Sexual Assault

Unfortunately, sexual assault is extremely common. Safe Place is committed to supporting and believing survivors of sexual violence. If you are a survivor, some important things to remember are:

  • What happened to you is not your fault. You have the right to feel safe at school, at home, and in your community.
  • Safe Place is confidential. We will not share information about you or your experience without your permission.
    • The only exception to this is in some cases of child or elder abuse, or if there is a threat of harm to self or others
  • The decision to report what happened to the police or to the university is entirely up to you
  • There is no wrong way to react to a traumatic event. If you are struggling to cope with what happened, we can help.
  • There is no right way to heal. Everyone's process is different. Be patient with yourself. Healing is possible.
  • You are not alone and you don't have to go through this alone. Many people are affected by these experiences, and support is available for you.

In order to prevent sexual assault, it is important to understand the myths and facts surrounding it.
Myths about sexual assault are harmful to victims and survivors, as they often blame, shame, or silence them. 

Facts About Sexual Assault

  • 1 in 5 college age women will have an experience that meets the legal definition of rape or attempted rape at some point during her college career
  • 8 out of 10 college students who are assaulted report knowing the perpetrator
  • 1 in 6 men are survivors of some form of child sexual abuse
  • Survivors of sexual assault are more likely to report to a friend or loved one than anyone else
  • Sexual assault can happen anywhere, at any time and to anyone
  • Sexual assault is a crime, used by one person to control, dominate and humiliate another
  • The perpetrator, not the victim, is always at fault 

Some Common Myths & Truths

Myth: Sexual assault occurs only in unsafe situations by complete strangers.

  • Truth: A perpetrator is not usually a masked stranger; 8 out of 10 college age victims report knowing the perpetrator. 

Myth: False reports are common.

  • Truth: False accusations are incredibly rare--reporting a sexual assault requires a lot of courage and bravery, and assuming that a report is false makes it less safe for survivors to come forward.

Myth: The absence of a "no" means it's a "yes"

  • Truth: The only way to truly know if a sexual experience is consensual is to ask and respect the answer every single time. ONLY a freely given yes means yes.

Myth: If a person doesn't fight back then it really wasn't sexual assault

  • Truth: There are many responses to sexual assault, and they are all valid. Sex without consent is rape, and it is scary. Whatever a person does to survive an assault is exactly what they should have done.