Any sexual act that involves someone being forced or coerced into participating is considered sexual assault, and survivors often experience physical and emotional trauma. Perpetrators of sexual assault could be significant others, family members, acquaintances, or strangers. Survivors of sexual assault may blame themselves or worry they will be blamed by others for the incident. Often individuals are unwilling to acknowledge that someone has hurt them in this way, and they may be cautious about accessing the services they need.
Unfortunately, sexual assault and rape are not uncommon among college students. Twenty to twenty-five percent of cisgender women surveyed nationally have reported being a victim of rape or attempted rape while in college. Additionally, the most frequent survivors of reported rape are women who are ages 16 to 24. While cisgender men experience rape or attempted rape (by either women or men) less often than women (one in thirty-three men), the impact to a male survivor is just as hurtful. Unfortunately, only an estimated one in ten incidents of male sexual assault are reported to the police.
Survivors of sexual assault may feel many emotions including guilt, fear, anger, shame, powerlessness, and depression. Individuals may experience long-term repercussions to their psychological and physical health, and these injuries can affect a person in many areas of his or her life. If you have been sexually assaulted as a child, an adolescent, or since attending college, talking with someone about this traumatic experience can be very important in beginning the healing process.
A counselor at the University PACS can help you process your experience, support you in determining whether you want to report the incident, and guide you in coping with the trauma. SHARPP advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week by calling the Help Line listed below. Services at both PACS and SHARPP are confidential.
Psychological and Counseling Services
306 Smith Hall
phone 603-862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
Wolff House (in front of Health Services)
24-hour help line 603-862-SAFE (7233)
TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
Report experienced or observed harassment, including hate crimes
Crooks, R. & Baur, K. (2008). Sexual Coercion. Our Sexuality (pp. 481-494). Canada: Thomson Wadsworth.