Sexual assault is when a person subjects another person to sexual touching, groping, assault, or rape without the consent of the victim. Sexual assaults can occur as a result of force, coercion, or when the victim does not have the capacity to consent, such as in the case of intoxication. Being on a date with someone does not give them consent and acts of forced sexual contact, even among friends is a sexual assault.
One in four college females have experienced rape or attempted rape and one in 14 college men have been physically assaulted or sexually abused by an intimate partner during their four years in college. No person should ever be touched, fondled, or be forced to engage in any sexual activity against their will EVER, regardless of what they are wearing, if they have been drinking, or who they are with.
Many times victims are ashamed, uncertain, or scared and don’t know what to do when they find themselves as victims. If you ever feel that you were the victim of a sexual assault, the staff at Health Services is trained to help you. We can guide you through the recovery process in a professional, confidential, and non-judgmental way. We will explain to you your options about treatment and offer you screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Acquaintance rape occurs when someone you know forces you to have sexual intercourse or participate in any sexual activity without your consent. Stated refusals, such as saying "NO", "STOP" or "RAPE" powerfully communicate non-consent. Other circumstances, such as blackouts, intoxication, fearfulness, or any other reason you do not give consent, are still considered against your will. Acquaintance rape can happen to both women and men: straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Acquaintance rape violates the law, and University policy.
Every person has the right and ability to change their mind or just say “No” to sexual advances at any time. Here are a few tips you can follow to help protect yourself from unwanted sexual conduct:
- Communicate your sexual limits clearly and assertively in potentially intimate situations.
- Establish a “Circle of Six” app on your phone. With Circle of 6, you can connect with your friends to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens. The Circle of 6 app for iPhone and Android makes it quick and easy to reach the 6 friends you choose. Need help getting home? Need an interruption? Two touches lets your circle know where you are and how they can help. Icons represent actions; so that no one can tell what you’re up to. Designed for college students, it’s fast, easy-to-use and private. It’s the mobile way to look out for your friends, on campus or when you’re out for the night.
- Trust your intuition and if you might be in a threatening situation, tell yourself to stay calm, act quickly, and try to get away.
- In critical situations, buy time, feign bizarre behavior and/or resist with full physical force.
- Try to stay with at least one other person in potentially risky circumstances
If You Are Assaulted
Take care of your medical needs.
- First, go to a safe place. Get medical help if needed.
- Do not shower or brush your teeth until you are advised by a medical professional.
- Health Services offers free, confidential medical exams, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing, and pregnancy concerns.
- After hours, we encourage victims to go to the nearest emergency room where you can be assessed and treated as needed.
Take care of your emotional needs.
- Do not blame yourself; no one deserves to be victimized.
- Seek emotional support from someone you trust.
- Call The Counseling Center at 908-737-4850. A counselor can be reached Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm to help you get informed about your options and to provide support.
- After hours you can contact Trinities Psychiatric Emergency Department at 908-994-7131 or the Union County Sexual Assault Response Team 24 hours a day at 908-233-7273.
- Seriously consider informing a University official or campus police. Every reasonable effort will be made to protect your privacy and the confidentiality of information.
Helping A Friend Who Was Assaulted
Assure your friend that they did not deserve to be assaulted, no matter what the circumstances.
- Listen; don't ask a lot of questions or give advice.
- Provide information about the resources available.
- Suggest options, but respect the person's decisions as to how to proceed.
Sexual Assault Response Team
Union County has a sexual assault response team, also known as SART at 908-233-7273 which has staff specially trained in helping victims of a sexual assault. Victims can choose which services that they would like to use in the event of a sexual assault.
SART nurses are registered nurses trained in forensics that are able to collect evidence from you in the event you choose to press charges. This evidence is best immediately following an assault and victims who feel they may want to have evidence collected should not shower, change their clothes, or brush their teeth. Evidence can be collected even if the victim chooses not to press charges. The initial period after an assault is a very emotional time; victims do have time to decide if they would like to press charges, however evidence should be collected immediately. Evidence that is not collected can never be retrieved should you ever decide to press charges in the future.
Rape Care advocates are another essential component to the SART. Rape care advocates are trained to help you with the emotional aspects of an assault and to help guide you through the initial aftermath of an assault.
Health Services works closely with the Union County Sexual Assault Response Team and can activate their services if you choose to. Our office works closely with the Counseling Services at Kean University and their number is 908-737-4850 and together we can get you any mental health counseling or services you may need.
Alternate Reporting Options
If you or a friend have been assaulted the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct can serve as an alternate reporting option. Reports are accepted in person, over the phone, or through the office’s online reporting form. The Office of Community Standards and Student conduct will implement a remedy that will end any discrimination or assault, prevent its re-occurrences, and address any side effects. The Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct is located in the University Center, room 317 and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm.
If you ever feel unsafe, please call Campus Police at 908-737-4800. If you are uncertain if you were the victim of a sexual assault, please call Health Services at 908-737-4880 or come in to see one of our skilled providers.