What to Do If You Experience Sexual Misconduct
What is Sexual Assault?
Any form of non-consensual sexual activity representing a continuum of conduct from forcible rape to non-physical forms of pressure designed to compel individuals to engage in sexual activity against their will.
- Sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal)
- Oral sex
- Rape or attempted rape
- Penetration of an orifice (anal, vaginal, oral) with the penis, fingers or other object
- Unwanted touching of a sexual nature
- Use of coercion, manipulation or force to make someone else engage in sexual touching, including touching of breasts, chest, buttocks and genitalia
- Engaging in sexual activity with a person who is unable to provide consent
- Knowingly transmitting a sexually-transmitted disease to another
Immediate Steps After a Sexual Assault
- If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
- Go somewhere you feel safe.
- Do not clean up.
- Call someone you trust for emotional support.
- Make a note of important details:
- Approximately what time the assault happened
- Where it happened
- The sequence of events that happened before the assault
- Any conversations that could be relevant
- How you tried to resist the assault
- Any details about the appearance of the attacker
- Any threats that were used against you
- Any weapons that were mentioned or seen during the assault
- Any injuries that you received
- Any injuries that the attacker received
Common Feelings of Survivors of Sexual Assault
Being sexually assaulted can be an extremely distressing experience. Emotional responses of survivors will vary from individual to individual.
- Shock and Numbness
- Disruption of Daily Life
- Loss of Control
- Anxiety, Shaking, Nightmares
- Concern for the Assailant
- Sexual Concerns
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Guilt, Shame, Self-Blame
Remember that your responses are not crazy; they are normal reactions to a traumatic situation.
You are not to blame, even if:
- Your attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend or spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, sibling, guardian, other relative, professor, coach, or even employer.
- You have been sexually intimate with that person or with others before.
- You were drinking or using drugs.
- You froze and did not or could not say “no” or were unable to fight back physically.
- You were wearing clothes that others may see as seductive.
- You said “yes” but later said “no” and were not listened to.
How to Help a Friend or Family Member who has been Sexually Assaulted
- Believe them
- Don’t blame them
- Offer shelter
- Be there and give comfort
- Be patient
- Validate the survivor’s feelings: their anger, pain and fear
- Express your compassion
- Resist seeing the survivor as a victim
- Stay friends
- Respect their privacy
- Get help
- Educate yourself about sexual assault and the healing process
You can file a report for someone else, anonymously, or using a pseudonym.