Resources for Sexual Assault Victims on College Campuses
Most, if not all, college campuses today have educational programs that promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, and other sex offenses. Please make sure that you are aware of what your campus has available to victims of sexual assault. In the state of Illinois, sexual assault is defined as penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by a sexual organ, other body parts, or objects without consent.
Consent is defined by law as the freely given agreement to any sexual activity. Consent can be given and consent can be withdrawn. Rape can also occur if any sexual activity began with consent but consent was withdrawn, at any time, and all sexual activity did not stop immediately. The way a person dresses does NOT have any bearing on consent, and in no way does it EVER constitute consent.
If a person is under any force or threat of force, he or she can never give consent, as consent is always given freely. The same holds true if a person does not understand what is happening such as if he or she was unconscious or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A person who has been sexually assaulted may want to pursue the following options:
*The number ONE thing is to ensure one's safety. Get to a safe place as soon as possible.
*Call a close friend for support and have that same person go with you to the hospital or police station.
*Go immediately to the nearest Emergency Room
*While at the ER expect to have the staff collect evidence on your behalf. In order for them to collect viable evidence, it is important for you to NOT bathe or change clothes before going to the ER. Remember, evidence can be collected for as long as 96 hours following a rape.
*If you believe that you were given a date-rape type substance, it is very important that you do NOT urinate until you arrive at the ER. This way, the staff can detect drugs in your system.
*While at the ER, the staff will also treat any physical injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and / or provide you with emergency birth control options.
*Remember reporting a rape to the authorities does NOT mean prosecution. While at the ER, hospital staff will notify the authorities that a rape victim is present. Notifying the police early gives the authorities a better chance of taking a suspect into custody.
*Try NOT to destroy any possible evidence by bathing or changing clothes, try NOT to disturb any crime scenes such as where the rape occurred. DO try to remember as many details as possible, and DO try to keep a journal / record of what happened to you.
Remember, the following details about the suspect may be important to the authorities:
height,eye color,skin color
make of vehicle, clothing,license plate number
scars/marks,brand of cigarettes, body language
PLEASE be aware that victims of sexual assault may need treatment beyond what can be done in the ER. Often, victims will need psychological care from a counseling center or need a referral to a specialist from their student health department. PLEASE also consider seeking assistance from your campus sexual assault victims advocacy group or call the Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-888-293 or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-877-863-6338.
Basic Child Safety Tips
Talking to Children About Nearby Offenders
Child Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Assault on Campus
Illinois Sexual Offender FAQ
Basic Offender Information For Illinois
Crime Victim Rights Under Illinois Law
Illinois Protection Orders