Sexual Assault Information
The nature of and common circumstances relating to sex offenses on college campuses
Sexual assault is a crime of aggression and violence. There is never an excuse or a reason for one person to rape, assault or even touch another person without permission. No one has this "right" no matter how someone else behaves or dresses. No woman causes herself to be raped.
Sexual assault is:
- Any sexual act committed or attempted against a person's will.
- Forced sexual contact by dates, spouses, family members, acquaintances or strangers.
- A range of acts, from obscene phone calls to forced sexual intercourse.
- Any sexual contact you don't want.
Rape is defined as sexual intercourse, sodomy or oral copulation accomplished against a person's will:
- Through use of force or fear.
- Whether the person is male or female.
- When the person is prevented from resisting by alcohol or drugs administered by or with the knowledge of the offender.
- When the person is unaware of the nature of the act.
Most people think of rape as a sudden attack perpetrated by a vicious stranger on a dark, deserted street. This is one form of rape. In fact, however, as many as eighty percent of all rapes are perpetrated by dates, colleagues or other acquaintances. This is called date or acquaintance rape. Research shows that women in college are in much greater danger of date rape than assault by a stranger. Preventing date rape is very different from preventing stranger rape.
Date rape may be prevented. Talk clearly about sexual expectations with your date. Make it clear before you get into a sexual situation what your limits are. If you mean no, say it clearly and firmly. Don't go to a secluded place with someone you've just met or don't know well. Suggest meeting at public places. Drive your own car, use public transportation or have enough money for a taxi. Especially don't go to your date's apartment or invite him to yours if you are just getting to know him. Date rape occurs most often in the rapist's home. Beware of the impact of alcohol and other drugs on your judgment and that of your date. These drugs often play a role in sexual assault.
Beware of attitudes in a person who you are thinking of dating which could signal the potential for sexual assault or violence: hostility towards the opposite sex, jealousy, condescending or judgmental viewpoints about women, or unrealistic expectations. Don't rely on a charming, pleasant presentation in a man you've just met. Many date rape victims report that their assailant seemed "like a really nice person" at first. Get to know a person before you place your trust in him or her.
Observing general safety tips may help you to avoid becoming the victim of sexual assault. Be alert to your surroundings, both inside and outside. Listen to and act upon your gut feelings and instincts. Notice people, the lighting, and access to phones and exits. Use elevators, stairs and rest rooms in well-trafficked areas. Don't study alone in an empty classroom. Avoid deserted parking lots, empty laundry rooms and other poorly lit or poorly populated locations. When possible, walk with a friend instead of walking alone in secluded areas or at night. If you are on-campus, call security for an escort. When riding the subways during less traveled times of day, ride in the middle car with the conductor or the first car with the engineer.
Carry a whistle and blow it for attention if necessary. If you feel threatened while walking, cross the street, change direction or run to a place where there are other people. If a car is following you, turn around and walk quickly in the opposite direction. Get the license plate number and a description if possible. If you are being followed on foot, turn around to let the person know you have seen them and then run to a place where a number of people will be.
Always keep your apartment and car doors locked. If you live in an apartment with a fire escape outside a back window, you should secure it with a fire department-approved gate, an alarm, or some barrier system. A window lock is not enough. Always close your blinds/shades/curtains at night.
If you are out and decide to bring someone home, introduce him or her to a friend, acquaintance or bartender so that someone knows the person who left with you. When driving a friend home, establish a signal that the friend is in the home and safe before you drive away.
If a stranger is at your door, do not give the impression that you are home alone. Shout over your shoulder, or indicate in some way, that there is another person present. Never open the door to strangers without verifying their identity by asking for an identification tag. Do not give out personal information over the phone or Internet.
Finally, report all incidents of violence or harassment. Call 911 as soon after the incident as possible. If you saw the perpetrator, try to remember his or her gender, age, height, race, weight, build, clothes and other distinguishing characteristics.
The methods the law school employs to advise and update students about security procedures
In addition to the Student Handbook and college website, crime prevention pamphlets that include various safety tips and encourage the reporting of crime on campus are prepared and distributed periodically to students. Speakers, including law enforcement officials, are invited by the administration and student groups to inform students about prevention of crime and personal safety. Campus Security also makes a presentation about prevention of crime and personal safety to incoming students at orientation. Additionally, Campus Security meets with the Law School's Security Advisory Committee on a regular basis to exchange information on recent events and security concerns on campus. The Security Advisory Committee is made up of equal numbers of faculty, administrators, and student officers. This committee reviews current campus security policies and practices and makes recommendations for their improvement.
Revised August 2005