Sexual Assault

There are a lot of myths about sexual assault. Many people think that sexual assaults are perpetrated by strangers, and that sexual assault mainly occurs in high risk areas like deserted parking lots or isolated areas. Most sex offenders knew their victims and almost 60% of incidents took place in a residential setting.

Many people think that sexual assault is motivated by sexual desire. Most experts agree that it isn't. It is a violent crime, a hostile attack, and an attempt to hurt, humiliate, and control the victim. 

Click on the headings below for more information regarding sexual assault.

Facts About Sexual Assault

  • 1 in 4 women are victims of rape
  • 80-90 percent of victims have been sexually assaulted by someone they know and 57% of those rapes happened on a date
  • One in five women are sexually assaulted during a five-year college career.
  • It can happen anywhere at anytime, to anyone, male or female
  • Sexual assault is a crime, used by one person to control, dominate, and humiliate another
  • The offender, not the survivor, is always at fault
  • Less than 1 in every 3 sexual assaults is reported to law enforcement officials
  • A woman is raped every 2 minutes in the United States
  • 6 out of 10 sexual assaults occurred in the victim's home or at the home of a friend, relative or neighbor.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by the accused, either directly or through the clothing, of the victim's genitals, breasts, thighs, or buttocks, without consent. It includes, but is not limited to, acts or attempted acts of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation, rape by a foreign object, sexual battery, acquaintance/date rape, and indecent exposure.

What is Acquaintance Rape?

Acquaintance rape is any non-consensual sexual activity between two or more people who know each other. It can happen between friends, spouses, girlfriends and/or boyfriends, people who just met, etc.  

What Should I Do if I am, or Someone I Know is, Sexually Assaulted or Raped?

Get to a safe place.

Notify the appropriate police agency. If you don't know who to call, call 9-1-1 and you will be directed to the appropriate agency.

Seek medical attention, even if you have not been seriously physically injured. It is important to seek medical attention, even if you do not plan to report the sexual assault to the police. A medical examination is important to check for sexually transmitted diseases, other infections, injuries, and pregnancy.

Help preserve evidence. Physical evidence is crucial in helping to prosecute assailants. Evidence generally must be collected within 72 hours of the assault, and only by a certified medical facility upon the request of a law enforcement agency. To preserve evidence after an attack, you should not change your clothes, bathe, shower, or take any other personal hygiene action before contacting police. If it becomes absolutely necessary that you change your clothes, each item should be packaged separately in a paper bag. If oral contact took place, do not brush your teeth, use mouthwash, or smoke. Do not "straighten up" the crime scene.

Consider Counseling. Help is available in the form of support services, crisis lines, support groups, and counseling.

Additionally, a survivor may request a change in academic and/or living arrangements after a sexual attack, if the changes are reasonably available. Contact the Director of University Housing and Food Services at (530) 898-6325 and the Vice President for Student Affairs at (530) 898-6131 for additional information.

If I call the police or go to the hospital, what will happen?

If the assault took place on University property, the University Police will respond to the call. If the assault took place elsewhere, then it falls under the jurisdiction of the police in that area. When the police arrive, they will address your medical needs first to assess whether you need to go to the hospital immediately. The police are specially trained to handle sexual assault cases, and will see to it that the situation is handled in a sensitive, caring manner.

The police will then begin to interview you about what happened. This can be a very difficult task, but it is absolutely necessary if a police report is to be completed. The police will then get as much information as possible on the alleged assailant and investigate the case further. The sooner the assault is reported, the sooner the investigation can begin. Further investigation could lead to an arrest. 

If you go to the hospital, medical personnel will conduct a physical examination. They will also conduct an evidentiary examination in case you decide to go through the court system.

Going to the hospital is not an easy process for anyone. You may want to take along a good friend or family member for support. It is important to know that if you go straight to the hospital, the hospital will call the police. It is important to recognize that sexual assault is a violent crime, and that hospitals are obligated to call the police. However, If you do not want to file a police report, that is your choice. If you change your mind, you can file a report later.

What if I do not want to file a police report?

In the event that filing a police report is not an option for you, there are many other options to choose from to help yourself or a friend in need. 

You have the right to individual or group counseling for support. No one should have to deal with a sexual assault alone. Getting support for this traumatic event is very important.  All counseling is held in a very supportive and confidential environment.

Reporting the Sexual Assault

Sexual assaults may be reported to any of the following agencies, which provide a variety of support options and resources. Reports may be made anonymously.

Butte County Behavioral Health Info
(530) 891-2810
Adult
(530) 891-2810
Youth
(530) 891-2794 
Butte County Sheriff's Department (530) 538-7321
Chico Police Department (530) 897-4911
Faculty and Staff Assistance (530) 898-4645
Office of Student Judicial Affairs (530) 898-6897
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (530) 898-6131
Rape Crisis Intervention (530) 891-1331
Student Health Services (530) 898-5241
Student Psychological Counseling (530) 898-6345
University Police Department (530) 898-5555
Crisis Line (530) 342-7273
Gender and Sexual Equity Center
(530) 898-5724