What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is any act of a sexual nature against a person without consent. Sexual assault of any kind can be devastating and is never the fault of the victim. Assailants can be strangers, friends, loved ones, acquaintances, or family members.

Statistics*

  • On average someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds.
    80% of sexual assault victims are under age 30, with the highest risk age group between 12-34.
  • Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes with only 32% being reported to police each year.
  • 2 in 5 women in Texas have been sexually assaulted.
  • 1 in 5 men in Texas have been sexually assaulted.
  • Women 18-24 who are enrolled in college are 3 times more likely than women in general to suffer from sexual violence.
  • For college students, most rapes take place in residence halls followed by fraternity houses.
    *As reported by DARCC, TAASA, & RAINN

What to do first

Most people are scared and confused about what to do after they have been sexually assaulted. Here are a few options.

  • Seek medical attention, especially if you are injured.
  • Call a rape crisis hotline.
  • Consider reporting the assault to police—911.
  • Contact a trusted friend or loved one.
  • Complete a medical forensic exam within 96 hours of the assault. This is free in Texas hospitals.
  • Seek support through counseling.
  • Consider reporting to campus Title IX officials.

Reactions to sexual assault

People who have been a victim of a sexual assault may respond in different ways.  Many factors may influence a person’s reaction, including the relationship to the assailant, duration of the assault, level of violence of the attack, whether drugs or alcohol was involved, social support network, and response from loved ones and authorities concerning the attack. These are just some of the many effects and possible reactions to a sexual assault:

Physical

  • Pain
  • Injury
  • Headaches
  • STI’s

Physiological

  • Panic Attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperarousal

Emotional

  • Shock/Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Numb feeling                        
  • Apathy
  • Guilt/Shame
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Poor Memory
  • Easily Distracted        

How counseling can be helpful

Counseling can be helpful for individuals to talk about their feelings, fears, and concerns. It can be a place to find support and care through difficult times. Counseling is useful for survivors of sexual assault with helping them manage their emotions and decisions concerning the assault.

Often, speaking with a sensitive counselor who is knowledgeable about sexual assault, and understands the process of trauma recovery can help survivors understand their feelings and feel less alone through their recovery.

Confidential Sexual Assault Recovery services are provided through the UTD Student Counseling Center. Our counselors are not required to report assaults to the university.

Trained therapists can provide a safe and non-judgmental place for students to feel heard.  The S.A. Recovery Coordinator can further assist students by providing practical guidance, referrals to additional community resources (such as medical and legal services), and other campus support services.

Socializing and safety

It’s still possible to relax and have a good time while making safety a priority.

Make a plan. If you’re going to a party, go with people you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and plan to leave together. If your plans change, make sure to touch base with the other people in your group.

Protect your drink. Don’t leave your drink unattended. If you go to the bathroom or step outside, take the drink with you. Drink from unopened containers or drinks you watched being made. Drugs that may be added to a drink may have no color, taste, or odor. I f you think you have been drugged, leave the situation and find help immediately.

Know your limits. Alcohol is often a major factor in college sexual assaults. Keep track of how many drinks you and your friends have had.

It’s okay to lie. If you want to exit a situation immediately, it’s okay to lie. You are never obligated to remain in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or pressured. You can also lie to help a friend leave a situation that you think may be dangerous. Some excuses you could use are needing to take care of another person, an urgent phone call, not feeling well, or having to be somewhere else.

Be a good friend. Trust your instincts. If you notice something that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn't.

Contacts

  • Sexual Assault Recovery Services (Student Counseling Center):  972-883-2575
  • Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC): 972-641-RAPE (7273)
  • Turning Point  Rape Crisis Center (Collin Co.): 1-800-886-RAPE (7273)
  • UT Dallas Police:  972-883-2222 or 911 if emergency
  • UT Dallas Title IX Coordinator: 972 883-2218
  • UT Dallas Comet Voice Bystander Intervention program: 972 883-4275
  • National Sexual Assault (RAINN) 24-hour hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE