Persons who have been involved in incidences of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or harassment can seek out confidential help from the Counseling Center. Appointments can be made by calling 337-475-5136. Please let the front desk staff know that you situation is urgent, and we will arrange for a counselor to meet with you as soon as possible.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of sexual contacts or behaviors that occur without explicit consent of the victim. These include unwanted sexual touching, attempted rape, rape, and forcing a victim to perform sexual acts. Sexual contact without consent is sexual assault.

Victims might be coerced into sexual acts through verbal or non-verbal threats or through the use of substances, such as alcohol or drugs. Sexual assault also doesn’t always involve physical contact – acts such as voyeurism and exhibitionism can still count as unwanted sexual attention.

Many victims know their assailant or rapist. Approximately two out of three sexual assaults are committed by an attacker that the victim knows, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). About 38% of rape incidents are committed by a friend or acquaintance of the victim. These trends are reinforced by Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics shown below, revealing that most attacks are perpetrated by someone close to or known by the victim.

Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus

Campus safety concerns all students, and one of the dangers young adults must face is the risk of sexual assault. According to a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released in April 2014, one in five college students experiences sexual assault during their college career.

The ACLU estimates that 95% of U.S. campus rapes go unreported. The problem of under-reporting reflects an extreme need for increased campus prevention and support systems. See McNeese’s University Sexual Misconduct Policy for more information.

Prevention

Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. But there are a number of ways to help keep yourself safe.

  • Know your alcohol limits: Over half of sexual assaults committed against college students involve alcohol, according to researchers at Wayne State University. 
  • Watch your drinks: Take your drink to the restroom with you. Never drink a beverage that has been given to you by someone else or taken from a communal alcohol source (like a punch bowl).
  • Trust your gut: If you get a bad feeling about a location or a person, leave immediately. Head in the direction of the nearest crowd, lighted area or building. Many attackers are unwilling to pursue victims who are aggressive or loud, which draws attention to the crime.
  • Stick with your friends: Attend social gatherings with a group of friends that you trust. Look out for each other and help each other arrive home safely. If you do go out alone, always tell someone where you are going and avoid walking in unlit or untrafficked parts of town or campus.

A report by the National Institute of Justice reveals that self-protection actions such as weaponless attacking, running, hiding, getting help, or struggling seem to decrease the risk of rape completion by 80%. Many colleges offer personal development courses in basic self-defense. If you can’t find one on campus, explore programs offered by nearby gyms and dedicated martial arts studios to learn about their training options.

It’s on us – all of us – to stop sexual assault. Here are a few tips on what you can do to be part of the solution: 

  • Understand what constitutes consent.
  • Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.
  • Don’t just be a bystander – if you see something, intervene in any way you can.
  • Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is. 
  • Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re ok.
  • Get someone to help you if you see something – enlist a friend, RA, bartender, or host to help step in. 
  • Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
  • If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.
  • Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.
  • Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else. 
  • Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.
  • Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.
  • Never blame the victim. 

Additional Information and Resources

According to DOJ survey results, awareness campaigns, campus training, law enforcement protocols, and legislative strategies have lowered the rates of assault a full 50% since 1993.

  • Official Campus Statistics For Sexual Violence Mislead: Campuses with higher rates of reported sexual assault might actually be safer than campuses with low rates, since they’ve created an atmosphere that that encourages victims to report incidents. Students and their parents should review this article before making a college decision based on campus crime statistics.
  • Enlisting Smartphones in the Campaign for Campus Safety: App developers are creating innovative ways for student to reach safety during risky situations. Load some of these onto your smartphone so that you can quickly communicate with emergency contacts.
  • Campus Sexual Assault Tool Kit: The American Association of University Women has created this resource to help faculty and campus staff lead student discussions on sexual violence prevention.
  • NPR: Campus Sexual Assaults Are Targeted In New White House Report: The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has created a website, NotAlone.com, dedicated to helping college students understand their rights and find viable local support options.
  • National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and Chat: RAINN runs this extremely secure and anonymous crisis support phone line and chat system, which is dedicated to assisting sexual assault survivors, along with the spouses, family members, and friends of survivors.
  • Support for Rape and Sexual Assault Victims: Safe Horizon is a national violence prevention network with hotlines dedicated to crisis support.

Taken from Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus – Best Colleges