sexual assault

What you should know about sexual assault

Table of Contents:

What You Should Know About Sexual Assault?

If You Are a Victim of Sexual Assault, You Might

Get Help

What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted

Help Yourself

Help Someone Else

Interim Measures

What You Should Know About Sexual Assault

For sexual activity to be all right, it must be consensual, which means that both people want it to happen. Sexual assault is when any person forces you to participate in a sexual act when you don't want to. This can include touching or penetrating the vagina, mouth, or anus of the victim (often called rape); touching the penis of the victim; or forcing the victim to touch the attacker's vagina, penis, or anus. Touching can mean with a hand, finger, mouth, penis, or just about anything else, including objects.

It doesn't always take physical force to sexually assault a victim. Attackers can use threats or intimidation to make a victim feel afraid or unable to refuse them. It is also sexual assault if the victim is drunk, drugged, unconscious, or too young (ages of consent differ from state to state) or mentally disabled to be legally able to agree to sexual contact.

Most victims are assaulted by someone they know: a friend, date, acquaintance, or boyfriend or girlfriend. Dating or being sexually involved with someone does not give that person the right to force you to have sexual contact you don't want. Even if you have had sex before, you have the right to say “NO” at any time. You are also allowed to change your mind at any time. Being sexually assaulted is never your fault.

Most perpetrators of sexual assault are male, whether the victim is female or male. Victims can be males or females of any age, race, social class, appearance, or sexual orientation. The majority of sexual assault victims are women and girls, but many men and boys are sexually assaulted, too.

Sometimes people will use manipulation to get someone to give into sex. They might say things such as “If you really loved me, you'd do it” or “I'm going to tell everyone we did it anyway, so you might as well.” This kind of behavior can be hurtful, although it often doesn't meet the legal definition of sexual assault, and is a sign of a controlling or emotionally abusive partner. The same is true of a partner who won't (or won't let you) use birth control when you want to. People who experience this kind of behavior can have similar reactions to people who have been sexually assaulted. If this is happening to you, consider seeking help.

If You Are a Victim of Sexual Assault, You Might

  • Feel afraid, ashamed, angry, sad, lonely, betrayed, or depressed.
  • Feel guilty and confused if you knew or had a relationship with the attacker, even though the assault was not your fault.
  • Feel like you have no friends or that your friends won't believe you.
  • Want to hurt someone else or yourself.
  • Feel like taking steps to defend yourself.
  • Feel helpless to stop the assault.
  • Feel hopeless about whether anything can be done.
  • Be afraid to go anywhere that the attacker might be.
  • Feel anxious all the time.
  • Feel bad about yourself or your body.

Get Help

Being a victim of sexual assault is not your fault. Nothing in what you say, the way you look, where you are, or who you are with gives anyone else the right to hurt you. It does not matter if you are dating or have ever been intimate with the person who sexually assaulted you; it does not give that person the right to force you to participate in sexual acts if you don't want to, even if you have had sexual activity of any sort with them in the past. It's still wrong.

Students who experience an incident of sexual misconduct should consider the following immediate actions:

  • Contact law enforcement

  • Seek medical attention - The medical exam has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma and to consider the possibilities of sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy and, second, to properly preserve evidence in case you decide to prosecute.

IMPORTANT: Do not bathe, douche, brush your teeth, drink or change your clothing, as you may be destroying evidence you will need if you decide to prosecute.

Emergency Contraception (EC) reduces the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex or a sexual assault. The most common form of EC is Plan B. Plan B is available without a prescription from a pharmacist. Health Services has Plan B available at a reduced cost to students. Plan B is free to students who have high financial need or utilize the school insurance plan. The Baird Health and Counseling Center provides EC at a cost of $15 without a prescription during walk-in hours. EC is most effective when taken within 72 hours of a sexual assault, so taking it as soon as possible is best.

Testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STIs and STDs) is available at no charge for all Colby-Sawyer College students at Baird. Pregnancy testing is also available at no charge to students at Baird.

  • Contact a trained, experienced counselor

  • Contact parents, relatives or close friends for support

Emergency Assistance

Colby-Sawyer College Campus Safety will assist you in obtaining medical treatment, counseling support, and police services.

Emergency Response

  • 911

  • Colby-Sawyer Campus Safety 603.526.3300

  • New London Police Department 603.526.2626

Health and Safety

  • New London Hospital 603.526.2911

  • Baird Health and Counseling Center 603.526.3621 (available during regular office hours)

Help Yourself

  • Try to avoid being alone, especially with your attacker, and be alert to your surroundings

  • Think about getting help making a safety plan to avoid or escape a dangerous situation, especially if you know your attacker.

  • Make sure you have a safe place to stay.

  • Think about talking to a rape crisis center or other victim assistance counselor about what happened to you, so they can help you find a safe place to stay, give you counseling, and help you understand your options, such as what medical staff will do during a "rape kit" exam or what might happen while going through the criminal justice system.

Help Someone Else

  • If your friend tells you that she or he has been assaulted, remember that it is not your friend's fault. Help him or her get to a safe place. Listen patiently and without judgment. Offer your support and encouragement in getting help.

  • Talk to your friend and try to get him or her to also talk to an adult and get medical attention. Offer to go with the person. If your friend is badly injured, call 911. Encourage your friend to have a rape kit exam whether or not he or she intends to report the crime to police. Your friend can always make the decision about whether or not to report the crime later.

  • Report the assault to an adult you trust.

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)

Interim Measures

Upon receipt of a report, the College will provide interim support and reasonable protective measures to prevent further acts of misconduct, and to provide a safe educational and work environment. The College will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures. Even when a complainant or respondent does not specifically request that protective action be taken, the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of any individual, the broader College community or the integrity of the review process. Interim measures will be imposed in a way that minimizes the burden on the reporter/complainant to the extent possible while balancing the rights of the accused.

Students seeking such assistance should speak with the Title IX Coordinator, who will coordinate such requests on the behalf of the student. Information will be maintained as private as long as it does not hinder the College's ability to provide interim measures. The College will maintain contact with the parties to ensure that all safety and emotional and physical well-being concerns are being addressed.

All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure. The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce measures previously ordered or implemented by the College.

The College may impose any remedy that can be tailored to the involved parties to achieve the goals of this policy, even if not specifically listed here. The range of interim measures may include:

No Contact Order: A complainant or respondent may request, or the College may impose, communication and contact restrictions to prevent further potentially harmful interaction. These communication and contact restrictions generally preclude in person, telephone, electronic or third party communications. In some cases, an individual may also wish to consider a Temporary Restraining Order from the local courts. This is a civil proceeding independent of the College. If a court order is issued the College will, to the extent possible, assist the protected person in benefiting from the restrictions imposed by the court and will also facilitate on campus compliance with the order. The College may also limit an individual or organization's access to certain College facilities or activities as part of the no contact order.

Academic, Employment or Residence Modifications: A complainant or respondent may request an academic or employment accommodation or a change in residence after a report of sexual misconduct. An individual who requests assistance in changing their academic or living situation after an incident of sexual misconduct will receive appropriate and reasonably available accommodations. These may include: • Academic accommodations, including a change in class schedule, taking an incomplete, dropping a course without penalty, attending a class via Skype or other alternative means, providing an academic tutor, or extending deadlines for assignments;

  • Change of residence hall assignment;

  • Change in work assignment or schedule;

  • Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities.

Emotional Support: The College will provide counseling services through the Baird Health and Counseling Center or will assist in providing a referral to off campus agencies. Counseling and emotional support is available to any member of the campus community.

Interim Suspension: Where the report of sexual misconduct poses an ongoing risk of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual or members of the campus community, the College may place an individual or organization on interim suspension or impose leave for an employee. Pending resolution of the complaint, the individual or organization may be denied access to campus. When interim suspension or leave is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and resolution within an expedited time frame.