Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence, Rape

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, confidential help is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 29-ALERT (292-5378) Sexual Assault Support Services.

Click here for information on Iowa State University's Sexual Misconduct Policy


Sexual assault and sexual violence includes any act done against the will of another. *
Examples include, but are not limited to, unwanted:

  • Engagement in sexual activity with a person who is unable to provide consent
  • Kissing
  • Oral sex
  • Penetration of an orifice (anal, vaginal, oral) with a body part, including the penis and finger, or an object
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, oral)
  • Touching of one's or another person's genitals, buttocks, breast, or other body part

Sexual assault and sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, strength, sexual orientation, size, religion, and ability. It can happen between married couples, dating couples, friends, family, acquaintances, or strangers. In fact, as many as 90% of survivors know their assailant.**

Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity and it can be revoked at any time. *
A person can give consent if they are:

  • Verbally saying "yes"
    • Do not assume that if a person is silent, they are giving consent
  • Mentally and physically able to give consent
    • A person cannot give consent if they are unable to communicate consent due to a mental or physical condition
  • Not threatened, forced, bribed, or coerced into saying "yes"
  • Awake and conscious
  • Not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Over the age of 16 (in Iowa)

If you have been sexually assaulted, considering the following actions immediately after a sexual assault/rape or attempted sexual assault/rape:

  • First, remember that what happened to you is not your fault.
    • You did not cause the assault and you did not deserve it. It doesn't matter what you were wearing, how much you had to drink, who you were with, your sexual history, or your behavior. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
  • Maintain evidence
    • Do not wash, douche, brush your teeth, or change your clothing.
    • Physical evidence should be collected within 120 hours after an assault. Without this evidence, it is more difficult to press charges if you decide to do so.
    • Even if you do not want to file a police report, consider seeking medical attention to receive options on preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
    • The medical exam and follow-up visits are free, even if you do not report the assault to the police.
  • Go to a safe place
    • Find a supportive person (friend, family member, mentor) and relocate yourself to a safe environment. You don't have to go through this alone.
  • Contact the Story County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
    • They can provide you with options and provide you with an advocate, medical attention, emotional support, and law enforcement services.
  • Take care of yourself
    • There are resources on campus, including the Margaret Sloss Women's Center, and in the Ames community. For a list of resources, click on the Resources tab on the left navigation panel.

For more information, visit the Story County SART website by clicking here.

If someone you know is a victim or survivor of sexual assault, remember BASER.

Believe that person
Affirm that it was not their fault
Support them by listening to them in a non-judgmental way
Empower them by offering them options without making decisions for them
Refer them to resources

Remember, no one deserves to be sexually assaulted. It does not matter what they were wearing, how much they had to drink, if they are/were in a relationship with the perpetrator, what their sexual history is, or their strength - No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.



* Iowa Code 709
** Fisher, F.S.,Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. (NCJRS Publication No. 182360) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service.