If someone is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, even if the individual says yes, it is considered sexual assault.
You are at a party. During the past hour you notice one of your male friends has been talking to a young woman. They seem to be having a good time but it is clear that the woman has had too much to drink. At one point your friend walks by you and you hear him say he is just going to get her “one more” and “that should be enough.”
A few minutes later you see him put his arm around the young woman and start to lead her upstairs. What do you do?
- Do you know someone who has been sexually assaulted?
- How would you react if it were your sister/mother?
- How does gender impact this situation?
- Is this a special issue for you as a student-athlete? If yes, how so?
- Are athletes negatively affected by the standards (to be tough, aggressive, etc.) set by coaches, teammates, parents, and, most importantly, themselves? Do you believe aggression in sport settings can lead to sexual assaults? Why and how?
- How do you define masculinity? Femininity?
- Does masculinity need to be “proved” more than femininity? Is there more pressure to act masculine than to act feminine? What does it mean for a male to be “weak”?
- What kinds of things do people on your team or in the athletic community believe about rape and abuse? Do they think it’s a real problem or that it’s exaggerated?
- Are there sexual assault cases currently in the news and what lessons are to be learned?
- Are there contradictory messages about sex in our society?
Definitions and Considerations
United States law includes two types of sexual assault: sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes acts in which an individual is forced to engage in sexual activity by use of threats other fear tactics, or instances in which an individual is physically unable to decline. Aggravated sexual abuse occur when an individual is forced to submit to sexual acts by use of physical force; threats of death, injury, or kidnapping; or substances that render that individual unconscious or impaired.
Note: Find out your specific state laws and statues as it varies by state.
Research suggests that around 4-6% of the male population commits acts that constitute sexual assault (Lasik, 2007). These men are from every economic group, cultural backgrounds, and social groups, including student athletes. While there is little consistent data to suggest that athletes commit these crimes more often than non-athletes, numerous mediated events around the issues of sexual assault have recently focused on athletes. Media focuses on the high profile athlete because they are considered ‘newsworthy.’ With that said, it is very important as team members that athletes engage in appropriate sexual boundaries, Step UP! and intervene in an effort to decrease the incidences of sexual assault within our own communities.
- Be aware of comments and behaviors from others that would indicate they were intent on having sexual intercourse even if the partner was unwilling.
- Notice if someone is getting ready to have sexual intercourse with a partner who is incapacitated.
- Don’t pressure or encourage friends to drink or have sex as often or with as many people as possible.
- Don’t joke about sexual assault; comments and jokes that are meant to “ease the tension” or are “just kidding around” can trivialize the severity of the behavior.
- Know your level of comfort with conversations and talk about sexual behavior. If you find groups or individuals who talk about sexual relationships that are not in sync with how you feel, or the type of relationship you want, don’t be afraid to state your position.
- Many perpetrators are unaware that what they have done is a crime. (They may say, “Yeah, that was messed up, but it was fun.”) Let them know that what they did was not right and was against the law.
If you become aware that a sexual assault has occurred or are told of an assault occurring:
- Believe the person.
- Tell the victim it is not his or her fault.
- Encourage a report (to campus or local police, to the Dean of Students, to a campus Health Center counselor, etc.) Realize however, there may be reasons that the person does NOT want to report. Respect that decision.
- Don’t pry or try to get information out of the person if he/she is unwilling to be forthcoming with information… be ready to listen when the individual is ready to talk.
- If you learn of the perpetrator’s identity, don’t suggest physical or any other form of retaliation.
- Know available resources.
- Be patient.
Did you know…?
- You must have consent to engage in any and all sexual behaviors. Consent is hearing the word “yes.” It is not the absence of hearing “no.” It’s the LAW!
- Up to 75% of the physical and sexual assaults that occur on college campuses involve the abuse of alcohol by assailants, victims, or both.
- According to the UCR (Uniform Crime Report), in a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the US:
- More than 90% of sexual assaults are committed by people the victim knew (dating partner, boyfriend, friend, classmate, etc.)
- Although the majority of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement, recent research indicates that report rates are increasing.
- Less than 2% of reports to police are considered false reports.
- While men can be victims as well, the majority of sexual assault cases involved male perpetrators and female victims.
- Campus/Local Resources for Sexual Assault/Relationship Violence
- Project Sister Rape Crisis Services
- Campus Counseling Services
- Campus Safety
- Campus Health Services
- Residence Hall Director if in the dorms-Housing
Coach, Assistant Coach, Athletic Directors, Administrators, Advisors, and/or Athletic Trainers