What is Sexual Assault?
“Any sexual act a person is coerced or forced into without consent. Sexual assault is a broad term referring to acts of violence that involve a sexual component. Perpetrators of sexual assault use sexual contact to inflict humiliation or exert power and control over the victim” (KS Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence).
Awareness for Prevention
• Be alert to your surroundings- stay off of the phone until you’ve reached your vehicle
• Avoid walking alone at night especially in poorly lit areas.
• Once you’ve reached your vehicle lock the doors.
• Don't go anywhere alone with someone who you do not know well.
• If you are unsure of the safety of your surroundings, contact WSU Campus Police at 316-978-3450 for an escort to your vehicle or dorm.
• Install a peephole viewer in your door and never open your door without knowing who is on the other side.
• When moving into a new home or apartment, make sure the locks are replaced or rekeyed.
• If you live in an apartment or dorm, avoid being in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially at night. Always have your door key ready so you can enter your home without delay.
• When friends or family drop you off at home or work, have them wait until you are safely inside before leaving and do the same for your friends and family.
• When on a date, have an idea of where you are going and be suspicious of sudden changes to that plan.
• Stay sober on a date, alcohol impairs judgment.
• Be assertive; mean what you say with confidence.
• Don't laugh or smile while saying “No.”
• Never leave your drink unattended.
• Never accept drinks from strangers.
What To Do Immediately After A Sexual Assault
1. Go to a safe place.
2. Call someone you trust, such as a friend.
3. Seek care at Student Health Services, or at Via-Christi St. Joseph Emergency room located at 3600 E. Harry, Wichita, Kansas.
4. Find out if emergency contraception is right for you. You can contact 1-888-NOT-2-LATE, or NOT-2-LATE.com. (American College Health Association)
How to Recover
“Trauma can produce pronounces feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, as well as physical symptoms such as breathing problems, vomiting, nightmares, and the inability to remember events” (KS Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence). There is no “right” way to act after an assault. Many who have experienced a sexual assault have found the assault to be a severely emotional and physical violation.
After the assault many victims need to start the healing process. There is a written policy for sexual assault on campus, but each victim is treated as an individual, and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The University administration is very supportive of victims and believes in empowering any assaulted student. The Dean of Students or other appropriate designee will meet with the student, ask how they wish to proceed, and a decision will be made about what is best for the student victim at the time. Only after a student wishes to proceed with pressing charges will the proper authorities be notified. If the assault took place on campus the WSU Police Department is notified. If the assault happened off-campus the Wichita Police Department is notified. The University works closely with Wichita Area Sexual Assault Crisis Center (WASAC). WASAC advocates may accompany the student to the hospital when a rape kit is performed, and to court proceedings. All above mentioned services apply to both students and faculty. In all cases, it is vital that clothing worn before or after the assault be preserved for investigation. The victim should also avoid bathing until after medical attention can be provided.
Any of the following Wichita State University campus programs offer support for sexual assault:
Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS)- (316) 978-6681
For assistance on procedures and protocol after an assault.
File Incident Report Form
File an incident report on behalf of yourself or a friend. Access to University Behavioral Intervention Team (UBIT) and incident report forms can be filled out online at this address.
The Counseling and Testing Office- (316) 978-3440
Grief counceling after assault. Consultation free of charge.
Student Health Services- (316) 978- 3620
STI/HIV Testing services.
WSU Police Department- (316) 978-3450
Prevention tips, escort services.
Housing and Residence Life- (316) 978-3693
Relocation assistance available upon request.
What to Do If a Friend Has Been Sexually Assaulted
If you know of a friend who has experienced a sexual assault here’s how to help:
• Let the person express their feelings and listen instead of asking probing questions.
• Let the person make their own choices. You might present options but they should decide what they feel is the right choice for themselves.
• Let the person know how much support you can give. Know your own limits and refer to professionals when necessary.
(American College Health Association).
Housing Room Changes and Other Services
“Students who desire assistance in changing housing arrangements are encouraged to contact the Office of University Housing for help with this matter. Academic assistance is provided through the dean’s office of the students’ academic college. Other assistance of a more general nature is available through the Dean of Student’s Office” (Policies & Procedures 8.16/Sexual Assault).
After meeting with the Dean of Students, a decision will be made about the effects and trauma of the assault. This may result in a “trauma drop” for the remaining of the semester. This is entirely at the discretion of the Dean of Students, and based on case-by-case circumstances.
Sexual Assault Myths
Sexual Assaults most commonly occur by someone the victim does not know.
Truth: As many as 84% of victims know their assailant.
It is not considered an assault if the victim and assaulter have had sex before.
Truth: It is anyone’s decision to have sex with whomever they chose, and the moment in which they chose.
Only women are sexually assaulted
Truth: Ten percent of assault victims are men- usually by other men. It is estimated that 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
If both parties are drunk at the time the assault occurred, no one can be considered
Truth: Being drunk does not mean someone cannot be accused and convicted of sexual assault. Up to 60% of sexual assault offenders report being under the influence of alcohol.
Most sexual assaults are reported
Truth: Researchers estimate that between 50-90% of assaults go unreported.
How many women are sexually assaulted?
It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted.
What is the concept of “consent?”
There are three concepts to whether a person can give consent to sex.
1. Knowledge- by the person of the nature of the activity and its consequences, not
only physical, but moral, psychological, ethical, and emotional consequences.
2. Intelligence- if the person realizes the benefits and risks associated with the activity.
3. Voluntariness- this decision is free of any unreasonable coercion to choose to engage or refrain from sexual activity.
How long can someone wait to report sexual assault?
The most important part of recovery after an assault is to concentrate on the mental and psychological well-being of the victim. Some may not be ready to report such a crime immediately after the assault. There is no statue of limitations for sexual assault, but the longer you wait the more evidence is lost. The sooner you do report the assault the better the change of the assaulter being charged.
Can I still report the assault even if I’ve been drinking?
At least half of all sexual assaults reported involve alcohol by the assaulter, the victim, or both. Many victims may feel that if they had not been drinking, they could have prevented the assault from even happening. No matter if alcohol is involved, if no consent is give it is considered sexual assault. However research suggests that sober victims are more effectively able to resist or find a way to escape from a sexual assault encounter.
Myths & FAQs from BACCHUS Network at www.smartersex.org