Sexual Violence Awareness
Sexual violence can occur in any community and impacts the health and wellbeing of people of all ages, genders, races, religions, and other identities. Sexual assault is a type of sexual violence defined as forced, coerced, or unwanted sexual contact. In Texas, more than one third of adults have experienced some form of sexual assault at some point in their lives. Young women and men under the age of 24 years are most vulnerable for experiencing sexual assault. Because young adults are a group that frequently encounter sexual violence within their social circles, it is important to understand the following facts about sexual assault:
- While women (2 in 5) are most at risk for sexual assault, men (1 in 5) are also frequently sexually assaulted.
- In 2017, the vast majority of sexual assaults in Texas occurred within a residence or home and were perpetrated by someone the victim knew and could identify.
- Sexual assault is never caused by a victim’s actions or inactions. This crime occurs when a perpetrator chooses to force sexual activity on another person without gaining legitimate consent.
- Consent is verbal, enthusiastic, affirmative and ongoing engagement in the activity. Any person involved in a sexual or romantic activity may withdraw their consent anytime.
- False reporting of sexual violence is very rare (2 to 7%), while under-reporting is very common. Up to 77% of sexual assaults are never reported to officials.
Intimate Partner Violence Awareness
Intimate partner violence (also known as domestic or dating violence) may occur in marriage, cohabiting, or dating relationships and includes multiple types of abusive behavior including sexual violence, bodily injury, emotional manipulation, financial abuse, threatening behaviors, and stalking. These behaviors frequently occur in a relationship cycle, wherein tensions escalate within the relationship, the abuser then acts out against his or her partner, after which the abuser may lavish his or her partner with gifts and extra affection to make up for their violent or manipulative outbursts. The cycle repeats itself regularly, causes damaging relationship strain, and negatively impacts the health and livelihood of those involved. Texas has very high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV). In 2011, a statewide report found that 1 in 3 adult Texans have experienced IPV in their lifetimes. Because this kind of relationship abuse is common, it is important to know the following facts and seek immediate help from officials if you know of someone in this situation:
- Both women and men can become victims of intimate partner violence. In Texas, nearly 38% of women and 27% of men have experienced some form of IPV.
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime in the United States.
- Physical violence in IPV situations can manifest in many forms, including but not limited to grabbing, scratching, pushing, slapping, hitting, choking, burning, or threatening with a weapon. This behavior is criminal and does not need to result in an injury to be reported to officials.
- Sexual assault can occur within a sexual relationship, including marriage. In 1993, marital/spousal rape became recognized as a crime in all 50 states.
- Victims of intimate partner violence are still at a high risk for more violence even after they leave their abusive partner. In 2016, 146 women were murdered by a male intimate partner, and 40% of those women had ended the relationship or were in the process of leaving their abuser.
Violence Prevention Programs
Sexual assault awareness, education and prevention programs are available to the University community each semester. In particular, we provide bystander intervention training to prepare community members to safely and skillfully recognize and respond to problematic situations, including sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence, hazing, and alcohol/drug related emergencies. In addition to bystander intervention, we collaborate with University departments and community organizations to facilitate workshops and awareness events about healthy relationships, consent, sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking. Printed literature concerning sexual assault awareness, education, resources, and victim assistance is also available upon request from the Student Life Office and the University Police Department. For students who want to be prepared to defend themselves in case they are ever attacked, they can register for a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) class through the University Police Department. To learn more about prevention programs and victim advocacy available on campus, contact Rattlers Against Sexual Violence.
Resources Following an Assault or During a Crisis
Assistance is available to you through several departments at St. Mary’s University:
- University Police: 210-431-1911 – Can help you file a criminal complaint and authorizes reimbursement to hospitals for forensic examinations following a reported sexual assault.
- Student Health Center: 210-439-3506 – Can provide you with a health exam, STI testing, and treatment for infection or injury.
- Student Counseling Center: 210-436-3135 – Can provide crisis and short term counseling, referrals to community resources and long term counseling, and advise on reporting options
- Office of Student Development: 210-436-3331 – Can help you file a Title IX complaint, make referrals to campus and community resources, and authorize academic or housing accommodations.
- Rattlers Against Sexual Violence: 210-436-3837– Provides you with victim advocacy, ongoing support services, referrals to campus and community resources, hospital accompaniment, safety planning, and assistance navigating reporting options.
- University Ministry: 210-436-3213 – Provides you with pastoral care, chaplaincy services, prayer support, faith formation, and referrals to campus and community resources.
Assistance is also available through the following community organizations:
- Rape Crisis Center: 210-349-7273 – Provides 24/7 crisis intervention, client advocacy, counseling and support groups, and educational programs about gender-based violence. http://www.rapecrisis.com
- Methodist Specialty & Transplant Hospital: 210-575-8110 – Provides comprehensive care, including forensic examinations, treatment of related injuries/infections, follow-up care, and counseling services. https://sahealth.com/locations/methodistspecialty/
- Bexar County Family Justice Center: 210-631-0100 – Provides legal assistance, protective orders, stabilization services, and counseling. http://www.bcfjc.org
- Family Violence Prevention Services: 210-733-8810 – Provides 24/7 crisis intervention, emergency shelter for abused women and their children, family and individual counseling, and legal services. http://www.fvps.org/
- Pride Center of San Antonio: 210-370-7743 – Serves people identifying as LGBTQ+, support groups, and referrals to LGBTQ+-inclusive community resources. http://www.pridecentersa.org
- Catholic Charities: 210-222-1294 – Provides low cost legal services, counseling, and immigration services. https://www.ccaosa.org
The following national hotlines are also available as an option for immediate and confidential crisis intervention:
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network): 1-800-656-4673 – Provides victims and survivors of sexual violence with 24/7 crisis intervention hotline options via phone or online chat. https://www.rainn.org
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 – Provides victims and survivors of domestic/dating or stalking violence with 24/7 crisis intervention hotline options via phone or online chat. https://www.thehotline.org/
- LoveIsRespect: 1-866-331-9474 – Provide 24/7 support and advocacy via phone-call, texting, or online chat to young adults with questions or concerns about their relationships. https://www.loveisrespect.org/
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 – Provides LBGTQ+-inclusive 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline options via phone-call, texting, or online chat. https://www.thetrevorproject.org
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 – Provides suicide prevention assistance through 24/7 hotline options via phone or online chat. https://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org