You are not alone, you and your health matter

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Student Health Service is located in the Wellness Center.

Discussing sexual assault, getting help, support and resources for survivors of sexual assault

Sexual assault is not okay. Sexual assault will never be okay. Whether you are unsure what is qualified as sexual assault, what the definition of sexual assault is or how to get help hopefully I can provide some resources. If you have experienced sexual assault, I am so sorry and I am here to help you. You are not alone. You and your health matter.

What is sexual assault?

According to Women’s Health, sexual assault is any type of sexual activity or contact that you did not consent to. Sexual assault is unfortunately common, as 1 in 3 women have experienced some type of sexual assault.

Sexual assault can include many activities, no-contact or contact activities. Activities with no-contact include being exposed to someone, such as seeing an inappropriate picture or a ‘nude’ from someone through Snapchat or text. Receiving inappropriate pictures through Snapchat is quite common, sadly.

Contact sexual activities include rape, attempted rape, sexual coercion, sexual contact with a child or touching someone inappropriately under their clothes.

However, there are ways to establish clear lines of consent. If you consent to a sexual activity, you said yes, you are okay with it happening and you are aware of what is going on. Consent does not count if this person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This person who is saying yes to consent needs to be fully aware and understand what is going on, otherwise, it is considered sexual assault.

Just because someone gave consent to a sexual activity (whether through contact or no-contact) in the past, does not apply to consent in the present or future. Any and every person involved needs to consent every time, rather than only consenting once in the past.

What can you do?

Prevent sexual assault, go as a group to activities, meet new people in a public place, be aware of how much you drink, keep your own drink in your hand at all times and have a plan to get home.

If you know someone who has experienced sexual assault, comfort them. Tell them they are not alone. Help by asking them if they would like to go to the hospital or contacting the police. It may take them some time to talk about their experience and that is okay, just be there to comfort them in this horrible situation.

You may comfort this loved one or friend by telling them it was not their fault, giving them a hug or by just listening to them. Do not get mad at them, blame them or yell at them. Be proud of them for at least telling you. I know you can comfort them and give support with these few ideas.

What resources are there for survivors and their loved ones?

NDSU Bison Students, there are many resources to help in the aftermath of sexual assault available to you on campus. If you are scared to reach out to a staff member at NDSU, start by talking to someone you trust.

If you are comfortable talking about your sexual assault incident, contact NDSU Student Health Services, where there are sexual assault prevention and advocacy coordinators. The number to the sexual assault prevention and advocacy coordinator is (701) 231-5733.

Other resources include NDSU Counseling Center, Sanford and Essentia Health (if you need emergency or immediate help), as well as a few other resources such as The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and The Village Family Service Center. These two centers are both located right in Fargo.

If you are wondering more about sexual assault and resources, visit the NDSU Student Health Service website and go to “Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy.” On this site, you can get help, report an assault, support a survivor, get involved or request training.

You matter. There are so many people around you who love you and want the best for you. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, talk to a trusted friend, they will always be there to listen to you. You and your health will always matter.

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