Everyone at Iona College wants our students to have the most positive and successful experience possible, both academically and socially. Our hope is that over your four years you will thrive on campus and that all of the wonderful expectations you have for yourself about your time at Iona will be realized.
One of the ways we try to ensure that you will have a positive experience is to educate you about an important issues specifically relevant for college students: sexual assault and its link to alcohol and other drugs. We hope that the materials presented here will prevent you from being involved in a sexual assault, either as a victim or as an accused assailant.
Why is Sexual Assault relevant to a college student population?
College women are the most likely members of our society to become visits of sexual assault, especially acquaintance rape. Although college students, in general, are less likely than non-college students of the same age group to become victims of violent crimes, the only exception is sexual assault.
One in four female college students is the victim of sexual assault, usually perpetrated on or near the college campus.
Victims of sexual assault often experience long term psychological, interpersonal and psychological consequences.
Persons accused of perpetrating sexual assault also experience long term psychological, as well as legal, consequences.
What is the link between sexual assault and alcohol and other drugs?
In 90% of cases of sexual assault involving college students, alcohol and other drugs were used by the victim, the assailant, or both.
More than 70,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol related sexual assault annually in the United States.
Defining Consent: What you Need to Know
Getting consent is necessary to make sure that any physical contact is wanted and not against the person's will. There are a number of ways a person gives consent, and a number of ways a person makes it clear they do not consent. Everyone, regardless of gender, is responsible for obtaining consent for sexual activity.
It is important to note that consent must be given freely without fear of consequences. Furthermore, the person must be physically capable of giving consent. You should also know that consent is a LEGAL concept. Without consent, you can be accused of sexual assault and you can be held legally liable.
Signs of Consent:
It is important to get a very clear message that consent has been given for any physical contact. Some examples would be verbal statements which indicate that the person is interested in being intimate with you, or non-verbal consent, such as reciprocating the physical or intimate activity that you have initiated. If there is any doubt about whether your partner is freely consenting to physical contact, stop and clarify the wishes and intentions of your partner.
Remember, however, that there are often several stages of sexual activity. Therefore, consent to one kind of physical contact does not mean that your partner is consenting to ALL intimate activity. You should also know that someone consenting to be alone with you, for example in your residence hall room, does not necessarily mean that they are consenting to any intimate contact.
When Consent is Not Valid:
Consent is not valid if one of two things happen. The first is that consent occurs as a result of fear or threats. If the perpetrator has a weapon or threatens the victim with harm, then there is no consent. Also, if emotional coercion, intimidation or pressure is used, there is no consent.
The second type of consent that is not valid is one that happens all too often on college campuses. That is when a person is not able to legally give consent because she or he is too drunk or high. The fact that a person is intoxicated makes them incapable of giving consent to sexual activity. In that case, the victim doesn't need to stop the perpetrator. If a person has sex with someone who is passed out, or someone who is too drunk to know what is going on, they could be accused of having sex against the victim's will; they can be accused of rape. You should know that if a person is accused of sexual assault, their being intoxicated or high at the time of the alleged incident does NOT absolve them of legal culpability.
Signs of Lack of Consent:
A lack of consent is indicated verbally when a person says "No" or "Don't do that" or "Please stop" or "I don't want to do this." These are fairly clear. However, a person could indicate a lack of consent by implied verbal refusals such as "I'm not sure I want to do this," or "Wait a minute."
Any type of physical resistance, such as trying to get away, trying to leave, rolling over, pushing a person off, moving a person's hands, or trying to put one's clothes back on are signs of NOT giving consent.
Submission is Not Consent:
In a sexual situation, many individuals (especially women), report becoming so frightened that they "froze" or "shut down" and became completely passive. The incredible stress and trauma, the feeling of disbelief that this could happen has the effect of paralyzing the victim, with the assaulter controlling the victim's fear. Just because a person does not "fight back" does not mean he/she is willing or is consenting to sex.
Stop, Ask, Clarify:
In most cases, if you are sober, you have a pretty good sense of whether or not the person you are being sexually active with wants to be there or not. If you are listening, you can tell whether or not you have consent for sex. If, for any reason, you aren't sure whether or not you are engaging in consensual sex, you should stop, clarify the situation, ask and be sure. That way you can be certain that you are not engaging in sexual assault or rape.
Consequences of Lack of Consent:
If you engage in sexual activity without consent, you can be accused of sexual assault, you can be prosecuted, and you can be convicted. Do you really want to risk throwing your life away over a sexual experience with a partner who doesn't freely choose to be with you?
If you engage in sexual activity when you are incapable of giving consent, you can become the victim of sexual assault which, unfortunately, can create physical and emotional consequences that you will have to deal with for a long time. Wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry?
Sexual Assault: Why Report It?
One our four college women are sexually assaulted.
Individuals who sexually assault are predators who tend to victimize others over and over again.
Individuals who sexually assault are NOT your friends.
The person who sexually assaulted you will sexually assault someone else.
The person who sexually assaulted you probably sexually assaulted someone else before you who did not report it.
Victims who report sexual assault fare much better in the long run; they heal more quickly and completely knowing that the person who assaulted them didn't get away with it.
Only the victim can stop the sexual assailant from harming others.
To report a sexual assault, you can:
Talk to your resident assistant or resident director.
Talk to a counselor in the Counseling Center in Spellman Hall.
Go to the nearest hospital to be medically evaluated.
Talk to someone in Campus Safety.
Talk to Vice Provost for Student Life, Mr. Charles Carlson in the Office of Student Life (Robert V. LaPenta Student Union).
Go to the nearest police department.
Go to the Iona Wellness Center (760 North Avenue).
Get support from friends, family or someone else you can trust to help your through the reporting process.
Call Victim's Assistance Services.
Important Contact Information:
Office of Residential Life (914) 633-2336
Iona College Counseling Center (914) 633-2038
Iona College Wellness Center (914) 633-2548
Campus Safety (914) 633-2560
Office of Student Development (914) 633-2360
Health Services (914) 633-2548
Office of Off-Campus Housing (914) 633-2243
Victims Assistance Services (914) 345-3113
24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline (914) 345-9111
New Rochelle Police Department (914) 654-2300
Sound Shore Medical Center (914) 632-5000
*Information Prepared by the Iona College Counseling Center