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Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence

Sexual assaultsexual harassmentrelationship violence, and stalking are types of interpersonal violence.

Common Reactions a Survivor may Experience

Interpersonal violence can be traumatic and terrifying. It is common for a survivor to feel overwhelmed by emotions, to appear completely shut down, or to be anywhere in-between. It is important to recognize that whatever you are feeling right now is a normal response to what happened and acts of interpersonal violence are never the survivor’s fault.

Some common symptoms that survivors may experience include:

  • Re-experiencing the event or events, either through flashbacks or nightmares
  • Feeling overly alert to threats or seeing danger everywhere
  • Being jumpy or more easily startled
  • Feeling anxious, guilty, ashamed, sad, hopeless, angry, irritable, numb, confused, or any other emotional reaction
  • Being afraid to be alone or isolating from others
  • Mistrusting others
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty eating or eating too much
  • Headaches, tension or pain in other areas of the body
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Feeling disconnected with yourself
  • Thinking about suicide

Appointments at the Counseling Center are confidential, and you are not required to report the act of interpersonal violence if you seek counseling. Your counselor will help you talk about and manage your feelings and help you decide what will help you recover from this traumatic event. It is never too late to seek help, even if the incident happened a long time ago.

Our therapists are skilled at working with survivors of interpersonal violence. We also work closely with numerous counseling providers in the community who have expertise in this area as well. If you are interested in checking out our services or getting established with a community provider, please come to the center to get set up with an appointment. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 919.515.2423 and select the option to speak with an emergency counselor.

How Do I Take Care of Myself?

How Do I Help my Friend or Loved One?

How Can I Get Involved to Prevent Interpersonal Violence?

On-Campus Resources

  • Women’s Center
  • Main Office: 919.515.2012
  • 24-hour Sexual Assault Helpline: 919.515.4444
  • Provides advocacy and support.
  • Can accompany survivors while making a police or Title IX report, to court, to obtain a restraining or no contact order, during a sexual assault forensic exam, and to other on-campus and local resources.
  • Can assist with accommodations including helping with academic accommodations or communicating with professors on a survivor’s behalf, assisting with changes in housing or parking, and other accommodations depending on need.
  • Offers a Survivor Fund used to assist survivors of interpersonal violence with expenses incurred as a result of that violence.
  • NC State University Police
  • Main Office: 919.515.3000
  • Emergencies: 911
  • Provide assistance from a law-enforcement perspective including reporting and investigating the crime.
  • Have individuals who are specially trained to work with cases of rape and sexual assault.
  • Campus Health Services
  • Women’s Health
  • Main Phone Line: 919.515.2563
  • Administer medical attention that does not involve concern for prosecution during regular business hours.
  • Can provide physical exams, emergency contraception pills, and test for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
  • Do not offer forensic medical exams for evidence collection in sexual assault cases.
  • Student Legal Services
  • Main Office: 919.515.7091
  • If  legal advice is desired, will inform survivors of their options.
  • May also be able to guide and accompany survivors as they pursue their cases through the legal system.
  • Have some limitations to what they can provide if the perpetrator is another NC State student but can still offer information and referrals.
  • Student Conduct
  • Main Office: 919.515.2963
  •  If a survivor decides to report allegations of sexual misconduct, facilitates the university conduct process in addition to or instead of any legal options that may also exist.  
  • While the university encourages individuals to participate in the conduct process, survivors may seek information from the Office of Student Conduct regarding their options knowing that they will not be required to participate in any conduct process.
  • Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity & Title IX Coordinator
  • Main Office: 919.513.0574
  • Helps survivors outline the steps they may need to take to resolve their concerns and will investigate concerns to ensure they are appropriately addressed.
  • Can provide accommodations including: the imposition of a no contact order, class schedule changes, University Housing room assignment changes, and others depending on need.
  • Main Office: 919.515.4405Acts as an early intervention team to provide appropriate support for students of concern (Students, faculty, staff and parents can make a “Concerning Behavior Report” about a student who is not attending class, missing appointments, not responding to phone or email and/or sharing concerning information).
  • Can, when appropriate, reach out to students and check in regarding the concerns that have been reported through the Concerning Behavior Report.
  • Can also follow up with students returning to campus after a hospitalization or withdrawal to help ease the transition.
  • Can assist in connections with other resources.

Office of Violence Prevention and Threat Management

  • Office of Violence Prevention and Threat Management
  • Main Office: 919.515.4224
  • Provides effective intervention in situations that pose or may pose a threat to the safety of the community.
  • Can assist students, faculty, and staff in developing safety plans for stalking and/or intimate partner violence situations.
  • University Housing
  • Main Office: 919.515.2440
  • Trained to assist survivors.
  • Can help survivors get connected with resources on or off campus and can support survivors with requests for room changes or other housing concerns.
  • GLBT Center
  • Main Office: 919.513.9742
  • Understands the unique needs and circumstances of GLBT-identified survivors and can provide support and resources.
  • Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Main Office: 919.515.3835
  • Understands the influence of culture on an individual’s experience and can provide support and resources for all survivors.
  • African American Cultural Center
  • Main Office: 919.515.5210
  • Understands the influences of African American culture on an individual’s experience and can provide support and resources.
  • Military and Veteran Services
  • Main Office: 919-515-5041
  • Understands the influences and/or challenges military services may have on an individual’s experience and can provide support and resources.
  • Military and Veteran Services
  • Main Office: 919-515-5041
  • Understands the influences and/or challenges military services may have on an individual’s experience and can provide support and resources.

Off-Campus Resources

  • InterAct of Wake County and The Solace Center
  • Main Office: 919.828.7501
  • The Solace Center: 919.828.3067 or 866.291.0854
  • 24-hr Domestic Violence Crisis line: 919.828.7740
  • 24-hr Sexual Assault Crisis line: 919.828.3005
  • Offers crisis counseling, information, assistance with shelter, emotional support, advocacy, court assistance, and referrals to other agencies as needed.
  • Can also assist with paperwork for domestic violence protective orders and criminal charges.
  • Have groups for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Provides 24-hour crisis lines for interpersonal violence survivors.
  • Offers forensic medical exams for sexual assault survivors via the Solace Center.
  • Kiran
  • 24-hour confidential crisis line: 1.877.625.4726
  • Non-profit organization that serves and empowers South Asian survivors of domestic violence originating from the following countries:
    •  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, & Sri Lanka.
  • Offers safety planning, translation assistance, client advocacy and accompaniment to court, assistance with domestic violence protective order (dvpo) filing, and green card applications.
  • Can connect survivors with resource referrals including legal referrals to family law, immigration, and criminal attorneys; referrals to secure, confidential shelters and other forms of temporary housing; and medical referrals to primary physicians, specialty care providers, and counselors/therapists.
  • Offers secondary family services and can assist in arranging childcare, transportation services, and medical referrals for immediate family members.

Other Resources

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault and sexual violence are general terms that describe acts of unwanted sexual contact. According to NC State’s Title IX website, sexual violence is defined as sexual contact without consent, for example, rape, sodomy (oral or anal sex), sexual battery (e.g. grabbing breasts, buttocks, private areas, forcible fondling). One in five women will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during her time in college. One in six men experience sexual violence in their lifetime. In the majority of cases that are reported at NC State, the offender is someone the survivor knows; frequently alcohol is involved as a perpetration method.

Thoughts or Reactions You May Experience After a Sexual Assault

Many sexual violence survivors feel ashamed and may blame themselves for what happened. They may think that they could have done something to prevent it and may feel guilty for not stopping it. One of the most important things to know is that it’s not your fault. The responsibility for the assault lies with the perpetrator and is never the survivor’s fault.

Being sexually assaulted is traumatic. Our bodies respond to traumatic situations in one of three ways: fight, flight, or freeze. During a sexual assault the freeze response is very common. It is also the response that often contributes to feelings of guilt. The survivor may say, “Why didn’t I fight back,” or “It’s my fault because I let it happen.” Again, it is important to remember that it is not your fault. You were completely overwhelmed at the time of the assault and your body may have responded by shutting itself down. Your mind may have been actively trying to process what was happening or it may have shut down as well. These physical responses are often your body’s attempt to protect itself and are based on biological mechanisms that are often beyond our control in the moment. In any case, this shutdown is a normal response to a threat.

What is Sexual Harassment?

According to NC State’s Policies, Regulations, and Rules website, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, statements, requests for favors, or other verbal or physical conduct that creates a quid pro quo situation or a hostile environment.

A quid pro quo situation occurs when submission to or rejections of an individual’s sexual advances or requests is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions. When an individual believes that submitting to an unwelcome advance or request in order to avoid an adverse consequence. A hostile environment occurs when unwelcome sexual advance, statements, requests, or other acts of sexual conduct deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from NC State’s programs or activities or create an intimidating, threatening or abusive environment.

What is Relationship Violence?

According to NC State’s Title IX website, relationship violence is a term that includes both domestic or dating violence. Relationship violence happens when one person in an intimate relationship uses abuse to maintain power over a partner. Abusive behaviors can be physical or emotional, examples include threats of self-harm or harm to others (e.g. a text saying “If you leave me I will kill myself”), name calling, belittling, isolation, forcing to engage in sexual acts while in a dating or domestic relationship when one of the individuals does not wish to.

Thoughts or Reactions You May Experience When in an Abusive Relationship

Many survivors of relationship violence may be afraid to leave the relationship, may not be financially able to get out, may worry about others judging them, or may find it difficult to leave because they love their partner. The dynamics of power and control present in these relationships often leave survivors feeling like the problems in the relationship are their fault because they are the ones who provoke their partner’s violence. It is important to remember that relationship violence is never the fault of the survivor. We know that other forms of interpersonal violence may also be present in the relationship. Often times a survivor may experience sexual assault, verbal or physical abuse, and/or stalking at the hands of their abusive partner. If you are experiencing any of these forms of abuse in your relationship, the Counseling Center can help. We do know that relationship violence can escalate quickly and can be a difficult cycle to break. We will not pressure you to leave your relationship, but will explore all of your concerns and discuss your options with you.

What is Stalking?

According to NC State’s Title IX website, stalking is defined as causing fear in someone by willfully and repeatedly harassing them. Stalking can occur in many forms. Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to: Waiting outside of one’s class, the gym, grocery store, harassing via social media and text messages. Those experiencing stalking may make changes in their lives in an attempt to avoid the perpetrator. Stalking cases have the potential to escalate quickly, especially if there was a previous perceived relationship.