Rape or Sexual Assault


What To Do If You Are Raped:

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Call a friend or family member to be with you.
  • Call the police immediately. The sooner you make a report, the greater the chances the assailant will be apprehended.
  • Do not shower, bathe, douche, or destroy any of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. It is important to preserve all physical evidence.
  • Go to a hospital emergency department for medical care. Even if you do not think you have any physical injuries, you should still be examined.
  • Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault and the identity of the assailant.
  • Seek counseling, information, and legal assistance.

How To Help A Friend Who Has Been Raped:
Everyone has his or her own unique responses to being assaulted. However, it may be helpful for you to realize that it is common for survivors to feel confused, ashamed, guilty, dirty, frightened, helpless, damaged, distrustful, etc. Remember, whatever a survivor feels is understandable, given her or his experience.

Offer shelter.
See that the victim has a safe place to stay and does not have to be alone until ready.

Be supportive.
Offer emotional comfort and support. Encourage expression of feelings. Don't ask for details but be willing to listen if the victim wants to talk. If you are not comfortable listening empathetically, help the victim find someone who can.

Encourage action.
Gently encourage getting medical attention, seeking counseling, and making a report, even if the assault occurred some time ago.

Be reassuring.
Rape is never the victim's fault. Some things you can say to someone who has been sexually assaulted:

  • "I believe you."
  • "You survived; you did the best you could under the circumstances."
  • "It is not your fault. Nothing you did could possibly justify what happened."
  • "I'm sorry it happened to you."
  • "This does not change how I feel about you."
  • "What can I do to help you?"
Refer your friend for professional assistance and get support for yourself!

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Campus Resources:
Individuals or groups interested in programs on rape prevention may contact the Director of Counseling Services and the Director of Residential Life for referrals and community information.

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Other Sexual Assaults:
Besides rape, sexual assault crimes include the following: sodomy (forced anal intercourse); oral copulation (forced oral-genital contact); rape by a foreign object (forced penetration by a foreign object, including a finger); and sexual battery (the unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal).

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Prevention:
What can men do to stop rape?

  • Always assume that "No" means NO! If you are right, you have not offended or exploited your partner in any way. If your assumption was wrong, it is now her responsibility to open up the communication and reinstate the encounter.
  • Examine your behavior on dates to be sure you are not doing things that could be construed as sexual exploitation of a woman.
  • Don't feel that you, the male, must always initiate a sexual encounter, and don't initiate if you don't want to.
  • Communicate honestly, assertively and respectfully by expressing your needs and listening to the other person's needs.
  • Be aware of stereotypes that set you into acting in forceful or coercive ways, such as "aggressive behavior is masculine." Don't get trapped into those roles.
  • If a friend boasts of exploiting a woman sexually, condemn such actions. Peer pressure can be used positively to help stop abusive behavior that may set the stage for acquaintance rape.
  • Confront potential rape scenes. When you see a man verbally harassing a woman on the street, stand by to see if she needs help. If a man is hitting or holding a woman against her will, act immediately. If you feel confident enough, offer direct aid by speaking out, by yelling, or by physical intervention. AT LEAST CALL THE POLICE.
  • Be conscious when walking in groups of men approaching a woman. Remember how afraid she probably feels and give her space on the street.

Realize that rape affects both men and women. When rape occurs, it disrupts all dating norms between men and women and seriously affects the lives of all involved.
Be aware that in 10% of reported rapes, the victims are men. (FBI, 1989).

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Taking Precautions:

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel something is wrong, it probably is.
  • Be aware that the use of alcohol and/or other drugs may interfere with your ability to think clearly, communicate effectively, and react appropriately.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and anticipate potentially dangerous situations (e.g. while driving, at an ATM, biking, or jogging).
  • Don't prop outside doors open; and always lock your room door.
  • Watch out for others' safety and take good care of each other.
  • Avoid isolated places, day and night. If you must work alone, lock the doors; tell a friend, colleague, or Campus Security (ext. 555) where you are.
  • Organize your classes, labs, etc., so no one walks alone.
  • If strangers call for their friends, ask them to wait outside while you get their friends-do not invite them in.
  • If someone wants to use your phone, make the call for them while they wait outside.
  • Get together with a first-time date at a public place.
  • Never hitchhike.

Helpful Phone Numbers:
Keep these numbers by your telephone.

  • EMERGENCY: Police, Fire & Medical: 9-1-1
  • Campus Public Safety Office: ext.555 on campus/630-844-6140 off campus
  • AU Wellness Center ext. 5434 on campus/630-844-5434 off campus
  • AU Counseling Services: ext. 5118 on campus/630-844-5118 off campus
  • Mutual Ground 24 Hour Hotline 630-897-8383
  • Fox Valley 24 hour Crisis Line 630-482-9393

You Need To Know:
Rape is sudden, arbitrary, and terrifying. It happens to children and adults. It occurs in all neighborhoods and in many different types of situations. The rapist may be a stranger or someone the victim has known and trusted.

Although rape may or may not result in serious physical injury to the victim, it almost always causes severe emotional stress. This stress often lasts long after the assault has occurred.

  • More than 80% of rapes occurring on college campuses are committed by someone the victim knows. (Koss and Wisniewski, 1987).
  • 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers. (Koss and Wisniewski, 1987).
  • Women between the ages of 16-24 years have the highest victimization rates in the country. (Bureau of Justice, 1990).

Legal Definitions:
Rape is generally defined as forced sexual intercourse. It may also include situations where the victim is incapable of giving consent due to a disability or intoxication. Many of the rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, such as a date or a friend.

While some students may not think of forced sexual relations as rape, the action nevertheless is considered to be. Rape is a serious crime - a felony. And whenever a man uses force to have sex, he is committing rape, even if he knows the woman, and even if he has had sex with her before.

Under Illinois Law, rape is sexual intercourse against the will of the victim that can occur under a variety of circumstances, including:

20 ILCS 5/12-14
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

  1. The accused commits aggravated criminal sexual assault if he or she commits criminal sexual assault and any of the following aggravating circumstances existed during the commission of the offense:
    1. the accused displayed, threatened to use, or used a dangerous weapon or any object fashioned or utilized in such a manner as to lead the victim under the circumstances reasonably to believe it to be a dangerous weapon; or
    2. the accused caused bodily harm to the victim; or
    3. the accused acted in such a manner as to threaten or endanger the life of the victim or any other person; or
    4. the criminal sexual assault was perpetrated during the course of the commission or attempted commission of any other felony by the accused;
    5. the victim was a physically handicapped person.

20 ILCS 5/12-15
Criminal sexual abuse

  1. The accused commits criminal sexual abuse if he or she:
    1. commits an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force; or
    2. commits an act of sexual conduct and the accused knew that the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent

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