Sexual Assault

Onframe-000001 college campuses, there are many places you can turn for help if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted. Most colleges offer assistance for students who are in crisis.  Contact the Student Counseling Center, Student Health Service, Women’s Center, Student Affairs Office, Security, and other campus departments for help.  We encourage you to share your stories, questions, and experiences in the comment section below each video.  Below you will find some information and resources that can help.

Campus Rape

What Students Need to Know

Where to go for help

On Campus:
Most colleges offer assistance for sexual assault victims through the Student Counseling Center, Student Health Service, Women’s Center, Student Affairs Office, Security, and other campus departments.

In addition, many colleges have victim advocates who provide confidential, free services for students who are sexually assaulted. An advocate can give you information about your rights and options and can help you think through various courses of action. An advocate can also refer you to campus and community resources for any services you need, such as counseling, medical care, and academic assistance. On most campuses, you can utilize the advocate’s services regardless of whether or not you decide to make a police report or officially notify campus officials about the sexual assault.

Off Campus:
If you do not want to receive services on your campus, you can contact resources in the community, such as the local rape crisis center. Look in the local yellow pages under rape or women’s services, or call Directory Assistance and ask the telephone operator for the rape hotline in your area. Most rape crisis centers offer FREE services. Another way to find help is to call RAINN, a national victim assistance organization, at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN will connect you to a rape crisis center in your area.

If you want to remain anonymous, you can call a hotline and talk with a counselor without giving your name. “Anonymous” literally means “without a name.” A CALL TO A HOTLINE IS ANONYMOUS AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT TELL THE COUNSELOR OR ADVOCATE YOUR NAME OR YOUR PHONE NUMBER.

Ways to Reduce your Risk of Sexual Assault

While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or is in an abusive relationship, there are things to consider when thinking about safety.

While there is no sure-fire way to protect your child from all dangers, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce the risk of a sexual assault.

Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of being assaulted in social situations.

If someone is pressuring you, it is important to remember that being in this situation is not your fault…here are some things that you can try.

The majority of those who commit sexual assaults are men.  Even so, it is important to remember that the vast majority of men are not rapists.

These are some valuable ways to manage your personal information online, as well as tips for following safe browsing procedures.


The Online Hotline

About the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline

The Online Hotline provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends, and families over RAINN’s website. The Online Hotline is free of charge and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!

Please click here to be transferred to the Online Hotline.

How It Works

Using a secure and anonymous instant-messaging type format, the Online Hotline allows victims of sexual violence to communicate directly with trained crisis support volunteers.

All trained volunteers have successfully completed state-mandated training and have extensive training in providing online support. Online Hotline supervisors continually monitor sessions for quality control.

In addition, the Online Hotline website provides a library of information about recovery, medical issues, the criminal justice process, local resources, and support for family and friends of victims.

Please click here to take a tour of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.


The term sexual assault encompasses a range of behaviors from unwanted touching to rape. Definitions of rape and sexual assault vary, with each state having its own legal definition. College students are not always sure about what constitutes rape. There are many myths surrounding rape – if the woman was flirting or wearing sexy clothing, she was asking for it; it’s not rape unless the man injures the woman, etc. According to most legal definitions, if the victim did not agree to the sex, it’s rape, regardless of the circumstances.

One in four college women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape. One in six female college students report having been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the preceding year. Unfortunately, sexual assault is fairly common at college parties. 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol. Some predators use alcohol or drugs in order to undermine a woman’s ability to resist sexual advances. Some men target drunk women because they are more likely to blame themselves, are likely to lack credibility if they report assaults, and may be unable to remember a night’s events clearly. Watch out for people who pressure you to drink or seem over-enthusiastic about getting you drunk. Trust your instincts – if someone seems creepy to you, they probably are. You don’t have to be nice. Don’t worry about being polite to someone who is making you feel uncomfortable.

Women who are assaulted are often blamed for choices they’ve made, including drinking alcohol. It is never a woman’s fault when she is assaulted. According to most laws, a person cannot consent to sexual activity if he or she is intoxicated, even if they are intoxicated by their own choice. When a person has sex with somebody after deliberately intoxicating them or tricking them into taking drugs or alcohol meets the legal definition of sexual assault in many states.

While there is no guarantee against a sexual assault, there are steps you can take to make your environment safer:

If you are outside –

  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you – especially if you are alone or it is dark.
  • When possible, travel with a friend.
  • Try to stay in well-lit areas as much as possible.
  • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Do not appear vulnerable.
  • Walk on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Walk close to the curb – avoid doorways, bushes, or alleys
  • If you think you are being followed, walk quickly to areas where there are lights ad people.
  • If you are in danger, scream, yell, run, break a window, etc. to draw attention to your situation.
  • If security escorts are available on your campus, use the service.

If you are at home –

  • Practice good home security. Install effective locks on all doors and windows – and use them.
  • Install a peephole viewer in your door. Don’t allow anyone in you don’t know. Require repairmen to show ID.
  • Avoid going to the laundry facilities by yourself, especially at night.
  • If you arrive home and see evidence of someone being in your home, don’t go in. Call the police.

If you are in your car –

  • Always lock your car doors after entering or leaving your car.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Have your car keys in your hand so that you don’t have to linger while unlocking your car. Keys can also serve as a weapon against an attacker.
  • Check the back seat before getting into your car.
  • If you think you are being followed, drive to a public place or a police station.
  • If your car breaks down, open the hood and attach a white cloth to the car antenna. If someone stops to help, stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or a garage. Better yet, have a cell phone with you.

Because of the prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses, institutions have been directed by the federal government to provide programming aimed at educating students about sexual assault. The Jeanne Clery Act (Campus Security Act of 1990) requires ALL colleges in the U.S. to publish available programs and services available as they pertain to sexual assault. The act also requires colleges to outline policies about responding to sexual assault on campus, as well as requiring the publication of crime statistics on campus.

Only 5% of women ever report their rape. The number of men who report is even smaller. Reporting the rape is up to the individual. If you press charges, know what you are getting into. It can be emotionally challenging. If you are the victim of rape, consider doing the following:

Get to a safe place.

Run to a public place. Knock on someone’s door. Call friends to pick you up. Go to the police station. Make sure you are away from what just happened to you.

Tell someone.

You may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or think no one will believe you. It’s important to tell someone what happened to you. Talk to the police, a crisis counselor, or a friend. Let them help you through this process.

Get medical attention.

Medical care after a rape can detect injuries and test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A health care provider can collect evidence that could be used if you choose to take legal or disciplinary action. Do not shower or change your clothes before you are examined, so that no evidence is destroyed. Emergency contraception can be dispensed if needed.

Take care of yourself.

You have just been through an extremely traumatic experience. There is no set formula for recovery. Seek counseling to guide you through the healing process.