Information on Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault is a crime of violence. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of all sexual assaults involve the use of weapons, or the threat of violence or death. Rapists often look for potential victims who appear weak or vulnerable; however, anyone can be a victim of a sexual assault, regardless of behavior or appearance. Rape can happen to any person, anywhere or anytime. In a significant number of cases, the rapist is known to the victim.

Rape is not just an act committed in a dark alley by an assailant the victim has never met. Most rapes occur in the victim’s home and about 60% of the victims who report their rape know their assailants. You can be aware without being afraid.

Some people believe that rapists are overcome with sexual desire or that women “ask for it” by the way they dress or act. Some people even believe that women want to be raped. These ideas assume that rape is motivated by sexual desire. IT IS NOT! Rape is a crime of violence – a hostile act – and it is motivated by the assailant’s need to hurt and humiliate the victim. It is about power. In California, any form of sexual conduct carried out upon a person, against that person’s will, is a crime. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime of rape. P.C. 261 & 263

Consent

What is Consent?

As important as consent is, we don’t talk about it enough. So it’s understandable if you’re a little unsure as to what consent is – and what it isn’t. You may have heard the idea that “no means no,” but this doesn’t really provide a complete picture of what consent is because it puts the responsibility on one person to resist or accept. It also makes consent about what a partner doesn’t want, instead of being able to openly express what they do want.

Well, How Does It Work?Some people are worried that talking about consent will be awkward or that it will ruin the mood, which is far from true. If anything, the mood is much more positive when both partners are happy and can freely communicate what they want. First off, talk about what terms like “hooking up” or “going all the way” mean to each partner. Consider having these conversations during a time when you’re not being physically intimate.

If you are in the heat if the moment, here are some suggestions of things to say:

•Are you comfortable?

•Is this okay?

•Do you want to slow down?

•Do you want to go any further?

What Consent Looks Like:

•Communicating every step of the way. For example, during a hookup, ask if it’s okay to take your partner’s shirt off and don’t just assume that they are comfortable with it.
•Respecting that when they don’t say “no,” it doesn’t mean “yes.”
•Breaking away from gender “rules.” Girls are not the only ones who might want to take it slow. Also, it’s not a guy’s job to initiate the action (or anything else, really).
What Consent Does NOT Look Like:
•Assuming that dressing sexy, flirting, accepting a ride, accepting a drink etc. is in any way consenting to anything more.
•Saying yes (or saying nothing) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
•Saying yes or giving into something because you feel too pressured or too afraid to say no.
Here are some red flags that indicate your partner doesn’t respect consent:
•They pressure or guilt you into doing things you may not want to do.
•They make you feel like you “owe” them — because you’re dating, or they gave you a gift, etc.
•They react negatively (with sadness, anger or resentment) if you say “no” to something, or don’t immediately consent.
•They ignore your wishes, and don’t pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
Get Consent Every Time
In a healthy relationship, it’s important to discuss and respect each other’s boundaries consistently. It’s not ok to assume that once someone consents to an activity, it means they are consenting to it anytime in the future as well. Whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time, a hookup, a committed relationship or even marriage, nobody is ever obligated to give consent just because they have done so in the past. A person can decide to stop an activity at any time, even if they agreed to it earlier. Above all, everyone has a right to their own body and to feel comfortable with how they use it — no matter what has happened in the past.

What to Do If You Have Been Raped

•Get to a safe place.

•Call a friend or family member to be with you.

•If you have been raped, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible; do not bathe or change your clothes. Semen, hair and material under fingernails or on your clothing all may be useful in identifying and prosecuting the rapist.

•It may be very helpful to contact a rape crisis center, where qualified staff members may assist you in dealing with your trauma. If you are unable to make the contact yourself, have a friend, family member or police make the call.

•Consider reporting a sexual assault, even an unsuccessful attempt. The information you provide may prevent another woman from being raped. When you report a rape, any information you can remember about the attack will be helpful – the assaulter’s physical characteristics, voice, clothes, car or even an unusual smell.

•Finally, it is important to remember that many individuals will mistakenly blame themselves for the rape. However, being raped is not a crime – the crime has been committed by the person who raped you.

WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO TO STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE?

We all can make a difference in stopping sexual violence. Most sexual assaults and rape are committed by someone the victim knows, not by a stranger, and many involve situations where drinking and drug use is occurring. Here are some important tips to remember:

•Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.

•Don’t just be a bystander. If you see something, intervene in any way you can.

•Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.

•Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they are okay.

•Get someone to help you if you see something—like a friend, a bartender, or host to help step in.

•Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.

•If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.

•Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.

•Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.

•Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.

•Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.

•Never blame the victim.

 To join thousands of people across the country in signing a pledge to end sexual violence, go to http://www.itsonus.org.

 To learn more about what you can do, check out the following resources:

College of Alameda Bystander Intervention

•Circle of 6: A Free App to Keep You Safe

•Step Up: Sexual Assault Bystander Intervention: More Strategies to Stop Sexual Violence

•That’s Not Cool: Dealing with Sexual Harassment in a Mobile World

 

Not Anymore -Campus Sexual Assault Awareness Program

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code: 157223

 

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