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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is sexual contact by one person against another without consent.  The law defines consent as positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will.  Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity.  A current or previous relationship (including marriage) does not constitute consent.

The most recent national study by the Justice Department found that the number of incidents in which female college students were sexually assaulted occurred at a rate of 35.3 incidents per 1,000.   The survey defined sexual assault as completed or attempted rape, threats of rape, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact with force of the threat of force, and stalking.  Among the report’s findings are that nearly 60% of the rapes on campuses took place in the victims’ residences.  Fewer than 5% of rapes and attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement officials.

Sexual assaults are predominately committed by men against women.  However, men can be assaulted by women.  Same-sex assaults do occur as well.  The majority of assaults (90%) are committed by an acquaintance of the victim and involve the use of alcohol by one or both persons.  Incidents of sexual assault are against the law and University policy.

  • When you become aware that a person has experienced a sexual assault or has been the recipient of inappropriate and/or unwelcome physical contact:

    1. Seek assistance. The following resources are available to help you.

    2. Submit a Care Report.

    Submit a CARE Report

  • DO

    • Be aware that when a person discloses information about an assault to you, he/she is demonstrating trust in you and the desire for help.
    • Be aware that victims can feel shame and anger towards themselves.  Listen without conveying judgment.
    • When possible, speak to the person in private.
    • Refer the person to Campus Security and Police Services (426-6911) if the person wants to make a police report.  Know that if they have been drinking underage or on campus, they are still encouraged to call the police without fear of punishment for those offences.
    • Refer the person to the Women’s Center (426-4259) and/or Counseling Services (426-1459).

    DON’T

    • Minimize the situation.
    • Convey negative judgment even when high-risk behavior, such as intoxication, is involved.
    • Put extra pressure on the person to make a police report.
    • Tell other people about the incident, except for those who need to know.
    • Assure the person you can ensure confidentiality. Once an agent of the University knows about the existence of potential sexual harassment, our institution is “on notice.”
    • Delay referring the person to a sexual harassment advisor.

    Submit a Care Report

    Submit a CARE Report