Rape Prevention/Sexual Assault Victim Information
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.
Why a Brochure on Rape?
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.
What to Do if You 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".
Do not imagine that because someone has spent a lot of time, attention or money on you that it obligates you sexually.
You have a right to say "NO".
Remember - no one is ever responsible for being raped, regardless of the circumstances.
You may feel guilt, embarrassment, anger or hopelessness, but you will not be alone. We are here to provide the support and understanding you may need.
Take Responsible Precautions
- Avoid walking alone if possible.
- Walk with an air of confidence.
- Walk in lighted areas.
- Keep Alert.
- Keep your hand free, not overloaded.
- Have your keys ready.
- If you are being followed:
- cross the street
- Yell, don't scream. Screaming can be interpreted as playful, especially around a college campus
- run to an occupied residence or store
- flag down a car
While at home:
- Use locks on doors and windows.
- Use caution admitting strangers.
- Have good lighting around entrances.
- If you are a woman and live alone or with other women, use only your first initials on your mailbox and, when possible, in phone directories.
- Report suspicious activity to Campus Public Safety, or the Police if you live off-campus.
While in your car:
- Keep windows up and doors locked.
- Check the back seat and floor for unwanted passengers before entering.
- Park in well lighted areas.
- Travel on populated, well-lighted streets.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If you have car trouble signal for help by raising the hood or tying a white handkerchief to the door handle.