Sexual Assault - What is Sexual Assault

Definitions

Sexual Assault: Sexual Assault is an umbrella term that includes physical acts of a sexual nature that take place without a person's consent. Sexual assault includes touching, penetration by an object, and sexual intercourse.

Rape: A specific form of sexual assault that includes an act of sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral penetration), accomplished against a person who does not consent to the sexual contact, or is incapable of consenting. This includes situations in which a victim is...

  • Forced to engage in intercourse
  • Threatened with harm if they do not participate
  • Prevented from resisting due to intoxication from alcohol or drugs
  • Incapable of giving consent because of a disability
  • Asleep or unconscious to the nature of the act

Administrative Regulations 5404: Sexual and Other Assaults on Campus.

Understanding Consent

Consent is positive cooperation involving an act of free will, absent of coercion, intimidation, force, or the threat of force. A person cannot give effective consent if he/she is unable to appreciate the nature of the sexual act - as with a person who has a disability that would impair understanding of the act or if a person is impaired by the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There must always be active consent on both sides. Consent to one thing does not imply another. If limits are made clear and consent is not given, pressuring someone into changing their mind is not consent. → If you are unwilling to accept a "no", then "yes" has no meaning.

  • Consent is based on choice.
  • It is active, not passive. Silence and passivity do not equal consent.
  • Consent is possible only when there is equal power.
  • Giving in because of fear is NOT consent.
  • Giving in or going along with someone to gain approval or to avoid being hurt is NOT consent.
  • Consent means two people (or more) deciding together to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other.

Alcohol and Other Drugs in Sexual Assault

Alcohol and other drugs are involved in the majority of sexual assault among college students. However, even if you were drinking or using other drugs, you did not deserve to be raped. You are not to blame for what happened. No one has the right to sexually violate you at any time. Rape is a felony level crime, regardless of whether or not you were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You still have the option to report the sexual assault to the police.
Information adapted from: "Coping with Sexual Assault: A Guide to Healing, Resolution, and Recovery." (TS Nelson Publications).

Alcohol is the most commonly used chemical in drug facilitated sexual assault. In large part this is due to the fact that alcohol is easily accessible and a chemical that many people use in social interactions.

Effects on the Victim:

  • Ability to protect herself or himself is reduced
  • Impaired judgment
  • May not realize that a situation has become dangerous
  • May have trouble handling or avoiding conflict
  • Perceptions of others not as clear
  • Difficult to set limits
  • Ability to resist, both physically and verbally, may be impaired

Effects on the Perpetrator:

  • May misinterpret the behaviors of another as sexual interest (NOTE: misinterpretation is never an excuse).
  • May feel justified to force himself or herself on a drunken partner because he/she views the drunken partner as being partially responsible for whatever happens.
  • May become increasingly aggressive and assertive

"Date-Rape Drugs"

Sexual offenders use many different drugs to impair their victims in order to rape them. These drugs are often put into alcohol, soft drinks, water, or other drinks. Drugs like Benadryl are put in food (such as brownies) to cover up the taste However, many of these drugs are tasteless and odorless. You may not know you have been drugged until you feel very drowsy or overly intoxicated. This can happen within minutes after ingesting the drug. You may blackout or pass out. You may not remember anything that happened while you were under the influence of these drugs.

Two commonly used drugs:

Rohypnol is a strong tranquilizer, often referred to as "roofies," that is not legal for use in the United States.

What is it?: A small white tablet that looks a lot like aspirin. It quickly dissolves in liquid and can take effect within 30 minutes of being ingested. The effects peak within 2 hours and may have lingering effects for 8 hours or more.

Effects:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Memory impairment
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea/aspiration on own vomit

GHB.

What is it?: Pure GHB is commonly sold as a clear, odorless liquid or white crystalline powder. Because it is made in home labs the effects often unpredictable. Once ingested, GHB takes effect in approximately 15 minutes and can last 3-4 hours.

Street Names: Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), Liquid X, Liquid E, G, Georgia Home Boys, Easy Lay, Cherry Meth, Soap, PM, Salt Water, Vita G, G-Juice, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime Scoop, Gook, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, and Goop.

Effects:

  • Sedation of the body
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Hampered mobility
  • Verbal incoherence
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
  • Headache
  • Respiratory failure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizure-like activity
  • Coma, death

If you suspect you were given a drug in your drink or food, you can find out by having a lab test at a local hospital. The sooner you are tested the better. You can also request information from the Saddleback Student Health Center, Saddleback Campus Police or a local rape crisis center as well as information about counseling and advocacy resources.