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Sexual Health

Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault and/or rape can happen to anyone. Women, men, and children of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, education levels, income levels, and backgrounds could be the victims of sexual assault or rape. Any person having gone through such an unsettling experience is left with many questions. This page is designed to answer some of those questions and provide tips on how to avoid situations that may lead to dangerous outcomes.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault can be physical, verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. It is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • Sexual intercourse that you say "no" to or unable to give consent to
  • Rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Child molestation
  • Voyeurism
  • Exhibitionism
  • Incest
  • Sexual harassment

"Drug-facilitated sexual assault" is a term used to describe acts of sexual assault committed while the victim is subjected to nonconsensual sexual acts while they are incapacitated or unconscious due to the effects of alcohol and/or other drugs (See Date Rape Drugs). In these instances, the victim may be unable to resist an assault or give consent to a sexual act.

What is rape?

Rape is a form of sexual assault. It is any kind of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) that is committed against a personís will or is committed with physical force or psychological coercion. If a victim is intoxicated or unconscious and unable to give consent, such a situation is considered rape. Rape happens in all types of situations and is often committed by someone the victim knows (known as date or acquaintance rape).

What is consent?

Consent to engage in sexual activity can be a tricky issue. Consent is not based on how you act or what you wear. Dressing a certain way or flirting with someone is not providing consent. If you are in a situation where you cannot say, "no" because you are intoxicated or unconscious, consent is not present. Mutual consent is only achieved if both partners consciously indicate a willingness to participate in sexual activity. It should be a decision that is discussed and reached together without coercion by any party.

How frequently do sexual assault and rape occur?
  • Someone is sexually assaulted in the United States every 2.5 minutes.
  • According to a study by the Department of Justice and the CDC, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes.
  • Between 20% and 25% of women in college report experiencing a completed or attempted rape.
  • Rape usually occurs more than once. Among adults who report being raped, women experienced an average of 2.9 rapes and men experienced an average of 1.2 rapes in the previous year.
What do I do if I am sexually assaulted or raped?
  1. Get help immediately. Either go to a hospital or contact the police. On campus: Contact the campus police at 274-7911 or visit the Center of Hope at Wishard Hospital - the center specializes in sexual assault and provides the extra care that victims need. Off campus: Call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
  2. Donít change clothes before getting help, if possible. Take a change of clothes with you to the hospital. The police will keep your clothes as evidence.
  3. If you suspect a drug was used to facilitate the assault, try not to urinate before getting help. Ask for a drug screen as soon as possible.
  4. Donít douche, bathe, shower, or comb any part of your body before getting help if possible. These actions could remove evidence of an assault.
I have been assaulted. Is what I am feeling normal?

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel after you have been victimized. People handle the stress of an assault in different ways. Many people report feeling ashamed, guilty, depressed, or angry. Others experience difficulty sleeping or eating. Each person is different, and anything you feel is valid. Seek emotional support from a family member or trusted friend or counseling to help cope with the experience and learn how to continue to move forward.

IUPUI Counseling and Psychological Services and the Midtown Community Mental Health Clinic are both available to provide support to those who have experienced assault .


Contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline for 24-hour support at 1-800-656-HOPE. Visit Health Resources for additional sources of support.

What steps can I take to protect myself from sexual assault or rape?
  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Walk with confidence and only walk in heavily walked areas.
  3. Avoid walking alone. On campus, you can contact campus police 24-hours a day for an escort. Call 274-SAFE.
  4. Avoid drugs or alcohol - they cloud your judgment.
  5. Never accept a drink from anybody else. Keep your drink covered at all times. If your drink is out of sight even for a minute, get a new drink.
  6. Always go out to parties or bars with friends. Never go alone. Arrive together, watch out for each other, and leave together.
  7. Be assertive and don't be afraid to make a scene.
  8. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get out of it.
  9. Do not prop open self-locking doors and pay attention to who slips in behind you.
  10. Always lock your doors and windows at home and in your car.
  11. Never answer a door unless you know who is on the other side.
  12. Always have your key ready before you reach the door of your car, work, or home.
  13. Park in well-lit areas and always lock the car.
  14. Drive only on well-traveled streets with doors and windows locked.
  15. Keep your car in good condition with plenty of gas in the tank.
  16. Keep your cell phone charged.
  17. In case of car trouble, call for help on your cell phone. If you donít have a phone, remain in the car with your windows up and your doors locked.