What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence includes any sexual act or sexual contact without consent, including intercourse; oral sex; unwanted touching of an intimate body part of another person, such as sexual organs, buttocks, or breasts; or an attempt of any of the above. Rape is a type of sexual assault. This description of prohibited sexual acts and conduct is not intended to be inclusive of all conduct that could fall within this category. It is the intent of this policy to provide notice that any unconsented sexual conduct, whether by a stranger or an acquaintance of the victim, is prohibited.
What is consent?
Consent is defined as an affirmative indication by words and/or actions of a voluntary agreement to engage in the particular sexual act or conduct in question. Consent for one sexual act or conduct does not constitute consent to all sexual acts or conduct. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease. Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, threat, intimidation, or coercion. Silence or absence of resistance on the part of an individual does not constitute their consent. Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated due to consuming drugs or alcohol or for any other reason (including but not limited to being unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring). Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). While incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Incapacitation may also exist because of a physical, mental, or developmental disability.
What to do if you have experienced sexual violence
It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone. The trauma of sexual assault can leave survivors with physical, emotional and psychological wounds. Each survivor has different experiences and needs, and may process and recover from trauma in their own way. Below are some things to keep in mind. If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 410-617-5911 (on-campus) or 911 (off campus).
Your safety is important.
Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.
What happened was not your fault.
Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.
Seek medical attention.
Although, many people who have been sexually assaulted may initially hesitate to pursue professional medical care, it is highly advised to get medical attention after an assault. The decision to seek medical attention is ultimately the choice that each survivor must make for themselves, according to their own emotional, physical and psychological needs. Students may request Loyola's confidential advocate to accompany them to the hospital by contacting Public Safety and asking to speak with the confidential advocate. Public Safety is able to transport students to Mercy for their exam. Learn more about SAFE.
Process the experience.
After a sexual assault experience, there is often a very strong urge to put the event on the back burner, avoiding processing the entire incident. But, it’s vital to address it. This means learning healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the emotions and psychological impact that a sexual assault often has on a person. Although not everyone will need professional counseling after a sexual assault, there is a high risk for various emotional issues and psychological phenomenon to occur, such issues may include:
- Denial (being unaware that the sexual assault has occurred and refusing to process it)
- Memory loss (being unable to recall some or all of the details of the traumatic event)
- Self-doubt (not trusting one’s own intuition, blaming self for the cause of the assault)
- A sense of guilt (which can worsen the negative psychological impact of trauma)
- Anxiety (of various levels from mild anxiety to panic attacks and severe paralyzing anxiety)
For information about counseling services on campus please visit the Counseling Center website.
Consider legal options.
The Notice of Rights and Options also discusses these resources, such as addressing the incident through a formal complaint through Loyola, getting a peace or protective order, and filing a report with police in the jurisdiction where the incident happened.
Engage in on-going self-care.
This is a long-term step that involves being kind to yourself, which is important when recovering from some of the self-blame, self-doubt, guilt or other negative emotions commonly experienced by sexual assault victims. Some ways to engage in self care are:
- Journal. Express what’s in your heart and on your mind. Honor how you feel. Journal with words, drawings, whatever you want. What you put on the page stays there so you can walk away and leave the thoughts there whenever you choose.
- Take care of your body. Feed your body. Rest your body. Move your body. Spend time outdoors when you can.
- Volunteer. Sharing your time and unique talents can feel like you’re fulfilling a greater life purpose. Follow what stirs your heart. Caring for animals, feeding the hungry, helping children after school and visiting with the elderly are all things survivors have tried and enjoyed.
- Ask for help. Many supportive measures are available to students including, but not limited to assistance with rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exam, etc), no contact orders, counseling, and relocating residence hall assignments. These are just a few of the many options. Please visit the Title IX website for all options.
Know that you are NEVER ALONE.
Please reach out to one of the confidential or non-confidential advocates on campus to learn all of your options and resources available to you.
How to help a friend
- Believe your friend.
- Let them know it is not their fault and they did not deserve to be assaulted.
- Avoid asking questions that may sound judgmental or blaming (“Why did you drink so much?”)
- Understand everyone responds differently to being assaulted.
- Some may cry, be angry, be calm or in shock.
- Regardless of the reaction, they need to know you are there for support.
- Listen to your friend.
- Let them know you are there for support.
- Avoid asking details of what happened, just let them tell you as much/little as they feel comfortable.
- Encourage your friend to seek medical care.
- Empower your friend.
- Let them make their own decisions on how and when to seek help.
- If there is a safety issue, seek immediate assistance.
- Continue to support your friend during recovery process.
- Recovering is different for everyone
- Support is important in the recovery process.
- Encourage them to see counseling center.
- Get support for yourself.
- This is an emotional experience, and you will need to continue to be a friend not a counselor.
Loyola University Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence and Stalking Report
*Confidential resources are not required to report sexual misconduct to the University, however confidentiality cannot be guaranteed if there is an imminent threat to health and safety*
Melissa Lees, Sexual Violence Prevention, Education and Response Coordinator:
410-617-6769; Seton Court 04A
410-617-CARE (2273); Humanities 150
After hours: 410-617-5530
410-617-5055; Seton Court 02A
24-hour helpline: 443-279-0379