- What to Do if You are the Victim of Sexual Assault
- Domestic Violence or Dating Violence—Warning Signs and How to Get Help
- How to Get Help
- Stalking—Warning Signs and How to Get Help
- How to Get Help if You Are Being Stalked
- Keeping Safe when Traveling Around Campus and the City
- What to Do if Someone You Know is at Risk of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking
Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking: More Information
VII. Information Regarding Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking
What to Do if You are the Victim of Sexual Assault
These are important steps to take right away after an assault:
- Get away from the person who assaulted you and to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911 or the police.
- Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. One hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or the Rape Crisis Hotline (888.293.2080). Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional.
- Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault in order not to disturb any evidence medical staff might be able to college for the police. Such evidence may only be available for a short time.
- Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined, treated for any injuries, and screened for possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the person who assaulted you may have left behind. This evidence may help the police and prosecutors find and charge the perpetrator or if the survivor seeks a protective order.
- Illinois has enacted state law that requires hospitals to provide free treatment to sexual assault survivors. Contact the Rape Victim Advocates to assist you.
While at the hospital:
- If you decide you want to file a police report, you or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room.
- Ask the hospital staff to connect you with the local rape crisis center. The center staff can help you make choices about reporting the attack and getting help through counseling and support groups.
Adapted from Womenshealth.gov
Domestic Violence or Dating Violence—Warning Signs and How to Get Help
Domestic Violence or Dating Violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender.
It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic Violence or Dating Violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:
- Monitors what you're doing all the time
- Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
- Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
- Gets very angry during and after drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Controls how you spend your money
- Controls your use of needed medicines
- Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
- Humiliates you in front of others
- Destroys your property or things that you care about
- Threatens to hurt you, the children, or pets
- Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)
- Uses (or threatens to use) a weapon against you
- Forces you to have sex against your will
- Controls your birth control or insists that you get pregnant
- Blames you for their violent outbursts
- Threatens to self-harm when upset with you
- Says things like, "If I can't have you then no one can."
If you think someone is abusing you, get help. Abuse can have serious physical and emotional effects. No one has the right to hurt you.
Adapted from Womenshealth.gov
How to Get Help
- Contact the Chicago Police Department (911), Campus Security (312.899.1230), or the Domestic Violence Hotlines (national: 800.799.7233; Chicago/local: 877.863.6338) to get information on campus and local resources as well as your legal options. Please see Difference between Confidentiality and Privacy which explains the duties of various SAIC employees with respect to confidentiality.
- Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and others before it occurs.
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local battered women’s shelter. If your safety is at risk, call the Chicago Police Department (911).
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
Adapted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline: thehotline.org
Stalking—Warning Signs and How to Get Help
Stalking is a crime. A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men do stalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men. Stalkers may:
- Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups or contact you repeatedly through electronic communication and social media
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or emails
- Damage your home, car, or other property
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you
How to Get Help if You Are Being Stalked
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
- If your safety is at risk, call 911.
- Trust your instincts. Don’ t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
- Take threats seriously.
- Contact Campus Security, a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, refer you to other services, and weigh options such as seeking a protection order. (For more information see Resources.) Please see Difference between Confidentiality and Privacy, which explains the duties of various SAIC employees with respect to confidentiality.
- Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you.
- Don’ t communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
- Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw.
- Contact the police, as Illinois has a stalking law (see applicable state laws).
- Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.
- Tell your family, friends, roommates, coworkers, Campus Security, and the Office of Student Affairs about the stalking and seek their support.
Adapted from the National Center for Victims of Crime: victimsofcrime.org
Keeping Safe when Traveling Around Campus and the City
- Try to arrive at and leave social gatherings with a group of people you trust.
- Avoid giving out your personal information (phone number, where you live, etc.). If someone asks for your number, take their number instead of giving out yours.
- Keep track of your drinking. Watch your drink as it is made and don’t leave it unattended; avoid group drinks.
- If you feel extremely tired or drunk for no apparent reason, find your friends and ask them to leave with you as soon as possible.
- Make sure your cell phone is easily accessible and fully charged.
- Be familiar with where emergency phones are installed in SAIC buildings.
- Avoid dimly lit places; take major, public paths rather than less populated shortcuts.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid putting music headphones in your ears and/or using your smartphone when walking alone.
- If walking feels unsafe, especially after dark, try to walk with a friend or contact Campus Security to request an escort or utilize the SAIC Safe Ride Service.
- Carry a noisemaker (like a whistle) and/or a small flashlight on your keychain.
What to Do if Someone You Know is at Risk of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking
SAIC is a community, and we all have a responsibility to support each other. A “bystander” is someone other than the victim who is present when an act of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking is occurring or when a situation is occurring in which a reasonable person feels as though some protective action is required to prevent Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking. Bystanders, if active, can prevent harm or intervene before a situation gets worse. Examples of active bystander intervention include:
- Not leaving an overly intoxicated person in a bar/party alone
- Calling police when a potentially violent situation is unfolding
- Not leaving an unconscious person alone (alerting Campus Security or a staff member)
- Intervening when someone is being belittled, degraded, or emotionally abused (walking victim away from abuser, contacting an SAIC staff member for help)
If you become aware that a member of the SAIC community is the victim of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking, contact the Chicago Police Department (911), Campus Security or the Director of Student Outreach. Additional resources are listed in Resources.