Get educated on sexual assault

Sexual Assault

Anyone can be a victim or survivor of rape or sexual assault.

Rape is an act of non-consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) that may or may not involve coercion, the threat of force, violence, immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.

Sexual assault is broader in definition than rape. Any non-consensual sexual act may be sexual assault. This may include unwanted touching on an intimate area of a person’s body unwanted oral intercourse, penetration of the anus or vagina with a foreign object, or. Sexual assault can include unwanted kissing or bodily contact that is sexual in nature.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment. Sexual harassment does not always have to be specifically about sexual behavior or directed at a specific person.

Common Questions Regarding Sexual Violence

I didn’t resist physically – does that mean it isn’t rape?
People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape — in fact, many victims that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be expressed verbally, such as saying “no,” or it can be implied from the circumstances (for example, if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect, or if you were afraid to object because the perpetrator threatened you with serious physical injury).

I used to date the person who assaulted me – does that mean it isn’t rape?
Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship (sometimes called “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”), or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It does not matter whether the other person is an ex-boyfriend or a complete stranger, an

d it doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is nonconsensual this time, it is rape. (But be aware that a few states still have limitations on when spousal rape is a crime.)

I don’t remember the assault – does that mean it isn’t rape?
Just because you don’t remember being assaulted doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t rape. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other “rape drugs” and from excessive alcohol consumption. That said, without clear memories or physical evidence, it may not be possible to pursue prosecution (talk to your local crisis center or local police for guidance).

I was asleep or unconscious when it happened - does that mean it isn't rape?

 9 (52.9%) Alcohol, 4 (23.5%) Suspected inhalant anaesthetic, 3 (17.6%) Drug, 1 (5.8%) Other

Rape can happen when the victim was unconscious or asleep. If you were asleep or unconscious, then you didn't give consent. And if you didn't give consent, then it is rape.

I was drunk or they were drunk - does that mean it isn't rape?
Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse – or an alibi. The key question is still: did you consent or not? Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is nonconsensual, it is rape. However, because each state has different definitions of “nonconsensual”, please contact your local center or local police if you have questions about this. (If you were so drunk or drugged that you passed out and were unable to consent, it was rape. Both people must be conscious and willing participants.)

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Alcohol is the number one date rape drug.

Safer understands that Cal Poly students are in college, that drinking is common, and that drunk sex is also common. While we may understand how our bodies react to alcohol, we cannot always accurately gauge how drunk someone else is - especially when they are a stranger. Keep this in mind when interacting with acquaintances or strangers at parties - consent is even more important when both parties are under the influence.

“Date rape” drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol, and ketamine are incapacitating drugs and potent sedatives slipped into a drink that may render someone weak, helpless, or unconscious. Often they are unable to remember what happened. 
GHB: GHB takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last 3 or 4 hours. It is very potent: A very small amount can have a big effect. GHB can cause these problems:
•    Relaxation
•    Drowsiness
•    Dizziness
•    Nausea
•    Problems seeing
•    Loss of consciousness (black out)
•    Seizures
•    Can't remember what happened while drugged
•    Problems breathing
•    Tremors
•    Sweating
•    Vomiting
•    Slow heart rate
•    Dream-like feeling
Appearance: a liquid with no odor or color, white powder, and pill. It might give your drink a slightly salty taste. Mixing it with a sweet drink, such as fruit juice, can mask the salty taste.

Rohypnol tablets are white and single or cross scored on one side with "ROCHE" and "1" or "2" encircled on the other.

Rohypnol: The effects of Rohypnol can be felt within 30 minutes of being drugged and can last for several hours. Rohypnol can cause these problems:
•    Muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control
•    Difficulty with motor movements
•    Drunk feeling
•    Problems talking
•    Nausea
•    Can't remember what happened while drugged
•    Loss of consciousness (black out)
•    Confusion
•    Problems seeing
•    Dizziness
•    Sleepiness
•    Lower blood pressure
Appearance: comes as a pill that dissolves in liquids. Some are small, round, and white. Newer pills are oval and green-gray in color. When slipped into a drink, a dye in these new pills makes clear liquids turn bright blue and dark drinks turn cloudy.

Ketamine: Ketamine is very fast-acting. You might be aware of what is happening to you, but unable to move. It also causes memory problems. Later, you might not be able to remember what happened while you were drugged. Ketamine can cause these problems:
•    Distorted perceptions of sight and sound
•    Lost sense of time and identity
•    Out of body experiences
•    Dream-like feeling
•    Feeling out of control
•    Impaired motor function
•    Problems breathing
•    Convulsions
•    Vomiting
•    Memory problems
•    Numbness
•    Loss of coordination
•    Aggressive or violent behavior
•    Depression
•    High blood pressure
•    Slurred speech
Appearance: Ketamine comes as a liquid and a white powder.

Quaaludes: Methaqualone is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is similar in effect to barbiturates, a general central nervous system depressant. Some of the symptoms of quaaludes are:
•    Euphoria
•    Drowsiness
•    Reduces heart rate
•    reduces respiration
•    increases sexual arousal
•    paresthesia (numbness of the fingers and toes)
•    slurred speech
•    headache
•    photophobia (excessive sensitivity to light)

There are some things we can do to be proactive in our safety:  
•    Be aware of where your drink is/never leave it unattended. 
•    If someone is pressuring you to drink, don’t be afraid to say no. 
•    Alcoholic punch drinks like jungle juice contain a lot of alcohol, 
•    Have a friend and a plan to get home. 
•    Let your friends know what you want to do that night - even so far as to let them know if you do or don’t want to hook up with someone.

How will I know if I’ve been drugged?
If you notice any of the following warning signs in yourself or someone you know, reach out to someone you trust immediately:

•    Nausea
•    Loss of bowel or bladder control
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Feeling drunk when you haven’t consumed any alcohol or very limited amounts
•    Sudden increase in dizziness, disorientation, or blurred vision
•    Sudden body temperature change that could be signaled by sweating or chattering teeth
•    Waking up with no memory, or missing large portions of memories

Preserving Evidence

For more information on how to preserve evidence check out: SART page

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