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Sexual Assault

If you or someone you know experiences violence, you’re not alone. Help is available.

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What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. (USDOJ

Student Conduct Policy

Individuals that commit sexual violence are in violation of the following student conduct policy: 

  • Sexual Assault: includes (but is not limited to) sexual penetration, oral sex, genital contact, and/or touching of a sexual nature that is perpetrated against the will of the victim by a person or person known or unknown to the victim. This includes engaging in sexual behavior with a person who is unable to consent because of mental impairment (including impairment by intoxication and/or other substances). (The Source, IUP Student Policy Guide)

Know the Facts

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN):

  • Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
  • One in four women and one in six men will be a victim of sexual assault.
  • One in six women and one in six men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • College-aged women are four times more likely to experience sexual assault.
  • Approximately two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.

Common Questions

Below is a list of answers to common questions individuals who’ve experienced assault may ask. Remember, each person and incident is unique. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about an assault, you may contact the Haven Project at the Counseling Center and/or the Haven Project at the Alice Paul House. The Alice Paul House is available 24/7 by calling the crisis hotline at (724) 349-4444.

“I didn’t fight back. Does that mean it isn’t assault?”

It’s a common misconception that all victims of violence will or should fight back to protect themselves from an assault. It is important to remember that the victim should never be held responsible for an act of violence committed against them. It’s never the victims fault. Victims of violence will respond to assaults in different ways. Some people may choose to fight back and others may not.

“Is it assault if I’ve had consensual sex with this person in the past?”

Sexual assault can take place even if you have a pre-existing relationship and/or have had consensual sex with the perpetrator in the past. In fact, most cases of sexual assault are committed by someone known to the victim. If you did not consent to the sexual activity that took place, it is sexual assault.

“I don’t remember the assault. Does that mean it isn’t assault?”

An assault may have taken place even if you are unable to recall all or some of the events. Memory loss can result from excessive alcohol consumption and/or date rape drugs. In such cases, it is helpful to speak with an advocate from the Alice Paul House to discuss what options are available if you wish to pursue prosecution (i.e., complete a forensic exam for potential physical evidence). If you do not wish to purse prosecution at this time, you may still seek support from counselors at the IUP Counseling Center or the Alice Paul House.

“Is it assault if I was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol during the assault?”

Possibly. There can be a lot of confusion around alcohol and sexual activity. The key question is: was the sexual activity consensual? If the sexual activity was nonconsensual, it is sexual assault. We know that alcohol is the number one date rape drug. If someone is highly under the influence and/or blacked out to the point they would not be able to consent, it is sexual assault. Find out more information on drug facilitated sexual violence

“I never said ‘no’ during the assault. Does that mean it isn’t assault?”

Not saying “no” does not mean you’re saying “yes.” Often times, victims may be too afraid to say anything during an assault. If you did not consent to the sexual activity that took place, it is sexual assault.

Adapted from RAINN’s Was I Raped? 

If You’ve been Assaulted

It is not your fault if you experience sexual assault. Below is a list of steps you may consider taking after an assault. Please remember, the road to healing may be a tough one, but you certainly don’t have to travel it alone.  If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about an assault, you may contact the Haven Project at the Counseling Center and/or the Haven Project at the Alice Paul House. The Alice Paul House is available 24/7 by calling the crisis hotline at (724) 349-4444.

Seeking Medical Attention 

If you have been abused or assaulted, you may need medical care. To get medical help, immediately go to the nearest emergency department. If you were sexually assaulted, you should receive information about disease and pregnancy prevention. You can also have evidence collected at an emergency department. Evidence collection should occur as soon as possible. 

To preserve evidence:

  • Do NOT shower, bathe, wash any part of your body, or douche.
  • Do NOT use the bathroom.
  • Do NOT change clothes.
  • Do NOT brush your teeth or gargle.
  • Do NOT comb your hair. 

If you are a student and do not wish to have evidence collection completed, you can seek medical care at the Health Service at the Center for Health and Well-Being

Seeking Emotional Support

IUP’s Counseling Center is part of the Haven Project. Confidential services are available by calling 724-357-2621. Survivors of sexual violence often find counseling an important part of their healing. Whether the violence was recent or a long time ago, you can receive help. 

Reporting Sexual Violence

You have the right to report sexual assault, domestic/ dating violence, or stalking to the police. To file a criminal complaint, contact University Police at (724) 357-2621 or call 9-1-1.

If the perpetrator is affiliated with IUP, you can also report the violence to the university. 

  • If the perpetrator is an IUP student, you can report to the Office of Student Conduct. Student Conduct will investigate the alleged violence. Information about this process and possible sanctions are available in the student handbook, The Source.
  • If the perpetrator is a university employee, volunteer, or vendor, report to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.

You can also report to the university without filing a criminal complaint. 

Reporting to the police may seem intimidating. You can request that an advocate accompany you by calling the Alice Paul House at (724) 349-4444.

Victims are not required to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to the police or the Office of Student Conduct. You can receive university services regardless of whether or not you report an act of violence. Because the university wants to prevent future sexual violence, you are encouraged to report.


If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about an assault, help is available. Contact the Haven Project at the Alice Paul House (24/7) hotline at (724) 349-4444.

Click here for Campus and Community Resources