Sexual Assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the affirmative consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible penetration, child molestation, fondling, and attempted rape.
Sexual Assault–Contact is any intentional sexual touching other than non-consensual sexual penetration without affirmative consent. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact may include: genital-genital or oral-genital contact not involving penetration; contact with breasts, buttocks, or genital area, including over clothing; removing the clothing of another person; and kissing.
Sexual Assault–Penetration is any act of vaginal or anal penetration by a person’s penis, finger, other body part, or an object, or oral penetration by a penis or any other body part, without a person’s affirmative consent.
Awareness is the first defense against an attack. The following information and suggestions can help protect yourself and others.
Minimize your risks
Please note: These guidelines are not guaranteed to prevent an attack, but following them can reduce the chances of an assault.
- Surround yourself with people who respect each other. You’re safest in communities that share values of mutual don’t tolerate disrespect or pressure in your communities; even small incidents can contribute to a negative climate.
- Look out for people around you. Simply stepping in to act when you see a troubling situation can make a big difference. If you see something that causes you concern—even if you’re not sure—check in. Call on friends, allies, and authority figures to help if you’re not sure— check in. Call on friends, allies, and authority figures to help if necessary.
- Respond to even minor issues. Serious situations can often be averted by response at the first sign of trouble. The Title IX Coordinator and Public Safety are always available to discuss such incidents. If you are in a position of authority, you have a responsibility to establish and maintain a respectful environment. If you are a supervisor, you must report any sexual misconduct that comes to your attention to a Title IX Coordinator.
- Take sexual pressure seriously. Many sexual assaults begin with low-level sexual pressure. Though sexual pressure and disregard don’t always lead to assault, you deserve to have your boundaries respected, not pushed.
- Hold out for enthusiasm. In general, it’s easy to tell if someone is enthusiastic about an encounter or not. Take any signs of reluctance or refusal, including nonverbal signs, very seriously. If the signs are ambiguous, be sure to stop, and then check in or ask
- Be wary of extreme drunkenness. While drunkenness does not cause or excuse sexual misconduct, drunk people are more likely to disregard other people’s signals.
- Communicate with your sexual and romantic partners. Open discussion of desires and limits is a critical part of building a positive sexual
- Be alert to patterns, not just isolated actions. Sometimes, sexual misconduct can take the form of patterns of behaviors that might not be worrying in isolation, but that together constitute a problem. Take repeated disrespect, intimidation, and threats seriously, even if they seem small
- Walk with a friend if possible, especially if it’s at night or in a remote location. If you’re going on a jog, bring a companion.
- Stick to populated, well-lit areas if you need to walk alone. Avoid poorly lit areas.
- Carry a cell phone. The phone is helpful for dialing emergency numbers in case you are attacked. Have emergency numbers on speed dial so that you can dial quickly.
- If walking on a sidewalk, walk next to the street, not next to the buildings, where someone can hide in a doorway, alleyway, etc.
How to get help
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are ways to get help.
- Call the police at 911. Sexual assault is a crime. Police can help you get medical care if necessary and will refer your case to someone in the Special
Victims Division. Officers in this squad are specially trained to respond sensitively to victims of sexual assault.
- Go to a hospital. Hospitals can document and treat injuries. Going to the doctor may be easier if someone goes with you. New York City hospitals also have sexual assault experts on staff who can help you through the
- Treatment and preservation of evidence are crucial to a criminal investigation, and it is best gathered as soon as possible after an incident, It may be helpful in obtaining an order of protection. An individual who may be a victim of sexual misconduct as a consequence of alcohol and/or other drugs should have a toxicology examination at the hospital as quickly as possible as drugs may remain in a person’s system for only a short time. Most hospitals have rape victim protocols that are very supportive of Victims are able to receive a sexual assault forensic examination (commonly referred to as a “rape kit”) within 96 hours of an assault. You are encouraged to let hospital personnel know if you do not want your insurance policy holder to be notified about your access to these services.
- Use the resources listed at the end of this brochure. There are professionals at FIT who can help a student or employee get assistance and receive reports. New York City, New York State, and national resources are also available.