To Get Help
SHSU Counseling Center (936) 294-1720
SHSU Student Health Center (936) 294-1805
Huntsville SAAFE House- Hotline (936) 291-3369
Huntsville SAAFE House-Office (936) 291-3529
Montgomery County Women’s Center (936) 441-7273
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault 1-888-91-TAASA
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE
Did you know?
Approximately 20-25% of women will be raped during their college career. (Departmentof Justice report, 2006). Learn more from these sources:
American Association of University Women