- The Aftermath of a Sexual Assault
- Facts and Statistics
- Myths and Facts About Sexual Violence
- Ways to Help a Someone Who has been Sexually Assaulted
- Things NOT to Say to a Survivor
- What to Do If You Have Been Raped
- Drugs Used to Commit Rape
Because the majority of rapes are reported to be against women this information is written from the woman's perspective; however, it is acknowledged that male rape exists. Both campus and community services will offer support to all rape victims. The advice and suggestions on this page are relevant to either gender.
What constitutes a rape or sexual assault?
Sexual assault is physical contact of a sexual nature in the absence of clear, knowing and voluntary consent.
An individual cannot consent who is:
- obviously incapacitated by any drug or intoxicant
- who has been purposely compelled by force, threat of force, or deception
- who is unaware that the act is being committed
- whose ability to consent or resist is obviously impaired because of mental or physical condition
- who is coerced by supervisory or disciplinary authority.
Rape is not always accompanied by other physical violence.
When a woman is sexually assaulted she may react in various ways. Some women scream or fight back; many become quiet - too shocked to speak or cry out. Paralysed by fear, they may be unable to resist. If violence is threatened some may take the decision to struggle less in the hope of getting away with the least amount of physical harm. Consequently, they may or may not have torn clothes or signs of struggle afterwards. Verbal intimidation, threats or emotional blackmail may be used by the assailant. Therefore a woman does not need to show physical injuries to prove she has been assaulted.
Rape and sexual assault, whether by a stranger or a friend, is never the woman's fault. Rape and sexual assault is always more about the use of force or power to humiliate, control, hurt or violate a woman than about sexual desire or passion. There is evidence to suggest that a very large number of attacks are premeditated. The appearance of the woman in terms of status, age, cultural background, occupation, previous relationships is irrelevant; any woman can suffer sexual assault or rape. A victim of sexual assault is never responsible for the assault. Since it is impossible to guess which situations are safe and which are dangerous, the responsibility for ending sexual assault falls solely on the perpetrators.