USI is committed to creating and maintaining an educational and work environment free of all violence, and in which all members of the USI community are treated with respect and dignity. Please use the links in the left-hand column to learn more about the problems of sexual assault and stalking, to obtain information about coping, to learn about one's options after an assault, and to learn about how we respond as a campus community and as a society.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any kind of sexually offensive act against another person, any verbally offensive demand or suggestion, or any intentional touching of another person's body without mutual consent. Sexual assault is about power and control - engaging in sexual acts on another person, without consent. Sexual assault removes the victim’s autonomy and ability to make a sexual choice – it is no longer sex! Sexual assault can occur to individuals of any age, race, class, gender, or sexual orientation.
Examples of sexual assault:
- Any forced penetration - vaginal, oral, or anal - with a body part or object
- Acts on a person who is not conscious or able to give consent
- Indecent exposure
- Direct or indirect threats designed to force sexual activity
- Coerced sexual activity
- Sexual propositions (unwanted proposal to engage in a sexual activity)
- Unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person, such as a sex organ, buttocks, or breasts
- Use of intoxicants, including alcohol, which impair the victim's ability to give consent
What is Consent?
- Clear, knowing, and voluntary agreement to participant in a sexual activity
- Active, not passive; silence cannot be interpreted as consent
- Words or actions can be used as long as they create mutually understandable, clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity
- Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts
- One must be of legal age (at least 16 years old in state of Indiana)
Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be able to give consent. An assault can occur even if both parties have been drinking. If you are unsure about the situation, the best option is to avoid sexual contact.
What to Do if You are Assaulted
Healing from a sexual assault can be an empowering process in which you reclaim power and control over your life. The Counseling Center encourages anyone who has experienced an assault to make an appointment to discuss strategies and techniques to actively heal.
Anyone who has been assaulted has a variety of choices. It is important for you to know that you have control over what you do if you are assaulted.
- You can report to USI Public Safety (anonymously if you prefer), which does not require you to file criminal charges.
- You can report to local law enforcement, the Dean of Students Office, or the Office of Human Resources.
- You can seek medical care at a local emergency room.
- They will collect evidence, perform a physical exam, treat for possible STD’s, and offer counseling referrals.
- Try not to shower, change clothes, wash your hands, etc. if you think you may want evidence collected.
- You are not required to file criminal charges if you seek medical care.
- Specialized Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE Nurses) are available to treat you. These services are free in Indiana.
- Please also seek out counseling, support, and advocacy at USI’s Counseling Center. Support is also available at the Albion Fellows Bacon Center or the YWCA - both of these community agencies specialize in working with survivors of sexual assault.
- It is up to you to decide who you tell about what happened. Reporting acts of sexual violence to a USI affiliated employee may result in an investigation of the circumstances. However, information shared with the Counseling Center is kept confidential.
Helping a Friend
- Make sure they are safe. If not, get them to a safe place.
- Listen, believe, and do not judge.
- Help them to understand that they are not to blame.
- Help them organize their thoughts, but let them make the decision about how to proceed.
- Explain that seeking medical attention is very important if the assault was recent. There may be injuries of which they are unaware.
- Encourage your friend to get counseling/professional support.
- Understand that every victim is different. Your friend may exhibit shock, denial, rationalization, depression, guilt, fear, anxiety, and anger. All are normal emotions.
- Deal with your own feelings. Sexual assault impacts loved ones and you need to heal as well.
What Can I Do to Stop Sexual Assaults
- We can all listen to people who have experienced sexual assault and learn from their experiences.
- Reflect. Do we engage in abusive and controlling behavior and how can we change?
- Use inclusive, non-sexist language.
- Confront sexist, racist, homophobic, and any other bigoted remarks or jokes.
- Don’t fund sexism. Don’t purchase magazines, rent movies, or buy music that portrays women in sexually degrading or violent ways.
- Support candidates for political office at every level, from student government to the President of the United States, who are committed to the full social, economic, and political equality of women; oppose those who are not so committed.
- Propose and/or support curriculum changes, from grade school through college, that support understanding and equality, while eliminating attitudes that support sexism and sexual violence.
If we want a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault,
we all need to be part of the solution!
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about USI's policies, procedures, and options as they related to sexual assault, harassment, and stalking please click here.
- Deaconess Hospital (phone: 812/426-3405)
- St Mary's Hospital (phone: 812/479-4491)
Counseling and Support
- USI Counseling Center (phone: 812/464-1867)
- Albion Fellows Bacon Center
Crisis Line: 812/422-7273 (answered 24 hours/7 days a week). The Albion Fellows Bacon Center offers emotional support for victims, safe and protected housing (or assistance in finding housing) if you're not safe, and assistance and support in dealing with the Criminal Justice System. They provide information and referrals, and all calls are confidential
- YWCA (phone: 812/422-1191)
The YWCA provides shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online
- Dean of Students Office (phone: 812/464-1862)
- Public Safety (phone: 812/492-7777)
- Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office
Rape, Abuse, & Incest, National, Network (RAINN)
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Violence Against Women
Interpersonal (Domestic) Violence
Interpersonal violence (IPV) is a pattern of violent behavior (including emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse; financial control; and stalking) against another individual. Interpersonal violence involves the abuse of power and control and can occur between family members, friends, or romantic partners. Romantic partners may be married or not; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual; living together, separated, or dating.
Types of Violent Behavior:
- Emotional Abuse - Manipulation; withdrawing affection or attention; and/or intimidation
- Verbal Abuse - Name calling, yelling, ridicule, and/or threats
- Physical Assault - Hitting, pushing, or shoving; breaking/harming belongings and/or property; mistreatment of a pet
- Sexual Assault/abuse - Unwanted or forced sexual activity, molestation, unwanted sexual jokes/comments
- Financial Abuse - Restricting access to money or requiring that he/she be present when money is spent
- Stalking - Repeated unwanted attention, harassment, and/or contact
- Are in an Unhealthy Relationship?
- Do you feel controlled or intimidated by a family member, friend, or romantic partner?
- Do you feel as if no one else would like you if your family member, friend, or romantic partner didn’t?
- Does your friend, family member, or romantic partner ever snoop into your personal belongings and/or violate your privacy?
- Does your family member, friend, or romantic partner insult you, call you names, or make you feel stupid or unworthy?
- Does your friend, family member, or romantic partner ever pretend that he or she is doing you a favor by staying with you?
- Has a family member, friend, or partner ever hit, slapped, pushed, or kicked you?
- Has your friend, romantic partner or family member ever damaged or broken your personal belongings?
- Are you afraid of your family member, friend, or romantic partner losing his or her temper?
- Has your romantic partner, friend, or family member ever pressured you sexually?
- Have you altered your normal activities so that you won’t upset your family member, partner, or friend?
If you can answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.
What You Can Do if You are in an Unhealthy Relationship
Anyone who has experienced violence needs to feel they have choices. It is important for you to feel that you have control over what you want to do after you are assaulted.
- You can report incidences of violence to the Office of Public Safety, local law enforcement, or the Dean of Students Office.
- Please seek out counseling, support, and advocacy at USI’s Counseling Center. Support is also available at the Albion Fellows Bacon Center or the YWCA. Both of these community agencies specialize in working with survivors of interpersonal violence.
- It can be helpful to document all instances of violence (time, what happened, where it happened, names of witnesses, etc.).
- Collect and maintain all evidence such as voicemails, text messages, emails, letters, screen shots of Facebook or other internet pages (not just bookmarks), and photos of injuries and destroyed property.
- Have a safe place to go if relocation becomes necessary.
- Make sure to have some necessities (such as a back up set of keys and cash) easily accessible.
If you feel unsafe:
- On campus - Contact USI Public Safety (812/492-7777)
- Off campus - Contact either USI Public Safety (812/492-7777) or local law enforcement (911).
- What makes you feel physically safe when you are alone? What are some things you can do to feel physically safe in your room?
- Who helps you feel safe and why? What do they need to know about you and about what has happened to help you feel safe?
- How can you establish some boundaries so that you feel physically safe in the community?
Albion Fellows Bacon Center (Helpline available 24/7: 812/422-5622)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Violence Against Women