Sexual Assault


Consent is an active agreement that 2 people must make if they want to have sex or engage in sexual activity. Consent needs to be addressed with clear, open, honest communication. For consent to be established, please consider these guidelines:

  • Both partners need to be fully conscious and aware;
  • Both partners are equally free to act – both partners must have the option to choose to be intimate or not. Both partners should be free to change "yes" to "no" at any time.
  • Both partners clearly communicate their willingness and permission – just because a person fails to resist sexual advances does not mean that s/he is willing. Consent is not the absence of the word "no."
  • Both partners are positive and sincere in their desires.

Remember, sexual assault and rape are never the fault of the survivor, even if the attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend or spouse.



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

Sexual Harassment: Intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.

Relationship Violence: A pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal or psychological in nature.

Sexual Assault – Any unwanted sexual contact, including intercourse, touching, fondling or groping of sexual body parts. It can be committed by the use of threats or force or when someone takes advantage of circumstances that render a person incapable of giving consent, such as intoxication.

Rape – Any kind of sexual intercourse (penetration) – vaginal, oral, or anal – that is committed against a person's will or is committed with physical force or the threat of force. Intercourse during which the victim is drunk, unconscious or otherwise unable to consent is also rape.

For more legal definitions, CLICK HERE 

Did you know that...

  • 20-25% of women are sexually assaulted during their college career?
  • Freshman year is the most dangerous for sexual assaults to occur?
  • At least 75% of campus rapes involve alcohol use?
  • 90% of women knew and trusted the person who sexually assaulted or raped them?
  • 57% of college rape victims are attacked by dates?


Keep Yourself Safer.

- Always trust your instincts

- Communicate clearly. You have the right to say "no" and "I'm not sure."

- Think about what you really want from a partner before a possibly dangerous or uncomfortable situation occurs.

- Use the buddy system. Arrive at events with friends. Keep track of your friends and leave with them.

- If you or your friend stays behind, create a safety plan.

- Drink responsibly. Know what's in your drink. Only drink from un-opened bottles or cans, or drinks that you've seen poured. Avoid punch bowls – they are easiest to drug and you have no idea how much alcohol is in them.

- Know which behaviors constitute sexual assault, rape and consent. Understand that most incidents occur between people that know each other.

- If something happens, get help. There are many resources available to help you recover from painful experiences.

If a friend discloses to you that they have been sexually assaulted, don't take it all on yourself. Call (423-439-4841) or email ( OASIS at the ETSU Counseling Center for support.

Be a Safe Partner

- Regard your own actions and behaviors honestly and objectively.

- Learn to recognize sexism, and challenge yourself to stop it when it occurs.

- Talk about sex. Sex without discussion does not allow consent to be communicated.

- Know which behaviors constitute sexual assault, rape and consent. Understand that most incidents occur between people that know each other.

-If you see someone dosing someone's drink, or hear about a "drugged" punch bowl, confront the behavior. Warn the people they are trying to drug.  Turn the predator in to public safety or student affairs.

- Men, realize that sexual violence is a men's issue. The vast majority of all rapes and sexual assaults are committed by men (98%). Sexual violence can have long-term repercussions on the relationships of those with whom we interact. Your mother, sister, friend, girlfriend or wife could potentially be victims of sexual violence and trauma.

Common Reactions of Survivors

It is normal for survivors to experience a range of feelings after a sexual assault, and all survivors will react to the trauma in their own way.

Below is a partial list of some common survivor’s reactions to sexual violence:

  • Shock and disbelief
  • Denial
  • Numbing
  • Apathy
  • Embarrassment, shame, guilt
  • Intense anger, anxiety, panic attacks
  • Fear, nightmares
  • Disorientation, loss of memory, difficulty concentrating
  • Depression, diminished interest, social withdrawal
  • Loss of self esteem


What To Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

Call Public Safety (423-439-4480) or 911 if you need immediate medical or police assistance.

Go to a safe place as soon as possible. Ask a friend, family member or someone you trust to stay with you.

Try to preserve all evidence of the assault. Avoid drinking, bathing, showering, douching, brushing your teeth or changing your clothes.

Get medical care. You may have sustained injuries or contracted a sexually transmitted disease. At the Johnson City Medical Center emergency room, you may request a S.A.N.E. (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). You may also undergo a Physical Evidence Recovery Kit. (PERK), which is very helpful if you later choose to pursue an investigation. Although the crime will be reported, your name will not be released, you can refuse further investigation, and the S.A.N.E. will act as your advocate through this process.

Try to write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident. If you later decide to report or press charges, you will have the details to give to the police.

Seek follow-up counseling. A trained counselor can help you process the emotional trauma of sexual assault.

Call ETSU Counseling Center (423-439-4841), or after hours, call Public Safety (423-439-4480) and ask for the counselor on call.

For more information, visit ETSU Violence Free.









Additional Resources


Psych Central: Abuse

Women's Health