What is rape?
Rape is an act of violence when a person is forcibly sexually assaulted against her/his will. Not all rapes are sexually motivated: most are activated by the desire to control and dominate. Rape need not involve an assault by a stranger in a dark alley nor resemble sex scenes in films or novels. People can be and are sexually assaulted by friends, family, neighbors, dates, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. In many cases the rapist is known to the victim, often trusted.
What do I do if I become a victim of rape?
Secure your safety as soon as possible. If you are at home, secure your doors and windows as soon as the assailant leaves. If you are outside and seek assistance from strangers, be cautious. Victims have been attacked again by those they approached for help. CALL a friend or counselor to be with you through the medical examination and police reports. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible Do not bathe, douche, or change clothing until you have been examined by a physician. Save all torn or stained garments. Report the rape to the police or Campus Public Safety. Your decision whether or not to prosecute is your own, but it is extremely important to report the attack. Reporting the attack may prevent another person from being raped. Avoid touching anything that the assailant touched. Fingerprints may be important if there is an investigation. Contact the Marshall University Women’s Center or Marshall’s Counseling / Health Center.
Acquaintance rape occurs when an individual is forced by someone he or she knows to participate in sexual activity. Threats and intimidation, as well as physical restraint are often present in an acquaintance rape situation. Acquaintance rape is the most common form of rape on college campuses. Acquaintance rape occurs most often during or after social events such as parties at bars, fraternity/sorority parties, or other places where students may socialize while using alcohol or drugs. It can even occur on a date.
We have certain expectations about what men’s and women’s roles should be and at times these expectations conflict with our true feelings. It is the responsibility of both men and women to communicate their feelings directly and to respect each other’s right to say NO.
Ways to Avoid Acquaintance Rape
Be assertive and sure of what you want to do. Make plans ahead of time so that someone will know where you are. Pay attention to what is happening around you. Do not put yourself in a vulnerable situation. Avoid excessive use of alcohol or drugs. They interfere with your ability to communicate and increase your chances of being assaulted. Make conscious and active choices. Say what you mean and express what you feel. Most of all, do not be afraid to say “NO”.
Why should I care?
Rape and sexual assault are serious societal problems that you, or someone you know, may encounter. No age, sex, race or economic status is exempt. Each of us is a potential victim. If we increase our awareness of this problem and take precautions, we can decrease the chances of being a victim. This page has been created to heighten your awareness of rape and to let you know about the services that are available at the University and in the surrounding community.