Sexual Violence Prevention and Response

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​Sexual Violence Education & Support

We are the area within the Office of Student Life that addresses situations of sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner abuse, and sexual harassment. We cover the prevention and the education aspect, as well as the advocacy and support aspect of sexual violence.

​​Support and Advocacy
Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
Contact Student Life at 740.364.9578

What is sexual violence? 

​Sexual violence has no bias. Both the survivors and perpetrators come from all genders, cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socio-economic status and religions.

Perpetrators may be:​

  • Wives/Husbands 
  • Partners
  • Boyfriends/Girlfriends
  • Co-workers
  • Supervisors/Bosses
  • Professors/Teaching Assistant​s
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Strangers

Get the facts​​ and understand more about sexual violence

Myths vs. Facts: ​Common myths about sexual violence:

MYTH: If a woman doesn’t put up a fight, she wasn’t actually raped.
FACT: In most cases, the victim is unable to fight back due to trauma, impairment, fear, or other factors.

MYTH: Sexual assault and rape are usually “he said/she said” communication problems.
FACT: There are many ways to say “No,” both verbally and nonverbally. Assailants choose to continue despite receiving clear messages that the other person is uncomfortable. They choose to try to “make them relax” rather than backing off. Many perpetrators will testify that the sex was consensual, minimizing the extent to which the survivor was pressured or coerced.

MYTH: Women can avoid being raped by dressing sensibly, not acting “sexy,” not getting drunk, and not going out alone at night.
FACT: There is no causal link between a woman’s clothing and social behavior and crimes of violence. Nothing a person does or wears causes a brutal crime like sexual assault.

MYTH: Only attractive young women are assaulted.
FACT: Survivors range in age from infancy to old age, and their appearance is seldom a consideration. Assailants often choose victims who seem most vulnerable to attack: old persons, children, physically or emotionally disabled persons, substance abusers, and street persons.

MYTH: Many people lie about being raped.
FACT: Only 2-8% of sexual assault cases are based on false accusation. This percentage of unsubstantiated cases is the same as with many other reported crimes.

MYTH: Assailants are usually crazed psychopaths or leering men on a dark street corner.
FACT: Assailants can be charming, convincing, or even someone you know intimately, like a coworker, a friend or a family member.

MYTH: Men rape because they cannot control their sexual urges.
FACT: There is no medical evidence to substantiate that men biologically have uncontrollable sexual urges. Rape is an act of violence committed out of desire for power and control.

MYTH: In most cases, black men attack white women.
FACT: In most sexual assault cases, the assailant and victim are of the same racial background.

MYTH: It is impossible for a boyfriend or girlfriend to sexually assault their partner.
FACT: Regardless of relationship status, if a person does not consent to sexual activity he or she is being sexually assaulted.

MYTH: Sexual assault is a crime of passion and lust.
FACT: Sexual assault is a crime of violence. Assailants seek to dominate, humiliate and punish their victims, and most sexual assaults are planned events.

MYTH: A person who has really been assaulted will be hysterical.
FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.

MYTH: It is impossible to sexually assault a man.
FACT: Men fall victim for the same reasons as women: they are overwhelmed by threats or acts of physical and emotional violence.

MYTH: Men who get an erection or ejaculate during a sexual assault gave consent or enjoyed the assault.
FACT: Erection and ejaculation are physiological responses that can’t be controlled and can even result from stress. An erection or ejaculation does not equal consent.

MYTH: A “real” man can and should always be able to resist an assault.
FACT: It is common for both men and women to freeze during a sexual assault, and in some cases drugs, alcohol or the presence of a weapon or the threat of other force or injury can prevent someone from fighting their assailant.

MYTH: Jealousy in a relationship is a sign of love.
FACT: When a person continually accuses their partner of flirting or cheating, and is suspicious of everyone in their partner’s life, it is possessive and controlling behavior, not love.

MYTH: When someone hits their girlfriend or boyfriend, that person must have provoked the behavior in some way.
FACT: While anger can be provoked during an argument, abuse is a choice the perpetrator makes to establish control during the argument. It is an intentional act or set of acts designed to force the abused partner to submit to the will of the abuser.

MYTH: People in abusive relationships stay because they enjoy being abused.
FACT: People who are abused by their partner do not stay in the relationship because they enjoy maltreatment. They may stay for practical or emotional reasons including love, fear of reprisal, economic factors, social isolation or shame, or to keep a family together.

MYTH: A relationship is not abusive if there is no physical abuse.
FACT: Perpetrators of violence maintain control over the victim by using physical, sexual, economic or emotional violence, or threats of violence.

Get the Facts

​Sexual Assault:​

  • ​44% of survivors experienced a sexual assault under the age of 18.
  • 80% of survivors who experienced a sexual assault are under the age of 30.
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted–that’s 207,754 assaults each year.
  • 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
  • In 9 out of 10 sexual assault cases, the survivor knew the perpetrator.

Stalking:

  • ​​4 out of 5 survivors are stalked by someone they know.
  • 30% of survivors are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, while only 10% of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
  • 1 in 4 survivors report being stalked through the use of some form of technology.
  • 503,485 women in the United States are stalked by an intimate partner each year.
  • Approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the U.S. have experienced stalking at some point in their lives in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Intimate Partner Violence:

  • ​​Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of intimate partner violence.
  • ​​Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.​
  • As many as 1 in 5 couples in the United States experience at least 1 episode of partner-to-partner violence.
  • It is estimated that in this country, a woman is severely assaulted by her male partner every 15 seconds, and a man is severely assaulted by his female partner every 14.6 seconds.
  • 11% of lesbians reported violence by their female partner and 15% of gay men who had lived with a male partner reported being victimized by a male partner.

Sexual Harassment:

  • ​Of college students, 62% of females and 61% of males report having been sexually harassed at their university.
  • 39% of students who experienced sexual harassment say the incident or incidents occurred in their residence hall.
  • 35% or more of college students who experience sexual harassment do not tell anyone about their experiences.
  • 16% of female students who have been sexually harassed found it hard to study or pay attention in class, and 9% dropped a course or skipped a class in response to sexual harassment.
  • 27% of female students stay away from particular buildings or places on campus as a result of sexual harassment.

​Sources:

Men as victims

Their victimization is just as important to take seriously and end as women’s victimization.

Men are told to play very specific stereotypical roles in our society. Those stereotypes include being physically strong, emotionally absent and always in control. When men are put into these types of boxes, there is little room for them to admit that they have been a victim of anything, let alone sexual assault. Many people believe that men should have been strong enough to fight off their attacker; that men are not able to be sexually assaulted by women; and that men are simply incapable of being sexually assaulted.

Approximately 2.78 million men in the US have experienced a rape at some point in their lifetime. For more information and additional resources especially for male survivors of sexual violence, please see the links below.

​Additional Resources for Men:

Get Help

Know that it is NOT your fault. You may be replaying the situation over and over in your mind, asking yourself what you could or should have done differently. But remember, sexual violence is an act of power, and you are not responsible for another person’s choices and actions! You did what you needed to do to survive. Nothing you did caused the violence!

First Steps to Consider
  • ​Get to a safe place
  • Don’t shower or wash clothing
  • Go to a nearby hospital or medical center
  • Tell a trusted person about the incident
  • Contact the Student Life Office  | (740) 364-9578 | Warner Center 226​
  • For help 24 hours a day, contact the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO)​, 614.267.7020

​​​​Click for Sexual Violence Quick Resource Guide and Sexual Violence Quick Resource Guide​​

Definitions

Advocate

A person who has been trained on issues related to sexual violence situations and who provides support services through their work with a community organization.

Coercion

Used in an attempt to pressure a person to do something they might not want to do. Flattery, guilt trips, intimidation, or threats are used to manipulate a person’s choices. Even if someone gives into coercion, it is not consent.

Consent

The act of knowingly and voluntarily agreeing explicitly to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be freely given and can be withdrawn at any time.

Consent Is…

  • ​A voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement.
  • An active agreement. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes.”
  • Not coerced.
  • A process, which must be asked for every step of the way. If you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask!
  • Never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner.

Circumstances in which a person CANNOT legally give consent:
(No matter what he or she might verbalize):

  • ​The person is severely intoxicated or unconscious as a result of alcohol or drugs.
  • The person is physically or developmentally disabled.
  • Once a person says “no.” It doesn’t matter if sexual behavior has happened in the past, or what kind of activity has occurred in the current event, earlier that day, or daily for the past six months. It does not matter if it is a current long-term relationship, a broken relationship, or marriage. If one partner says, “No,” and the other forces penetration, it is rape.
  • The victim is under the age 13 or is elderly.
  • If consent is not obtained prior to each act of sexual behavior (from kissing to intercourse), it is not consensual sex.

The Perks of Consent:
Asking for and obtaining consent…

  • Shows that you have respect for both yourself and your partner.
  • Enhances communication, respect, and honesty, which make sex and relationships better.
  • Gives the ability to know and communicate about the type of sexual relationship you want.
  • Aids in protecting yourself and your partner against STIs and pregnancy.
  • Prov​ides the opportunity to acknowledge that you and your partner(s) have sexual needs and desires.
  • Allows for you to identify personal beliefs and values and respect your partner’s personal beliefs and values.
  • Builds confidence and self-esteem.
  • P​romotes positive views on sex and sexuality.
  • Is empowering.
  • Eliminates the entitlement that one partner might feel over another.
  • Challenges stereotypes that rape is a women’s issue.
  • Challenges sexism and traditional views on gender and sexuality.

​How to know if the person you’re with has given consent:
The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. One of the best ways to determine if someone is uncomfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask:

  • ​Is there anything you don’t want to do?
  • Are you comfortable?
  • Do you want to stop?
  • Do you want to go further? 

Recognizing Non-Verbal Communication:
Remember, an absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” Here are some ways that your partner’s body language can let you know that you do NOT have consent:

  • Not responding to your touch.
  • Pushing you away.
  • Holding their arms tightly around their bodies.
  • Turning away from you or hiding their face.
  • Stiffening muscles.

Are you moving too quickly?
If you are starting to feel uncomfortable, you always have the right to slow things down or stop altogether. Here are things you could say to let your partner know that you don’t want to go any further:

  • ​I don’t want to go any further than kissing, hugging, touching.
  • Can we stay like this for a while?
  • Can we slow down? 

Below are some things you can say or do if you want to stop:

  • ​​No.
  • I want to stop.
  • I’m not comfortable doing this anymore.
  • That’s enough for now.
  • I need to go to the bathroom.

Intimate Partner Violence

A pattern of controlling behavior with a current or former partner (dating relationships, domestic relationships, same-sex and opposite sex relationships). It can include emotional, sexual, verbal, or physical threats of violence.

Signs that it could be intimate partner violence:

One person:​

  • ​Constantly blames their boyfriend or girlfriend for everything, including their own abusive behavior/temper
  • Makes mean and degrading comments about a partner’s appearance, beliefs or accomplishments
  • Controls money and time
  • Shows extreme jealousy
  • Loses their temper
  • Physically and/or sexually assaults another

The other person:

  • ​​Gives up things that are important to them
  • Cancels plans with friends to appease the other person
  • Becomes isolated from family or friends
  • Worries about making their significant other angry
  • Shows signs of physical abuse like bruises or cuts
  • Feels embarrassed or ashamed about what is going on in their relationship
  • Consistently makes excuses for their significant other’s behavior

Common Reactions:
Experiencing intimate partner violence can be a serious and frightening experience. The threat of repeated danger can be extremely upsetting. Here is a list of common feelings and reactions that survivors of intimate partner violence have reported:

  • Fearful
  • Vulnerable
  • Depressed
  • Confused
  • Isolated
  • Hopeless
  • Irritable
  • Impatient
  • On-edge
  • Nervous
  • Difficulty concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things

Safety Plan

This can include things such as changing your routine, arranging a place to stay and talking through scenarios to address encountering the abusive person: what to do if he or she shows up at your home, work, school, etc. Tell the people around you how they can help you if such an event happens – even consider showing them a picture and giving identifying information.

​Other things you can do:

Trust your instincts. Sometimes you may want to ignore what’s happening, or to downplay and minimize the situation. The fact that you are uncomfortable or afraid is enough to take action to be safer.

Take threats seriously, even though it may be hard to believe someone would actually hurt you. Danger is usually higher when the abuser talks about suicide or homicide. Attempt to leave or end the relationship can also increase the likelihood of a dangerous event. It is important to develop a safety plan prior to leaving the relationship, if possible.

Start a log/journal/calendar of abusive behavior. Write down the time, date and place of each incident, if there were any witnesses, what exactly happened, and how it made you feel.

Keep evidence of abuse. Save emails, texts, voicemails, letters, notes, etc. Photograph anything of yours that the abuser damages and any injuries that the abuser causes. If there are any witnesses, ask him or her to document what they saw.

Contact the Student Life Office at 740.364.9578

Contact a 24­-hour hotline. Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO)​ at 614.267.7020

Visit “Survivors” in this listing for more information on how to help a friend.

Sexual Assault

Penetration (however slight) of the vaginal or anal cavities with any body part or object, or oral to genital contact when consent is not present.

Have you ​​been sexually assaulted in the last 4 days?

If you want evidence to be collected, make sure that you don’t bathe and that you take the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault to the hospital. However, if you have bathed or do not have the clothes, evidence can still be collected.

If you would like medical treatment and evidence collection, go to the nearest emergency department where an advocate can be called to meet with you.

To contact the emergency departments in the campus area:
Licking Memorial Hospital ​740.348.4144

Have been sexually assaulted more than 4 days ago?

After 4 days have passed, evidence will not be collected. Testing for sexually transmitted infections and treatment for unwanted pregnancy may still be available to you at the aforementioned emergency department. To learn more about your options, contact Student Life.

Examples of sexual assault:

  • ​​Any sexual activity performed in the absence of consent or through coercion
  • Forced oral, anal, or vaginal sex with any body part or object
  • Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Keeping someone from protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancy or STIs
  • Sexual contact with someone who is drunk, drugged, unconscious or unable to give an informed yes
  • Threatening or pressuring someone into sexual activity

Common reactions

Sexual assault can be one of the most painful and upsetting things that can happen in someone’s life. It is natural if your emotions frequently fluctuate. Here is a list of common feelings and reactions that survivors of sexual violence have reported:

  • ​Wondering “why me?”
  • Fear
  • Anger or rage
  • Numbness or emptiness
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping/change in sleeping habits
  • Change in eating habits
  • Disbelief
  • Shame
  • Betrayal
  • Sense of Loss
  • Loss of control
  • Nightmares
  • Guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of withdrawal
  • Panic
  • Reluctance to go to school/work

​Healing after sexual assault

You may find yourself constantly thinking about the sexual assault or refusing to think about it at all. All of these feelings and reactions are natural. Give yourself permission to take as long as you need to recover. Remember that no matter what the circumstances of your sexual assault, it was not your fault and you did the right thing to survive! Check out the Survivors​ page for more information on healing.

Need to help a friend or family member? Check out “Survivors” in this listing.

Sexual Harassment

Any deliberate or repeated language, behavior, or visual display that causes a person fear, anxiety, shame, or embarrassment.

​Signs that it could be sexual harassment:

  • ​Sexual comments or inappropriate references to gender
  • Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes regardless of the means of communication (oral, written, electronic, etc.)
  • Unwanted touching, patting, hugging, brushing against a person’s body or staring
  • Inquiries or commentaries about sexual activity, experience, or orientation
  • Display of inappropriate or sexually oriented material in locations where others can view them​

Sexual harassment makes the receiver feel bad, angry/sad, demeaned, ugly, powerless.
​​Flirting makes the receiver feel good, happy, flattered, pretty/attractive, in control.

Sexual harassment results in negative self-esteem.
Flirting results in positive self-esteem.

Sexual harassment is p​erceived as one-sided, demeaning, degrading, invading, reciprocal.
Flirting is perceived as reciprocal, flattering, open, a compliment.

Sexual harassment is unwanted, power-motivated, illegal.
Flirting is wanted, equally-motivated, legal.

​​What to do if you are harassed

  • Tell the harasser that the behavior is offensive and that you want it to stop
  • Document the problem behavior: date, time, place, witnesses, specific behaviors (this could include saving text messages or emails)
  • Report the harassment to your RA, Assistant Hall Director (ADH), Hall Director (HD), work supervisor, etc.
  • Contact the Student Life Office at 740.364.9578
  • Seek counseling from Counseling Services​
  • For the university’s stance on sexual harassment see: OSU Code of Student Conduct Sexual Harassment by Students​

Sexual Violence

A continuum of behaviors including intimate partner abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, and those behaviors commonly called “rape” or “sexual assault.” Sexually violent behavior can be physical, emotional, verbal, or a combination; without the consent of the victim.

Stalking

When a person repeatedly behaves or acts in a way that invades another individual’s life and causes them mental distress and/or fear of bodily harm.

​Signs:

  • ​Following you, with or without your knowledge
  • Calling or texting excessively
  • Threatening to hurt you, your friends, family, pets, or themselves
  • Damaging your property
  • ​It can even look romantic or non-threatening, like cards, flowers, emails, etc., but if this behavior is unwanted, it could be stalking

Safety Plan:

This can include things such as changing your routine, arranging a place to stay and talking through scenarios to address encountering the abusive person: what to do if he or she shows up at your home, work, school, etc. Tell the people around you how they can help you if such an event happens – even consider showing them a picture and giving identifying information.

​​Other things you can do:

Trust your instincts. Sometimes you may want to ignore what’s happening, or to downplay and minimize the situation. The fact that you are uncomfortable or afraid is enough to take action to be safer.

Take threats seriously, even though it may be hard to believe someone would actually hurt you. Danger is usually higher when the abuser talks about suicide or homicide. If the person stalking you is someone with whom you’ve had a relationship, an attempt to leave or end the relationship can also increase the likelihood of a dangerous event. It is important to develop a safety plan prior to leaving the relationship, if possible.

Start a log/journal/calendar of abusive behavior. Write down the time, date and place of each incident, if there were any witnesses, what exactly happened, and how it made you feel.

Keep evidence of abuse. Save emails, texts, voicemails, letters, notes, etc. Photograph anything of yours that the abuser damages and any injuries that ​the abuser causes. If there are any witnesses, ask him or her to document what they saw.

Contact the Student Life Office at 740.364.9578

Contact a 24-hour hotline:  Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) ​| (614) 267-7020

Visit the “Survivor” listing for more information on how to help a friend. 

Survivors

A term of respect and to acknowledge that people who experience sexual violence have survived an event or events that can be life-changing.

​Sexual Violence Education and Support (SVES)

We recommend that you contact our Student Life Office, as soon as possible in order to get information about all of your options on campus and in the community. Support for those who have experienced sexual violence is available through the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program (SVPR) in the Office of Student Life.

Healing
  • You may find yourself constantly thinking about your experience with sexual violence or refusing to think about it at all. All of these feelings and reactions are natural. Give yourself permission to take as long as you need to recover. Remember that no matter what the circumstances of your experience, it was not your fault and you did the right thing to survive!
  • Breathe. If you feel overwhelmed, try to relax and take deep breaths using meditation and relaxation exercises.
  • Getting enough sleep is often overlooked, but of vital importance to your well-being.
  • Exercise, even small amounts, can help combat feelings of sadness or depression.
  • Help manage your thoughts and feelings by keeping a journal.
  • Appreciate yourself and your strength for having survived. You may wish that you were able to do things differently and prevent what happened, but you made important decisions that allowed you to survive.
  • Be patient with yourself. It takes time to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Reassure yourself. Your feelings are natural. There is no one “right” way to feel after an assault.
  • For more details and additional self-care tips, visit the RAINN website
Medical Centers:

Seek medical attention and/or evidence collection at the following hospitals if the violence/sexual assault occurred within the last 72 hours. A specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is usually available, and an advocate will be called to assist you. All central Ohio emergency departments should be able to provide these services. This is just a partial list of emergency departments:

Licking Memorial Hospital​  740.348.4000

OSU Student Health Services 614.292.4321 (Provides medical care, addresses concerns about sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, discusses resources, and provides follow-up care. The SHC does not collect evidence)

​Reporting Agencies:

To report an act of sexual violence that happened on-campus to a legal authority, contact the Campus Security office. If the incident occurred off-campus, please contact the Newark Police Department.

Support & Advocacy:

It’s important to get help when dealing with issues related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, or stalking in order to heal from the effects of these issues.

  • Counseling Services 740.364.9578 (Provides free, confidential services for students at any time during the recovery process)
  • 24-Hour Rape Helpline 614.267.7020 (Provides anonymous support and information)
  • CHOICES (24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline) 614.224.4663

For more information, refer to the: Sexual Violence Response Guidelines​

Know a Survivor?

This section offers information for friends or family members of survivors, also known as co-survivors. Thank you for caring and seeking help! It can be hard to know what to do to help a friend or family member who is a survivor of sexual violence.

What to say to a survivor:

  • I’m sorry this happened to you.
  • It wasn’t your fault.
  • You survived; obviously you did the right things.
  • Thank you for telling me.
  • I’m always here if you want to talk.
  • Can I do anything for you?

​What NEVER to say to a survivor:

  • It was your fault.
  • You could have avoided it had you __________.
  • It’s been so long! Get over it!
  • You wanted it.
  • It’s not that big of deal; it happens to lots of people.
  • I don’t believe you.

​DO respect the survivor enough to not pity them.

DON’T assume he/she does/does not want to be touched. Some people can’t stand a hug at this point. Others can’t make it without one.

DO comfort them. Make the environment comfortable.

DON’T try to solve all of their problems for them. They have had their control taken away. Try to avoid doing that again.

DO allow them to tell them as much or as little as they need.

DON’T assume you know how the survivor feels.

​​Further suggestions:

Making statements such as “it’s ok” or “you’re going to be fine” may serve to minimize the survivor’s feelings and downplay the seriousness of the violence.

Encourage the survivor to seek counseling and post-trauma services.

Be willing to say nothing. If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay. The most powerful statement a friend can make is by simply being there, not trying to fix everything or pretending it’s okay. Silence often says more than words.

Review “myths vs. facts”​ about sexual violence in this section.

Examine your own attitudes and feelings about sexual violence. Don’t allow the myths to affect how you perceive the survivor.

Find your own support, because as secondary survivor you are also affected.

If you would like to speak with someone on campus about being a secondary survivor, contact the Office of Student Life.

​Click for Sexual Violence Quick Resource Guide and Sexual Violence Response Guidelines

Victim Blaming

The phenomenon where the survivor is held responsible for causing or not avoiding the attack or violence. This includes blaming the survivor for “risky” behaviors such as walking alone at night, drinking and/or taking drugs, wearing “provocative” clothing, having multiple sex partners, doing things that “imply” consent like flirting or going to the other person’s room, etc.