What is sexual assault?
Sexual Assault – Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This definition includes any gender of victim or perpetrator. Sexual penetration means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, or by a sex-related object. The definition also includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol) or because of age. Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent. As defined by “Uniform Crime Reporting”
Sex Offenses –
- Incest- Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degree wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
- Statutory Rape- Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under statutory age of consent.
- Forcible Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and or against that person’s will: or, not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity. As defined by “Uniform Crime Reporting”
Associated State of Nebraska Statues:
- 28-318-Sexual Assault Terms, defined;
- 28-319-Sexual Assault; first degree;
- 28-319.01-Sexual Assault of a Child; first degree;
- 28-320-Sexual Assault; second or third degree;
- 28-320.01-Sexual Assault of a Child; second or third degree;
- 28-320.02-Sexual Assault; Use of Electronic Communication Device;
- 28-322.05-Unlawful Use of the Internet by a Prohibited Sex Offender;
Who perpetrates sexual assault?
Men and women both commit sexual assault; however, research shows men perpetrate crimes of sexual assault more often than women. The majority of perpetrators are known to the victim; either as an acquaintance, date, partner, relative or friend.
Who are victims of sexual assault?
Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status or race.
What is consent?
An agreement, approval, or permission as to some act or purpose, given voluntarily by a competent person. Nebraska law states “without consent” means:
- The person was compelled to submit due to the use of force or threat of force or coercion, or the person expressed a lack of consent through words, or the person expressed a lack of consent through conduct, or the consent, if any was actually given, was the result of the actor's deception as to the identity of the actor or the nature or purpose of the act on the part of the actor.
- The person need only resist, either verbally or physically, so as to make the person's refusal to consent genuine and real and so as to reasonably make known to the actor the person's refusal to consent.
- A person need not resist verbally or physically where it would be useless or futile to do so.
- In the above text, the word “person” means the individual against whom a wrongful act was allegedly committed, and the word “actor” is the individual alleged to have committed a wrongful act. When the actor knew or should have known that a person was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct, there is no consent. A person may be incapacitated due to intoxication, mental illness or deficiency or by physical illness or disability to the extent that personal decision-making is impossible. Surprise may also prevent resistance, as where a person is grabbed from behind.
There are some persons who the law presumes are incapable of consenting to sexual contact or penetration by an actor by reason of their age. Under Nebraska law an actor nineteen years of age or older many not subject a person under the age of sixteen years of age to sexual penetration, or a person under fifteen years of age to sexual contact.
What to do if you have been sexually assaulted
- Go to a safe place.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche, or brush your teeth. If possible do not urinate, eat, drink liquids, take any medications, smoke or brush your teeth if oral contact took place. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not clean any clothing garments. Do not disturb or destroy any physical evidence. If the crime occurred in the victim’s home, the victim should not clean or straighten until the police have had an opportunity to collect evidence.
- Following an incident, victims are encouraged to make a report to campus or local police. If an individual needs assistance in notifying authorities, University officials will assist them in doing so. Filing a police report does not obligate prosecution, but does provide the opportunity for the collection of evidence, investigation into the allegations and makes legal action possible. The earlier an incident is reported the easier it is to collect valuable evidence. Further reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control and can also help to ensure the safety of other potential victims.
- Report the incident to the university police at (308) 627-4811 or local police at (308) 237-2104 or 911.
- Victims have the option of keeping their report of sexual assault in complete confidence, protecting their right to anonymity, when making a report through the University Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Best Care, EAP for employees. When reporting to anyone other than the University Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Best Care EAP individuals are obligated to forward the information on to the University Title IX Office for investigation and to UNK Police and Parking Services for investigation/statistical collection.
- Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust and ask her or him to stay with you.
- Seek medical care even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault.
- Students can contact: Student Health Care at (308) 865-8218, FAN at 308-865-7492 or your local physician.
- Employees can contact FAN at 308-865-7492 or your local physician.
- If you suspect that you may have been given a rape drug, ask the clinician where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. Rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and GSB, are more likely to be detected in the urine than in blood.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.
- Talk with a confidential advocate who is trained to assist sexual assault victims with the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. Advocates are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Students can contact: Women’s Center at (308) 865-8248, Counseling Care at (308)865-8248 (24/7), or contact your local counselor.
- Employees can contact Best Care EAP at (800) 666-8606 or contact your local counselor.
- For additional resources go here.
- Students who have been sexually assaulted harassed or complainants have access to University assistance in changing academic, living, working and transportation situations after an alleged incident. If the request is made by the student or complainant and if such changes are reasonably available, accommodations to minimize burden on the student or complainant may include:
- University code of conduct action, Title IX action, employee disciplinary action, criminal prosecution and civil suits are all options available to victims of sexual assault. To begin the university conduct process, the campus authority or victim should contact the Title IX Coordinator: Founders Hall #1200, (308) 865-8388, the Dean–Student Affairs, Memorial Student Affairs Building #180, (308) 865-8528 University Student Conduct Officer, Nebraskan Student Union #142A, (308) 865-1619 or the Human Resources office Founders Hall #1200, (308) 865-8388. Once the university has been notified they are obligated to investigate the incident and complete their processes.
- Additional resources about legal issues, health care, or other concerns related to the assault can be found here.
How to Help a Friend
- If your friend tells you they have been sexual assaulted: Believe them. Your friend needs to be believed and supported. It is never the fault of the victim for being sexual assaulted. Sexual assault has nothing to do with the victim’s behavior, actions or the reality of the situation.
- Support and understanding are essential. Sexual assault, like stalking and relationship abuse can cause depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, sleeping problems etc… Let your friend talk as much as or as little as they need to. It is important that you listen and believe them.
- Do not respond to the assaulter.
- Advise your friend to keep evidence and document everything. You can also document any incidence you witness. Tell your friend to keep a log of the time, date, place and other details they may find of importance. Tell them to keep all e-mails, phone messages, letters, notes or social media messages. Tell them to photograph any damages to their personal possessions and any injuries they may have incurred.
- Respect Privacy. Perpetrators can be very clever about getting information so do not give any information out about your friend, no matter what they might say.
- Help them feel safe. Offer to spend time with your friend so they do not have to be alone.
- Refer your friend to the Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Safety Center. They can assist you in helping your friend devise a personal safety plan, provide them with information about local laws and University policies, and provide support and advocacy. They can assess the situation and refer your friend to counseling, legal aid, provide an escort on campus and they can be a safe place on campus where their needs will be heard and responded to.
- Get Support for Yourself. Sometimes the friends of victims can also feel the impact of the crime and experience emotional and physical reactions. This is called secondary victimization. Hearing about a sexual assault can be upsetting. You may feel angry, sad, frustrated and helpless. If you have experienced crime or other traumatic events in the past, your friend’s experience might bring up memories and feelings of that time. You may want to talk about your feelings but also respect your friend’s privacy. You can contact the Women’s Center, Counseling Care or Safe Center to speak to an advocate confidentially.