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What is sexual assault?

Any type of unwanted sexual contact. This can include:

  • Unwanted fondling, kissing, or touching
  • Unwanted vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • Unwanted attempts of vaginal, anal, or oral penetration

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It is about power, control, and domination, NOT passion, desire, or sexual arousal.

In most jurisdictions, the term sexual assault has replaced the term rape. This was done to be more gender-neutral and to cover more specific types of sexual victimization and various levels of coercion.

Sexual assault law in Illinois covers a range of crimes from misdemeanors to felonies. Punishment ranges from probation to 30 or more years in prison. The basic offenses are:

  • Criminal sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual abuse

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

Retrieved and modified:

Click on the following links for more information about sexual assault and related offenses in Illinois:

If you have been sexually assaulted:

(Retrieved and modified from: The College of William and Mary

  • 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.

Emergency Resources:

SIUE Police Department

  • Emergencies - 911
  • Non-Emergencies - (618) 650-3324
  • Call the SIUE police department to report a sexual assault or to arrange for transportation to the hospital.

SIUE Counseling Services

SIUE Health Services

Student Affairs Office/Dean of Students

Call for Help, Inc.

Madison County Call For Help, Inc.

  • (618) 452-2763
  • 2013-D Johnson Road
  • Granite City , IL 62040

Call For Help Sexual Assault Victims Care Unit

  • (618) 397-0975 or (618) 271-8990
  • 129 N. 8th St., Room 469
  • East St. Louis, IL 62201

National Sexual Assault Hotline

  • (800) 656-HOPE
  • Available 24/7. Free & confidential

Other Resources:

FIGHT BACK! (SIUE Women’s Studies)

One In Four

The Safe Space - College Safety Plan



Women Against Rape

Coercion, Rape, and Surviving (SUNY at Buffalo)

Hope for Healing

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

Stop Campus Rape

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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