1) Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a
Fact: Rape and Sexual Violence are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behaviors are invitations for unwanted sexual activity. Forcing someone to engage in non-consensual sexual activity is sexual assault, regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.
2) Myth: If a person goes to someone’s room or house or goes to a bar, s/he assumes the risk of sexual assault. If something happens later, s/he can’t claim that s/he was raped or sexually assaulted because s/he should have known not to go to those places.
Fact: This “assumption of risk” wrongfully places the responsibility of the offender’s action with the victim. Even if a person went voluntarily to someone’s home or room and consented to engage in some sexual activity, it does not serve as blanket consent for all sexual activity. When in doubt if the person is comfortable with an elevated level of
sexual activity, stop and ask. When someone says “no” or “stop,” that means “STOP!” Sexual activity forced upon another without valid consent is sexual assault.
3) Myth: It is not Sexual Violence if it happens after drinking or taking drugs.
Fact: Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not an invitation for sexual activity. A person under the influence does not cause others to assault her/him; others choose to take advantage of the situation and sexually assault her/him because s/he is in a vulnerable position. A person who is incapacitated due to the influence of alcohol or drugs is not able to consent to sexual activity.
4) Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers. It’s not rape if the people involved know each other.
Fact: Most sexual assaults and rape are committed by someone the victim knows. A study of sexual victimization of college women showed that about 90% of victims knew the person who sexually victimized them. Most often, a boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, classmate, friend, acquaintance or co-worker sexually victimized the person. It is important to remember that Sexual Violence can occur in both heterosexual and same- gender relationships.
5) Myth: Rape can be avoided if women avoid dark alleys or other “dangerous” places where strangers might be hiding or lurking.
Fact: Rape and Sexual Violence can occur at any time, in many places, to anyone.
6) Myth: A person who has really been sexually assaulted will be hysterical.
Fact: Victims of Sexual Violence exhibit a spectrum of responses to the assault which can include: calm, hysteria, withdrawal, anxiety, anger, apathy, denial and shock. Being sexually assaulted is a very traumatic experience. Reaction to the assault and the length of time needed to process through the experience vary with each person. There is no “right way” to react to being sexually assaulted. Assumptions about the way a victim “should act” may be detrimental to the victim because each victim copes in different ways.
7) Myth: All Sexual Violence victims will report the crime immediately to the police. If they do not report it or delay in reporting it, then they must have changed their minds after it happened, wanted revenge or didn’t want to look like they were sexually active.
Fact: There are many reasons why a Sexual Violence victim may not report the assault to the police or campus officials. It is not easy to talk about being sexually assaulted and can feel very shameful. The experience of retelling what happened may cause the person to relive the trauma. Another reason for delaying a report or not making a report is the
fear of retaliation by the offender. There is also the fear of being blamed, not being believed and being required to go through judicial proceedings. Just because a person does not report the Sexual Violence does not mean it did not happen.
8) Myth: Only young, pretty women are assaulted.
Fact: The belief that only young, pretty women are sexually assaulted stems from the myth that Sexual Violence is based on sex and physical attraction. Sexual Violence is a crime of power and control. Offenders often choose people whom they perceive as most vulnerable to attack or over whom they believe they can assert power. Men and boys are also sexually assaulted, as well as persons with disabilities. Assumptions about the “typical” victim might lead others not to report the assault because they do not fit the stereotypical victim.
9) Myth: It’s only rape if the victim puts up a fight and resists.
Fact: Many states do not require the victim to resist in order to charge the offender with rape or sexual assault. Those who do not resist may feel if they do so, they will anger their attacker, resulting in more severe injury. Many assault experts say that victims should trust their instincts and intuition and do what they believe will most likely keep them alive. Not fighting or resisting an attack does not equal consent.
10) Myth: Someone can only be sexually assaulted if a weapon was involved.
Fact: In many cases of sexual assault, a weapon is not involved. The offender often uses physical strength, physical violence, intimidation, threats or a combination of these tactics to overpower the victim. Although the presence of a weapon while committing the assault may result in a higher penalty or criminal charge, the absence of a weapon does not mean that the offender cannot be held criminally responsible for a sexual assault.
Sexual Violence is a form of Sexual Harassment and means physical sexual acts, such
as unwelcome sexual touching, sexual assault, sexual battery, rape, domestic violence,
dating violence and stalking (when based on gender or sex), perpetrated against an
individual against his or her will and without consent or against an individual who
is incapable of giving consent due to that individual's use of drugs or alcohol, status
as a minor, or disability. Sexual Violence may include physical force, violence, threat,
or intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, causing the other person’s
intoxication or incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol, or taking advantage
of the other person’s incapacitation (including voluntary intoxication).
Men as well as women can be victims of these forms of Sexual Violence. Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (statutory rape) occurs even if the intercourse is consensual when the victim is under 18 years old, because the victim is considered incapable of giving legal consent due to age.
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame and with recognition that only those who commit Sexual Violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk of being accused of sexual misconduct:
Rape is a form of Sexual Violence, and is non-consensual sexual intercourse that may also
involve the use of threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury
or threats of future retaliation and duress. Any sexual penetration, however slight,
is sufficient to constitute rape. Sexual acts including intercourse are considered
non-consensual when a person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated
from alcohol and/or drugs, is under 18 years old, or if a mental disorder or developmental
or physical disability renders the person incapable of giving consent. The accused’s
relationship to the person (such as family member, spouse, friend, acquaintance or
stranger) is irrelevant. (See complete definition of Consent below)
Acquaintance Rape is a form of Sexual Violence committed by an individual known to the victim. This includes a person the victim may have just met; i.e., at a party, introduced through a friend, or on a social networking website. (See above for definition of Rape)
Sexual Assault is a form of Sexual Violence and is an attempt, coupled with the ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another because of that person’s gender or sex.
Sexual Battery is a form of Sexual Violence and is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another because of that person’s gender or sex.
Consent means an informed, affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
In order for a sexual act to be considered rape or sexual assault, the act must be non-consensual. Crimes of a sexual nature may be reported to campus or local law enforcement in addition to being reported administratively on campus to the Title IX Coordinator. Both men and women can be victims of rape or sexual assault.
Domestic Violence is a form of Sexual Violence, and is abuse committed against someone who is a current
or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, someone with whom the abuser has a
child, someone with whom the abuser has or had a dating or engagement relationship,
or a person similarly situated under California domestic or family violence law.
Cohabitant means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of
time, resulting in some permanency of relationship. Factors that may determine whether
persons are cohabiting include, but are not limited to (1) sexual relations between
the parties while sharing the same living quarters, (2) sharing of income or expenses,
(3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) whether the parties hold themselves out
as husband and wife, (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of
Dating Violence is a form of Sexual Violence, and is abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social or dating relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. This may include someone the victim just met; i.e., at a party, introduced through a friend, or on a social networking website.
There usually is a pattern or a repeated cycle of Dating Violence, starting with the
first instance of abuse.
General Pattern of Behavior:
Any actions used for the intent of gaining power and control over a person:
Ask yourself if your partner engages in one or any of the following activities:
Stalking means a repeated course of conduct directed at a specific person (when based
on gender or sex) that places that person in reasonable fear for his/her or others’
safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes you feel afraid, nervous, harassed or in danger. It is when someone repeatedly contacts you, follows you, sends you things, talks to you when you don't want them to or threatens you. Stalking behaviors can include:
You can be stalked by someone you know casually, a current boyfriend or girlfriend, someone you dated in the past or a stranger. Getting notes and gifts at your home, on your car or other places might seem sweet and harmless to other people. But if you don't want the gifts, phone calls, messages, letters or e-mails, it doesn't feel sweet or harmless. It can be scary and frustrating.
Sometimes people stalk their boyfriends or girlfriends while they're dating. They check up on them, text or call them all the time, expect instant responses, follow them, use GPS to secretly monitor them and generally keep track of them, even when they haven't made plans to be together. These stalking behaviors can be part of an abusive relationship. If this is happening to you or someone you know, you should talk to a trusted person.
Stalking is a crime and can be dangerous. California Penal Code section 646.9, in part, states, “Any person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking…..”
Think about ways you can be safer. This means thinking about what to do, where to go for help and who to call ahead of time:
If you know someone who is being stalked, you can:
Title IX requires the university to designate a Title IX Coordinator to monitor and oversee overall Title IX compliance which includes, but is not limited to sexual assault and gender-related violence. Your campus Title IX Coordinator is available to explain and discuss: your right to file a criminal complaint (sexual assault and violence); the university’s complaint process, including the investigation process; how confidentiality is handled; available resources, both on and off campus; and other related matters. If you are in the midst of an emergency, please call the police immediately by dialing 9-1-1.
Campus Title IX Coordinator:
Bridget Blanshan, Ed.D.
Student Affairs Office, Craven Hall 3600
Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm (excluding university observed holidays)
425 La Moree Rd. San Marcos, CA 92078
760-750-4567- Dispatch / 760-750-4568 – Direct
University Police Dispatch and Officers are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year
Local Off Campus Police
San Diego County Sheriff's Department - San Marcos
182 Santar Place, San Marcos, CA 92069
U.S. Department of Education, regional office
Office for Civil Rights
50 Beale Street, Suite 7200
San Francisco, CA 94105
TDD (877) 521-2172
U.S. Department of Education, national office
Office for Civil Rights
Local Community Resource Information:
Center for Community Solutions
Address: 240 S. Hickory St., Suite 110, Escondido, CA 92025
Phone: (888) 385-4657
Office Hours: 9-5 M-F, but advocates are available 24/7 by calling the crisis line.