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Sexual Violence

Safer understands that anyone can be a victim/survivor of rape or sexual assault and will always believe someone who discloses that they were assaulted.

Rape and Sexual Assault are defined below:

  • Rape is an act of non-consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) that may or may not involve coercion, the threat of force, violence, immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.
  • Sexual assault is broader in definition than rape. Any non-consensual sexual act may be sexual assault. This may include unwanted oral intercourse, penetration of the anus or vagina with a foreign object, or unwanted touching on an intimate area of a person’s body. Sexual assault can include unwanted kissing or bodily contact that is sexual in nature.
    • Sexual Assault is a felony in the state of CA. Sentencing can include up to 10 years in prison, fines, and psychiatric treatment. 

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner violence is a pattern of behaviors by one partner in order to maintain power and control in a dating relationship. While physical violence is a form of domestic/ dating violence, it is not the only form. A perpetrator may be psychologically, verbally, sexually, financially, and/or emotionally violent. All forms of abuse are serious and no one deserves to experience violence in their relationships. The Power and Control Wheel below illustrates ways in which a perpetrator may use violence against their partner. 

Dating Violence in the LGBTQ Community

  • LGBT relationships are estimated to see the same percentage of abuse as straight relationships (25%-33%).
  • The same dynamics of power and control apply.
  • Abuse in the LGBT community are often undetected and unreported due to attitudes such as:
    • “women don’t hurt each other”
    • “a fight between two men is a fair fight”

Barriers to finding support and resources

  • A survivor may be afraid to seek help from police and counseling services due to possible discrimination or insensitivity among many reasons.
  • Some abusers will threaten to “out” their partners to further control them.
  • Limited resources specific to the LGBT community
  • Women’s shelters may not be sensitive to same-sex abuse or gender identity concerns.
  • Fears of not being believed or losing friends and support within their community.
  • Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia deny the reality of LGBTQ people’s lives, including the existence of LGBTQ relationships, let alone abusive ones. When abuse exists, attitudes often range from "who cares?" to "these relationships are generally unstable or unhealthy."

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior which involves the abuse by one person against another in an intimate relationship such as roommates, cohabitation, marriage, dating or within the family. It can be experienced by persons in heterosexual or same-sex relationship, all genders, ethnicities, classes. Forms of domestic violence include physical, emotional, verbal, financial, spiritual, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms of abuse to violent physical abuse.

 

Stalking

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a person to feel fear.

Stalking may happen in the context of a relationship or could be perpetrated by someone the victim or survivor does not know. Incidents can occur on a regular basis (every day/week/month) or infrequently. Regardless, if the action(s) make you feel unsafe, it could be stalking.

Examples of Stalking may include:

  • Following someone
  • Watching from afar
  • Continuous phone calls or texts
  • Delivering unwanted items or gifts to a person’s residence, work site, etc.
  • Using other people to make contact
  • Cyberstalking; social media, e-mail, etc.

Consent

To establish that someone has consented to sexual activity, the person must receive consent verbally or nonverbally in an unambiguous way.  Consent cannot be established simply on the basis of a current or previous dating or romantic relationship. In addition, consent may be withdrawn at any time during the sexual act. Consent consists of words or conduct indicating a freely given and present agreement to perform a particular sex act with the initiator

  • Both/all participants must be fully conscious and not incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.
  • Both/all parties have clearly communicated their desire to participate in the act.
  • Both/all parties are positive and sincere (no manipulation, coercion, or force).
  • Either party has the ability to change their mind at any time.

*Remember that whoever is initiating the sexual act has the responsibility of confirming consent.

*If someone is pressuring you into sexual activity, don’t be afraid to be assertive in setting your boundaries and saying no.

Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Alcohol is the number one date rape drug. Safer understands that Cal Poly students are in college, that drinking is common, and that drunk sex is also common. While we may understand how our bodies react to alcohol, we cannot always accurately gauge how drunk someone else is - especially when they are a stranger. Keep this in mind when interacting with acquaintances or strangers at parties - consent is even more important when both parties are under the influence.

“Date rape” drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol, and ketamine are incapacitating drugs and potent sedatives slipped into a drink that may render someone weak, helpless, or unconscious. Often they are unable to remember what happened although they have reason to believe that they may have been sexually assaulted.

Sexual assault is NEVER the victim/survivors fault. To truly end sexual violence, we need to reach the perpetrators and stop them from committing the crime. While this is something we aim to do, we also acknowledge that there are some things we can do to try to keep ourselves safe. Be aware of where your drink is/never leave it unattended. If someone is pressuring you to drink, don’t be afraid to say no. Alcoholic punch drinks like jungle juice contain a lot of alcohol, be aware of how much you consume. Have a friend and a plan to get home. Let your friends know what you want to do that night - even so far as to let them know if you do or don’t want to hook up with someone that night.

 

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