Facts About SA
Rape is a serious issue on college campuses across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in 4 college-aged women report experiences that meet the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.
Males can be sexually assaulted, but are less likely to report it than females. Not all make victims are homosexual. Studies show that male victims experience the same traumatic feelings that female survivors face – anger, shame, embarrassment, fear and hopelessness.
Nearly 60% of rapes occur in the survivor’s residence hall.
Consent is when partners of legally consenting age with clear minds, freely (without the influence of threat or coercion) explicitly and mutually agree to participate in each act of intimacy knowing all of the facts and repercussions involved in engaging in sexual activity with the other person.
When determining if Consent is present, ask yourself these four CONSENT TEST questions.
1) Is your partner old enough to engage in sexual activity?
For sexual assault purposes, under the Texas Penal Code (TPC), a child is defined as a person younger than 17 years of age who is not the spouse of the [offender]. Therefore, a person who is 17 years of age or under cannot legally consent to sexual activity. Engaging in any sexual activity with a minor may result in a person being charged with “statutory rape” under the TPC. *Consult an attorney if you are accused of having sexual intercourse with a minor.
2) Does your partner have a clear mind to consent?
Consent can be a difficult concept to understand – even for more seasoned adults – however, one aspect is extremely clear under the law: A person under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs cannot legally consent to any sexual activity. To consent, a person must be of a clear mind. If your partner has been excessively drinking or is under the influence of any mind-altering drug, he or she cannot give consent. Period.
3) Do all partners know all of the facts prior to engaging in sexual activity?
Do you currently have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that you have not disclosed to your partner? Are you planning on recording this sexual encounter and have not informed your partner? Do you plan to post this sexual encounter on social media without informing your partner? Did your partner ask you to wear a condom and you decide to take it off without telling your partner? Did you tell your partner that you are on birth control pills, but are secretly hoping to get pregnant so you do not take them for weeks at a time?
All of the above manipulations and misleading behaviors may be considered a form of sexual coercion. Always remember, both partners must be aware of all of the facts prior to engaging in sexual activity. Without being aware of all of the facts, one partner (or both) did not freely consent to sexual activity and might have never consented if all of the facts were presented.
4) Did your partner explicitly consent to each stage of physical intimacy?
The absence of the word “NO” does not mean that consent was given. While it might not seem “romantic”, ensuring that a partner has clearly, consistently and enthusiastically said “YES” to any and all sexual activity is a MUST. Ask for consent every step of the way. If consent is not given – STOP.
Only “Yes” means Yes. Never assume that the absence of “NO” means YES. Just ask first.
Victims of sexual assault may be traumatized and/or shocked initially after the assault. Just because a victim cannot tell you all of the facts of the assault or appears calm in relating their story, does not mean that the assault did not take place. Sexual assault reactions are not “One Size Fits All”. If someone reports a sexual assault, believe them. Believe their story. It is critical to keep your feelings of how you would have reacted to yourself and to not judge the truth of their story based on how you think you would have reacted.
The victim’s sexual history and what the victim was wearing on the night of the assault are irrelevant.
Just because a person does not fight off his or her attacker does not mean she/he was not sexually assaulted. Many victims report being too scared, shocked or feeling too threatened to fight. Some victims who are under the influence may not have the strength to fight off his/her attacker.
The only person to blame for a sexual assault occurring is the perpetrator of the sexual assault. Nobody “makes” someone rape them.