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  • What is sexual assault?

    Sexual assault can take many different forms, but one thing remains the same, it is never the victim's fault.

    Sexual Assault is a crime of power and control. The term "sexual assault" refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent. Some forms of sexual assault include:

    • Penetration of the victim's body, also known as rape
    • Attempted rape
    • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex
    • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

    Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. Force doesn't always refer to physical pressure. Perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other tactics.

    The majority of perpetrators are someone known to the victim. Approximately 4 out of 5 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

  • What is date rape?

    The term "date rape" is sometimes used to refer to acquaintance rape. Perpetrators of acquaintance rape might be a date, but they could also be a classmate, a neighbor, a friend's significant other, or any number of different roles. It's important to remember that dating, instances of past intimacy, or other acts like kissing DO NOT give someone consent for increased or continued sexual contact.

  • What if I am a victim of sexual assualt?

    Unwanted sexual activity can take an immeasurable toll on the victim's physical and mental health. The emotional and physical scars of assault can deeply impact a student's ability to cope with academic, social, and personal responsibilities. While asking for help may feel unbearable, you must take action to ensure your safety. UNC's ASAP (Assault Survivors Advocacy Program) can provide immediate and follow up advocacy, support, and crisis intervention.

Reduce your Chance of Becoming a Victim of Sexual Assault

Self protection actions such as weaponless attacking, running, hiding, getting help, or struggling seems to decrease the risk of rape completion by 80%. Other prevention measures include:

  • Know your alcohol limits - Over half of sexual assaults committed against college students involve alcohol. Intoxication can make you significantly more vulnerable; impairing your judgment or inhibiting your physical ability to fight and you are at higher risk for incapacitation, blackouts, or unconsciousness.
  • Watch your drinks - Take your drink to the restroom with you. Never drink a beverage that has been given to you by someone else or taken from a communal alcohol source like a punch bowl.
  • Trust your gut - If you get a bad feeling, leave immediately. If something feels very wrong or you feel pursued, head in the direction of the nearest crowd, lighted area or building. Start talking loudly on your phone. Many attackers are unwilling to pursue victims who are aggressive or loud, which draws attention to the crime.
  • Stick with your friends - Attend social gatherings with a group of friends that you trust. Look out for each other and make sure everyone arrives home safely. If you do go out alone, always tell someone where you are going and avoid unlit walkways and choose well traveled roads.