Sexual Assault & Rape

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Helpful Links

Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network  
Shelby County Rape Crisis Center(RCC)

Sexual Assault

  • Every 21 hours a rape occurs on a college campus (USA Today 1990)
  • Eight in 10 college rapes involved someone the attacker knew; more than half involved a date. Eighty-six percent of these rapes occurred off campus or in a car. (Koss 1992).
  • Ninety percent of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol (Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1994).
  • Alcohol use at the time of attack was found to be one of the four strongest predictors of a college woman being raped (Koss and Dinero, 1989).
  • 1 out of every 4 college women polled were sexually assaulted during four years at college (Ms. Magazine Study on Sexual Assault and Rape).
  • 1 in five men will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime (FBI, 1986).
  • 75% of men involved in date rape had been drinking or using drugs at the time (Koss, 1988).
  • Rape was more likely to be committed by someone the woman knows versus a stranger (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1993).
  • Sexual assault occurs every 45 seconds (AMA, 1995)

The Facts

Sexual assault is about power, control, and anger. Sex is merely used as a weapon to control or dominate the victim. Rape can happen to anyone and is more likely to be committed by someone the victim knows.  Most rapes occur during the day with the exception of date rapes which are more likely to occur on the weekends during the evening hours.  Most rapes are premeditated with respect to time and place. Rapes are more likely to occur in the victim′s residence. For every rape that is reported 10 go unreported.

Sexual Assault Prevention

For Women

  • Examine your own sexual preferences and desires.
  • Be clear, both with yourself and your partner, about your sexual expectations.
  • Listen to your partner′s statements about their sexual expectations.
  • Be alert to unconscious messages you may be giving about your interest in having sex.
  • Be assertive and firm with setting limits or saying no.
  • Trust your gut level feeling. If a situation feels uncomfortable get out of it.
  • Avoid secluded places where you may be vulnerable to attack.
  • Be aware of the behavior of the other person and their ability to respect limits. How does this person treat women? How does this person handle anger? How does this person handle limits being set? How does this person act under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

For Men

  • Examine your sexual preferences and desires.
  • Be clear with yourself and your partner about your sexual expectations.
  • Listen to your partner′s expression of their sexual expectations.
  • Realize that you do not have to initiate sexual intimacy; that it is a mutual decision between partners.
  • Do not assume that you both want the same level of sexual intimacy.
  • A desire for affection does not automatically mean she wants to have sex.
  • Be aware that your size and physical presence can be intimidating to a woman.
  • Pay attention to your partner′s behavior. Does your partner have trouble verbally communicating sexual expectations? Does your partner use alcohol to that extent that mutual consent might be questionable?

For Both Men and Women

  • Be aware that your nonverbal cues may be sending a message that you do not wish to send.
  • Realize that alcohol and drugs play a large part in unwanted sexual behavior and date rape.
  • Respect each other′s verbal and mutual consent limitations.

What to do if You are Raped

  • Get support—find a friend or someone you feel safe with.
  • Get medical attention—call Rape Crisis at 901-222-4350. Avoid showering so that evidence can be collected.
  • Report the attack to the authorities 911 or to campus safety 843-3333.
  • Consider whether you want to file charges with the police.
  • Get help and support, such as counseling.
  • Remember that it is not your fault. No one asks to be sexually assaulted. Surround yourself with people who are going to support you and not judge you.

Effects of Rape

  • Creates a fear of being alone.
  • Develop a fear of men; even those who have been "safe" in the past.
  • Sexual problems. Rape can impact the attitudes toward sexual intimacy.
  • Depression
  • Fear of retaliation. Fear that if it is reported the person may attack again or cause problems in the victim′s life.
  • Difficulty trusting others.
  • Concern over  the reactions of others, friends, and family. Fear of being judged or blamed.
  • Feelings of anger, helplessness, betrayal, guilt, embarrassment or anxiety.
  • Denial—not wanting to talk about it. Making the effort to go on with life a though nothing significant happened.

When Someone you Know Has Been Raped

  • Offer them support with a nonjudgmental attitude.
  • Listen to their story and their feelings about what happened.
  • Be available
  • Be patient and understanding.
  • Allow her to make the choice about reporting or not. It is her decision to make.
  • Let her know that she is not to blame.

(Material adapted from various web pages on sexual assualt and prevention.)

Local Support Groups

Sexual Assault Victim′s Support Group - Contact RCC 901-222-4350.

Recommended Reading

Athletes and Acquaintance Rape by Jeffery Benedict.

Coping with Date Rape and Acquaintance Rape by Parrot

Dealing with Sexual Assault by Kaminker

Everything You Need to Know about Dealing with Sexual Assault by Kaminker

I Never Called it Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape by Warsaw and Warsaw

Sex, Power, Conflict: Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives by Buss

She Said No: But He Crossed the Line Between Passion and Violence by Rizzo.

Books Available at the Counseling Center

Recovering From Rape by Ledray
The Sexual Healing Journey by Maltz
Trauma and Recovery by Hermann
Abused Boys - Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse by Hunter