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Sexual Assault FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Assualt

1. What is sexual assault? +

Answer: Sexual assault is defined as rape or unwanted physical contact with the intimate parts of a person’s body for purposes of sexual gratification, humiliation or degradation. The intimate parts of a person’s body means the genital area or any substance emitted there from, groin, anus or any substance emitted therefrom, inner thighs, buttocks or breasts. Rape is a type of sexual assault that involves sexual intercourse which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. Sexual intercourse means vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, fellatio or cunnilingus between persons regardless of gender. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete intercourse or fellatio and does not require the emission of semen. Penetration may also be committed by an object manipulated by the perpetrator into the genital or anal opening of the victim’s body.

2. What are some examples of sexual assault? +

Answer: Some examples of sexual assault include, but are not limited to:
• Someone touching, fondling, kissing or making contact with the intimate parts of your body without your consent;
• Someone putting his/her finger, tongue, mouth, penis or any object in or on your vagina, mouth, penis or anus without your consent.

3. What does sexual assault have to do with the sexual harassment? +

Answer: Sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment.

4. Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friend or acquaintance? +

Answer: Yes. The definition is the same regardless of who the accused is – if there was no consent, there is sexual assault.

5. What is the University’s definition of consent? +

Answer: The University defines “consent” as an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. The lack of a negative response is not consent. An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or other drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. Past consent of sexual activity does not imply ongoing future consent.

6. How do I know whether someone is incapacitated (i.e., by drugs or alcohol) and thus,
cannot consent to sexual conduct?

Answer: Signs of incapacity include, but are not limited to: slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling or difficulty maintaining balance, vomiting, inability to focus eyes, inability to communicate/comprehend situation, and unconsciousness. If you are unsure whether someone is incapacitated, protect yourself by not engaging in sexual contact with that person.

7. What if someone is incapacitated but still gives signs of consent to the sexual activity? +

Answer: If the other person knew or should have known that the individual was incapacitated, there is no consent.

8. What if I am underage but was intoxicated at the time of the sexual assault –
will I get charged with underage drinking if I report the assault?

Answer: No. If you have been sexually assaulted while underage and intoxicated, neither you nor a friend assisting you will be charged with underage drinking by the University of Connecticut.

9. What is the role of alcohol and drugs with sexual assault? +

Answer: Alcohol is present in 80-85% of reported rapes. Drinking too much in no way makes being raped or assaulted your fault! Legally, if you were intoxicated or passed out as a result of over-drinking or drugs, it was impossible to give consent.

There are a number of “date rape” drugs used in the community. Some examples include rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine HCL. With regard to the drug rohypnol – also known as Ruffies, Roaches, Rope, Mind-Erasers, Lunch Money and Mexican Valium – this drug is in the same family as Valium. However, it is described as being 10 times stronger than Valium. It is illegal in the U.S. but is used in 80 other countries to treat people with severe and debilitating sleep disorders. It is also used as a pre-anesthetic before surgery. It is odorless, tasteless and colorless and dissolves rapidly in alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Physical effects are noticeable within 20-30 minutes of ingestion, and their overall effects can last from six hours to 20 hours, depending on the dose that was taken. Complete or partial amnesia is the most common effect of this drug, especially when taken with alcohol. The person who ingested rohypnol may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of extreme drunkenness
  • Unconsciousness

The effects of the drug vary, however, depending on the dose ingested, whether it is taken with alcohol, weight, metabolism, and how soon medical care is received.

With regard to GHB (chemical name is gamma hydroxybutrate), it is also known as Liquid G, Georgia Home Boy, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, Liquid Ectasy, and G-Juice. It acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and is marketed in liquid, pill or powder form. It can be slipped into a drink and a person can feel the effects within 15 minutes of ingestion. The effects include those very similar to Rohypnol symptoms, such as confusion, intense drowsiness, and unconsciousness. Mixed with alcohol, GHB can cause the central nervous system to shut down, lead to loss of consciousness and possibly result in a coma or death.

With regard to Ketamine HCL, which has the street name of Special K, it is a general anesthetic used in veterinary medicine. It is a clear liquid or white powder and causes hallucinations, paralysis, and respiratory depression. Most labs are unable to test for this drug because it is metabolized completely within 2 hours.

10. What do I do if I suspect I’ve been drugged and sexually assaulted? +

ANSWER: Get to a safe place and call a sexual assault crisis center for information or support. Determine whether you want to report the incident to the police. If there is any chance you do want to report the assault, you should not shower, bathe, change clothes or straighten up the area until medical and legal evidence is collected because these actions will destroy evidence. If you want to report the incident, first call the police and then go to the hospital and have medical evidence collected.

If you do not want to report the assault to the police or are unsure if you want to report it to the police, it is very important that you still go to a hospital, clinic or private doctor for treatment of external and/or internal injuries, tests for pregnancy and STDs, and support services.

Request a urine test as quickly as possible to detect the presence of drugs because every hour matters. Chances of getting proof that you were drugged are best when the sample is obtained soon after the substance has been ingested, but depending on the substance used, the test can be reliable even on a sample obtained 72 hours later.

11. How can I reduce my risk of being drugged and sexually assaulted? +

Answer: Remember that it is never your fault if you have been drugged and sexually assaulted. That said, there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of that occurring such as:

  • Be aware of your limits and honor your instincts.
  • Communicate with your friends and those you’re partying with ahead of time about your plans for the evening.
  • Do not leave beverages unattended.
  • Do not take any beverages from someone you do not know well or trust.
  • At parties, do not accept open container drinks from anyone.
  • Be alert to the behavior of friends and ask them to watch out for you. Anyone extremely intoxicated after consuming only a small amount of alcohol may be in danger.
12. What if I consent to some sexual activity, but then say no to other sexual activity;
can there still be sexual assault?

Answer: Yes. One must look at the circumstances to determine whether there was consent with respect to each sexual act. If there is consent to one sexual act, but not for another, the act for which there is no evidence of consent will be considered sexual assault.

13. What if I went on the date willingly or started talking to the person first,
doesn’t that mean that I consented?

Answer: No. You always have the right to say no, even if:

  • You have been drinking;
  • You have been making out;
  • You have had sex before;
  • You said yes, then changed your mind;
  • Your partner says, “You owe me;”
  • You’re flirting or wearing sexy clothes; or
  • You think she or he will get mad.
14. In order to establish that I have not consented to specific sexual activity,
am I required to physically resist the sexual activity?

Answer: No. Physical resistance is not required. There is no consent if a reasonable person would believe that there was no mutually understood, freely given agreement to the sexual activity.

15. I’m feeling so many different emotions. Is this normal? +

Answer: Reactions to a traumatic experience such as sexual assault vary from person to person. The following are examples of both physical and emotional reactions that a victim of sexual assault might experience:

Physical Reactions:

  • Aches and pains: headaches, backaches, stomach aches
  • Sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations
  • Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, interest in sex
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Easily startled by noises or unexpected touch
  • More susceptible to colds and illness

Emotional Reactions:

  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Self-Blame
  • Concern for the assailant
  • Lack of concentration, resulting in academic difficulties
16. What can I do if I or someone I know was sexually assaulted? +

Answer: Review What to Do After an Assault, Victims’ Resources, Supporting a Victim, and Reporting Options.

17. Does it matter when I report the sexual assault? +

Answer: You can always report a sexual assault to the police and/or University regardless of when it occurred. However, it may be helpful for you to know that the sooner you file a report after the crime, the better the chances that helpful evidence can be collected to support a criminal case, that you will be able to convey a clear account of what happened, and that the police and University will be able to identify and speak with witnesses. If you wish to report the assault to the police, it is strongly recommended that you do so as soon as possible after the assault. Also, if you choose to report the incident to the University’s Office of Diversity and Equity and utilize the student conduct process (either in addition to or in lieu of the criminal prosecution process), there is no time limit to initiate the case.

18. What will happen if I call the police or go to the hospital? +

Answer: If the assault took place on campus, then UConn police will respond. If the assault took place off campus, it falls under the jurisdiction of the local police department where the assault occurred. When the police arrive, they will first assess your medical needs to determine if you need to go to the hospital immediately. Then, the officer will begin to interview you about what happened. Even though this is often difficult, it is necessary if a police report is to be completed.

Review At the Hospital for information about what happens when you go the hospital. Keep in mind that you can take someone along with you to support you at the hospital. You also might consider having a victim’s advocate to accompany you and support you through the exam. This is your choice.

19. What are the benefits of reporting the sexual assault to the police? +

ANSWER: The benefits of reporting the assault to the police are that the police can preserve evidence of the assault; the police can advise a victim on safety planning techniques, including how to obtain a restraining order and/or protective order; the police can escort a victim to obtain the necessary medical treatment; the police can inform the victim of his/her eligibility for state crime victim compensation funds (compensation for medical and dental expenses related to the crime; counseling, lost wages, and other assistance); and the police will assist with prosecuting the accused, which can lead to punishment of the accused and protection of the victim and others in the community from being victimized. If individuals who commit sexual assault offenses are not apprehended and prosecuted, research demonstrates that they may continue to commit sexual offenses.

20. What if I don’t want to file a criminal report? +

ANSWER: You are not required to file a criminal report. The decision whether to report the assault to the police is entirely your decision to make. If you choose not to report the assault to the police, you are still encouraged to obtain medical treatment and contact an advocate to assist you with recovering from this event.

21. If I don’t feel safe, what can the University do for me? +

Answer: The University will work with you to identify options that will help you feel safe – for example, identifying alternative living arrangements, parking and transportation issues, and/or academic/social concerns, as well providing you with information regarding obtaining a protective order or restraining order. The Title IX Coordinator and representatives from other on-campus resources can assist you with this, such as the Dean of Students Office, and the Office of Diversity and Equity.

22. If I report being sexually assaulted by someone living in or near my residence hall,
will I have to move?

Answer: Not unless you choose to. In the majority of cases, once a report is made and the investigation begins, the accused would be the person moved to another location if s/he lives on the campus and in proximity to the reported victim, at the request of the victim.

23. What if I have a class with the person who attacked me? +

Answer: While every case is different, efforts will be made to assist the student victim in eliminating or minimizing contact with the accused. In some cases, the accused will be moved to a different residence hall or removed from the campus pending the outcome of the case. Unless notified that the accused has been removed, the student should be prepared for the possibility of seeing the accused on campus. Student victims are encouraged to inform the University representative supporting them in this process and/or the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible if the student has classes or lives in the same residence hall as the accused and the victim needs assistance with changes to living arrangements or academic schedules. In any case, it will be important to avoid direct contact with this person.

24. What can I expect if I decide to file a complaint with the Office of Diversity and
Equity against the student who assaulted me?

ANSWER: If you decide to file a complaint regarding the sexual assault with the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), staff within ODE will notify the accused of the allegations against him or her. ODE will assign a student Title IX Investigator to the case who will investigate, schedule a conference with the accused, and other individuals as deemed necessary and appropriate. You, the victim of the assault, will not be asked to appear for the conference. After reviewing the incident with the accused, the Title IX Investigator will determine appropriate allegations, if any, and whether or not the situation may be resolved by way of an administrative agreement or by an administrative hearing. Typically, a hearing will consist of one or two administrative hearing officers. The hearing participants may include the investigating Title IX Investigator, the accused, the complainant, witnesses, and a support person for each accused student and complainant, the member(s) of the hearing body, and a hearing advisor. Support and privacy of all those potentially involved in the hearing process must and will be taken into consideration. This may include, but is not limited to, alteration of the hearing room setup, use of multiple rooms and video-conferencing equipment, or other electronic means. Normally, an administrative hearing will be conducted within fifteen (15) business days of the accused being notified of the hearing and allegations. The hearing will be conducted in private. If a violation of the Student Code is found, the administrative hearing officers may impose any sanction as appropriate.

25. What can I expect if I decide to file a complaint with the Office of Diversity and
Equity against the employee who assaulted me?

Answer: If you decide to file a complaint regarding the sexual assault with the Office of Diversity and Equity, a case manager will be assigned to the case who will investigate your allegations and will notify the accused of the complaint. The case manager also will assist with implementing any interim measures that are necessary during the investigation period (including but not limited to changes to residential living, class schedules, etc.). At the end of the investigation, the case manager will issue a written report indicating whether or not a violation of University policy has taken place. If a violation has been found, the case manager will make recommendations as to disciplinary and remedial measures. The ultimate discipline decisions, however, are made by the University’s Faculty and Staff Labor Relations unit. At no point in this process will you, the victim of the assault, be asked to appear for any meeting at which the accused is present. Although the matter is not confidential, it is treated in a private and discreet manner.

26. What if I get the person who assaulted me in trouble? I don’t want that person to get removed from campus. +

Answer: Individuals are responsible for their own conduct and need to face the consequences, which may, but do not always mean, getting kicked off campus. By coming forward, you are helping to prevent sexual assault from happening to other community members in the future.

27. I don’t want to go through the University’s conduct process after filing my complaint.
Do I have to participate?

Answer: No. An Office of Diversity and Equity staff member is assigned as the Title IX Investigator and will serve as the individual presenting the information at a hearing. You will have three options: participate in person at the hearing, submit a written statement, or not participate at all.

28. Why is the Title IX Coordinator listed as a resource?
I thought Title IX had to do with gender discrimination in sports.

Answer: Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment at educational institutions, in addition to requiring equity in sports. The Title IX Coordinator, Elizabeth Conklin, is the individual responsible for ensuring compliance with the law in this area at UConn. Click here for additional information regarding Title IX.

29. What if I am sexually assaulted in another country on a University-sponsored
study abroad program?

Answer: The same resources and reporting options that are available to students on campus are available to individuals sexually assaulted in another country on a University-sponsored study abroad program. However, the laws in each country may vary on what constitutes a sexual assault and how such matters are handled by police and/or courts in comparison to the United States.

30. What rights do I have if I am accused of sexual assault? +

Answer: The rights of the person accused of sexual assault and the person reporting a sexual assault are set forth in detail in The Student Code.

31. What if I am found responsible by Community Standards for violating the Student Code’s provisions
prohibiting sexual misconduct?

Answer: Community Standards may impose a range of sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the University.

32. What if I believe that I’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault? +

Answer: You will have the opportunity to fully provide your side to the investigator. If there is evidence to establish that you have been falsely accused, that will be considered in the investigation, and the investigator’s analysis of the evidence will be provided in a written report upon completion of the investigation. Further, the Student Code, Code of Conduct, and University Policies state that anyone who knowingly files a false complaint, or who knowingly provides false information to, or intentionally misleads University officials, is subject to discipline, up to discharge for employees and dismissal for students.

33. I would never want to hurt someone or be accused of sexual assault.
What can I do to protect myself?

Answer: Listen carefully. Take the time to hear what your date is saying. If you feel you are getting “mixed messages,” ask for a clarification. Don’t fall for the common stereotype that when someone says “No” they really mean “Yes.” “No” means “No.” If someone says “No” to sexual contact or they are not sure if they want to engage in the sexual activity, stop immediately.

Remember that “date rape” is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances. Don’t assume that your date wants to have sex

  • because they drink, dress provocatively, or agree to go home with you;
  • because they had sex with you previously;
  • because they willingly engage in kissing and/or other sexual interaction;
  • because you bought them dinner and drinks.

Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with someone who is intoxicated to the point of incapacitation, drugged, passed out, incapable of saying “No,” or unaware of what is happening around him or her, you may be guilty of rape.

Get involved if you believe someone is at risk. If you see someone using force or pressuring his or her date, don’t be afraid to intervene by getting help. You may save someone from becoming a victim. Avoid clouding your judgment and understanding of what another person wants by using alcohol and other drugs.

34. Can Men be Victims? +

Answer: Sexual assault affects us all, despite gender. Not until recently has the prevalence of the sexual assault of men been discussed. In fact, nearly 10% of all adult rape victims are male. There are many myths that a man may have to overcome throughout his healing process.

35. Does rape of a male only happen in prison? +

Answer: While it is true that sexual assault of males is often considered to be a part of prison culture, the occurrence of male rape is not isolated to that culture. Sexual assault of males can occur at any place and at any time.

36. Are men who rape other men gay? +

Answer: Rape is not about sexual preference or desire – it is about power and control. The motivation of the rapist is to humiliate the other person. A survey of convicted rapists found that at least half of these men did not care about the gender of their victim; they raped both men and women. In fact, most male rapists identify themselves as heterosexual.

37. Can rape happen to “real men?” +

Answer: Rape is something that can and does happen to an entire spectrum of men, regardless of physical strength or prowess. Being raped does not mean that the victim is weak or a wimp. Anyone can be overpowered or taken by surprise. Size and strength is often no match for weapons, overwhelming odds, or a surprise attack.

38. Can a man still have an erection if he is frightened? +

Answer: All studies so far have found that victims commonly do report erections and even ejaculations while being raped. These are uncontrollable, automatic, physiological responses, and do not mean that the victim enjoyed the experience or consented to the experience.

39. Can a woman rape a man? +

Answer: Women can and do commit rape of men, although this is much less common than rape by men. Sexual assault of a man by one or more women is just as serious as any other type of sexual assault.

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