Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Abuse
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence or physical or emotional abuse, remember, there is always someone that you can talk to. You are not alone and help is available. It is important that you empower yourself with information, but the facts remain: Victim shaming continues to be an issue and this must stop. Let it stop with you!
Please review the following pages and links and call the TTU Counseling Center (931-372-3331) or the Genesis House Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline (800-707-5197) to see how we can be of assistance. You are not alone!
- TTU Women's Center
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
- University at Buffalo: Sexual Assertiveness Questionnaire & Date Rape Prevention
- University of Georgia Relationship/Sexual Violence Prevention
- Women's Law: Dating Violence
There are several options available to a student who was a victim of sexual violence and who decides to report. In addition to bringing charges in criminal or civil court the victim may also seek recourse through university disciplinary process if the perpetrator is a student.
Reporting a rape or sexual assault to University officials or filing a police report creates a record should you decide to sign a criminal complaint. TTU Police, Residential Life, and Health Services must inform university administration and local law enforcement that an alleged sexual assault has occurred. Once reported, the decision to continue with legal proceedings is determined by the evidence collected and the District Attorney.
Genesis House Sexual Assault Response Center is not required to report sexual assault to law enforcement unless you choose to do so. Medical attention sought at Cookeville Regional Medical Center and the TTU Health Services does result in reporting to law enforcement.
The location of the crime determines which law enforcement agency will be responsible for the investigation. Cookeville Police or Putnam County Sheriff’s Department respond when an assault takes place off campus.
University Disciplinary Procedures
Sexual assault, in addition to being a violation of state law, is a violation of the TTU Students Conduct Code. When the perpetrator is a student, the victim may initiate campus disciplinary action. In order to bring charges of sexual assault against another student, a student must initiate the judicial process by contacting the Dean of Students Office, 931-372-3237. For more information about the university disciplinary process, please refer to the **TTU Student Handbook (get from student handbook).
Alcohol and Rape
Alcohol is the number one drug used to facilitate sexual violence and rape. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 2002 report on college drinking estimates that more than 70,000 students, age 18-24, are victims of alcohol related rape/sexual assault each year.
The effects of alcohol include impaired judgment and motor coordination, disinhibition, dizziness, confusion, and extreme drowsiness. If enough alcohol is consumed, an individual may lose consciousness or may not remember details of what occurred. Alcohol can also cause the misinterpretation of body language and sexual intent. For example, men may overestimate women’s interest in sexual activity and friendly behavior may be mistaken for sexual intent.
Drugs and Rape
Predatory drugs, often called date rape drugs, are causing increasing concern on college and university campuses. The term predatory drug is used to describe substances such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine, drugs commonly used to facilitate rape and other forms of sexual violence. But technically, any substance that is used to prevent you from asserting yourself or your needs is a predatory drug. This includes marijuana, ecstasy, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and alcohol, which is the most commonly used drug to facilitate rape and sexual assault.
Predatory drugs are easily slipped into food and beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. They are very fast acting and render a person incapable of making appropriate decisions. They impair judgment, motor coordination, and the ability to remember details of what happened while the drug was active in the person’s system. This produces a passive victim, one who is aware and able to play a part in what is happening, but who will have no clear memory of events afterward. The use of predatory drugs creates a victim who does not have the opportunity to say no.
Sexual predators rarely use these drugs with the intent of using them safely. It is not likely that a predator has taken the time to measure out a safe dose; therefore one person may feel dizziness or confusion while another person may lapse into a coma.
Predatory drugs are virtually undetectable in food and beverages; most are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. All traces of most predatory drugs leave the body within 72 hours of ingestion. Because of memory loss and the speed at which the drugs metabolize, it can be difficult to make and support a claim that such a drug was used to facilitate sexual violence. Doctors and police have to be looking specifically for them and they have to act quickly.
Signs that you may have been drugged:
You may have been drugged if you wake up very hung over, have a memory lapse or a period of time you cannot account for, remember having a drink but not what happened afterwards, feel as though someone had sex with you, but you can't remember, have unexplainable signs of physical trauma, or you have sensations of drunkenness that do not correspond with the amount of alcohol consumed.
What to do if you think you have been drugged and you want to seek medical assistance:
- Go to a safe place.
- Call someone you trust.
- If you want to seek medical assistance, go to Cookeville Regional Medical Center or other hospital emergency room or call Genesis House Sexual Assault Response Center at 526-5197 or 800-707-5197.
- Request that the clinician take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing. This urine tests is not routine. A special test must be conducted to detect drugs in a urine specimen.
- Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, shower, bathe, douche, or discard clothing. Try to save other materials that might provide evidence, such as the glass that held your drink.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault.
- Follow the steps outlined in "If you are the victim of sexual violence"
The above information regarding alcohol and drugs is from the University of Georgia "Sexual Violence, Rape, and You" website. For more information about specific predatory drugs, visit their website.
- Be available. Provide a safe environment. If possible, stay with your friend.
- Be attentive. Listen and accept what you hear. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to share some of his or her feelings.
- Assure your friend. Make sure she/he knows the violence is not her/his fault, that she/he is not alone, and that help is available.
- Put your own judgments and opinions on hold. Your friend needs to know that she/he will not be judged or rejected by you.
- Be your friend’s advocate. Help your friend access information about medical care, reporting, and counseling by reviewing the "If You Are A Victim Of Sexual Violence" section. Obtain information about all available resources, such as TTU's Counseling Center or Genesis House Sexual Assault Response Center, and give the details to your friend.
- Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if s/he has not done so, but in other respects resist your natural desire to give advice. Survivors of sexual assault need to regain a sense of control over their lives. Allow your friend to make her/his own decisions about the next steps.
- Help your friend follow through with the decisions s/he makes. This may mean going to the hospital or police with him/her or providing a place to stay for a few nights.
- Seek emotional support for yourself. Call the Counseling Center, 931-372-3331, or Genesis House, 931-526-5197 or 800-707-5197, to debrief or to get tips on how to help your friend.
Sexual assault is a serious problem that affects both men and women. It is important to remember that no one is ever at fault for being a victim of sexual violence. The perpetrator is always responsible for violent behavior. Although personal safety can never by guaranteed, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of being the victim of sexual assaults. Things you can do:
- Be aware of your surroundings and think of where you can go or get help if you need it. Higher risk areas include: isolation, by location or darkness or both; limited escape routes; limited or no means to summons help.
- Be assertive about communicating what you want from another person. Ask the person you are with to do the same.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable to you, there is probably a good reason.
- Set your sexual limits ahead of time and when you are sober. Know what your limits are for both alcohol and sex before going to a bar or party.
- Be aware of the effects of alcohol on your body. Alcohol interrupts the ability to make sound decisions and impairs your ability to communicate clearly.
- Remember—drunk sex jeopardizes your ability to get and give consent.
- Watch your drink--do not leave it unattended, especially at a bar or party.
- Stay with friends and watch out for each other. Never leave with someone you just met, and don’t let friends leave with someone they just met.
- When on a date with someone new, make sure that you are responsible for your own transportation. It is safer to meet up with someone than to rely on an unfamiliar person for a ride.
- Don't hesitate to call 911 if you think you are in danger.
Relationship violence is the use of abusive behavior in order to have power and control in an intimate relationship. Relationship violence is sometimes called intimate partner violence or domestic violence. Within a relationship, violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, mental, verbal, spiritual, or any combination of the above.
Signs of an abusive relationship include being with someone who:
- wants to keep you away from your friends and family
- makes all the decisions
- gets angry over small things
- wants to control how you dress
- threatens to hurt you, your children, or him/herself when angry
- criticizes and name-calls—insults and humiliates you in front of others
- hits, shoves, throws objects, or uses other physically intimidating behavior
- forces sex or other use of physical force in sexual activity
If you are in an abusive relationship, you may feel embarrassed, ashamed, afraid, or even guilty. These feelings and many other conflicting emotions are common in such relationships. Violence can happen in long-term or newly-formed relationships. Relationship violence can occur regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, color, creed, sexual orientation, or age.
Persons who are in abusive relationships often feel overwhelmed and may benefit from having someone with whom to speak. The TTU Counseling Center (931-372-3331) has trained counselors with whom you can talk about your concerns. Genesis House, Inc. (931-526-5197 or 800-707-5197) also provides counseling for individuals who are in violent or abusive relationships.