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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can be defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

An individual cannot consent who is:

  • Obviously incapacitated by any drug or intoxicant
  • Who has been purposely compelled by force, threat of force, or deception
  • Who is unaware the act is being committed
  • Whose mental ability to consent or resist is obviously impaired because of mental or physical condition
  • Who is coerced by supervisory or disciplinary authority

A victim of sexual assault is never responsible for the assault. It is impossible to guess which situations are safe and which are dangerous – the responsibility for ending sexual assault falls solely on the perpetrator!

What Should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

  • Find a safe environment - anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
  • Preserve evidence of the attack - don't bathe or brush your teeth. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
  • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day: 1-800-656-HOPE.
  • Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
    • To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam.
    • If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will need to be analyzed later on by a forensic lab.
  • Report the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information you'll need to understand the process.
  • Remember it wasn't your fault.
  • Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
  • Know that it's never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.

On campus you can contact the Women's Resource Center 478-445-8156, Counseling Services 478-445-5331 or Public Safety 478-445-4400.

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How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?

  • Listen. Be there. Don't be judgmental.
  • Encourage your friend to seriously consider reporting the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information your friend will need to make this decision.
  • Be patient. Remember, it will take your friend some time to deal with the crime.
  • Let your friend know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Encourage him or her to call the hotline, but realize that only your friend can make the decision to get help.

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What can I do to reduce the risk of sexual assault?

  • Don't leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other, and leave together.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don't know or trust.
  • Think about the level of intimacy you want in a relationship, and clearly state your limits.

Remember, perpetrators have the sole responsibility for ending sexual assault. If you are assaulted, it is never your fault!

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Georgia Law
Rape
:  (a) A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
                (1) A female forcibly and against her will; or
                (2) A female who is less than ten years of age.
Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.

(b) A person convicted of the offense of rape shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life, or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

(c) When evidence relating to an allegation of rape is collected in the course of a medical examination of the person who is the victim of the alleged crime, the law enforcement agency investigating the alleged crime shall be responsible for the cost of the medical examination to the extent that expense is incurred for the limited purpose of collecting evidence.

Sexual Battery:  (a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term "intimate parts" means the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.

(b) A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of sexual battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(d) A person convicted of the offense of sexual battery against any child under the age of 16 years shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(e) Upon a second or subsequent conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years and, in addition, shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

Aggravated Sexual Battery: (a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term "foreign object" means any article or instrument other than the sexual organ of a person.

(b) A person commits the offense of aggravated sexual battery when he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated sexual battery shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

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Myths about sexual assault

Myths about sexual assault tend to blame the victim for the attack and excuse the behavior of the rapist. This creates an atmosphere where victims are too ashamed to report and where rapists are not held accountable for their behavior. The following are common myths about acquaintance rape.

Myth: It is not rape if the victim does not resist.
Fact: It is common for rape survivors to indicate that they feared for their lives and were immobilized by that fear. Additionally, few women are trained either physically or mentally to defend themselves. Often a woman's protest may not be seen as a protest, for example the erroneous belief that a woman's "No" is really a "Yes." The use of drugs and/or alcohol by a rapist and a victim may also confuse the issue because the victim may be unconscious or unable to give informed consent. Sex without consent is RAPE.

Myth: Women who are raped asked for it.
Fact: Regardless of the way somebody dresses or acts, nobody has the right to rob her of her choice about sexual contact. To choose sexual contact, a woman must give her consent. Simply dressing or behaving a certain way is not a form of consent.

Myth: It can't happen to me.
Fact: The misconception that only a "certain kind" of woman is raped provides a false sense of security against the knowledge that anyone can be raped.

Myth: Rapes are usually committed by masked strangers hiding in dark alleyways.
Fact: Victims of rape and sexual assault report that in nearly three out of four incidents, the offender was someone they knew.

Myth: Women often lie about being raped.
Fact: Only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false, the same percentage as for other felonies. Many cases are dropped because of insufficient evidence for conviction but this should not be confused with false reporting.

Myth: It is impossible to be raped by your husband.
Fact: Nobody has the right to force you to have sex, not even your spouse. Sex without consent is rape. A marriage license is not a license to rape, or a substitute for communicating and establishing consent.

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Emergencies - How to get help

  • During regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.):
  • Women's Resource Center at 478-445-8156
  • Medical emergencies
    • Life-threatening: Dial 911
      Then call campus police at 478-445-4400
    • Others: Call Health Services at 478-445-5288
  • Mental health emergencies (suicidal thoughts, rape, death of someone close, etc)
    Call Counseling Services at 478-445-5331
  • Campus Police emergencies (explosion, threats to safety, etc)
    Call campus police at 478-445-4400
  • Any other Emergency
    Call campus police at 478-445-4400

Nights and weekends (after hours) – all kinds of emergencies

  • If you live in a residence hall, contact your RA/CA or RD
  • Others contact Campus Police at 478-445-4400

Information can also be obtained through University Counseling Services. They can be reached at 478-445-5331.

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Sources:

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network www.rainn.org

Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica http://www.911rape.org

Vanderbilt Women's Center http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ProjectSafe
 

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