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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault shall include but is not limited to a sexual act directed against another person without the consent (as defined herein) of the other person or when that person is not capable of giving such consent.

Sexual assault is further defined in sections 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b and 53a-73a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Taken from the Board of Regents Sexual Misconduct Reporting, Support Services and Processes Policy

Date Rape Drugs

The three most common "date rape drugs" are alcohol, GHB and Rohypnol.

Alcohol

Alcohol lowers a person's inhibitions and interferes with his or her judgment and decision-making, which makes for potentially dangerous sexual situations. Many perpetrators also deliberately feed their victims drink after drink to make them more vulnerable.

GHB and Rohypnol

GHB (gamma hydroxyl butyrate), also known as liquid ecstasy, and Rohypnol are central nervous system depressants that can cause dizziness, disorientation, loss of inhibition, memory blackouts, and loss of consciousness when mixed with alcohol. Both are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so you may not even realize it if someone slips one of these substances into your drink. Because they may cause you to pass out, ingesting them may put you at risk for sexual assault.

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Risk Reduction Tips

ASK FOR CONSENT. RESPECT THE REPLY.

Because the only actions you can truly control are your own.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk  of committing sexual misconduct:

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone's sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  • Don't take advantage of someone's drunkenness or drugged state.
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don't abuse that power.
  • Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
  • Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
  • Ask for permission every step of the way.
  • If you have to read body language, you do not likely have clear consent. Ask for consent. Respect the reply.

 Risk reduction tips can often take a tone of “blame the victim/survivor,” even unintentionally. With full acknowledgement that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions and that we only have control over our own actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:

  • Try to make any limits known as early as possible.
  • Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable.
  • Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do. 

Sexual violence is NEVER your fault and these tips are provided to help keep you safer.

What To Do If You’ve Just Been Sexually Assaulted

Go to a safe place.
If you want to report the crime, notify the police. Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control and can also help to ensure the safety of potential victims.
Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you can trust and ask her or him to stay with you.
Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche, or brush your teeth. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not disturb the area where the assault occurred.
Go to a hospital emergency room that provides medical care for sexual assault victims. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault.
If you suspect that you may have been given a rape drug, ask the hospital or clinic where you received medical care to take a urine sample. Rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely detected in urine than in blood.

Medical Care After a Sexual Assault

I feel OK physically. Do I need a medical exam?

It is very important to have a thorough medical examination immediately after a sexual assault, even if you do not have any apparent physical injuries. You may have injuries of which you are not aware. Medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy can also be obtained. The doctor or nurse can also document any injuries you have sustained so that if you decide to take any kind of legal action, such as participating in the prosecution of your assailant, you will have a record of what happened to you.

A medical examination enables you to identify and preserve physical evidence of the assault. During a medical examination, the doctor or nurse can look for and collect physical evidence of a sexual assault, such as sperm samples and stains on your body or clothing. If you think you may have been drugged make sure you tell your physician. It is imperative that you be tested as soon as possible. Drug testing is not automatically included in the exam. Evidence may be present immediately after the assault but will deteriorate as time passes.

Should I have a medical exam and evidence collection even if I am unsure about making a police report?

Yes. Even if you are undecided about whether you want to make a police report and unsure about whether you want your assailant prosecuted, you should have evidence collected as soon as possible after a sexual assault (no more than 120 hours/5 days after the assault, but ideally within 72 hours/3 days). You do not need to file a police report to have an evidence collection kit performed. There is time to change your mind to file a report, but there is limited time to collect evidence. This is the best way to keep your options open for the future.

What happens during a sexual assault medical examination?

The doctor or nurse examiner will usually begin by asking questions about your general health. If you are a female, you will be asked about your menstrual history and your use of contraception. You will also be asked specific questions about the assault. It may be difficult to recall some of the details, and it may be emotionally painful to remember and talk about what happened. Medical personnel ask specific questions to find out what to look for when they examine you. The information you give helps them conduct a thorough physical evaluation. For female victims, this usually includes a pelvic exam.

In addition to checking you for injuries, the doctor or nurse can collect other evidence of the sexual assault. Depending on the types of sexual contact that occurred, the search for physical evidence may include taking samples from the vagina, mouth, or rectum to test for sperm cells and semen (the fluid around the sperm). Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault.

Can I have someone I know (a support person) stay with me during the examination?

You can have a support person (or persons) of your choice, such as a sexual assault victim advocate, a friend, or a family member, accompany you throughout the examination.

Remember - You Are Not to Blame, Even If

  • Your attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend or spouse.
  • You have been sexually intimate with that person or with others before.
  • You were drinking or using drugs.
  • You froze and did not or could not say "no," or were unable to fight back physically.
  • You were wearing clothes that others may see as seductive.

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