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College Students are at a high risk for experiencing sexual assault.
Sexual assault is any sexual act without consent. Consent means informed and freely given words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent may be withdrawn at any time and must be obtained at every step.
Consent cannot be obtained in the state of Arizona if the person is:
- under the age of 18
- severely developmentally disabled or seriously mentally ill
- intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- coerced or pressured
Clear, open communication with your partner about what you both are comfortable and uncomfortable with is an important component of any healthy relationship.
Always ask and always respect the answer. Consent should be continuous, verbal and enthusiastic. Respect your partner if they want to slow things down.
If you think you have experienced sexual assault, there are resources both on and off campus that can help you navigate the healing process. You are not alone and it’s not your fault.
It is never okay for someone to pressure or force another person to have sex when s/he doesn’t want to.
Reaching out for information is a important first step. If you are trying to figure out if what happened to you was rape, consider the following questions:
- Are you old enough to give consent? In Arizona, the age of consent is 18.
- Did you have the capacity to give consent? If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you cannot give consent.
- Did you agree to take part? Sex without consent is rape.
Read more on the legal role of consent.
Did you know?
- College students are at high risk for sexual assault. College-age women are four times more likely to be assaulted than women of any other age group. Consent should never be coerced, implied or assumed, even if a relationship exists. Just because someone is in a relationship doesn’t mean that they always have consent to have sex with their partner.
- Consent cannot be legally given by someone who is intoxicated. Someone may choose to be drunk, or high, but they are never responsible for being sexually assaulted. Others who cannot give consent include minors, those with certain disabilities, someone who is unconscious, or those who are coerced or bullied into sexual acts.
- The way a person dresses is no excuse for rape. Women who dress sexy are not “asking for it”. Rape is rape; it is about power and control and putting one’s wishes above another person’s. It is not about attraction.
- Only 3% of reported rapes are considered to be false reports. Those who encourage the myth that people lie about being victims make it more difficult for victims to report the incident.
Visit our resource page for more information.
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I’ve been assaulted: What do I do?
Understanding what happened to you can be unclear and overwhelming. Deciding whether or not to report an incident can be a stressful and confusing choice. Read the information below to understand what happened to you and what your options are.
Go here to review your options and resources.
Was I raped?
Consider the following questions for you or a friend:
- Did both people have the capacity to give consent for sexual acts? In Arizona, the law states that someone is unable to give consent if they are mentally impaired including impairment caused by drugs and alcohol. The law also includes impairment caused by a “mental disorder”, “mental defect”, and “sleep”.
- Did both participants agree to take part in what happened? Arizona law states that consent is not obtained if someone is “coerced by the immediate use or threatened use of force” or “deceived as to the nature of the act”. This means that a threat of harm is enough, there does not necessarily need to be a weapon involved.
Many survivors of sexual assault may be confused about what happened to them because it does not match up to what they think rape is. Visit RAAIN’s website for answers to more common questions. If you are unsure about whether you have been raped or sexually assaulted, contact Victim Witness by calling (928) 679-7770 or (928) 774-1414 and request that an advocate be paged. Victim Witness can also explain your legal rights and options in the case that you or someone you know was sexually assaulted.
Victims of sexual assault
Follow these steps if you’ve been assaulted:
- Find a safe environment, anywhere away from the perpetrator. If you are at immediate risk, contact the police. You can give the police as much or as little information as you wish, or request that they contact a victim/witness advocate, who will help you understand the process and provide support. Call the Northern Arizona University Police Department at 928-523-3611 or the Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414.
- If there is serious physical injury, go immediately to a hospital emergency room to be examined.
- If the victim reports the sexual assault to Flagstaff Medical Center, the nurses and doctors there are required to notify police and make an incident report, but the victim is not required to talk with the police unless they choose to. The victim will be treated for injuries and taken to Northern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault if they wish to proceed with the report and there is no medical reason for them to remain at the hospital.
- If there is no serious physical injury, go to a medical center as soon as possible to be examined for sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. Campus Health Services is available for all university students.
- Know that what happened was not your fault and that you should do what is best for you. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
- Call Victim/Witness Services at (928) 679-7770 if you would like advice and support and to clarify your options.
- Recognize that healing takes time. Give yourself the time you need. If you would like to seek assistance through counseling, contact Counseling Services.
How to file a report
In an anonymous report, no names are used and all effort is made to maintain the victim’s anonymity. No information is included that might identify the victim; a victim can choose how much information is shared.
An anonymous report can be made through the Office of Student Life. An anonymous report can also be submitted online through the NAU Police Department. Based on the report, the police will determine if the university community is in danger. If the community is in danger, the police would notify the university’s Incident Management Team with the information. Otherwise, the anonymous report is used to track possible patterns or areas that could put other students and faculty in danger.
Criminal incident reports
A victim can choose to report as much or as little information as they wish when they file an incident report, and decide how involved they wish to be in prosecution. They can file a report through the:
- University Police Department
- Flagstaff Police Department
- Flagstaff Medical Center
- Northern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (NACASA)
If a victim talks to a counselor at Counseling Services, the information given will remain confidential and the counseling relationship provides a safe space for the victim to talk about the assault and how it has affected their life. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality. If the victim is under the age of 18 and the perpetrator is over 18, the counselor is mandated to report a sexual assault. If the victim is seen as a potential harm to themselves or another person, the counselor must also break confidentiality. These factors are considered on a case-by-case basis.
There are many steps after filing a criminal report.
- The police department will send a reporting officer to the victim’s location and ensure that they are in a safe place before asking for basic information about the incident. The reporting officer will then have dispatch contact a victim/witness advocate and the victim will be escorted to the NACASA facility. The advocate will provide support to the victim throughout the process. A victim may wish to bring a friend along for additional support.
- The victim will meet with an advocate to discuss their options and what to expect. The advocate does not take a detailed account of what happened.
- A forensic exam is voluntary and can take up to six hours. A Sexual Assault Nurse Adviser (SANE) will ask questions about the incident and conduct a head-to-toe exam and detailed genital exam. The victim can stop the exam at any time. An exam can be done up to five days after an incident.
- The SANE nurse will check the body for bruises, touch the body to check for sensitive areas, comb pubic hair, and examine the area of penetration. Photos may be taken.
- The SANE nurse will offer the patient a urine pregnancy test, morning after pill, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) preventative medication. The victim will be referred to receive full STI testing.
- The victim will be given a change of clothes and taken to the “soft room” at NACASA, where they can speak to a detective who will then take a detailed account of the incident.
- The advocate will ensure that the victim has a safe place to go and will follow-up and continue supporting the client throughout the investigative process.
NAU Police Department: 928-523-3611
Flagstaff Police Department: 928-774-1414
Victim/Witness Services: 928-679-7770
Campus Health Services: 928-523-2131
Student Life: 928-523-5181
Equity & Access: 928-523-3312
1 in 4women experience sexual assault
1 in 16men experience sexual assault
1 in 10LGBTQ students of all genders experience sexual assault