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Sexual Victimization

The Personal Counseling Center website contains other information related to this topic. Click on:

Alcohol As A Date Rape Drug

Rohypnol ("Roofies") - The Date Rape Drug

Sexual Assault Prevention

Rape or sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Sexual victimization can take several forms, including:

  • threats of rape
  • attempted rape
  • completed rape
  • threatened, attempted or completed unwanted sexual contact.

Rape Defined

The National Crime Victimization Survey defines rape as:
"Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender(s). This category also includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object such as a bottle. Rape includes attempted rapes, male as well as female victims, and both heterosexual and homosexual rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape."

What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is the legal term for rape, but it also includes behavior other than forced sexual intercourse. Sexual assault includes any unwanted sexual contact, such as unwanted touching, fondling or groping of sexual body parts.


Psychologically speaking, rape and sexual assault are about power and control, and not about sexual desire. The issue about mutual consent to enage or not engage in sexual activity is therefore a critically important issue when charges of rape or sexual assault are made. The decision to be sexually intimate must be made without coercion.

Alcohol or other chemicals can interfere with a person's ability to make a clear decision about the level of intimacy they want to engage. Conscious consent is less likely made depending upon the person's degree of intoxication or impairment. If a person is intoxicated or otherwise unconscious and therefore incapable of giving consent, the charge of rape can be considered. It is a well known fact that alcohol is involved in the majority (i.e. 90%)of college rapes. Also know that for women who have been raped in college, 9 out of 10 offenders were know to the victim. This is commonly referred to as acquaintance rape.

Risk Reduction

  • It must be understood that the decision to be sexually intimate must be made without coercion by both persons. They both must also be free to change "yes" to "no" at any time.
  • When a person is not just intoxicated but incapacitated, he or she is not capable of giving consent according to the law.
  • Use the buddy system. When going to a party, make an agreement to look after each other. If your friend gets drunk and you see him or her leave the party with someone they just met, it is your responsibility to intervene!
  • If you are being pressured against your will for sex, do what you need to do to interrupt the process of being sexually assaulted! Say "no" clearly. Pretend that you are going to throw up, and do so all over that other person if you need to! Get help using any means.

What You Should Do If You are Sexually Assaulted

  • Contact Campus Police emergency number @ x7222 (814-269-7222).
  • Ask a trusted friend to stay with you and assist you in getting the help you need.
  • Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, bathe, douche or throw away the clothing you were wearing during the incident. Save anything else that might provide evidence, such as the glass that held your drink.
  • Go to the hospital for an examination. They will know how to properly collect evidence. Request that they take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing to be done by your law enforcement agency's crime lab. A special test must be done to detect Rohypnol in a urine specimen.
  • Write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident (e.g. name and/or description of the perpetrator, the use of threats or actual use of force, date, time, location, what actually happened, witness names, etc.).
  • Talk with Pitt-Johnstown Judicial Affairs staff about filing a formal complaint. Click here for more information.
  • You may want to contact an off-campus agency such as Victim Services for information and support @ (814) 288-4961.
  • Contact the Pitt-Johnstown Personal Counseling Center @ x7119.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Rape or sexual assault, by definition, is a traumatic experience. It is therefore critically important that the survivor visits with one of our counselors just as soon as possible. The longer the survivor delays seeking personal counseling, the greater the risk that they will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms resultant from this disorder can significantly impair a person's ability to function normally in many aspects of daily living, and these symptoms can persist throughout their lifetime. This is why we say it is critically important that they get to the experienced counselors at the Pitt-Johnstownf Personal Counseling Center as soon as possible.

Last Reviewed: October 7, 2005