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About Sexual Assault

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Campus

About Sexual Assault

About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is when a person forces or coerces another into unwanted sexual contact, like unwanted sexual penetration of the body or unwanted touching of intimate parts of the body. Some perpetrators force unwanted sexual contact when a victim is asleep, unconscious, under the influence of alcohol/drugs or physically helpless. Sexual assault is an abuse of a person’s body and well-being.

Michigan law refers to sexual assault as “criminal sexual conduct” and most schools’ disciplinary codes will refer to sexual assault as “sexual misconduct.” The exact definition will vary between state criminal law and school misconduct policies.

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Students studying


Around 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are targets of attempted or completed sexual assault while they are college students.

About 85% of sexual assault crimes are committed by someone the victim knows– an acquaintance, friend, friend of a friend, dating or intimate partner.

Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is caused by a perpetrator who chooses to harm another person.

Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Perpetrators target adults, teens and children of all ages regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Common Reactions to Sexual Assualt

Everyone reacts differently to the trauma of being sexually assaulted. Any reaction that a victim has is normal. During the days, weeks, and months after the assault you may have a variety of reactions.

Possible Emotions / Feelings

Shock, disbelief, numbness.

Confusion, lack of concentration.

Fear, nightmares, panic.

Sadness, depression, helplessness.

Anger, betrayal, isolation, guilt.

Possible Physical Reactions

Loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain.

Sleeplessness, or sleeping more than usual.

Headaches, feeling tired.

Other body pains (backache, soreness, bruising).

Other Worries

Survivors commonly feel a variety of worries after the assault. They may replay the assault over and over again in their minds, thinking about their own actions and blaming themselves for what happened. Sometimes this can lead to feelings of shame or anxiety about what others will think.

SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. Consuming alcohol or drugs, walking alone, wearing certain clothing, agreeing to be alone with the perpetrator, consenting to some sexual activity, changing your mind about sexual activity or having consensual sex with that person in the past, does NOT make you responsible when someone assaults you.

You may also be worried how the assault affects your relationships, immigration status, legal proceedings and your status as a student. Help is available for these issues and to talk about your thoughts and feelings.

Additional Information about Healing and Recovery is available on the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) site.

Michigan's Sexual Assault Hotline

If you or a loved one has experienced a sexual assault, you may want to talk with someone. Michigan's Sexual Assault Hotline has trained advocates available to listen without judgment and offer support to you 24/7.

The hotline is confidential. This means that we will not share your information. It is also anonymous. You don't have to share your name or personal information. The information that you do share with us, stays with us.

If your experience of sexual violence was 4 hours ago or 40 years ago, we are available to listen to you. We offer immediate crisis counseling and referrals to local service providers - regardless of your identity.

Michigan's Sexual Assault Hotline Video

Contact Michigan's Sexual Assault Hotline