Sexual Assault Information

Know the Facts

  • 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of a rape or an attempted rape during their university years.
  • More than 60% of rape victims/survivors know their attackers.
  • 7% to 10% of all adult rape victims are males.
  • Most rapists are motivated by hostility, fear of inadequacy and the need to control.
  • Rapists use sex as a weapon to hurt, humiliate and intimidate their victims.
  • The FBI estimates that only 1 in 10 rapes are reported to the police.

What to Do if You’re Assaulted

  • Go to a safe place and tell someone you trust what happened.
  • It’s your choice to report the crime to the police and/or the University, but remember that action against a rapist can prevent others from becoming a victim. If you would like to report the assault, you can call FSU Police Department or your local police department. You can also make a report to the Title IX Coordinator or another University staff member. Please know that most University employees are obligated to report if they know or suspect that a sexual assault has occurred.
  • Don’t shower, bathe, douche or brush your teeth.
  • Don’t throw away any clothing or objects that might contain evidence. Save every article of clothing worn during the attack without laundering it or altering it and place them into a paper bag if available. If you choose to go to the hospital, bring the bag with you. 
  • Seek medical attention either at a local hospital or Health Services. Not all injuries are evident, so for your well-being, it is recommended that you receive a medical exam as soon as possible. Medical staff can help assess your needs including prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy, and emotional counseling.
  • Be a good witness. Even though it may be hard, try to remember details. The sooner you tell, the sooner the attacker can be caught.
  • Emotional care: Seek support from trusted friends or family. Go to the Counseling Center and a counselor can talk with you confidentially. Remember, it’s not your fault.
  • Other supports on campus include the Dean of Students Office, Residence Life staff, and Campus Ministry. (Note that Campus Ministry staff is not always on campus, but will return messages.)

Common Reactions After an Assault

Survivors of sexual assaults may experience some of the following:

  • Shock/numbness
  • Helplessness
  • Fear/anxiety
  • Guilt/Self-Blame/Shame
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Academic difficulty/difficulty with attention and focus.
  • Use of substances to manage painful feelings.
  • Survivors have a variety of reactions that might surface at different times following the assault, days, weeks, or months later. Counseling can help survivors address these needs at any time.

How to Help a Friend Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

  • Listen carefully, without judgment.
  • Do not blame. 
  • Offer a safe place to stay.
  • Let the survivor make decisions about next steps. All control has been stripped from the victim during the assault. Allow the victim to make decisions about what steps to take next.
  • Assist in getting the treatment/services they need if they agree.
  • Remain calm. You might feel shock or rage, but expressing these emotions to the victim may cause the victim more trauma.
  • Encourage medical attention and counseling.
  • Refer them to the resources and reporting information available on the SHAPE website.
  • Seek help yourself.

Self-Care for Friends and Family of a Survivor

  • When someone you care about is assaulted, it is shocking and upsetting for you. You may have a range of reactions including anger, sadness, fear and helplessness.
  • It is important to show the survivor that you care and are there to support them. Seek emotional support for yourself when you can.
  • Most of the resources mentioned on the SHAPE website are available to those supporting survivors as well.