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Sexual assault is an unlawful act that may involve the touching of intimate body parts, sexual intimidation, or forced sexual penetration. This includes sexual intercourse, oral sex, and digital penetration. Rape is forced sexual intercourse. Force may be by verbal threats, physical restraint, or violence. Stalking is defined as repeated, obsessive, fear-inducing behavior that makes the victim afraid or concerned for his or her safety.

A study funded by the Department of Justice found that sexual assault and stalking of college females are widespread and grossly underestimated. U.S. statistics report:

  • About 3% of coeds are raped during each academic year. Over the course of 5 calendar years, including summers and vacations, 20- 25% may be raped.
  • Nationally, an additional 15.5% of college females are sexually victimized (e.g., sexual contact is completed with force or threat of non-physical force, threat of rape, or threat of contact).
  • Nationally, 13.1% of coeds are stalked an average of 60 days during an academic year.
  • Nationally, less than 5% of completed and attempted rapes of college females are reported to the police or campus officials. About 67% of the victims tell a friend.
  • Nine out of 10 victims knew their assailant. {Note: Almost all sexual assaults on college campuses are acquaintance rapes and, in most cases, at least one of the persons involved is under the influence of alcohol or another drug.}
  • Between 3 and 6% of male university students reported being raped and up to 25% reported being sexually assaulted. Only about 1% of male rape victims reported it to the police.

Safety Tips to Reduce the Chances for Sexual Assault

Be aware of the risks of date rape with drinking alcohol. About 75% of male students who take part in acquaintance rape had been drinking; about 55% of female students had.

  • The best defense is to not drink. If you drink, limit alcohol intake.
  • Don’t drink anything you have not brought or opened yourself. Don’t drink from another person’s container, from a punch bowl, beer bong, etc. When at a bar or club, accept drinks only from a bartender or waiter.
  • Keep your drink in your hand and under your watch at all times. If needed, have a friend watch your drink. Do the same for your friend(s).
  • Don’t drink alcohol in a high-risk setting for sexual assault (e.g., frat house or team parties or with persons you don’t know and/or trust).

Be aware of these “date-rape” drugs, which have no odor or color when mixed with drinks:

  • Rohypnol. See the Drug Chart under “Drugs & Drug Safety” on page 72 for the effects of this drug which can last 6 to 8 hours. This drug is added to drinks and punches at parties, raves, etc., usually to lower sexual inhibitions in females. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, Rohypnol can cause death.
  • GHB and GLB. See the Drug Chart under “Drugs & Drug Safety” on page 71 for the effects of this drug which last about 8 hours. If you have had this drug, you may wake up partially clothed with no recollection of a sexual assault. GHB is often made in homes with recipes and ingredients found and purchased on the Internet. GHB can cause death.

Consider using a coaster or test strip made to detect date rape drugs in drinks before you take a sip. An example is Drink Safe CoasterTM by Drink Safe Technology. For information, contact

If you suspect you have been drugged, keep a sample of your drink. Get help immediately. Have a friend help you get medical care. Call EMS, if necessary. Get tested for the drug within 12 hours of the suspected incident at a hospital emergency department.


Carry a cell phone with you to call for help, if needed.

Do not have sex with a person who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs which compromise consent. Also, look out for the safety of your friends and yourself and don’t put yourself in vulnerable situations.

  • Alert your female friends (and the authorities) to rumors of guys using date-rape drugs.
  • Don’t assume that anyone under the influence is “too nice a guy” to commit sexual assault. Intervene on a friend’s behalf (e.g., walk her out of a party, take her to a safe place, etc.).
  • Know your sexual limitations and communicate them both verbally and nonverbally. If you sense you are being pressured to have sex and don’t want to, state your position clearly. Say “NO” emphatically when you mean “NO!” Be aware, too, that a female/partner does not need to say the word “NO” to mean “NO.” Listen for words like, “I’m just not ready,” “We’re going too fast,” etc. The female/partner may be afraid to say “NO.”
  • Attend your school’s classes, etc. on preventing acquaintance rape, sexual assault, etc. Take a class in self-defense.
  • Carry a cell phone with you to call for help, if needed.
  • Avoid being alone, especially in unsafe situations and with strangers and persons you don’t know well or feel safe with.
  • Keep the doors to your home and car locked. Don’t open doors to strangers. Don’t tell strangers that you are alone.

If a rape occurs, go to a hospital ER

If Rape Occurs

  • Do not shower, clean or wash up in any way, or change clothing before you go to the hospital emergency department. Doing so could destroy evidence (e.g., blood type, hair samples, etc.) which may not be legally acceptable if collected later than 72 hours after the rape. If you have removed clothes worn at the time of the rape, put them in a paper bag and take them with you to the E.R.
  • Get medical or police help right away. (Date- rape drugs may not be detectable after 12 hours.) Go to the E.R. Recall and write down as many details as you can. Report the rapist’s age, height, weight, race, hair color, clothing worn, noticeable body marks, tattoos, etc. If a vehicle was involved, report its type, color, license plate, etc. Take a friend with you for comfort and support. At the E.R., you will get information about health care providers in your area who can help you after the E.R. visit. You will likely need their services at some point.
  • Talk to the emergency care provider about emergency contraception and tests for STIs.
  • Contact your campus Sexual Assault Crisis Center or call the Rape Crisis Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

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