- Common Responses to Sexual Assault
- Myths and Realities of Sexual Assault
- A Dater's Bill of Rights
- If Someone You know is a Victim
- Internet Resources
These website links are provided for educational purposes. They offer generally accurate information from a neutral values stance. Counseling and Psychological Services does not specifically endorse any of the values-based advice offered on these links. In making decisions, you are urged to seek out sources of information and wisdom that reflect your personal values as well as the religious, ethnic, and cultural traditions to which you adhere.
Sexual Assault remains a serious concern for women today. Current statistics reveal that 1 out of 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This number is even higher for college aged women, 18-25. Creighton University recognizes the importance of this issue and strives to provide education regarding sexual assault occurrence and prevention, as well as providing services for victims of sexual assault.
Sexual assault may be defined as "sexual penetration, no matter how slight, of the genital, anal, and/or oral opening of the victim by any part of the perpetrator's body or by the use of an object, without the victim's consent or against the victim's will where the victim: (1) is forced or has reasonable fear that the victim or another will be injured if the victim does not submit to the act; (2) is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity, which includes, but is not limited to, the influence of drugs or alcohol; (3) suffers from a mental or physical disability."
If You Believe You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
You do not have to work through this alone! The professional staff at the Counseling Center is trained and ready to help you through your reactions to this experience. Below are helpful steps that you can take...
- Call the University Police after hours at 280-2104, and ask them to have an on-call counselor contact you. You may also call 911 for immediate assistance.
- Call a close friend or relative.
- See medical attention immediately. Call Student Health and 280-2735 during business hours or call the Creighton University Medical Center at 280-4410.
- Do NOT bathe, shower, douche, or change clothes until you have talked with the police.
- You have the right to file a report with the police
- Creighton Public Safety 280-2104
- Omaha Police Department 444-6500
- Douglas County Sheriff 444-5600
- You have the right to file a complaint with the Student Integrity Office at 280-2775.
- You have the right to seek civil action (contact an attorney).
Many victims experience common responses to the experience of being sexually assaulted. While these responses are common, that does not make them any less important or difficult for the victims to deal with.
- A survivor may feel ashamed, guilty, fearful, or numb. Often a survivor's self-esteem is diminished after an assault. It is important to remember that the attack is not his or her fault.
- A survivor may find it difficult to trust and to be intimate with others.
- A survivor may experience flashbacks of the incident.
- A survivor may experience fear of being alone.
- A survivor may experience nightmares or other sleep disturbances.
- A survivor may not be able to concentrate and focus. This can affect academic and/or job performance.
Common Feelings Following Sexual Violence
(as listed in, "Sexual Assault: Will I Ever Feel Okay Again?" by Kay Scott)
want to forget
Grateful to be alive
I just don't understand
No one understands
Need to escape
Can't ever cry when I want to
I'll never get better
My whole world is askew
Full of self-contempt
Wish he had killed me
Alone with memories
Yearn to feel normal
What's the use?
Living in a prison
On a roller coaster
Maybe it was my fault
Sick in the pit of my stomach
Don't know who I am anymore
Full of other-contempt
Don't care how I look
Want to disappear
Should be finished with this by now
Self-conscious about my body
Can't shake it
Responsible for others' pain
Want to become invisible
No control over what happens to me
Want to look unattractive so no one will want to touch me
MYTH: Rape is a sexual crime, impulsively committed by a man for sexual gratification.
REALITY: Rape is a crime of violence and aggression. It is intended to overpower, degrade, and humiliate the victim.
MYTH: Rape does not happen very often.
REALITY: Rape is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United States.
MYTH: Most rapes are committed by a stranger in a dark place, at night.
REALITY: It is estimated that 50% to 70% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Nearly half of all assaults occur in the victim's home. Many acquaintance rapes occur in the context of a dating relationship.
MYTH: Rape is the victim's fault. Women provoke rape by how they behave, dress, or where they choose to go.
REALITY: Rape is NEVER the victim's fault. If a woman wants to be involved sexually with a man, force or threats of physical violence would not be necessary.
MYTH: In a dating situation, when a woman says "no" she really means "yes" or "maybe."
REALITY: This myth has been perpetrated to deny the man's responsibility. That fact is that NO means NO.
MYTH: Women report rapes to get even with men or to protect their reputations.
REALITY: According to the FBI, fewer than 2% of reported rapes are false, which is the same percentage for the false reporting of other crimes.
- I have the right to refuse a date without feeling guilty.
- I can ask for a date without feeling rejected or inadequate if the answer is no.
- I may choose not to act seductively.
- If I don't want physical closeness, I have the right to say no.
- I have the right to be myself without changing to suit others.
- I have the right to change a relationship when my feelings change. I can say "We used to be close, but now I want something else."
- If I am told a relationship is changing, I have the right not to blame or change myself to keep it going.
- I have the right to an equal relationship.
- I have the right not to dominate or to be dominated.
- I have the right to act one way with one person and a different way with someone else.
- I have the right to change my goals whenever I want to.
- I have the right to stop physical intimacy whenever I feel ready to stop.
Sexual Assault is often not only traumatic for the victim, but often for their loved ones. The experience of a sexual assault can put a great deal of strain on the relationships that the victim has with friends, family members, coworkers, and lovers. If you know someone who may have been sexually assaulted be aware that you may be more affected by their experience then you anticipate. There are resources available to help you as well. For more information, see the following suggestions and resource list, or call the Counseling Center to set up an appointment to speak with a counselor about your reaction to your loved one's victimization.
How You Can Help
- Be supportive
- Share your feelings
- Communicate that your friend is not responsible for the violation
- Make sure he or she has a safe place to stay
- Realize that you, too, have been affected and seek counseling if necessary
- Allow your friend to regain control by making his or her own decisions
- Make yourself available to accompany your friend to the hospital or counseling center
- Attempt to seek revenge
- Make jokes
- Be angry or disappointed with your friend
- Force your friend to talk
- Ask your friend how he or she could have "let this happen"
- Assume you can understand how your friend feels
- Take control
- Discuss the incident with others unless you have permission from the victim (professional mental health counselors are the exception)
- I Never Called it Rape (Warshaw)
- If She is Raped: A Book for Husbands, Fathers, and Male Friends (McEvoy & Brookings)
- If You are Raped (Johnson)
Content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Also, please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.
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