Sexual Assault: It Could Happen to You or Someone You Know

Why Read This Brochure?

The statistics point out the need. In the U.S., a rape is reported about once every six minutes.* It is one of the fastest growing violent crimes in the United States and college age students are extremely vulnerable to this type of criminal violence.

A survey of more than 6,000 students from 32 colleges in the U.S., found that one of every six female students reported having been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the proceeding year. One out of every fifteen male students reported committing rape or attempting rape during that same period.* These statistics alone are scary, but combine it with the fact that most sexual assaults are not even reported, and the figures become even more alarming.

What Is Sexual Assault And Acquaintance Rape?

Rape is sexual intercourse that is perpetrated against the will of a victim, involving the threat or use of force. It can also occur without force, or threat of force, if the perpetrator has sex with someone incapable of giving consent. Acquaintance rape is rape committed by a known assailant and it is the most prevalent form of rape involving college age victims.

Rape is only one form of sexual assault. Sexual assault includes: 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 criminal sexual contact (the unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal). Although women are most often the victim of sexual assault, it is important to remember that men can be sexually assaulted also.

Protecting Against Acquaintance Rape**

Men:

  1. Listen carefully. Take time to hear what the woman is saying. If you feel she is not being direct or is giving you a “mixed message”, ask for clarification.
  2. Don’t fall for the common stereotype that when a woman says “No” she really means “Yes.” No” means “No.” If a woman says “No” to sexual contact, believe her and stop.
  3. Remember that date rape is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances.
  4. Don’t make assumptions about a woman’s behavior. Don’t automatically assume that a woman wants to have sex just because she drinks heavily, dresses provocatively, or agrees to go to your room. Don’t assume that just because a woman has had sex with you previously she is willing to have sex with you again. Also, don’t assume that just because a woman consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies she is willing to have sexual intercourse.
  5. Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with a woman who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, incapable of saying “No,” or unaware of what is happening around her, you may be guilty of rape.
  6. Be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent or criminal acts.
  7. “Get involved” if you believe someone is at risk. If you see a woman in trouble at a party or a male friend using force or pressuring a woman, don’t be afraid to intervene. You may save the woman from the trauma of sexual assault and your friend from the ordeal of criminal prosecution.

Both men and women should be especially careful in situations involving the use of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can interfere with your ability to assess situations and to communicate effectively.

Women:

  1. Know your sexual intentions and limits. You have the right to say “No” to any unwanted sexual contact. If you are uncertain about what you want, ask the man to respect your feelings.
  2. Communicate your limits firmly and directly. I you say “No,” say it like you mean it. Don’t give mixed messages. Back up your words with a firm tone of voice and clear body language.
  3. Don’t rely on “ESP” to get your message across. Don’t assume that your date will automatically know how you feel, or will eventually “get the message” without your having to tell him.
  4. Remember that some men think that drinking heavily, dressing provocatively, or going to a man’s room indicates a willingness to have sex. Be especially careful to communicate your limits and intentions clearly in such situations.
  5. Listen to your gut feelings. If you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place.
  6. Don’t be afraid to “make waves” if you feel threatened. If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity against your will, don’t hesitate to state your feelings and get out of the situation. Better a few minutes of social awkwardness or embarrassment than the trauma of sexual assault.

Protecting Against Stranger Rape**

Walking on Campus:

  1. Always be aware of what is going on around you. Stay alert to your surroundings.
  2. Walk with confidence. Hold your head up and shoulders straight.
  3. At night, stick to well-lighted, populated areas and walk with another person. Avoid walking alone or in isolated areas.
  4. Use campus escort services.
  5. Take special precautions in parking structures, stairwells, elevators, bathrooms, and dark areas with shrubbery. Studies show that many assaults by strangers occur in these places.
  6. If you suspect that you are being followed, go to a place where there are other people as soon as possible. If you choose to run, run as fast as you are able and scream to attract attention or summon help.
  7. Follow your gut instincts. If you sense that you may be at risk or in danger, try to get out of the situation. For example, if you see a suspicious looking person or someone who makes you feel uncomfortable in a parking structure or lot, leave the area. Report your suspicions to the authorities.

Despite the precautions taken, you or a friend could still become a victim. It is important to remember that it is not the victim’s fault. There is nothing for the victim to be ashamed of or feel guilty about.

What To Do If You Or Someone You Know Is Sexually Assaulted

  1. Get to a safe place.
  2. Report the assault to the police. If the assault occurs on campus, contact Campus Security, ext. 5125. Reporting an assault and prosecuting are not the same. The decision to prosecute can be made at a later time. Prosecution however, is an important means in preventing violence against women.
  3. Preserve all physical evidence. Don’t change clothes, shower, bathe, douche or use the toilet. Don’t disturb anything at the scene of where the sexual assault occurred.
  4. Go to a hospital emergency room for medical attention. Emergency doctors and nurses are specially trained to be sensitive to the needs of victims and know how to find and preserve evidence. Medical treatment will be provided for any injuries sustained and tests will be sustained and test will be conducted to determine the presence of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. Take a change of clothing, as you may be asked to leave your clothes as evidence.
  5. Contact the rape treatment or crisis center located in your community. These agencies have a 24 hour, 7 days a week hotline. They can provide accompaniment to the hospital, police department and/or court, individual and group counseling for victims of sexual assault and advocacy.
  6. Atlantic County Women’s Center
    P.O. Box 311
    Northfield, NJ 08225
    (609) 646-6767

    Coalition Against Rape and Abuse, Inc.
    P.O. Box 774
    Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
    (609) 522-6489        

Atlantic Cape’s Policies and Programs to Prevent Sexual Assault

Policy

Atlantic Cape’s policy on sexual assault states that the college will not tolerate sexual assault in any form, including acquaintance rape. Where there is probable cause to believe that the college’s regulations prohibiting sexual assault have been violated, the college will pursue strong disciplinary action through its own channels.

This discipline includes the possibility of suspension or dismissal from the college. Procedures may be found in the Student Handbook Calendar under Misconduct Appeal Process, as well as in the Institutional Procedures and Policy Handbook.

In addition, the following will be incorporated into the established procedures:

Rights of the accuser and the accused

  • Both the accuser and the accused are entitled to have others present throughout the disciplinary hearing.
  • The accuser and the accused will be immediately informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding dealing with charges of sexual assault.
  • The accuser will have the right to attend the entire disciplinary hearing if he or she so chooses.
  • The accuser’s irrelevant past sexual history will not be discussed during the hearing.
  • The accuser will have right to make a ‘victim impact statement’ during the  proceeding’ and suggest punitive action to be taken by the college.

An individual charged with sexual assault can be prosecuted under New Jersey criminal statutes and disciplined under Atlantic Cape’s institutional policies. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the college can pursue disciplinary action.

Programs

Campus sexual assault program information and counseling are provided by the college’s Counseling Department and Affirmative Action Officer. These areas offer workshops, conferences and personal counseling on the college’s policy and procedures and student and employee rights.

Escort Services

Upon request, Atlantic Cape’s Security Department may escort individuals to their cars on campus. This service is available by stopping at the security desk of the respective campus or by calling:

Mays Landing Campus Security (609) 343-5125
Cape May County Campus Security (609) 463-6390 daytime
(609) 463-3967 evening
Worthington Atlantic City Center (609) 343-4841

 

*Adams, A., Abarbanel, G. (1988). “Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges Can Do,” Santa Monica, CA: Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center.
**reprinted with permission: Discussion Guide, Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica Hospital, 1990

For more information, call Anita Polanco, (609) 343-5098.

Atlantic Cape would like to thank the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica Hospital, for their assistance with this brochure.