Sexual Assault & Rape

Rape or sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. On this page you will find information, legal definitions, resources, and links you can use to learn more about rape and sexual assault. An important point to remember is that no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.

UCSC takes any form of sexual assault very seriously and has developed a comprehensive definition of sexual misconduct. Here are some statistics that indicate the prevalence of rape and sexual assault on college campuses:

  • Female college freshmen are at the highest risk for sexual assault between the first day of school and Thanksgiving break.
  • Over the course of a college career, 20-25% of college women are victims of completed or attempted rape.
  • 1 out of 10 college women have been raped in their lifetime.
  • For women who have been raped in college, 9 out of 10 offenders were known to the victim.
  • Sexual assaults in college are more likely to occur at night and in someone's residence (either the victim's or the offender's).
  • 90% of campus rapes involve alcohol use by the assailant or the victim.
  • Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, 10% of all sexual assaults and rapes happen to men.

Shadow of People Fighting

Table of Contents:




What is rape?

Rape is any kind of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) that is committed against a person's will or is committed with physical force or with a threat to hurt the victim or another person. It is also considered rape if the victim is intoxicated or unconscious and unable to give consent. Rape and sexual assault are not about sexual desire--they are about power and control.




What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is a general term that covers a range of crimes, including rape. As defined under California law, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that involves the use of threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.

Sexual intercourse is considered non-consensual and, therefore, rape when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs, or if a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability renders the victim incapable of giving consent. Whether the accused is a stranger, acquaintance, spouse, or friend is irrelevant to the legal definition of rape.

Beside rape, other acts of sexual assault include forced anal intercourse, forced oral copulation, penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, and forcibly touching an intimate part of another person. Men as well as women can be victims of these other forms of sexual assault.

Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (statutory rape) occurs when the victim is considered incapable of giving legal consent because they are 17 years old or less, even if the intercourse is consensual. Where the person engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor is not more than three years older than the minor, the crime is a misdemeanor. If more than three years older, then the crime is a felony. If a student, staff person, member of the faculty or other academic appointee is charged with rape, s/he can be prosecuted under California criminal statutes, as well as disciplined under appropriate discipline procedures. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action and the complainant can file a civil suit. In addition to rape, as defined by California law, the University will not tolerate any non-consensual penetration, however slight, or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus, and will take appropriate action when such acts are reported.




What is consent?

Consent is an agreement that each person makes if they want to engage in sexual activity. The issue of consent can be a complicated and ambiguous area that needs to be addressed with clear, open, and honest communication. Keep these points in mind if you are not sure consent has been established:

Each person needs to be fully conscious and aware.
The use of alcohol or other substances can interfere with someone's ability to make clear decisions about the level of intimacy they are comfortable with. The more intoxicated a person is, the less they are able to give conscious consent.

Each person is equally free to act.
The decision to be sexually intimate must be without coercion. Each person must have the option to choose to be intimate or not. Each person should be free to change "yes" to "no" at any time. Factors such as body size, previous victimization, threats to "out" someone, and other fears can prevent an individual from freely consenting.

Each person clearly communicates his or her willingness and permission.
Willingness and permission must be communicated clearly and unambiguously. Just because a person fails to resist sexual advances does not mean that they are willing. Consent is not the absence of the word "no."

Each person is positive and sincere in his or her desires.
It is important to be honest in communicating feelings about consent. If one person states their desires, the other person can make informed decisions about the encounter.

(Adapted from Berkowitz, Alan. "Guidelines for Consent in Intimate Relationships," Campus Safety & Student Development, Vol. 3, No. 4, March/April 2002.)




Who can be a perpetrator of sexual assault?

Anyone may be the perpetrator of sexual assault. The perpetrator may be a stranger, an acquaintance, a lover, a partner, or a date. Most of the time the perpetrator of the assault is someone the victim knows, either a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, other relative, or acquaintance.




Who can be a victim of sexual assault?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Although it is more common for women to be victims, approximately 1 out of 33 men have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

There are many options and resources as well as information available both on campus and in the Santa Cruz community to provide response, medical services, counseling, and support services to victims of sexual assault. Following is a listing of the most important resources.

University Police:
Staff, students, faculty, and members of the community who experience a sexual assault on campus will receive a speedy response from the University Police. (For sexual assaults off campus, local police should be contacted.) In addition, the police and only the police can arrange for medical examinations in order to provide admissible evidence when the survivor desires prosecution through the criminal justice system.

If the University Police are contacted, an officer trained in sexual assault cases will be dispatched to the scene, and will explain police and medical procedures to the complainant. If the police transport the complainant to Dominican Hospital, which is equipped to perform medical examinations for legal purposes, then an advocate and a specially trained nurse/examiner who are members of the Santa Cruz Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) will be dispatched to the hospital to be available to the complainant. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) must conduct a medical examination as soon as possible to maximize the collection of evidence for criminal prosecution. It is important to note that S.A.R.T. and S.A.N.E. involvement is only possible when a police report is filed.

The police will interview the accused and witnesses and collect evidence. At the conclusion of the police investigation the accused may be arrested, or the case may be forwarded to the District Attorney for consideration of prosecution. The services of the Victim/Witness Program will be available to the complainant if s/he decides to file a police report. Such services include counseling, court escort and advocacy, and assistance with financial compensation.

It is important to remember that "reporting" a rape is not the same thing as prosecution through the criminal justice system. If the survivor files a report and then later refuses to prosecute through the criminal justice system or cooperate in a police investigation, there is little that the police or courts will be able to do. On the other hand, if the survivor initially decides that s/he does not want to file a police report and then, a month later, wants to prosecute through the criminal justice system, s/he has lost the opportunity for best evidence, not only in terms of immediate police investigative interviews, but also the collection of physical evidence. For these reasons, it is a good idea to call the police as soon as possible if there is any chance you may want to prosecute now or in the future.

Title IX/Sexual Harassment Officer (Title IX/SHO):
Responsible for receiving and conducting the administrative investigation of all reports of sexual assault filed on campus by students and employees and is available to discuss options, provide support, explain university policies and procedures, and provide education on relevant issues. The Title IX/SHO investigation is not a criminal procedure.

Medical Assistance:
Students who experience a sexual assault on campus should receive medical attention promptly from Student Health Services and/or one of the local hospitals. It should be noted that medical examinations at the Student Health Center are not admissible for legal purposes; medical attention provided through the services of S.A.R.T. are strongly advised (this means reporting the sexual assault to the University Police). In addition, it is important to note that any health center or physician treating the complainant of a violent crime is obligated by law to report the crime to the police.

Colleges and Residential Facilities:
Individual College Administrative Officers and Residential Life Coordinators, the Director of Summer Conferences, the Manager of Family Student Housing, the Manager of Graduate Housing, and/or the Judicial Affairs Officer, in conjunction with the Title IX/SHO, may arrange for the person accused of the sexual assault or the complainant to be moved temporarily to another dwelling if the complainant and the accused live in close quarters.

Other Campus Resources Include:

  • Counseling & Psychiatric Services offers confidential short-term and crisis counseling to all students. Psychriatric referrals are also available. Other campus community members can call CAPS for a counsultation for a student in crisis.
  • A Rape Crisis Counselor at Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP) and the Women’s Center is available to any member of the campus community who has been raped or sexually assaulted by a stranger, acquaintance, or partner. The Rape Crisis Counselor can discuss options; provide support in making decisions about how to proceed, and follow-up to help the complainant get action. These services are available only during working hours.
  • Resident, Community, Neighborhood Assistants, Coordinators For Residential Education, and Associate College Administrative Officers are educated and supportive people for students to contact.
  • The Judicial Affairs Officer hears student concerns and can assist directly or make referrals to appropriate resources.
  • The Ombudsman can assist anyone in the campus community by providing information about campus policies and procedures.
  • Emergency Blue Light Telephones are available throughout the campus. These telephones connect directly with a police dispatcher in a similar manner as dialing 9-1-1.



Reporting Options

The Higher Education Amendments of 1992, enacted on July 23, 1992, require universities and colleges to prevent, report, and investigate sex offenses that occur on campus. The University of California, Santa Cruz, encourages all victims of sexual assault to report offenses as soon as possible after their occurrence, in accordance with the following procedures, in order for appropriate and timely action to be taken.

General Statement of Options

Persons experiencing a sexual assault may exercise the following options:

  • Report the sexual assault to university or off-campus police (if the sexual assault occurred off campus), particularly if the individual desires prosecution through the criminal justice system; and/or
  • Request an administrative investigation from Title IX/SHO; and/or
  • Seek counseling and support services; or
  • Choose not to report.

There are benefits of reporting right away, so if you might ever want to take legal action, we encourage you to call the police as soon as possible. If you choose not to, you can still access confidential support services.

Medical Attention

If you are female, you can prevent pregnancy by taking emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of the assault. Emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible. Collecting physical evidence must occur within 96 hours (4 days). Medications to prevent the development of some sexually transmitted infections and HIV can be provided by Student Health Services and Dominican Hospital. HIV prophylaxis treatment needs to be started within 72 hours. Screening for date rape drugs can be done up to 72 hours after the incident but is optimally done within 12 hours. Since many of these drugs clear the system quickly, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that no drug was involved.

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Hotline
Santa Cruz – Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres
1-888-900-4232
www.wcs-ddm.org
If you or someone you know needs help because of a sexual assault or an abusive relationship, call this hotline 24 hours a day. Counselor-advocates provide confidential support. Ongoing counseling and support groups are available.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE
This is a national hotline for victims of sexual assault. The hotline offers free, confidential counseling and support 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the country. When a survivor calls the hotline, s/he is connected to the nearest local rape crisis center through a unique computer routing system that maintains the confidentiality of callers.

National Sexual Assault Online Hotline:
www.rainn.org
The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is a free, confidential, secure service that provides live help over the RAINN website.




What are common reactions to sexual assault?

After a rape or sexual assault, it is normal to experience a range of feelings, physical reactions, and behavior changes. While there are similarities in how people may respond, each person will react to the incident in their own way. One person may feel intense anger and even have feelings of revenge, while another may feel numb. Below are some of the common types of reactions a person who is sexually assaulted might have:

Shock and disbelief
Immediately after the assault many people are in a state of shock. Some will act as if nothing has happened, trying to make life seem normal. Others find themselves in a daze, having difficulty focusing or getting mobilized.

Recurring thoughts and re-experiencing
There may also be periods when a person is preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about the assault. They may have unwanted memories, flashbacks or nightmares. When they think about what happened, they may re-experience some of the sensations and feelings they had during the assault, such as fear and powerlessness.

Difficult emotions
While some people experience an overwhelming amount of emotions, immediately after an assault, others find that days, months, or even years pass before feelings surface. Emotions can change rapidly. Some feelings that may surface include sadness, anger, embarrassment, guilt, fear, hopelessness, powerlessness, loneliness, confusion, and grief. Feelings can be overwhelming and some people feel like they are going crazy. It is also common to feel numb, detached, or empty.

Self-blame and shame
A person may feel that the rape or assault was their fault or that they could have done something to prevent it. Feeling guilty, ashamed, or as if something is wrong with you is common. Shame and embarrassment can make it difficult to get help, as a person may feel that others won’t believe them or will judge them.

Feeling afraid and vulnerable
Fears of darkness, of being alone, of being around people like the perpetrator, or of being raped again are common reactions. Some people feel “on edge” or easily startled.

Difficulty in relationships
Sexual assault impacts a person’s ability to trust others. A person may feel alone in their experience and that no one can understand. Withdrawing from others or becoming dependent in relationships with friends, family, or intimate partners is common. A person may feel irritable or angry with the people in their lives. Sexual intimacy may be difficult and could bring up painful memories or a fear of losing control.

Other emotional or psychological effects may include:

  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Numbing/apathy (detachment, loss of caring)
  • Reduced ability to express emotions
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Diminished interest in activities or sex
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Impaired memory
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide and death
  • Substance abuse
  • Psychological disorders

All of these feelings and reactions are normal responses to rape or sexual assault. It is also common for some feelings to resurface or new ones to emerge later on in a survivor's life. Periods of stress, new intimate relationships, the anniversary of the incident, or situations such as seeing the perpetrator or testifying in court can trigger intense feelings.




What can be done to minimize the risk of sexual assault?

Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone at anytime. Perpetrators, not survivors, are responsible for sexual assaults. Only a perpetrator can prevent a sexual assault, but we can all take steps to reduce the risk. Some prevention strategies for everyone include:

Respect the rights of others.

  • Listen to the messages your partner is giving. Be sensitive to both verbal and nonverbal communication. Ask. Double check that you both are doing what you want.
  • The absence of the word "no" does not constitute consent. Make sure you have consent by asking your partner what they want to do. If your partner seems confused or unsure, it's time to stop.
  • Remember that having done something sexual previously is not a blanket "yes" for the future.
  • Remember that your partner can change "yes" to "no" at any time. Respect their choice.
  • Know which behaviors constitute rape and sexual assault, and understand that most incidents happen between people who know each other.
  • If you choose to drink, be responsible. Alcohol consumption greatly increases the risk of sexual assault.
  • Never slip anyone any type of drug. Not only is this illegal, but you don't know what effect a drug can have on someone.

Increase your safety.

  • Think about what you really want from a partner before a possibly uncomfortable or dangerous situation occurs.
  • Communicate clearly. You have the right to say "no" or "I'm not sure."
  • Go to a party with friends, not alone. Keep track of your friends and leave with them. Don't leave alone or with someone you don't know well.
  • If you choose to drink, be careful. Offenders often take advantage of people who have been drinking.
  • Know what's in your drink, whether it's non-alcoholic or contains alcohol. Open the can yourself, make your drink yourself or watch it being made, and don't leave your drink unattended. Avoid punch bowls-- there is no way to know how much alcohol is in them, and since date rape drugs are odorless, colorless and tasteless they can be added to punch without anyone knowing. Date rape drugs can cause dizziness, disorientation, loss of inhibition, blackouts, and loss of consciousness. If you feel any strange symptoms, tell someone you trust right away.
  • Know which behaviors constitute sexual assault and rape. Understand that most incidents occur between people who know each other.
  • If something happens, it wasn't your fault. You have the right to get anonymous or confidential support from resources on campus and off campus.

Look out for the safety of friends.

  • When going to a party with friends, keep track of each other while you're there. Plan to leave together and don't let anyone leave alone.
  • If a friend decides to leave a party with someone else, talk to them about their safety. If you are worried about someone, it's ok to try to protect them from harm.
  • If someone seems highly intoxicated, call 911.
  • Learn more about sexual assault and rape and how to help a friend who may have been assaulted.
  • If a friend discloses to you that they have been sexually assaulted, don't take it all on yourself. Use UCSC or off campus resources for advice and support for your friend and for yourself.



Links

State Certified Sexual Assault & Crisis Counselors on Campus

Caitlin Stinneford
Sexual Violence Prevention Educator
(831) 459-2721
cstinnef@ucsc.edu

Stephanie Milton
UCSC Women’s Center
831.459.2169/831.459.2072
milton@ucsc.edu

UCSC Police
831.459.2231
http://police.ucsc.edu/
The mission of the University of California Police Department at Santa Cruz is to provide safety and security related services to the University community and to enforce all laws pertaining to orderly conduct on its premises.

Santa Cruz Police
831.429.3911
http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=56

Hate/Bias Advisory (Student Judicial Affairs)
831.459.1738
http://www2.ucsc.edu/judicial/
The Student Judicial Affairs Office is responsible for the overall coordination of the student conduct process and policies on campus. This includes the interpretation of policies from UC General Counsel as well as federal and state laws that may apply to students.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
831.459.2628
http://www2.ucsc.edu/counsel/
CAPS offers confidential short-term and crisis counseling to all students. Psychriatric referrals are also available. Other campus community members can call CAPS for a counsultation for a student in crisis.

Campus Conflict Resolution Services
831.459.2290
http://conflictresolution.ucsc.edu/
The office provides professional consultation, mediation and training to members of the UCSC community. Its emphasis is on prevention, effective management, and informal resolution of conflict at all levels. All services are free, voluntary and confidential.

Dean of Students
831.459.4446
http://campuslife.ucsc.edu/
Associate Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students Alma Sifuentes is committed to direct communication and dialogue with students.

UCSC Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office
http://www2.ucsc.edu/title9-sh/index.htm
Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office provides assistance in investigating and resolving complaints of sexual assault and harassment.

Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network (RAINN)
http://www.rainn.org/
This web site offers information and statistics on sexual assault and can locate a local rape crisis center in your area.

Rape Treatment Center
http://www.911rape.org/
This web site offers information on the impact of rape, date rape drugs, facts and statistics, as well as a comprehensive list of links to other resources.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
http://www.nsvrc.org/
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center serves as the nation’s principle information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence.

Other Campus Resources

A Rape Crisis Counselor at Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP) and the Women’s Center is available to any member of the campus community who has been raped or sexually assaulted by a stranger, acquaintance, or partner. The Rape Crisis Counselor can discuss options; provide support in making decisions about how to proceed, and follow-up to help the complainant get action. These services are available only during working hours.

Resident, Community, Neighborhood Assistants, Coordinators For Residential Education, and Associate College Administrative Officers are educated and supportive people for students to contact.

The Judicial Affairs Officer hears student concerns and can assist directly or make referrals to appropriate resources.

Emergency Blue Light Telephones are available throughout the campus. These telephones connect directly with a police dispatcher in a similar manner as dialing 9-1-1.