WHAT ABOUT ME?
Due to special circumstances in your life, you may have questions or
concerns that have not yet been discussed in this booklet. This section of the
Survivors Packet is for you. We hope you find it helpful.
I LIVE ON CAMPUS AND WANT TO MOVE
You have the right to feel safe in your residence hall. If the perpetrator
lives in the same residence hall as you, or if you feel unsafe in your hall or
room, you can request a housing transfer. This transfer could include either
you or the perpetrator switching rooms or residence halls, depending on
the circumstances and what you wish to request. An advocate from the
Women’s Center can assist you in requesting a housing transfer.
If you do not wish to move or make a housing switch, but have some
immediate safety concerns, you may request temporary safe housing.
This safe housing can be arranged on campus through Residential Life,
or through an off campus safe shelter. An advocate can help you to
understand your options, make decisions to keep yourself safe, and make
I AM IN THE SAME CLASSES OR MAJOR AS
It can be very scary and distracting for a victim to attend class or be in the
same academic program as a perpetrator. You have the right to feel safe in
your classes. It is important that you are able to feel safe attending classes
so that you can be successful academically as part of your healing process.
You deserve to continue to pursue your academic career and be successful
in that endeavor.
You also have the option to retake a course or withdraw from a course
without penalty following a sexual assault. Sometimes it is possible to make
adjustments to your class schedule or alternative arrangements
with your professors rather than withdrawing from or retaking a course.
An advocate from the Women’s Center can provide academic advocacy,
working with instructors, advisors, and/or departments to help you feel safe.
I AM DOING POORLY IN MY CLASSES BECAUSE OF THE
It is common to have difficulty concentrating on classes and focusing on
schoolwork following a sexual assault. Sometimes survivors need to make
arrangements with instructors or alterations to their schedules in order to be
With your permission, an advocate can contact instructors on your behalf
to request accommodations in your courses. Without disclosing any details
or personal information, an advocate can help to explain your need for
alternative arrangements or flexibility with deadlines and assignments. You
can also communicate directly with your instructors to determine whether
course expectations and requirements can be adjusted to accommodate
your needs. Be aware alternative arrangements may not always be possible.
Sometimes survivors find they need to withdraw from a course or lighten
their credit load in order to be successful academically. This can be a
difficult decision, and could impact your future success.
Sometimes it may be best to take a break from school and just focus on your
healing. An advocate from the Women’s Center can help you to navigate
the various options you have and help you make the best decision for your
I AM A MALE SURVIVOR
You have survived a violent attack. Some of your feelings may be the same
as those of a female sexual assault survivor. You may feel:
- Concern regarding your safety
However, there are special issues which may be different for you; they
- Sexuality — masculinity
- Medical procedures
- Reporting to law enforcement
- Telling others
- Finding resources and support
You need to know that strong or weak, outgoing or withdrawn, homosexual
or heterosexual, old or young, attractive or unattractive, you have
done nothing that justifies this violent attack. At no point and under no
circumstances does anyone have the right to violate or control another’s
body. Sexual assault is a crime of violence and power, not lust or passion.
The special support you may need as a male may include: calling a crisis
line anonymously and requesting a male advocate; finding a support group
for male survivors; and asking about services specifically for men.
I AM AN LGBTQ SURVIVOR
As an LGBTQ survivor, you can expect the same range of emotional
responses to assault as anyone else. However, because of the myths about
sexual assault and about LGBTQ individuals, your concerns about how you
will be treated may be intensified.
You may be concerned that you will be treated differently if you choose to
disclose your sexual orientation and that will become the focus of treatment
instead of the sexual assault. If you are not “out” to your friends or family,
you may fear that disclosure may affect the support you need from your
significant others. You may worry that public disclosure of your lifestyle
may negatively affect your close friends or your children. And you may
be concerned that caregivers who may be sensitive to the crisis of sexual
assault may still hold distorted and judgmental ideas.
On the other hand, if you choose not to disclose your sexual orientation,
some of the questions you are asked by emergency room and law
enforcement personnel may be difficult to answer. You will also be under
the added emotional pressure of thinking carefully about the thoughts and
feelings you express openly at the time when it is very important to be able
to talk about your feelings.
Whether you choose to disclose your sexual orientation or not, you are
entitled to the same sensitive treatment as any other survivor. You may find it
particularly helpful to contact the LGBT Resource Center at SCSU. The LGBT
Resource Center and the Women’s Center can work together to provide
support and make sure you are treated sensitively.
I AM A PERSON OF COLOR
Women of color may face unique barriers to seeking help. These barriers
can come from within the survivor’s ethnic or racial community, or from
the professionals from which the survivor seeks help. It is important to
understand that within each culture and community there may be values
that support or hinder a survivor’s ability to seek help. It is also important to
understand the importance of access to advocacy and support services for
all individuals regardless of their racial and ethnic background.
Assumptions and stereotypes about race can make women of color
vulnerable to sexual assault. Sexual violence committed against women of
color is sometimes seen as insignificant and can be justified by stereotypes
of women of color. It is important to understand the historical context of
racist and sexist attitudes. Sexual assault has traditionally been used by
men to have power and control over women, in the same way that racism
has been used against people of color. Thus, the sexual assault of women
of color comes from a combination of sexist and racist attitudes. These
attitudes can lead to minimization of the impact of sexual assault on women
of color. It is important to recognize that sexual assault is never the victim’s
fault, and that all individuals have the right to seek help and have access to
I HAVE A DISABILITY
People with disabilities have the right to personal safety and a life free
of sexual violence and abuse. Research has documented that individuals
with disabilities face increased risks for sexual assault as compared to
persons without disabilities. The problem of assault and abuse against
person with disabilities is often complicated by the fact that most of the
abuse is perpetrated by someone whom the individual has an established
relationship (i.e., family member, intimate partner, personal care provider).
People with disabilities may experience trauma similar to other victims of
violent crime. You may benefit from advocacy and counseling services from
a sexual assault program. Sexual assault advocates can assist you with
issues such as:
- Finding and resolving trauma symptoms
- Asserting your rights to privacy
- Linking you with additional community resources
- Advocating for your rights with medical and criminal justice systems
People with disabilities can learn skills though personal safety, sexuality
education, and self-defense training to enhance their ability to protect
themselves. Empowering a survivor with a disability to increase their
knowledge and skills for self-protection can make a difference in their
healing process. You may find it particularly helpful to contact Student
Disability Services at SCSU. Student Disability Services and the Women’s
Center can work together to make sure you receive the support you need.
I WAS ASSAULTED BY SOMEONE I KNOW
Acquaintance sexual assault happens more often than stranger sexual
assault. The offender might be an acquaintance, co-worker, friend-ofa-
friend, social contact, or relative. They might be someone you barely
recognize or someone you know well.
Many survivors mistakenly believe that because they agreed to meet their
assailant, accepted a ride, had causal conversation, or allowed someone
into their home, they are to blame for the assault.
Being sexually assaulted by someone you know does not alter the fact that
a sexual violation has occurred. It’s important to remember that the offender,
not the victim, is responsible. No one asks for such violence or deserves to
be sexually assaulted.
If you were assaulted by someone you know; you may have some
- You may find others less likely to understand what has happened to
- You may doubt your ability to judge others.
- You may find people are less likely to believe you.
- You may have doubts about reporting the crime to police.
- You may find it difficult to trust again.
- You may have doubts telling others what happened to you even
though you want to warn others.
- You may be concerned about having to see your offender again and
you may be concerned about how you will react.
The feelings that survivors frequently express — shame, guilt, fear,
disbelief — are often stronger in the case of acquaintance sexual assault.
I WAS ASSAULTED BY MY PARTNER
If you were forced to engage in unwanted sexual activities with your
partner, you are entitled to the following:
- To receive tests for STI and pregnancy whether or not you choose to
report to law enforcement.
- To report or not to report to law enforcement.
- To exclude anyone from the examining room, including your partner.
- To treatment for injuries without saying who assaulted you.
Some common myths about partner sexual assault include:
- Sex with one’s wife is a husband’s right. (Women are seen as property
belonging to men.)
- Sexual assault by one’s partner isn’t serious. (It’s between them so
others shouldn’t interfere.)
- The husband/partner will change.
- The family must stay together at all costs. (Parents must stay together
“for the sake of the children”.)
- Males are never sexually assaulted by their girlfriends or wives. (Men
can be victims of sexual assault too.)
Some reasons you may have submitted to sexual pressure by your
- You believed your partner would leave you if you refused.
- You were subjected to physical force.
- You feared your partner’s violence if you continued to resist.
- Your partner threatened to cut off money.
For your own understanding the most important point to be stressed is that
no one deserves to be sexually assaulted, no matter what s/he says or does
or whom s/he marries.
I WAS A CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM
Coming to college may provide child sexual abuse survivors with a feeling
of safety in talking about their past experiences. Survivors may also begin
remembering additional details about past abuse.
Services mentioned elsewhere in this booklet, such as the Central Minnesota
Sexual Assault Center and the SCSU Women’s Center Gender Violence
Prevention Program are also skilled in working with adult survivors of child
sexual abuse. Please contact an advocate at one of these locations if you
are in need of support and/or services.
SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT WAS ASSAULTED, WHAT CAN I
DO TO HELP?
It is normal for you to feel upset and confused. At a time when you may
want to most help the survivor through this crisis, you will be dealing with a
crisis of your own.
Sexual assault advocates are available to support you as well as the
survivor. Your feelings of fear, anger, confusion, guilt, or powerlessness
are normal. Advocates can assist you in dealing with your feelings and
questions about medical, legal, or other issues.
Contact at advocate at the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center or the
SCSU Women’s Center to connect with resources for concerned persons.