Sexual Violence

What To Do If You Experience Sexual Violence:

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Call a friend, family member, coworker, or anyone that you feel safe with.
  • Remember you have the choice if want to call the police. If you chose to do so, you can make a report at any time. However, the sooner you make a report, the greater the chances the assailant will be apprehended.
  • You also have the choice to go to the nearest emergency room department and get a collection evidence kit done. Most hospitals have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) who will provide caring and comprehensive care to a victim/survivor. You have the choice to determine how much of the examination you want done.
  • 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 when you feel ready to do so.

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How To Help A Friend Who Has Experienced Sexual Violence:

Everyone has their own unique responses to being assaulted. However, it may be helpful for you to realize that it is common for victims/survivors to feel confused, ashamed, guilty, frightened, helpless, distrustful, etc. Remember, whatever a victim/survivor feels is understandable, given their experience.

Offer shelter.
See that the victim/survivor 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. If you are not comfortable listening empathetically, help the victim/survivor 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. Remind them they can seek services at any time.

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

  • "I believe you."
  • "What do you need right now?"
  • "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 Jessica Nuñez, Title IX Coordinator/BIT Case Manager, for referrals and community information.

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Types of Sexual Violence:
Sexual violence can include the following: rape, 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). Sexual violence is when someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their consent.

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Awareness:

What can people do to become more aware of sexual violence?

  • Always assume that "No" means NO! If you are right, you have not offended or exploited your partner in any way. Consent must always be given!
  • Examine your behavior on dates to be sure you are not doing things that could be construed as sexual exploitation of a person.
  • 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."
  • If a friend boasts of exploiting a person sexually, condemn such actions. Peer pressure can be used positively to help stop abusive behavior that may set the stage for sexual violence.
  • Confront potential scenarios where sexual violence may occur. When you see a person verbally harassing another person on the street, stand by to see if they need help. If a person is hitting or holding another person against their will, act immediately. If you feel confident enough, offer direct aid by speaking out, yelling, or by physical intervention. REMEMBER YOU CAN ALWAYS CALL THE POLICE.
  • Be conscious when walking in groups and you see a sole person in your direction. Remember how afraid they probably feel and give them space on the street, sidewalk, hallway, parking lot, etc.

Realize that sexual violence affects everyone. When sexual violence occurs, it disrupts all dating norms between people and seriously affects the lives of all involved.

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Helpful Phone Numbers:

Keep these numbers by your telephone.

  • EMERGENCY: police, fire, and medical: 9-1-1
  • Campus Public Safety: 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

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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/survivor 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.

  • 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation-among all graduate and undergraduate students. (Cantor, Fisher, Chibnall, Townsend, et. Al., 2020).
  • Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college (Kimble, Neacsiu, et. al, 2008).
  • 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers. (Koss and Wisniewski, 1987).
  • 23.1% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted. (Cantor, Fisher, Chibnall, Townsend, et. Al., 2020).

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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 person uses force to have sex, they are committing rape, even if they know the person, and even if they have had sex with them 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

The term sexual violence is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. (https://www.rainn.org/types-sexual-violence).

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