There are several important things you should know about sexual assault:

Definition
The term “sexual assault” is an umbrella term that captures acts of a sexual nature that occur without a person’s consent. It is a crime as well as a violation of Ball State University's Policy.   The U.S. Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” U.S. Department of Justice.

There is a difference between reporting to police and reporting to Ball State. You can hold a perpetrator accountable through either or both systems. It is best to talk to the campus victim advocate about the differences between the two systems since what happens next depends on the nature of the case. If you report to Ball State police, your case will most likely be forwarded to the Office of Student Rights and Community StandardsBall State University Student Code, Appendix K.

It is Not Your Fault
No matter what happened to you, no one has the right to hurt you, pressure or coerce you into sexual contact or take away your choice about your body. If you are unsure whether what you experienced is sexual assault, talking to a counselor might help you clarify things.

You Are Not Alone
There are many people and services available on and off campus to help you. Consider talking with a counselor. Counseling services are completely confidential. Nothing will be shared with the University or police without your written permission unless someone's life is in danger or ordered by a court of law. A counselor can provide you with options, resources, and support. You can contact the Counseling Center at 765-285-1736, or in person at Lucina Hall 320.

It is Your Decision to Tell
There is no shame in being a victim of sexual assault—the shame lies with the person who perpetrated the violence. However, for many reasons including your safety, you may be concerned about confidentiality. It is your choice to talk to someone about what happened. At Ball State, the campus victim advocate, medical providers, and counselors at the Counseling Center are completely confidential and will not disclose your personal information without your consent.

You Can Seek Medical Attention
No matter when your assault occurred or whether or not you wish to make a report, it is most important that you take care of yourself. There may be injuries as a result of sexual assault that you cannot see. You should be aware of the following:

  • Seeking medical attention immediately (within a few days) of a sexual assault provides the most options in the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections as well as evidence preservation.
  • You do not need to make a report to seek medical attention. 
  • Free medical care is available to students confidentially on campus at the Women's Center/Student Health Center and off-campus at IU Ball Memorial Hospital.
  • If you decide to have an exam as a result of a sexual assault, you do not have to pay for these services. 
  • You can have a support person such as a victim advocate or friends accompany you to help make sure you get the services you need.

You Can Get Evidence Collected Anonymously
If you have been sexually assaulted in the last 96 hours, there may be evidence remaining in and on your body and clothes such as body fluids, hair, and injuries indicative of forced contact. If you are concerned about confidentiality but would like to have this evidence collected, you can do so anonymously and have it kept for up to one year while you decide whether filing a report with police is right for you.

Counseling Services are Available to You
The Counseling Center is here for you. It is a safe and confidential space where you can talk through and process your experience with a warm, caring individual. A counselor can help you make sense of some of the confusing reactions you may experience, provide you with support during this difficult time, and help you begin to feel better again. In addition to individual therapy, the Counseling Center currently offers group therapy specifically for survivors of sexual assault. The Journey to Wholeness Group is a safe, supportive place for survivors to explore the meaning of their experience and develop effective ways of coping. The group can also provide an opportunity to connect with other survivors who have gone through similar experiences, so that group members feel both understood and not so alone. If you are interested in either individual or group therapy, you can contact the Counseling Center at 765-285-1736, or in person at Lucina Hall 320.

The Counseling Center Wants to Help Prevent Assaults through Educational Programs
The Counseling Center, along with the Office of Victim Services (OVS), provides a number of violence prevention outreach presentations to the Ball State community. Presentations cover topics such as primary prevention of sexual assault, healthy relationships, stalking, barriers to reporting a sexual assault, and a bystander intervention training that teaches potential witnesses safe and positive ways that they can act to prevent or intervene when there is a risk for sexual violence. If you would like to schedule a presentation, please send an email request to counselctr@bsu.edu or call 765-285-1736. In addition, national awareness months are observed with events throughout the year: Stalking Awareness Month (January), Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), and Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October).

The Ball State Campus Community Cares
Sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts happen across campus. Click here to find more information.