Women's Center : St. Cloud State University
Director's Welcome
About the Center
Services
Events and Programs
Gender Violence Resources Office
Frequently Asked Questions
Resources and Referrals
somewhere in America, someone is sexually assulted 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
St Cloud State University | Women's Center
svpp
SVPP Services Information and Resources Peer Education

Women's Center: Gender Violence Prevention Program

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 appropriate arrangements.

I AM IN THE SAME CLASSES OR MAJOR AS THE PERPETRATOR

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 ASSAULT

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 successful academically.

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 circumstances.

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:

  • Guilt
  • Powerlessness
  • Concern regarding your safety

However, there are special issues which may be different for you; they include:

  • 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 support services.

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 special concerns.

  • You may find others less likely to understand what has happened to you.
  • 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 partner include:

  • 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.

Untitled Document