Brookdale Community College defines sexual assault as:
“…any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent. This includes an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape.”
In simple terms, sexual violence means any type of unwanted sexual contact. It can impact anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Sexual violence is an extremely serious crime that can have lasting repercussions for victims and their loved ones. Brookdale strictly prohibits any act of sexual violence.
Sexual violence is not an act of love or attraction. It is an act of power and control. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence, including gender-based stereotypes or a perpetrator’s lack of respect for the victim.
Another contributing factor is victim blaming, or the contention that a victim “asked for it” by dressing or behaving a certain way. Each of these factors can reinforce criminal behaviors and make it more difficult for victims to come forward in the future.
Changing the way we think about sexual violence is the first step toward prevention. Above all, it is important to remember that sexual violence is entirely the fault of the perpetrator. There is simply no excuse for unwanted sexual contact.
(from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Campus Sexual Assault,” 2015)
- One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college
- The majority of these crimes (90 percent) that occur on college campuses are never reported
- Among college women, nine out of 10 victims of sexual assault knew the person who sexually assaulted them
- In a nationally representative survey of adults, 37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between ages 18-24
- 27% of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact
According to a study by the National Institute of Justice, college students should be aware of the following risk factors:
- Alcohol and drug use. Multiple studies conclude that alcohol use is most commonly associated with sexual assault on campus.
- Freshman or sophomore status. The first two years of college are the highest risk years, and the first few months of the school year are the highest risk time of the year.
- Off-campus parties. More than half of sexual assaults against college women took place in off-campus settings. More than half of the women who reported incapacitated sexual assault said they were at a party when the incident took place.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also offers a number of specific risk reduction tips, including advice for social media safety, alcohol safety, and what to do if someone is sexually pressuring you.
- Trust your gut. Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. It doesn’t matter why you don’t want to do something. Simply not being interested is reason enough.
- Develop a code word with friends to let them know you are uncomfortable or need assistance.
- Don’t be afraid to lie to someone to get out of a threatening situation.
- Step in or notify an authority figure if you see someone else in a threatening situation. Create a small distraction – such as asking for help with homework – or enlist others to approach the situation with you.