Have You Been Sexually Assaulted?

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Our Gender-Based Misconduct Policy provides you with detailed information about your rights as a victim of sexual assault, your options for reporting, and resources available to you.

You can also quickly get helpful phone numbers by selecting the campus you attend.

What is Sexual Assault?

The first step in recovering from sexual assault is knowing the facts.

There are many definitions of sexual violence and sexual assault—criminal definitions vary by state, and policy violations vary by school. However, if anyone has committed a sexual act against you without your consent, you have been assaulted. (A person must be 16 years old or older to give legal consent.) The offense does not have to be committed by a stranger for it to be sexual assault or rape. In fact, the majority of sexual assaults are committed by people who are known to the victim. Sexual assault can occur regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or other characteristics of the victim or the perpetrator.

Crimes of a sexual nature are primarily committed by a perpetrator who needs to feel powerful and in control. Often, the victim, or survivor, fears for his or her safety and well-being and feels that there is no choice but to do what the perpetrator wants. But submission does not equal consent. If you submit, it does not mean that you agreed to or accepted the situation. A survivor is never responsible for being sexually assaulted. The responsibility for the assault lies with the perpetrator.

If You Are Sexually Assaulted:

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Consider seeking prompt medical attention. You may have injuries that may not be obvious to you, and you may want to explore options for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. A sexual assault exam will also collect important evidence that could aid in criminal prosecution should you decide to report the assault to the police.
  • Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not bathe, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing. If oral contact took place, do not eat, drink liquids, smoke, or brush your teeth.
  • Consider contacting the police. On- or off-campus, call 911.
  • Contact a friend, family member, NYIT staff member, or other support person to be with you.

While it is recommended that you seek medical treatment and report the incident to the police to leave options open for criminal prosecution, it is important to remember is that YOU HAVE THE CHOICE to pursue one or both of these options, or to do neither.

What You Can Expect to Feel:

Every survivor is going to experience trauma of sexual violence differently. Your response to an assault may cover a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, even some that may not result directly from the attack. Learning to recognize these responses will help you regain control of them.

Some of these symptoms may come immediately after the incident, while others might come later in life, or perhaps you won't experience any of them. Seeking support from a licensed professional is often a helpful tool in recovery, especially if the symptoms are interfering with your daily life.

Possible Physical Responses and Symptoms
Muscle tension
Changes in sleeping and eating
Pain patterns
Gynecological issues
Involuntary shaking
Shortness of breath
Sexual dysfunction
Possible Emotional Responses and Symptoms
Feeling dirty
Suicidal or self-harm thoughts
Preoccupation with safety
Guilt or self-blame
Withdrawing socially
Feeling stuck
Trust issues
Crying or inability to cry

How to Take Care of Yourself

Get support.
Many sexual assault survivors feel isolated in the aftermath of the assault. In order to reduce those feelings, reaching out for support might be helpful. Seek support from friends and family, from people who know you and can validate your feelings. If you talk to someone and they don't make you feel good about yourself, don't be afraid to try someone else. Some people know how to say the right thing and others just don't. Additionally, a counselor or advocate can offer you additional support. Your family can also provide support, assistance, and encouragement. However, because they are your family, they may also try to protect you or make decisions for you. The reasons for doing this are varied, but it may feel suffocating and controlling. It's important for them to understand that you need to take control and make decisions for yourself.

You should choose when, where, and with whom to talk about the assault. Set limits by only disclosing information that you feel comfortable about revealing. Some survivors decide to report the assault to the local police, while others decide to file a formal complaint through NYIT's student conduct process. Some choose to pursue both options. Whatever you decide, make sure it is your choice and not the choice of friends or family members. A staff person can talk with you about your options and support you as you make your own decision. They will not encourage or discourage you from reporting or pressing charges. That choice is yours.

Use stress-reduction techniques.
Exercises like jogging, aerobics, and walking can reduce stress. Relaxation practices like yoga, massage, music, and hot baths can reduce stress. Prayer and/or meditation can be relaxing. Keeping a journal can also give voice to your thoughts and feelings. Engage in creative activities, anything you enjoy. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and plenty of sleep. Avoid overusing stimulants like caffeine, or depressants like alcohol. Develop a routine that is comfortable for you. Routine can be very stabilizing in the face of traumatic stress.

Be kind to yourself.
Recognize that there will be times when you are stressed and unable to function as efficiently as you might wish. This is normal. Give yourself time and seek support from those who care for you whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. Take care of yourself and do things that make you feel good. Remember that coping means different things to different people.