Sexual Assault


Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention
Counseling Center
The State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: 673-3424

What to do if you are sexually assaulted

If you are not sure how to think about what happened...

Defining Sexual Assault/Rape

Understanding Sexual Assault

Risk Reduction

How to help a survivor

Where can I get help?

Impact of sexual assault

Victim's Bill of Rights

 

What to do if you are sexually assaulted...

If you have been hurt by an acquaintance, partner, family member or stranger, it was not your fault. The CEASE program of the Counseling Center provides free and confidential services to SUNY Fredonia students who have been hurt by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. Below you will find information that about sexual assault and services available for students.  

All of the information below is available in a PDF download, click here.

If you are a Male survivor or identify as LGBTQ we have additional resource pages that may be helpful:
Click here for Male survivors
Click here for LGBTQ 

 

If you have been sexually assaulted:

 

Go someplace safe. Tell a person who will support you and/or contact the CEASE program of the Counseling Center.

The CEASE program provides on-campus advocacy and referrals for SUNY Fredonia students that are survivors of violence. We can answer questions, be someone to talk to, offer emotional support, and provide referrals. You can make an appointment with the CEASE office by stopping by the Counseling Center, LoGrasso Hall, calling us at (716) 673-3424, or emailing the CEASE coordinator at Julie.Bezek@fredonia.edu. The CEASE office is open M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

For 24 hour assistance The Anew Center of Jamestown (The Salvation Army) provides a 24/7 helpline for survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence (1-800-252-8748). The helpline can answer questions, provide referrals or send a victim advocate to meet with you.

Both services are free and confidential. We highly encourage survivors to contact an advocate.

 

Have your medical needs attended to at a clinic or in the emergency room.

Taking care of your physical and medical state can play an important role in healing. You may have internal and/or external injuries as a result of the assault requiring medical care. Additionally, you may want to explore options for preventing sexually transmitted infections/disease (STI/STD) and/or pregnancy.

Emergency contraception (EC) is available at area pharmacies, while it is ‘over the counter’ and does not require an Rx, you will have to ask the pharmacist to obtain EC. The Health Center offers EC for $15.00 and the Chautauqua County Health Department in Dunkirk offers EC free of charge (see below for contact information).

There is no 'right' place to go for medical attention after an assault. Seek the services that best match your needs and comfort level - your own health care practitioner, a staff members at the Health Center, or Brooks Memorial Hospital.

Brooks Memorial Hospital can provide medial treatment to survivors of sexual assault. They can offer treatment for injuries, STD testing and treatment, the morning after pill, and basic evidence collection (also known as 'rape kits'). Advocates from The Anew Center can be contacted to provide advocacy services.  Survivors who have a sexual assault kit completed do not have to file a police report or press criminal charges.

Contact Information:
529 Central Avenue - Dunkirk
(716) 366-1111
www.brookshospital.org

Things to know about the SANE exam:

  • You will be asked questions about your general health and specific questions about the assault. It may be difficult to recall some of the details, and it may be emotionally painful to talk about what happened. Medical providers ask specific questions to find out what to look for when they examine you. The information you give helps them conduct a thorough physical evaluation.
  • During the exam you can expect to be examined for internal or external injuries, foreign hair samples, and semen/other bodily fluids. You may be given antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Depending on the types of sexual contact that occurred, the search for physical evidence may include taking samples from the mouth, vagina, and/or rectum to test for sperm cells and semen. Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault.
  • If you have visible injuries, you may be asked to have photographs taken. Photographing injuries is important because by the time your assailant is prosecuted, the injuries may have healed.
  • Going to the hospital does not mean that you have to make a report to the police. That is your choice.
  • Save the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag.
  • Save sheets, blankets, or anything else that may have evidence in a paper bag. Do not throw anything away or try to clean up.
  • Such an exam can be performed up to 72 hours after an assault, but it is most successful within the first 24 hours.
  • If possible, bring an extra set of clothes (the police may want the clothes worn during the assault for evidence) and a friend or another supportive person.
  • Do not shower, drink, eat, or change your clothes prior to an exam. These activities destroy important physical evidence that is useful should you decide to make a police report. Also, document everything you remember happening with as much detail as possible.

The Chautauqua County Health Department - Reproductive Health Services Clinic can provide free and confidential STD/HIV testing and treatment. They can also provide the morning after pill.

Contact Information:
319 Central Avenue - Dunkirk
(716) 363-3660
http://www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/departments/health/Pages/ReproductiveHealth.aspx

The Health Center staff is specially trained to identify and respond to the medical needs of sexual assault survivors. The Health Center can provide treatment for injuries, the morning after pill, and referrals to outside providers for additional services. The Health Center does not provide evidence collection services (also known as 'rape kits'). They can provide you with transportation to Brooks Hospital to have evidence collected.

Contact Information:
LoGrasso Hall, The State University of New York at Fredonia
www.fredonia.edu/healthcenter
(716) 673-3131

FRED ASSIST - formerly known as Birth Control Information Clinic (BCIC): Sexual health clinic that offers services to male and female SUNY Fredonia students. Services include: pap smears, testing for Chlamydia and gonorrhea (urine test for males & females), emergency contraception (at clinics only), and hormonal contraception. Please see BCIC for a complete price list for services. Clinical services are provided by a medical staff and student volunteers staff office hours to answer questions regarding sexual health and make appointments for the clinic. Services are available for all Fredonia State students and are completely confidential.

Contact Information:
LoGrasso Hall (rear of building), The State University of New York at Fredonia
(716) 673-3396      

                                                                                                    

Consider whether you'd like to make a police report. If there's any chance that you want to report your assault to the police now or in the future:

Not everyone is comfortable with using the criminal justice system or campus disciplinary process to respond to a sexual assault. It is your decision whether or not to take judicial or legal action against the perpetrator. We encourage you to seek out the support system that feels most appropriate and helpful.

Assaults that occurred on-campus be reported to the survivor’s Residence Director, Judicial Affairs, or the University Police.   Assaults that occurred off-campus can be reported Village of Fredonia Police or the law enforcement jurisdiction where the assault took place. We encourage survivors to bring an advocate or friend for support.

Students have the option to pursue criminal charges (assaults that took place on or off campus) and/or disciplinary action through student conduct process (assaults that took place on campus).  For more information about the student conduct process please contact the CEASE program or Judicial Affairs

Contact Information:

University Police
Gregory Hall - 2nd Floor
716-673-3333
http://www.fredonia.edu/upd

Judicial Affairs (Student Affairs)
Gregory Hall - 2nd Floor
716-673-3271
http://www.fredonia.edu/JudicialAffairs

Village of Fredonia Police
9 Church Street
716-679-1531
http://www.fredoniapolice.org

Things to know about filing a Police Report:
When the police arrive, they will address your medical needs first to assess whether you need to go to the hospital. The police will also interview you about what happened. This may be difficult, but it is very important in order to complete a police report. The interview is conducted in private, but you can request to have a friend or another supportive person accompany you if you wish. Advocates from CEASE or the Anew Center are available to be with you during the police interview. The police will get as much information as possible about the incident and investigate the case further.

Once an investigation is completed, the police refer the case to the District Attorney's office. The District Attorney's office decides whether or not your case will be prosecuted by considering factors such as the amount of evidence available to prove the charge(s) in court. If the District Attorney decides not to prosecute, this does not mean that the District Attorney doesn't believe that you were assaulted. It means that based on experience, he/she does not believe that there is sufficient evidence to win the case.

Anonymous Sexual Assault Report
If a victim does not wish to file a police report or a university incident report an anonymous sexual assault (ASA) report can be filed. An ASA report is a completely anonymous report to CEASE. The report is used to gather data on sexual assault to create a more effective response to victims. You can find the report by clicking here

 

Counseling Services & Other Assistance

Counseling can be an integral part of recovery from a sexual assault. The Counseling Center can provide mental health services for victims of sexual assault. Their services are free and confidential. They are located in LoGrasso Hall and are open M-F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

After a sexual assault you may need to change your housing or academic schedule, contact the Office of Student Affairs (x3424) for more information.

 

If you are not sure how to think about what happened...

Sex should feel good, mutual, intimate. When it doesn't, people sometimes don't know how to define it. When the experience falls on the coercion/abuse side of the continuum people are reluctant to call it rape or sexual violence unless it happened on a dark street with a stranger. If you feel bad, taken advantage of or abused, you should take these feelings seriously even if you don't know what label to put on the experience.

Confusion is a common response to an unexpected event. You did not intend or expect the situation to end with you feeling uncomfortable, bad or taken advantage of. It may take some time to process the unexpected, and possibly violent, turn of events. Accept your confusion as natural and pay attention to your other feelings and responses.

Many people minimize the significance of an event and minimize the strength of their emotional response when something bad happens to them. In a way this can be an adaptive strategy, but it also can make it more difficult to deal with what happened. Be careful not to dismiss your feelings of discomfort too quickly.

You may also be concerned that your decisions and actions contributed to the bad outcome and worry that it's your fault. You are right in taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions, but you are not responsible for the actions of the other person, nor are you in any way "deserving" of what happened to you.

If in your gut you feel that something "bad" or "wrong" happened and that you feel uncomfortable, hurt, angry, etc. then you need to take this gut awareness seriously. It is a fallacy that people over report sexual assault. In fact it is one of the most under reported crimes.

CEASE can assist students who want to process their thoughts and feelings so they can fully deal with what happened. We can answer questions, be someone to talk to, offer emotional support, and provide referrals. All services are free and confidential.

 

Defining Sexual Assault

The New York State Penal code broadly defines sexual assault as engaging in sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, anal) with another person without such person's consent.

The Student Code of Conduct defines sexual assault "Participation in any form of non-consensual sexual intimacy and unwanted physical sexual conduct (Section 2-f)."

» Judicial Affairs Rights & Responsibilities

University Policy on Sexual Assault

The Fredonia campus will not tolerate sexual assault in any form, including acquaintance rape. Where there is probable cause to believe that the campus' regulations prohibiting sexual assault have been violated, the campus will pursue strong disciplinary action through its own channels. This discipline includes the possibility of suspension or dismissal from the university.

A student charged with sexual assault can be prosecuted under New York State criminal statutes and disciplined under the campus code of student conduct. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action. A student may be charged under Section 2(f) of the Standards of Behavior.

In addressing cases of sexual assault SUNY Fredonia works to ensure fairness and to provide support for all persons involved, especially the victims. Students who have questions about the procedures and protections provided in these cases are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Affairs and/or University Police. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the Counseling Center and Health Center for further assistance.

SUNY Fredonia recognizes the following definition of consent: voluntary, non-coerced and clear communication indicating a willingness to engage in a particular act. Consent is defined in the following manner; consent or lack of consent may be expressed or implied. Acquiescence does not necessarily constitute consent, further consent cannot be construed if: (1) It is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense and such incompetence is manifest or known to the actor; or (2) It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, or intoxication is manifestly unable or known to the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or (3) It is induced by force, duress or deception.

» Judicial Affairs Policy on Sexual Assault

 

Understanding Sexual Assault

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted, coerced, or forced sexual contact or intercourse with someone who does not give or is unable to give consent (e.g. under the influence of alcohol or drugs or asleep). Sexual assault can involve the sexual penetration of a body orifice, but also includes other unwanted sexual contact. Most victims will know their perpetrator(s); they may be friend, current or former partner, classmate, co-worker, or date. Sexual assault can happen to women and men, individuals who are straight, bi-sexual, gay, or lesbian. Alcohol, date rape drugs or other substances may also be involved in the sexual assault.

A common myth is that your assailant will be a stranger that jumps out of the bushes and assaults you. However, it is far more likely that your assailant will be an acquaintance.

According to a Department of Justice report, "Ninety percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape know their assailant. The attacker is usually a classmate, friend, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, or other acquaintance (in that order)."

Victims of sexual assault can be women or men, and sexual assault can occur between individuals of the same sex or gender. While more than 90% of victims are women, men are also sexually assaulted and raped, usually by other men; 98% of men who rape other men identify themselves as heterosexual in consensual sexual relationships.

* Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim.
* Offenders are always responsible for the choice to assault someone else.
* The only person that can prevent this crime from occurring is the perpetrator of it.

 

Risk Reduction

Self Assessment

* Think about what you really want, emotionally and sexually, from or with the other person.
* Beware of stereotypes which prevent you from acting as you want to (such as a woman not being able to initiate sex, or a man not being able to say "no").

Personal

* Feel good about yourself, and if you do not - get yourself involved in activities and with people who will make you feel better.
* Those who were victims of abuse as children are more likely to be victims or perpetrators of sexual assault in adulthood. Consider seeking professional care if you are a survivor of childhood abuse.
* Limit you alcohol and other drug consumption. Most acquaintance rapes happen when one or both people are intoxicated or high.

Communication

* After determining what you want, communicate your needs and set clear limits for acceptable behavior (such as "Would you like to have sex?" or "No touching below the waist.").
* Believe and act as if your needs are important, without exploiting others.
* Pay attention to nonverbal cues.
* Listen to what the other person is saying, and pay attention to the words. For example, if you hear "no" or "stop,", then immediately end any sexual interactions.
* Treat each other as equals, and expect to be treated in a respectful manner.

Awareness

* Observe how the environment around you is changing (such as your being left at a party by your friends when you do not know how you will get home).

Know Your Rights

* You have the right to determine what type of interactions you will have with another person.
* You have the right to end sexual activity at any point, regardless of how far sexual intimacy has gone.
* You have the right to fulfill your sexual needs without violating another person's rights.

Know Which Behaviors Constitute Sexual Assault

* It is a crime to have sex with someone who is passed out due to drug or alcohol use and is unable to express consent.
* It is a crime to force another person to have unwanted sexual contact.

To Reduce Your Risk of Becoming a Victim... 

Observe Your Feelings and Behavior

* Trust your own instincts at all times. If you feel uneasy, there is a reason for it. Listen to the voice inside you and act on it.
* Ask yourself: "Am I able to say 'no' if I am uncomfortable with what is happening?"
* Observe the behavior of those around you.
* Be aware when others attempt to violate your personal space.
* Do not assume that someone who has been nonviolent in the past will be nonviolent in the future.

Communicate Your Feelings and Needs

* Before you find yourself alone with a date, clarify your intentions with each other.
* Men who consciously or subconsciously believe in the myth of endless female sexual desire (i.e. girls really want it even when they say no) are dangerous. Behaving passively or submissively can foster that myth. Always be direct and assertive in all communications throughout an evening, from what you choose to eat at dinner to what you are interested in sexually.
* Be verbally assertive. Assertive responses are direct, honest, appropriate and spontaneous. Speak in calm, controlled manner while looking directly at the harasser. Examples include, "I don't want you to touch me like that. I want you to stop now."
* Be physically assertive. Do not "shrink" physically. Look confident and competent. It's important that your words and actions be consistent.
* Be prepared for men to react to assertiveness. Oftentimes, men are not prepared for women to demand respect and do not know how to deal with it. Some men may react nastily, others may be sheepish and shrink away, while some may critically examine their behavior for the first time, and move toward change.

Use Your Power to be in Control

* Maintain your boundaries and rules of conduct at all times, regardless of how well you know someone.
* If you feel uncomfortable, threatened, or do not like how you are being treated emotionally or physically, then leave the situation immediately. Emotional abuse escalates to physical abuse.
* Be aware of the amount of alcohol consumed by you or by an acquaintance. Sexual assaults are more likely to occur after one or both individuals have consumed alcohol.
* Be aware of your environment and escape routes within your environment.
* Be prepared to provide yourself with the means of leaving a dangerous situation. Have a back-up plan in place, including access to a phone, cab fare, a friend with a car, etc.
* Because there is an unfortunate desire by some in our society to resist intervening in an abusive situation -- particularly when the conflict involves a couple -- yell "Fire!" rather than "Rape!" or "Help!" if you need help in getting out of a dangerous situation.
* Do not give out personal information. Many times, women are asked to disclose a lot of personal information; i.e., their name, residence, place of employment, etc.
* Always ask a repair or delivery person for identification before opening the door.
* Rely on your own resources. Maximize and develop your strength, power, and control. Take self defense classes and be prepared to protect yourself.

To Reduce the Risk of Perpetrating a Crime...

Observe Your Behavior

* If you find yourself being manipulative towards others, emotionally or sexually, STOP. Do not exploit others.
* Do not feel as if you always have to initiate sexual contact. Do not initiate if you do not want to.
* Sustain your integrity. Take responsibility for your behavior. Observe the Behavior of Those Around You
* Pay attention to all messages, verbal and nonverbal.
* "No" means no. "Stop" means stop what you are doing immediately!
* Use peer pressure positively to stop abusive behaviors which may lead to acquaintance assaults. Condemn, rather than condone, the behavior of a peer who has taken advantage of a sexual partner.

Know the Facts

* Most sexual assaults occur between people who know each other.
* Acquaintance rape and other sexual assaults are crimes. It is a crime to have intercourse with someone against their will. Are you willing to go to jail for a nonconsensual sexual act?

Adapted from Bowling Green State University's Coalition Against Sexual Offenses

How to help a survivor

Things to know when assisting a survivor of sexual assault:

  • Do not use victim blaming statements. For example, "What did you expect when you went to his room?" or "You should have reported this to the police."
  • Avoid asking "why" questions such as, "Why did you get so drunk?" or "Why did you go home with him?" "Why" questions serve no purpose when assisting a survivor and may cause them to blame themselves for the assault.
  • Let survivors make their own decisions on how they want to handle their assault. Survivors of sexual assault experienced power and control being taken away from them. Never tell them what they "should" do. You can provide options but the survivor should decide what is best for them.
  • Not everyone will react to a sexual assault in the same manner. There is no "right way" to handle a sexual assault.
  • Survivors will feel a variety of emotions during the healing process. Let the person express her/his feelings.
  • Focus on listening instead of offering advice or asking questions.
  • Let them know how much support you can give. Tell the person your limits about how much time and energy you can give rather than making unrealistic promises.

CEASE provides survivors (and individuals assisting survivors) with emotional support, someone to talk to, and referrals for medical and legal options; in a setting that is non-judgmental. CEASE services are free and confidential. If you are assisting survivor and need help please contact the CEASE program; assisting someone who is coping with the aftermath of sexual assault can be a very difficult and confusing process.

 

Where can I get help?

Campus, Education, Awareness, Support, and Effect (CEASE) is the Violence Prevention - Victim Services program at SUNY Fredonia. The program is coordinated through the Counseling Center and works to prevent sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking and provide advocacy services to students who are survivors of interpersonal violence. CEASE provides survivors (and individuals assisting survivors) with emotional support, someone to talk to, and referrals for medical and legal options; in a setting that is non-judgmental. The CEASE Program does not tell survivors what to do; instead we offer options that are available to you. CEASE services are free and confidential. We highly encourage survivors to contact the CEASE program; coping with the aftermath of sexual assault can be a very difficult and confusing process.

Contact CEASE

For more information on the CEASE Program call us at 673-3424, stop by our office in LoGrasso Hall, or email the CEASE Coordinator, Julie.Bezek@fredonia.edu.

 

Impact of Sexual Assault

The emotional trauma caused by a sexual assault can be severe and long-lasting. You may be affected in many different ways. Although each person is unique, there are some feelings and reactions that most sexual assault victims experience. It can be helpful for you to know about these responses. You may experience some or all of these symptoms. They may occur immediately, or you may have a delayed reaction weeks or months later. Certain situations, such as seeing the assailant or testifying in court, may intensify the symptoms or cause them to reoccur after a period during which you have been feeling better. Please remember that all of your feelings and reactions are a normal part of recovery and it can help to talk with someone about how you are feeling.

 

SUNY Fredonia Victim's Bill of Rights

The following rights shall be afforded to victims of sexual assault-

You have the right:

  • To be treated with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
  • To have your case considered seriously regardless of your gender or sexual orientation
  • To receive, when required, the full, prompt cooperation of campus personnel when obtaining, securing, and preserving evidence.
  • To be informed of your options to report the assault through law enforcement and Judicial Affairsand the option to be assisted by campus personnel in notifying such authorities, if you chose.
  • To be given the opportunity to make a victim impact statement at the end of a campus judicial hearing.
  • To be notified of existing campus and community medical, counseling and mental health services whether or not the crime is reported to campus or civil authorities.
  • To have a personal advisor/counselor present at a disciplinary proceeding.
  • To be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding.
  • To not have irrelevant sexual questions or history considered during a hearing.
  • To be notified of options for changing academic and living situations, if such changes are reasonably available.
  • To report the assault without penalty if you consumed alcohol underage.

 

 


Page modified 7/15/14