Sexual Assault FAQs

1. What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including inappropriate touching, vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, sexual intercourse that you say no to, rape, attempted rape, child molestation, exhibitionism (exposing oneself in public), incest, voyeurism (act of observing unsuspecting individuals, usually strangers, who may be naked or in the process of disrobing) and sexual harassment. Sexual Assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. (Sources:;

2. What is Rape?

Rape is the act of making someone partake involuntarily in sexual acts through violence, force, threat of injury, other duress, or where the victim is unable to decline due to the effects of drugs or alcohol.

Rape is any kind of sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) that is committed against a person's will or is committed with physical force or psychological coercion.  (Source:

3. What is Consent?

Mutual consent is only achieved when both partners consciously indicate a willingness to participate in the sexual activity. This is a tricky issue and should be discussed and reached without coercion by either party.  If you are involved in a situation where you or your partner are intoxicated or unconscious and cannot say "no", this is not mutual consent. (Source:

4. What are the Statistics?

Breakdown by Gender and Age

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
  • Every 2 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.
  • 80% of victims are under age 30.
  • 44% are under age 18.
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
  • 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • 2.78 million American men have been victims of sexual assault or rape. (Source:

The Offenders - The Rapist Isn't a Masked Stranger

  • Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
  • 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.
  • 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
  • 28% are an intimate partner.
  • 7% are a relative.
  • More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home. (Source:


  • 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
  • 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. (Source:

5. What Can I Do to Increase Safety on My Campus?

  • Make sure a friend that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol gets home safely
  • Stopping a friend from pushing drinks on an individual who has made the decision not to drink or has had too much to drink.
  • Communicating your boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.
  • Speaking up if someone makes a comment that is derogatory or abusive
  • Distracting someone who is harassing a classmate by asking him/her a question or knocking something over
  • Choosing not to participate in hazing and speaking out against destructive behaviors
  • Trust your instincts - the goal is to intervene in a way that is safe for you and those around you (Source:

6. Tips for Dating Smart

  • Know your limits -- and let your date know them right from the start.
  • Be clear about what's okay for you.  Don't expect your date to read your mind.
  • Trust your gut.  If you feel uncomfortable, leave.
  • Don't get in over your head. If someone pushes you to do something you don't want to do, you have the right to leave.
  • Stay in control. Alcohol is the most common date-rape drug.  In fact, alcohol is involved in 75 percent of all sexual assaults reported.
  • Tell a friend where you are going, especially if you're going out on a first date or a blind date.
  • Avoid secluded places until you know your date better.
  • Always charge your cell phone and keep it on you.
  • Pay attention to what you hear. A person may have a bad reputation for a reason. (Source:

7. Avoiding Dangerous Situations

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
  • Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more likely difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Walk with purpose.  Even if you don't know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Trust your instincts.  If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn't the best place to be.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged.
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don't trust or someone you don't know.
  • Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone. (Source:

8. How Can I Help Someone Else?

If You See Someone In Danger of Being Assaulted:

  • Step in and offer assistance. Ask if the person needs help.  NOTE: Before stepping in, make sure to evaluate the risk.  If it means putting yourself in danger, call 911 instead.
  • Don't leave. If you remain at the scene and are a witness, the perpetrator is less likely to do anything.
  • If you know the perpetrator, tell him or her that you do not approve of what s/he is doing.  Ask him or her to leave the potential victim alone. (Source:

Be an Ally:

  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends.  Arrive together, check in with each other frequently and leave together.
  • Have a buddy system.  Don't be afraid to let a friend know if you are worried about her/his safety.
  • If you see someone who is intoxicated, offer to find them a safe way home. (Source:

If Someone You Know Has Been Assaulted:

  • Listen. Be there. Don't be judgmental.
  • Be patient.  Remember, it will take your friend some time to deal with the crime.
  • Help to empower your friend or family member.  Sexual Assault is a crime that takes away an individual's power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your friend or family member to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
  • Encourage your friend to report the rape to law enforcement (call 911). 
  • If your friend is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany them wherever they need to go (hospital, police station, campus police, etc.)
  • Encourage her/him to get help, but realize that only your friend can make the decision to get help. (Source:

9. Where Can I Go for Help?

Campus Resources

Community Resources

National Resources

National Resources for College Students