Sexual Assault

If you have been sexually assaulted, call any of the following resources to discuss your options:

  • Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support
  • Women's Resource Center
    540-639-1123 (available 24/7)
  • Radford University Police
  • Radford City Police
    911 emergency, 540-731-3624 non-emergency
  • See our resources listing for additional telephone numbers and contacts

Sexual assault on university campuses is a matter of national concern. Radford University is committed to raising sexual assault awareness of students, staff, and faculty; to maintaining a safe campus environment; to providing aggressive law enforcement; and to offering prompt and compassionate support services for victims of sexual assault. 

Sexual Assault is any sexual activity obtained through the use of force, coercion, threat, or through the victim's inability to give consent. This act is considered unwanted if the victim has not voluntarily consented to the act. If a victim is not in a position to make a decision, such as when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, the act is considered unwanted. Being forced into sexual activity even if it is a date, a steady relationship, or a casual acquaintance is still sexual assault. Nothing a person does, says, or wears gives anyone the right to commit an assault. Sexual assault is a violation of the university standards of student conduct and of Virginia criminal statutes. Radford University's policy is explained in the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy. 

Incidents of sexual misconduct can be reported to the SAVES office.

There are Options

A victim of sexual assault has a number of options available. It is important to remember that there is not one alone that is right or wrong; it is up to the survivor to choose the one best for her or him. It is also important to remember that it is possible to choose more than one option. Some of these options are:

  1. Obtain help in healing with the trauma of sexual assault and assistance in deciding what to do next. There are a variety of services available to help survivors of sexual assault both within the university and the community.
  2. Seek medical attention. Even if the survivor chooses not to report the assault to the police, it is important to seek medical attention in case of the possibility of internal damage or sexually transmitted diseases. If the survivor does choose to report the assault to the police, valuable evidence can be obtained through a medical examination.
  3. File charges with Radford University. When the persons involved are students or employees of Radford University, the survivor may file charges against the accused person with the Dean of Students office or with a staff member in the area where the violation occurred (campus police, residential staff, etc.)
  4. File criminal charges through the Commonwealth of Virginia. Charges can be filed with either the campus or city police. It is within the power of the Commonwealth's Attorney to decide whether to pursue the charges or not. The survivor in this case becomes a witness for the Commonwealth.
  5. File civil charges against the accused. This option would include hiring a lawyer. In this case, the survivor would have the control over whether to proceed or not.
  6. A survivor may choose not to file any charges at all.

Counseling is Available

Counseling can be a very important aspect of recovering from a sexual assault. It helps the survivor to understand that she or he is not to blame. A counselor can also help ease feelings of guilt and shame and help the survivor to understand his or her feelings. Counseling can also restore the survivor's self-confidence and self-esteem.

Tips for reducing your risk

People can be, and are, sexually assaulted by friends, family, neighbors, dates, acquaintances, co-workers, and strangers. In most rapes, the rapist is known to the victim and often trusted. Such situations are called acquaintance rape. While the risk of rape may always exist, there are strategies that you can use to minimize the risk.

  • Limit your alcohol/drug consumption. Most acquaintance rapes occur when one or both parties are intoxicated or high.
  • Don't go on first dates alone. Arrange to be with other people until you are able to establish limits and learn more about your date.
  • Don't accept a ride from someone you have just met, perhaps at a party - no matter how pleasant he or she may seem.
  • Be able to get yourself home; do not rely on others to take care of you.
  • Trust your instincts when you are fearful (listen to the little voice inside you and act on it).
  • Be aware of controlling behavior in a date or a relationship. Most rape survivors recall feeling uncomfortable about some of their partner's behaviors.
  • Define for yourself your sexual limits. The first step is to define your limits clearly to yourself and then to communicate those limits to your partner.
  • Listen to your partner and respect his or her limits. If you are not sure, stop and check it out.
  • Avoid walking alone. Walk with friends, in groups, or with crowds, especially after dark.
  • When it is necessary to walk on campus after dark, remember you can arrange for an escort to meet you by calling Radford University Police at 540-831-5500.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and walk in well-lit areas when possible.
  • Keeps doors and windows locked at all times, even when you are home.
  • Know who is at the door before you open it.
  • Never prop doors open when they have been secured.

Remember:  If your prevention strategies do not work, it is not your fault that you are raped. At any point when you are in a vulnerable situation, your partner has a range of choices. If he or she chooses to rape, the choice is 100 percent his or her responsibility. If you become a victim, seek medical attention; help from friends, RAs, RDs, a counselor, a rape crisis center or the police.

How to Help a Friend

  • Believe what you are being told.
  • Don't pass judgment. Don't comment on what could have been done differently.
  • Be supportive of decisions made by the survivor. Don't try to make decisions for her or him.
  • Be prepared to listen.
  • Seek counseling or support for yourself.

The Fact is...

  • One in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape while enrolled as an undergraduate.
  • 80 percent of rapes occur off campus.
  • Rapists cause rapes.
  • 84 percent of survivors are acquainted with their assailant.
  • 75 percent of men and 55 percent of women involved in campus rapes had been drinking or taking drugs prior to the assault.