Sexual violence is the use of physical force or coercion to compel a person to engage in an attempted or completed sexual act against his or her will; attempted or completed sex act involving a person who is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, to decline participation, or to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act, e.g., because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure; and abusive sexual contact.
Sexual violence includes the following:
- Rape or sexual assault
- Child sexual assault or incest
- Sexual assault by a person’s spouse or partner
- Unwanted sexual contact or touching
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual exploitation or trafficking
- Exposing one’s genitals or naked body to another without consent
- Masturbating in public
- Watching someone engaged in private acts without their knowledge or permission.
Sexual violence statistics:
- Nearly 1 in 5 women in the US have experienced rape or attempted rape sometime in their lives (Black et al., 2011).
- In the US, 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape (Black et al., 2011).
- An estimated 32.3% of multiracial women, 27.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native women, 21.2% of non-Hispanic black women, 20.5% of non-Hispanic white women, and 13.6% of Hispanic women were raped during their lifetimes (Black et al., 2011).
- LGBTQ students face an increased risk of violence: nearly 1 in 4 undergraduate students identifying as transgender, gender non-conforming, questioning or other experience sexual assault after enrolling in a higher education institution (Cantor et al., 2015).
- 70% of women sexually assaulted on a college campus knew the perpetrator (Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation Survey, 2015).
- 9% of college men admit to acts that meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape (Abbey & McAuslan, 2004).
- 63% of college men who self-reported that they had committed an act of rape or attempted rape, also admitted to repeat offenses (Lisak, Gardinier, Nicksa, & Cote, 2010).
What to do after an incident of sexual assault:
- Go to a safe place!
- If you intend on filing an official police report, or if you might want to in the future, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) recommends for the purposes of evidence collection that you:
- Do not shower
- Do not use the restroom
- Do not change or dispose of clothes worn when the assault occurred
- Do not comb your hair
- Do not clean up the crime scene
- Do not move anything the offender may have touched
- Consider seeking medical attention
- Talk to someone you trust
- Decide if you may want or need university or legal protection from the perpetrator
- Consider seeing a counselor
How to Help a Survivor:
- DO listen to and believe the survivor.
- DO validate survivor’s feelings. Tell the survivor that what happened was not his/her fault, and that (s)he did not deserve it.
- DO help the survivor find resources in case (s)he wants to report or press charges. Look up NCSU’s sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking policies and the legal protections offered through Title IX and the Clery Act.
- DO REPORT the incident as a CSA (Campus Security Authority), Responsible Employee, and/or under Title IX obligations.
- DO help the survivor find NCSU’s victims advocate services through the Women’s Center and/or connect to the NCSU Counseling Center.
- DO understand your own limits. As much as you want to be there for the survivor, licensed psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists have the training to offer long-term support. Take care of yourself and your own mental health, and encourage the individual to see a counselor.