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Sexual Assault

This page is designed to give information concerning the rights of victims of sexual assault on the campus of Radford University. You will also find information on what constitutes rape as well as tips for both men and women on how to conduct and protect yourself. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the topics covered on this page. It may just prevent you from becoming a victim.

Campus Sexual Assault
Victim's Bill of Rights

If you are a victim of a sexual assault on the Radford University campus, it is important that you be aware of your legal rights as stated in the "Federal Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights Acts of 1992".

The right to have any and all sexual assaults against them treated with seriousness; the right as victims, to be treated with dignity.

The right to have sexual assaults committed against them investigated and adjudicated by the duly constituted criminal and civil authorities of the governmental entity in which the crimes occurred; and the right to the full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities. The foregoing shall be in addition to any campus disciplinary proceedings.

The right to be free from any kind of pressure from campus personnel that (i) not report crimes committed against them to civil and criminal authorities or the campus law enforcement and disciplinary officials; or (ii) report crimes as lesser offenses than the victims perceive them to be.

The right to be free from any kind of suggestion that campus sexual assault victims not report or underreport crime because (i) victims are somehow responsible for the commission of crimes against them; (ii) victims were contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted; or (iii) by reporting crimes they would incur unwanted personal publicity.

The same right to legal assistance, or ability to have other present in any campus disciplinary proceeding that the institution permits the accused; and the right to be notified of the outcome of such proceeding.

The right to full and prompt cooperation from campus personnel in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence (including a medical examination) as may be necessary to the proof of criminal sexual assault in subsequent legal proceedings.

The right to be made aware of, and assisted in exercising any options, as provided by the state and federal laws or regulations, with regard of mandatory testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases and with regard to notification to victims of the results of such testing.

The right to counseling from any mental health services previously established by the institution, or by other victim-service entities, or by victims themselves.

The Elements of Rape

Rape is defined as any person who has sexual intercourse with a complaining witness who is not his or her spouse or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness's will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person, or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or (iii) with a child under age thirteen as the victim, he or she shall be guilty of rape.

If any person has sexual intercourse with his or her spouse and such act is accomplished against the spouse's will by force, threat or intimidation of or against spouse or another, he or she shall be guilty of rape.

Acquaintance/Date Rape

The term "Acquaintance / Date Rape" was never intended to lessen the severity of the offense. It's only purpose was to make the potential victim aware that the attacker is likely to be someone they know.

This type of rape is often referred to as acquaintance rape, date rape, cocktail rape, or social rape; but by any name, rape is rape.

Prevention Tips for Women

Rape is not a "woman's problem" and in a perfect world a woman would not need to develop strategies to protect herself. However, the potential for a rape to occur does exist in any social situation. The following suggestions may enable a potential victim to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.

Personal Development

Setting limits - Your body belongs to you and you have the right to set sexual limits for yourself. No one has the right to go beyond those limits without your consent, even if you have had sex with them before.

Communication - Learn to communicate clearly and assertively. A quiet "no" accompanied by a smile is not as effective as a definite and forceful "NO". Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings.

Be Assertive - Quiet or passive behavior can be misinterpreted as cooperation. Don't be afraid to make a scene if necessary. Embarrassment is a temporary condition - rape is not.

Intuition - Learn to trust your intuition. If someone or something makes you uncomfortable, leave or take other steps to correct the problem.

Evaluate- Assess your personal beliefs and capabilities and decide what options are available for you. It's helpful to consider hypothetical situations and develop plans you might use. Remember, if you are faced with a rape situation, your only goal is to survive.

Dating

Know the person you are dating. If you don't know him well, stay in public or group situations with other people around. Avoid secluded areas such as "lovers' lane".

Avoid alcohol use and/or misuse, especially on the first few dates. Remember that alcohol can impair your judgement and awareness.

Think twice about going to a man's room or apartment and about inviting him to yours. Some men may feel that your acceptance or invitation is a sign of your willingness to engage in sexual activity.

Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Make sure your date knows you have provided this information.

Don't rely on an unfamiliar date to provide transportation. Arrange to meet him somewhere. It's also a good idea to carry enough money for a cab fare and/or emergencies.

Be aware that limited sexual activity such as kissing or petting may confuse your date about your intentions. Although it is OK to set this sort of limit beforehand, the conflicting messages may cause the situation to become more difficult for you to control.

No amount of money or effort expended by your date gives the right to pressure you for sex.

Parties

Arrive with a group of friends and leave with them at the end of the evening. Watch out for each other. Friends won't let you do something you may regret later.

Don't go into a strange room or isolated area alone with someone you don't know. Others cannot hear screams above the music and talking at a party.

At the end of the night, leave with your friends when they want to; never ride or walk home with a stranger (even if you know them slightly).

Alcohol - Alcohol is often a factor in acquaintance rapes. This is true not only of the victim but often the offender. It's important to give special consideration to this issue. Alcohol is NOT an excuse for rape.

 

If you plan to attend a party or event where alcohol will be served, decide if you are going to drink (and how much) before arriving.

Don't drink before going out. Not only does it impair your judgment, it will also cause you to drink more when you arrive.

NEVER drink anything you did not ask for or did not see mixed, opened, or poured from a tap or bottle. Don't let strangers (or people you don't know well) provide you with unidentified beverages.

Be wary of men who have had too much to drink. Often this lowers inhibitions and may promote aggressive behavior.

Considerations for Men and Women

Build a relationship based on equality. Both men and women should work together and respect each other's right to initiate and set limits.

Communicate expectations clearly.

Reject stereotypes that teach men to regard women as sex objects or that masculinity is based on dominance and aggression.

Reject stereotypes that portray women as passive and powerless to control their lives.

Use alcohol responsibly. Remember that if you use alcohol or drugs, you are still responsible for your actions.

Recognize and learn to deal with peer pressure. Often sexual activity is encouraged or expected by peers in order to gain acceptance to the group. Consider the consequences before you make such a serious decision.

If you have sex with a person who is incapacitated or unable to resist or consent (due to alcohol, drugs, or unconsciousness) you are committing a sexual assault.

Rape is a crime of violence, not sexual passion. No matter how badly you want to have sex, it is rape without your partner's consent.

Suggestions for Men

Listen to what a woman is saying. Don't assume that "no" really means "yes" and "it's just part of the game".

Intercourse without her consent is rape, even if you have had a previous sexual relationship with the woman. There is no "implied permission".

It is never OK to force a woman to have sexual intercourse, even if you think that's what she really wants. If a woman says "NO", respect her wishes. You must take responsibility for your actions.

A woman with previous sexual experience isn't asking to be raped. Neither is a woman you consider to be dressed in a provocative or revealing manner.

Money spent on a woman does not entitle a man to have sex.

Psychological pressure is still coercion. "Wearing her down" by emotional blackmail is not acceptable.

Remember that men can also be rape victims. If you are victimized, you have the same legal and psychological resources available to you that are available to women.