sexual assault

What you should know about sexual assault

Table of Contents:

What You Should Know About Sexual Assault?

What You Should Know About Date Rape?

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted

What if it happens to you?

Do not go through this experience alone

For More Information

What You Should Know About Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault, it can be a rape, an attack in a residence hall by a fellow student, or being mauled by someone with whom you casually leave a party. It can also mean being sexually coerced by a boss, an instructor, a relative, or being grabbed in a bar, a bus, a store, anywhere.

Rape is a crime of violence, not a crime of passion. Like a burglar looking for the right location or the most vulnerable victim, a rapist attacks without regard to age, race, or marital status. In most cases a rapist will keep attacking women until he is reported, caught and convicted.

Most rapists can keep raping because the victims stay silent out of fear, shock, misunderstanding, or lack of support. It is estimated that ten rapes occur for every one that is reported.

Many cases go unreported because the victim knows the rapist. A women may fear the loss of a friendship or romantic opportunity if she reports an incident involving an acquaintance, or she may not accept the fact that someone she knows - a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a relative - could rape her. Women have been sexually assaulted by men they know and often trust.

Women can also be assaulted at home. Rape is not exclusively a dark-alley crime, and about half of all rapes are committed in residences.

What You Should Know About Date Rape

Acquaintance rape - "date rape" - is the sexual assault of a women in a social situation by a friend, lover, or husband. It is usually the result of unsuccessful or unclear communication between both parties. Make your wishes clear; if you mean no say no. No means no, maybe means no, hesitation means no.

Before you go out, especially on a first date, tell someone such as your roommate or a friend who you are going with, where you are going, and when you expect to return. Once you are out, you must use common sense and apply it to your use of alcohol and other drugs in a dating situation. Don't you lose control. If you accuse someone of rape or sexual assault, it is the responsibility of that person to prove that you gave your full consent.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself

Certain choices may make you more vulnerable, but they never constitute a reason for being victimized.

In Residence halls:

  • Keep your room locked at all times.

  • Never open your doors to strangers.

  • Request identification from all maintenance personnel and verify their identity before admitting them.

  • Don't leave valuables visible or unattended in your room.

  • Don't shower in a deserted or unlocked locker room or residence hall.

  • If you go out with a group, come home with the same group.

On the street:

  • Avoid walking alone whenever possible. Walk or park in well-lighted areas or between buildings.

  • Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas or between buildings.

  • Walk near the curb facing traffic.

  • Don't burden yourself with heavy or bulky packages.

  • Certain footwear (i.e. high heels, clogs, etc.) and restrictive clothing can inhibit your ability to escape.

  • Be alert. If you think you are being followed, change direction or head for bright lights and people.

  • If you must walk alone at night, you may request an escort to your car or residence hall by calling Campus Safety at 526-3675, or 526-3300 (emergency).

  • Do not hitchhike. Share rides with friends.

What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted

Many women - because they take care to protect themselves, or because they are afraid to think of the possibility - assume that sexual assault is something that happens to "other people" but, to a certain extent, all women are vulnerable.

What if it happens to you?

Every rape survivor reacts differently, usually with a combination of anger, disbelief, anxiety, or fear. No matter how you feel, it is important to try to remember the following guidelines.

Try to keep a cool head and notice everything you can about the assailant: his speech, hair. cloths, distinguishing tattoos and/ or scars, height, weight, and age. Notice in which direction he escapes, and what kind of car (make, model, license plates, unusual features such as bumper stickers or large rust spots).

Preserve all physical evidence carefully. Do not bathe, douche, wash, change your clothing, or move any other evidence that the assailant may have touched or dropped from a pocket. Some evidence can be present up to five days after the assault.

Always report any rape or sexual assault, including attempts, to a Student Development professional. Even if you aren't sure if you want to press criminal charges in court against your assailant, the professional assigned to your case can answer your questions about health care and legal procedures.

Campus Safety will take you to a medical facility for care. Expenses are covered by the New Hampshire District Attorney's Office if this treatment is administered within five days after the incident.

Do not go through this experience alone.

Contact someone, such as:

  • a family member

  • a friend

  • a member of the clergy

  • a Student Development professionals (526-3755).

You may also want to contact one or more of the following organizations:

  • Baird Health & Counseling Center (526-3621)
  • Campus Safety (526-3675 or 3300 for emergencies)
  • Rape and Domestic Violence Crisis Center Help line (225-9000)
  • Women's Information Service (448-5525)
  • Headrest Hotline (448-4400)

For More Information

The Colby- Sawyer College Campus Safety Department can suggest programs and resources pertaining to sexual assault and its prevention. If you are interested, please contact the Director of Campus Safety at 526-3675.

A publication of Colby-Sawyer College Campus Safety in conjunction with the Department of Residential Education and the S.A.V.E. program with permission from the Public Safety Division Northeastern University, 1993.