If You have been Sexually Assaulted
What is it?
Sexual assault is any kind of sexual behavior that you do not agree to. It may include:
- Inappropriate and unwanted touching
- Vaginal, anal or oral penetration that you did not agree to
- Sexual activity or intercourse that you did not agree to
- Sexual activity between minors in which there is a significant age discrepancy
- Sexual activity between a minor and a person over 18 years old
- Being watched, against your will or without your knowledge, while engaging in private sexual activities
- Being exposed to another person’s body or sexual activities (exhibitionism) against your will
Signs of emotional trauma after a sexual assault
- Replaying the event in your mind over and over through thoughts or images
- Re-experiencing the event in your dreams
- Re-experiencing the event during the day through “flashbacks” in which you feel like it is happening again
- Experiencing distress (emotional or physical) when faced with things that are reminders of the event
- Attempting to avoid reminders of the event
- Forgetting significant portions of the event
- Decreased interest in things that used to be enjoyable
- Feeling detached or distanced from friends, family, and/or life in general
- Feeling numb
- Having difficulty imagining your future
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased alertness to danger
- Easily startled
Things You Can Do to Reduce your Risk:
Sexual assault is never your fault. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk that you might be assaulted:
- Most assaults involve the use of alcohol by the victim, perpetrator or both. Be careful about how much you drink and who else is drinking around you. Don’t let alcohol cloud your judgment and don’t be around others who do.
- Most assaults are by someone you know and who you would not expect to hurt you. Buddy up with a close and trusted friend and look out for one another. Do not leave each other alone at parties.
- Lock your doors and windows. Do not walk alone at night.
- Be careful of strangers. Do not pick up hitch-hikers or let unknown people into your home. Be wary of unexpected visits from “repair people” or others.
- Be assertive. If your gut tells you that you want someone to back up – trust it. Tell that person out loud to leave you alone. Remember that being “nice” can be hard for others to read. Be clear and get a friend.
- Most importantly, remember that only the perpetrator can be blamed for sexual assault. But, take all of the steps you can to minimize your risk that a perpetrator will identify you as a victim.
Things You Can Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted:
- Get safe right away. Call a friend, family member or professional to help you get to safety right away. OASIS, ASU police, and the Counseling Center can help.
- Get to an emergency room. Sexual assault can cause physical harm as well as emotional harm. A doctor can help you to deal with fears of STDs, pregnancy, and physical damage that may not be obvious to you right away. The emergency room also has trained staff that can do a specific exam that will help you should you decide to press charges later. You do not have to make a decision to press charges at the time of the exam but it can be helpful to request it “just in case."
- Seek emotional support. The emotional pain of a sexual assault can be vastly reduced by seeking help right away. Oasis and the Counseling Center provide crisis counseling immediately after an assault. Oasis will also send supplies you may need (clothing, etc) to the emergency room and can send someone just to be by your side if you would like. Both the Counseling Center and Oasis are excellent resources if you need emotional support, financial assistance, legal assistance, or just someone to lean on.
- Consider your next steps. Get your physical and emotional needs met first! But, at some point you may want to consider your next steps. Telling important people in your life about what happened and how they can help you may be an important next step. Deciding whether or not you wish to press charges against the person that hurt you is sometimes a tough decision. Figuring out the best path to feeling better and feeling safe again can be hard to manage on your own. Let us help you.
Counseling Center at ASU: (828) 262-3180
OASIS: http://www.oasisinc.org/ or (828) 262-5035
RAINN: An online support for victims of sexual assault or incest: http://www.rainn.org/
Watauga Emergency Room: (828) 262-4100
ASU police: (828) 262-8000
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Help is Available
It may benefit you to talk to someone at the Counseling Center. Stop by during our Initial Consultation hours, Monday through Friday: 8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m. or call (828) 262-3180, and we can talk with you about your concerns. You may also learn more by checking out our other links or completing an online screening.
If you or another ASU student is experiencing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts or experiencing trauma in regard to a sexual assault, you may contact us after hours by calling the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on call.
The Counseling Center offers after-hours emergency coverage for urgent mental health concerns such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and other trauma. Call the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on-call.
During operating hours, students in crisis can walk in any time.
1st Floor, Miles Annas Building
614 Howard Street
Boone, NC 28608-2044
P.O. Box 32044
Boone, NC 28608
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m-5:00 p.m
Initial Consultation Hours:
Monday - Friday:
8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m.