Rape/Sexual Assault

A student from (university not identified) wants to know:
How should I react to meeting the guy that "date-raped" me three years ago?  Should I hate him? Try to be civil? What should I do? It is upsetting to see him.  Female, Senior

Dr. Caron's Answer:
I think you should do what feels right to you - be honest with yourself.  Naturally, you have some very negative feelings.  I would not encourage you to pretend that everything is just fine between the two of you.  In fact, I would make it clear that things are NOT OKAY between you.  I'm curious: Does he realize what he did to you and how it has affected you?  Some women I have worked with in the past have found it helpful to write the guy a letter - spelling out exactly how the rape affected them.  Also, have you ever talked to anyone about this?  If not, I would recommend you call your local counseling center to meet with one of their staff or, if you prefer to be more anonymous, you could call your local Rape Response Service.  Many women find it helpful to talk to someone who can offer support.  It sounds like a very uncomfortable situation to be in.  I'm sorry you have to deal with it at all.


A college student from (unknown/not identified) university wants to know....
My friend says she was raped and I honestly do not know what to do to help her or where to turn for help - to help me help her. She is not going to classes and is very depressed.....she stays inside now all the time and refuses to go out to parties or anywhere.
Female, Junior

Dr. Caron's Answer:
I would suggest contacting the Dean of Students, as well as the public safety/police office, the campus health center, and your campus counseling center. Each of these offices can assist you in helping her. She needs to know her options....in terms of who can help her legally, medically, emotionally. Many universities now employ sexual assault counselors, so I would also see if you have such a person or office on your campus, or check out the local phone book for a Rape Crisis Center in your community. Sexual assault is a crime and while she needs legal assistance to understand her rights, she also needs medical and emotional assistance. Good for you for being her friend and wanting to help. Believing her is a great first step.  Listening, being there, and being patient with her are all going to help.  Let's hope your campus is able to respond - they are obligated to help her, but they need to know about this in order to help her.  She needs to notify someone within the university system so that the situation can be dealt with appropriately.  You will be a big help to her by contacting the various offices initially to see what she needs to do and what will potentially happen at each place.  Best wishes.


Question from a student at University of California...
When does "NO" mean "YES."
Male, Senior

Answer:
NO means no, no way, negative, no thanks, not now; it never means "Yes." If you are referring to a situation where a woman says "no" to sex or sexual intimacy, yet seems like she may be willing to go further, ask her. Many women have grown up with the message that it's not okay to say "yes" to sex - if she does express her interest in sex she's labeled or seen as "easy." If you're not sure what your partner wants, talk about it. You have to have her consent. It is important to know that having sex with someone who says "No" is against the law.


Question from a student at Minnesota...
How can a women say "NO" to a guy and convey to him that she really means it?
Female, Sophomore

Answer:
A simple "NO" will usually suffice. It is easier to say "No" before you are both sexually aroused. It helps to be clear with yourself first about what you are wanting and what your limits are.

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