University of Southern Indiana

Sexual Assault

  • Istock 000011359102Xsmall90% of sexual assaults among college students occur between people who know each other.
  • About 60% of all sexual assaults occur in the victim’s home or apartment
  • More than 90% of completed rapes that occur on campus take place in a residence hall

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any kind of sexually offensive act against another person, any verbally offensive demand or suggestion, or any intentional touching of another person's body without mutual consent. Sexual assault is about power and control - engaging in sexual acts on another person, without consent. Sexual assault removes the victim’s autonomy and ability to make a sexual choice – it is no longer sex! Sexual assault can occur to individuals of any age, race, class, gender, or sexual orientation.

Examples of sexual assault:

  • Rape
  • Any forced penetration - vaginal, oral, or anal - with a body part or object
  • Acts on a person who is not conscious or able to give consent
  • Indecent exposure
  • Direct or indirect threats  designed to force sexual activity
  • Coerced sexual activity
  • Sexual propositions (unwanted proposal to engage in a sexual activity)
  • Unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person, such as a sex organ, buttocks, or breasts
  • Use of intoxicants, including alcohol, which impair the victim's ability to give consent

What is Consent?

  • Clear, knowing, and voluntary agreement to participant in a sexual activity
  • Active, not passive; silence cannot be interpreted as consent
  • Words or actions can be used as long as they create mutually understandable,  clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity
  • Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts
  • One must be of legal age (at least 16 years old in state of Indiana)

Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be able to give consent. An assault can occur even if both parties have been drinking. If you are unsure about the situation, the best option is to avoid sexual contact.

What to Do if You are Assaulted

Healing from a sexual assault can be an empowering process in which you reclaim power and control over your life. The Counseling Center encourages anyone who has experienced an assault to make an appointment to discuss strategies and techniques to actively heal.

Anyone who has been assaulted has a variety of choices. It is important for you to know that you have control over what you do if you are assaulted.

    • They will collect evidence, perform a physical exam, treat for possible STD’s, and offer counseling referrals.
    • Try not to shower, change clothes, wash your hands, etc. if you think you may want evidence collected.
    • You are not required to file criminal charges if you seek medical care.
    • Specialized Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE Nurses) are available to treat you. These services are free in Indiana.
  • Please also seek out counseling, support, and advocacy at USI’s Counseling Center. Support is also available at the Albion Fellows Bacon Center or the YWCA - both of these community agencies specialize in working with survivors of sexual assault.
  • It is up to you to decide who you tell about what happened. Reporting acts of sexual violence to a USI affiliated employee may result in an investigation of the circumstances. However, information shared with the Counseling Center is kept confidential.

Helping a Friend

  • Make sure they are safe. If not, get them to a safe place.
  • Listen, believe, and do not judge.
  • Help them to understand that they are not to blame.
  • Help them organize their thoughts, but let them make the decision about how to proceed.
  • Explain that seeking medical attention is very important if the assault was recent. There may be injuries of which they are unaware.
  • Encourage your friend to get counseling/professional support.
  • Understand that every victim is different. Your friend may exhibit shock, denial, rationalization, depression, guilt, fear, anxiety, and anger. All are normal emotions.
  • Deal with your own feelings. Sexual assault impacts loved ones and you need to heal as well.

What Can I Do to Stop Sexual Assaults

  • We can all listen to people who have experienced sexual assault and learn from their experiences.
  • Reflect. Do we engage in abusive and controlling behavior and how can we change?
  • Use inclusive, non-sexist language.
  • Confront sexist, racist, homophobic, and any other bigoted remarks or jokes.
  • Don’t fund sexism. Don’t purchase magazines, rent movies, or buy music that portrays women in sexually degrading or violent ways.
  • Support candidates for political office at every level, from student government to the President of the United States, who are committed to the full social, economic, and political equality of women; oppose those who are not so committed.
  • Propose and/or support curriculum changes, from grade school through college, that support understanding and equality, while eliminating attitudes that support sexism and sexual violence.

If we want a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault,
we all need to be part of the solution!

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about USI's policies, procedures, and options as they related to sexual assault, harassment, and stalking please click here.


Local Hospitals

Counseling and Support

Crisis Line: 812/422-7273 (answered 24 hours/7 days a week). The Albion Fellows Bacon Center offers emotional support for victims, safe and protected housing (or assistance in finding housing) if you're not safe, and assistance and support in dealing with the Criminal Justice System. They provide information and referrals, and all calls are confidential

      • YWCA (phone: 812/422-1191)

The YWCA provides shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children.

      • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online


Online Resources

Rape, Abuse, & Incest, National, Network (RAINN)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Violence Against Women


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a SAFE ZONE for individuals of all ethnicities, abilities, religions, sexual orientations, physical appearances/sizes, and gender identities.

Contact Robin Sanabria


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