Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be physical, psychological, verbal, emotional, financial, and/or sexual. Attacks that often begin as verbal abuse or threats can turn into battery, rape, and even murder. At least 12 million people report incidences of domestic violence every year. Victims can be any age, male or female, single or married, from any social, economic, racial, or ethnic background.

What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is any unwanted sexual contact imposed upon another person by use of force, fear, manipulation, or coercion. Sexual assault is defined as any sexual activity involving a person who does not or cannot (due to alcohol, drugs, or some sort of incapacitation) consent. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, "sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention."  Sexual assault is a broad term, and can describe many things, including:

  • rape
  • unwanted sexual contact (touching or grabbing)
  • unwelcomed exposure of another's body or voyeurism
  • child sexual abuse
  • incest or molestation
  • sexual harassment

Sexual assault is an act of power. This can be obvious, like in a situation where the perpetrator has a weapon.  Sexual assault can also occur when physical force or threat is used against the victim or someone the victim cares about. However, physical coercion or force is not always present or necessary.  In some sexual assault cases, the violence is more subtle, like when the perpetrator's age, size, or status is used to scare, trick, or manipulate the victim.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. People of all ages, races, economic backgrounds, sexualities, and lifestyles have been victims. Males as well as females can be victims.  

What is Acquaintance/Date Rape?

Acquaintance Rape and Date Rape both refer to sexual assault by a person known to the survivor. While most people think rape is committed by a stranger, acquaintance rape is actually much more common. On college campuses, 84-97% of sexual assault is committed by someone known to the survivor. Like any other rape, acquaintance rape is not the survivor's fault. This can be hard to remember; knowing the acquaintance may make a survivor feel that s/he is to blame, or that what happened does not qualify as sexual assault. However, it is still important to get help. Acquaintance rape is as traumatic and serious as other forms of rape. 

What Should I do?

If you are a victim of dating/domestic/intimate partner violence, sexual or physical assault, stalking, or harassment, then tell someone. Come to the Counseling Center or the Campus Police.

If you are sexually assaulted in Chicago, please go to the nearest emergency room to collect evidence and have a sexual assault examination. Most hospitals have a rape victim advocate to support and assist you.  

If you have been injured, seek medical attention immediately and ask the medical personnel to document their findings.  Keep any evidence of physical abuse (ripped clothing, photos of bruises and injuries, copies of medical reports).  If you have been sexually assaulted, do not shower, eat, or smoke.  Place clothing in a paper bag and call for assistance.

If you are in danger, or being threatened, stalked, or assaulted, call the University Police at extension 2111 on campus or call 911 for help.  If you are off-campus or using a cell phone call 1-(773) 995-2111. You can also arrange a signal with a neighbor to alert them to call the police, if you are in danger.

Hotlines are always available to you, 24 hours a day.  You can talk to a hotline counselor about your options, make a safety plan, identify resources, or find out how to join a support group. Come to the Counseling Center CRSU 190 during office hours. 

Rape Crisis Hotlines:

1-888-293-2080 (Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline)

1-630-971-3927 (West Suburbs)

1-708-748-5672 (South Suburbs) 

Report the crime. A victim is not required to report the incident, but reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control.

Source: RAINN