Sexual Assault

1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted in college. The Student Counseling Service (SCS) is here to support students who have been impacted by sexual assault.

SCS offers crisis consultation, on-going counseling, and group therapy for any student who is a survivor of sexual assault. Also, if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted in the past 96 hours, we encourage you to speak with a counselor to get important safety and medical information or contact Women Helping Women’s 24-hour crisis response line 513-381-5610. 

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

  • Find a safe environment - anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend stay with you for moral support.
  • Preserve evidence of the attack - don't bathe or brush your teeth. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
  • Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
    • To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam.
    • If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will need to be analyzed later on by a forensic lab.
  • Report the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information you'll need understand the process.
  • Remember it wasn't your fault.
  • Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
  • Know that it's never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.

What can I do to reduce my risk of sexual assault?

  • Don't leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other, and leave together.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don't know or trust.
  • Think about the level of intimacy you want in a relationship, and clearly state your limits.

What can I do to help a friend who has been assaulted? 

It's important to offer support, caring, and emotional availability for the survivor. Above all else, convey that you BELIEVE your friend. Many survivors feel as though others will blame them or think they are "crying rape" erroneously. Communicate that you trust, respect, and accept your friend, and that what happened is not her or his fault. While you can convey support and availability, please remember there are many resources available to help your friend and you. You may experience many similar feelings as you hear about the assault - feelings of rage, sadness, fear, guilt, depression, or shock.

It is important to find someone to talk to about the feelings you are having as well. At Miami University, students are welcome to come to the Student Counseling Service for free and confidential counseling with a professional counselor or psychologist. 

What prevents someone from reporting a sexual assault? 

Unfortunately, many survivors feel ashamed, as though they are alone or at fault, as though others will misunderstand them. They sometimes feel blamed or rejected by family or friends. They may be afraid of being harmed further, especially if the perpetrator is someone they know, or someone on whom they depend. Because some rape survivors judge themselves so harshly for a crime that was not their fault, they may believe that others will judge them as well. 

Many times, survivors feel especially self-blaming when they knew and liked the perpetrator. Yet in 80 percent of reported sexual assaults, the survivor and perpetrator knew each other. Of those, more than 50 percent occur on a date. Almost 80 percent of sexual assaults involve alcohol and/or drugs, either on the part of the perpetrator or the survivor, or both. When an individual is impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs (including Rohypnol, "Roofies", the date-rape drug), free consent is impossible.

What are some common responses to a recent sexual assault?

Everyone copes with trauma differently. Ways of coping are influenced by the individual's coping skills before the assault, the severity of the assault, and the support system that is available to the survivor. However, the following responses are common for sexual assault survivors:

  • A diminished self-esteem, feelings of shame, humiliation, anger, powerlessness, and guilt.
  • A negative attitude towards her or his body. This could lead to self-harming behaviors (i.e. alcohol/drug abuse, eating disorders, mutilation, etc.)
  • Difficulty trusting and being intimate with others
  • Avoidance of sexual activity, or engagement in risky sexual activity
  • Experiencing flashbacks of the assault
  • Nightmares, fears of the future, fears of being alone
  • Difficulty concentrating, affected academic performance

For  information on sexual assault prevention and other university programs and resources, visit Campus Safety Sexual Assault


External Resources