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Know the Facts - Rape and Sexual Assault

Know the Facts

Crimes Against Women

Sexual Violence Awareness

What is the Crime of Rape?

Consent

Take Action

Active Bystanders

Know What to Do When Someone Experiences Sexual Violence

What PSU is Doing




Sexual Violence Awareness

Sexual violence is not just a woman's problem. Nor is it something that happens to someone else, somewhere else. Sexual Violence happens everywhere, every day, every minute to people of all ages. Family and friends of the victim are also affected. We are all affected.

Sexual violence is a significant problem on college campuses across the nation, where most victims are acquainted with their assailants. The effects of crimes such as rape and sexual assault on these student victims can be devastating, creating emotional, trauma-related difficulties and, consequently, disrupting or ending their academic careers.

What Is the Crime of Rape?

According to Pennsylvania law, rape, which is a first-degree felony, is sexual intercourse obtained:

* "Forcible compulsion" is defined as "compulsion by use of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional, or psychological force, either expressed or implied," and does not require that the victim resists the offender.

Sexual assault, which is a second-degree felony, consists of non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There must be some penetration, however slight, but ejaculation is not necessary.

Aggravated indecent assault, also a second-degree felony, consists of penetration of the genitals or anus by a part of the offender's body without consent.

Indecent assault is unwanted touching of intimate parts of the body and is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Rape and sexual assault can be committed by a stranger, acquaintance, close friend, relative, date, or a spouse. Alcohol or other drug use can impair an individual's ability to give consent. The penalties range from imprisonment for up to two years for indecent assault to imprisonment for up to ten years for sexual assault and twenty years for rape, in addition to fines and restitution. The statute of limitations for reporting rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault is five years and two years for reporting indecent assault.

Sexual harassment and misconduct: Engaging in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education, or access to University programs, activities and opportunities, and such conduct would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence (as described in AD-85). Sexual misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and refers to attempted or completed unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity, including, but not limited to the following: rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, forcible sodomy, sexual penetration with an inanimate object, intercourse without consent, sexual touching and fondling, the touching of an unwilling person's intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast or buttock, or clothing covering those intimate parts), forcing an unwilling person to touch another's intimate parts, sexual exploitation, and sexual coercion.

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Consent

Consent means a clear, knowing, and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent may be communicated through verbal or non-verbal expression, and cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no.” Consent cannot be gained by threat, coercion, intimidation, or force. In order to give consent, one must be of legal age for sexual consent as physically and cognitively able to understand what is being agreed to; for example, one must be both sober enough and conscious enough to consent. Consent may be withdrawn at any point. Consent for one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of activity.Consent must be obtained on each occasion and cannot be assumed by previous consensual actions.

 

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Take Action

The only way to prevent sexual violence is to stop people from committing crimes, such as rape and sexual assault. However, the action steps below are things individuals can do to reduce their risk of victimization.

Everyone:

 

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Active Bystanders

Individuals who DO SOMETHING to decrease the likelihood that something bad will occur or get worse.

There are two ways bystanders can be active:

  1. Reactive:The choices you makes in response to a situation that you think might be high risk or might eventually lead to something high risk. The next time you are in a situation that makes your gut go “uh-oh,” instead of walking away, thinking to yourself, “This is none of my business,” take a moment to check in, make a phone call, provide support, or ask a friend to help.
  2. Proactive:These are little things you can do to make it less likely that concerning behaviors ever happen. This might include having a conversation with a friend about this issue, wearing an anti-violence message on a t-shirt or pin, posting a bystander message on Facebook, or Tweeting about bystanders’ role in violence prevention.

Solutions!

Reactive Bystander Actions (for anyone)

To help you come up with solutions, think about the 3 Ds. These are ways a bystander can reactively respond to concerning situations. You have lots of options! Source: Green Dot etc., a non-profit organization dedicated to violence prevention education (www.livethegreendot.com).

Direct: This approach just means you are directly interacting with the people involved in the situation and addressing that you are concerned. It may be a confrontation or it may just be checking in with a friend. Examples:

Distract: This approach’s focus is diversion. If you see a situation and can think of a way to divert the attention of the people in the situation, distract is the perfect option. Sometimes all a situation needs to diffuse is a little diversion. Examples:

Delegate: When you recognize a concerning situation and you may be uncomfortable saying something yourself or you feel like someone else is better suited to handle it (i.e. a friend, police, bartender), delegate is a solid option. Here you are asking someone else to help in the situation. It also has the additional benefit of making someone else aware of what is going on and that something needs to be done. Examples:

Proactive Bystander Actions (for anyone)

In order to reduce the number of people impacted by violence, we don’t just want to respond to concerning behavior – we want to keep it from happening in the first place. And even if you never see a high-risk situation, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood that violence happens on this campus. Examples:

 

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Know What to Do When Someone Experiences Sexual Violence

No matter how careful you or your friends are, it may not be possible to fully prevent sexual violence. Then it becomes important to know what to do to help yourself or a friend feel safe again. Remember, it is not your fault or your friend’s fault who is the victim. No one asks to be sexually assaulted, and no one deserves it.

After an act of sexual violence occurs, a victim (female, male, or any gender identity or expression) should:

 

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What Penn State Is Doing About Sexual Assault

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