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What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is an offense that defined using the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Reporting program. The exact definition of "rape," "sexual assault," "sexual abuse," "sexual violence," and similar terms differ by state. Under Illinois law, any unwanted sexual contact or behavior that is committed by force, threats of force, or when an individual is unable to give consent is a criminal act ranging from felony to misdemeanor charges. Sexual assault is further defined as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. In Illinois, consent is a freely given agreement to the act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct in question without coercion. Furthermore, consent cannot be legally given if a person is impaired, intoxicated, drugged, under age, is developmentally disabled, unconscious, asleep, unable to understand the nature of the act, or is temporarily or permanently mentally or physically unable to do so. The way in which a person is dressed at the time of the offense does not imply consent. Moreover, consent is not implied at every stage of sexual involvement and past consent does not imply ongoing future consent

The state of Illinois recognizes that any type of sexual activity without consent is criminal (720 ILCS 5/12-12 to 5/12-16).

According to Illinois law:

  • Both men and women can be sexually assaulted
  • A sexual assault perpetrator can be male or female
  • It doesn't matter what clothing you were wearing during a sexual assault; manner of dress has nothing to do with consent.
  • You can change your mind about having sex at any time; if you want to stop whatever sexual activity is happening, it should stop immediately
  • Consent means agreeing to sex of your own free will; it doesn't mean that you submitted because you were threatened or forced

For additional information, see specific legal definitions of Criminal Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault, Criminal Sexual Abuse and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in Illinois.

Sexual assault is also considered a violation of the SIUE Student Conduct Code, the SIU Board of Trustees, and SIUE Sexual Harassment Policies. Violation of such policies will subject individuals to University disciplinary action. Visit the SIUE Sexual Harassment Policy, the Student Conduct Code, and SIUE sexual assault prevention and response for further information.


If you have been sexually assaulted:

(Retrieved and modified from: The College of William and Mary protocols on sexual assault)

  • Are you safe? Your safety and well-being are the highest priority. If you are unsure where to go or can think of nowhere that is safe for you at this time, please consider calling the SIUE Police Department or Call-For-Help (see emergency contact information page).
  • Consider calling a trusted friend, relative, or counselor. These people can provide you with the support and care you may need at this time.
  • You should consider seeking medical care. You may need to receive basic medical treatment for injuries and you may have injuries of which you are not aware at this time. SIUE Health Services or a local hospital can provide you with screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Trained staff at the Student Health Center or a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) at a local hospital can speak with you about all of the medical options available at this time.
  • You may choose to file a report with the police, Either the SIUE Police Department or local law enforcement.
  • You may consider contacting the Dean of Students Office. The Dean's staff works closely with campus resources and may assist you in determining what, if any, steps you wish to take. The Dean can help put you in touch with Health and Counseling Services.
  • If you choose to file a report with the police, it is important to try not to bathe, shower, brush your teeth, drink, or even use the restroom. All these things destroy physical evidence that may be helpful in a criminal investigation.
  • Please seek some form of emotional support. While taking care of your physical needs may be the first step in taking care of yourself, it is important not to neglect the emotions you may be experiencing as a result of the assault.
  • Know that you are not alone. There are people who can help you process what you are experiencing and explain the options that are available to you at this time.
  • It is your choice to determine when and in what manner you recover from your trauma. It is up to you to make the decisions that will be the best for you.
  • Remember, the assault was not your fault.

What is the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act and how does it affect me as a student?

The Campus SaVE Act was created to complement Title IX by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, as well as address the violence that women face on campus, including the highest rates of stalking and the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. The Campus SaVE Act requires that all incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking be disclosed in annual campus crime statistic reports. Additionally, students or employees who report victimization will be provided their written rights to:

  • Be assisted by campus authorities after reporting the crime to law enforcement
  • Change academic, living, or working conditions to avoid a hostile environment
  • Obtain or enforce a no-contact directive or restraining order
  • Have a clear description of SIUE's disciplinary process and range of possible sanctions
  • Receive contact information regarding existing counseling, health, mental health, advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available both on campus and in the community

In the event that sexual violence occurs on campus, all proceedings will provide a prompt and fair investigation conducted by officials who receive annual training on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In addition, both parties may have others present during the institutional disciplinary proceedings, including an advisor or advocate of their choice. Both parties will receive written outcomes of all disciplinary proceedings in an efficient manner.

Moreover, all incoming students, including but not limited to, freshmen, transfer, and graduate students, as well as new employees are expected to complete ongoing online alcohol and sexual assault education programs provided by the university. The education programs include prevention and awareness of sexual violence, bystander intervention strategies; harm reduction for sexual violence and alcohol use, as well as warning signs of abusive behavior.

For more information visit the Campus SaVE Act.

How do I assist in preventing sexual violence and promoting awareness on campus?

Download the "Circle of 6" Application for iPhone or Android smartphones

  • "Circle of 6" is a free app for iPhone or Android smartphones that connects students with their most trusted friends to stay close, stay safe, and prevent violence before it happens. It was the winner of the "White House Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge" as well as the "Institute of Medicine /Avon Foundation for Women: End Violence @ Home Challenge." "Circle of 6" is also endorsed by Vice President, Joe Biden, as "a new line of defense against violence."
  •  How does it work?
    • Choose six of your trusted friends to add to your circle
    • If you get into an uncomfortable situation, use "Circle of 6" to automatically send your circle a pre-programmed text message alert with your location
    • All it takes is two taps on your iPhone or Android smartphone

 Participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Week on campus

  •  SIUE Sexual Assault Awareness Task Force holds an annual week in April, which is part of Sexual Violence Awareness Month devoted to promoting student awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence and ways in which to prevent future occurrences.
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Week is a great way for students to support survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.

 Participate in "Denim Day in LA & USA" Campaign

  •  "Denim Day in LA & USA" campaign is also part of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. "Denim Day" is held on a Wednesday in April and was triggered by an Italian Supreme Court ruling where a rape conviction was overturned because justices felt that the since the survivor, a teenage girl, was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her perpetrator, a 45-year old man, remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The next day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in support of the survivor.
  • As an effort to provide ongoing support for survivors, "Denim Day" has become a symbol of efforts to spread sexual assault awareness throughout college campuses and communities.

Emergency Contact Information and Reporting Options

SIUE Confidential Advisor— Call for Help

The Confidential Advisor provides emergency and ongoing support to student survivors of sexual violence and relationship violence. The Advisor provides confidential services and has privileged and confidential communications with survivors. The Advisor will inform the survivor of possible next steps regarding reporting options and possible outcomes, will notify the survivor of resources and services on-campus and in the community, will inform the survivor of their rights and the University’s responsibilities to enforce orders of protection and no contact orders; and if requested by the survivor, the Advisor will liaise with campus officials to secure interim protective measures and accommodations, and will liaise with campus officials, law enforcement and community resources to assist the survivor with making contact and/or reporting an assault. The Confidential Advisor may be reached at 618-397-0975.

Advocacy & Treatment Resources

Call For Help Sexual Assault Victims Care Unit

618-397-0975 or 618-271-8990
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Available 24/7. Free & confidential

Other Resources:

Public Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus

FIGHT BACK! (SIUE Women’s Studies)

One In Four


Pandora's Project

Women Against Rape

Hope for Healing

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

A Call To Men

Books on PTSD and Trauma Issues

  • The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis
  • Understanding Self-Injury by Robin Connors & Kristy Trautmann
  • Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman
  • The Courage to Heal Workbook by Laura Davis
  • Victims No Longer by Mike Lew
  • The Truth About Rape by Teresa M. Lauer
  • Cutting by Steven Levenkron
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