Violence & Sexual Assault Support Services
The Sacramento State Violence and Sexual Assault Services Program, a component of Student Health and Counseling Services, is dedicated to reducing the incidence of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence and stalking in the campus community. We work to increase campus safety, to broaden public awareness about the nature of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence and stalking, its impact on men and women, and to mitigate the trauma of the victim/survivor. Our philosophy is that through education we can greatly reduce these forms of violence.
All intervention services are free and available to any Sac State student. Services are available to any person who needs them regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability or religion. Confidentiality is always respected.
We provide a wide variety of programs and services designed to reduce trauma and to inform the University community about the resources available for dealing with sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, stalking and their aftermath. Our educational programs, tailored to meet the needs of individual audiences, include films, discussion groups, lectures, role-plays, and communication exercises. We provide educational programs to many campus and community groups, including residence halls, sororities, fraternities, staff, athletic teams, student clubs and academic courses.
Our program recognizes the impact that sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence and stalking have on the campus environment. We work to prevent and respond to incidents by collaborating with community services and other campus departments including WEAVE, My Sister’s House, the Sac State Women's Resource Center, the Sac State Pride Center, Student Housing, Student Judicial Affairs, Sac State Police Department, Employment Equity and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
For more information or to speak with the Victim Advocate, call (916) 278-3799.
Reviewing your options
Many times if someone is a victim of a crime, they are confused about their options for reporting the crime, as well as what the pros and cons of reporting may be. Our advocate can discuss these options with you and assist you in making a decision that is best for you.
Assist in reporting the crime
If you want to report the crime to law enforcement, whether on campus or off campus, the advocate can accompany you during that process.
Be respectful of the survivor’s decisions.
Often a survivor will not want to report the assault to the police. While you may not always agree with these types of decisions, respecting and supporting the survivor is very empowering. Supporting a survivor in this way enables her to feel in control of her life, a feeling that was taken away during the assault.
Assist in reporting to Student Affairs if the perpetrator is a student
You have the right to feel safe on campus, and harming another student is strictly against University policy. There are procedures that we can assist with though the Office of Student Conduct to ensure your safety.
If you need academic intervention, we may be able to facilitate that so that you will experience minimal loss in academic standing.
Assist in obtaining counseling
After an assault, counseling is often a good idea. Our advocate can refer you for services and even accompany you to your first session if you would like.
Assist in obtaining legal help
We can help you obtain restraining orders, file Victim’s Compensation forms, and accompany you to detective interviews, district attorney interviews, and even court proceedings.
Assist in obtaining medical care
Even if you do not report the crime to law enforcement, you will need medical care. We can assist in obtaining that medical care for your health and well-being.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any sexual act against a person’s will and/or without their complete knowledge and consent.
It is important to recognize that sexual assault is NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT! If you or a friend is a victim of sexual assault, it is important that you get help.
Our University has several policies regarding harassment and sexual assault:
Systemwide Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Against Students and Systemwide Procedure for Handling Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaints by Students — Executive Order 1074
- Your immediate safety is first. Try to go to a safe place.
- Reach out for support. You deserve it.
- Call the campus sexual assault advocate (916) 278-3799 or WEAVE at (916) 920-2952
- Call someone you trust, like a friend or a member of your family.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. Your local rape crisis center can assist you with finding options. Medical care is important, in case you are injured and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
- Reporting to the police is your choice. If you decide not to go to the police right away, write down everything you remember about what happened and save it in case you change your mind.
- Important Ways Family and Friends Can Help
- Be clear that the rape or assault was not the survivor’s fault.
- No one ever asks to be raped or assaulted. Raping someone is a conscious decision made by the perpetrator. Even if the survivor exercises bad judgment, she/he did not deserve to be raped; no one does.
- Believe the survivor.
- Feeling that she is believed by family and friends is essential for a rape survivor’s recovery. She has to overcome many obstacles to be able to speak out about what has happened. Allow the survivor to know you are open to hearing about her feelings and experiences. Although it may be painful for you to hear about what happened, letting the survivor know you are willing to enter those difficult places with her is important.
- Do not question or judge what the survivor had to do to survive.
- During a rape/sexual assault, victims are forced to make instant life threatening decisions. These decisions should not be criticized later. Survivors may not always scream or fight back. Their survival is evidence that they handled the assault the best way they could. Expressing to the survivor that you are thankful that she is alive enables her to feel more secure about her judgments.
- Be respectful of the survivor’s decisions.
- Often a survivor will not want to report the assault to the police. While you may not always agree with these types of decisions, respecting and supporting the survivor is very empowering. Supporting a survivor in this way enables her to feel in control of her life, a feeling that was taken away during the assault.
- Validate and protect the survivor’s feelings: anger, pain, and fear.
- These are natural responses to traumatic experiences. The survivor needs to express them, feel them, and be heard. Protecting the survivor’s confidentiality or anonymity is an important step in gaining her trust.
- Express your compassion.
- If you are feeling outrage, compassion, or pain, share these emotions with the survivor. There is nothing more comforting than genuine human response. Be cautious, however, that your responses are not too overwhelming for the survivor. Often family and friends of survivors feel compelled to “go after” the perpetrator. These feelings are very real and very understandable. However, they can be channeled in more non-violent ways.
- Encourage the survivor to get support.
- In addition to offering your own caring, encourage her to reach out to others. You can help find someone with whom she can talk. (Rape crisis centers have sexual assault/rape counselors.) Similarly, you may have many feelings about the rape/assault. Consider getting support for yourself, too. You will need to take care of yourself in order to be supportive of the survivor.
- Get help if the survivor is suicidal.
- Most survivors are not suicidal, but sometimes the emotional pain of the assault/rape is so devastating that they may want to kill themselves. If you are close to a survivor who is suicidal, get immediate help for her.
- Resist seeing the survivor as a victim.
- Continue to see the person as a strong, courageous individual who is reclaiming her/his own life.
- Accept that there may be changes in your relationship with the survivor.
- The person you love is changing, and you may need to change in response. Patience on your part is crucial to her healing process. Healing is a slow process that cannot be hurried.
- Educate yourself about sexual assault/rape and the healing process.
- If you have a basic idea of what the survivor has experienced, it will help you be supportive. Talking with other survivors, supporters of survivors, and/or utilizing services designed to help survivors will help you gain knowledge.
- Seek counseling for yourself. You are also a victim in some ways. The ripple effect of sexual assault extends to family members, friends, and even coworkers. Contact our sexual assault advocate for referrals regarding counseling.
What is intimate partner violence?
Intimate partner violence, otherwise known as domestic violence, is a crime in California. It can take many forms including physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Intimate partner violence affects at least one out of every four American families. Women ages 16 - 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate partner violence
You may be a victim of intimate partner violence, if you ...
- Are frightened by your partner’s temper
- Apologize to other people for your partner’s behavior
- Have been hit, kicked or shoved by your partner
- Go along with your partner’s wishes because you are afraid they will get mad
- Don’t see friends or relatives because your partner told you not to
- Think it is your fault when your partner treats you badly or hurts you
- Have excessive calls or texts from your partner wanting to know your whereabouts at all times
- Alter the way you act, dress, or socialize because of your partner’s excessive jealousy
- Are unable to use birth control because your partner won’t let you
There is help available!
If you are a member of Sac State, you can contact our victim’s advocate for information, referrals and support. Confidentiality is respected. You can also contact these community organizations:
What to do if a friend is in an intimate partner violent relationship?
Many of us know, or think we might know, a person who is in an abusive relationship. But we can always come up with reasons to ignore our discomfort and hope the problem will solve itself. Here are some common reasons why people don’t break the silence on intimate partner violence:
- “I might get hurt…or make this worse for the victim.”
- You do not need to physically intervene. And the only thing that can make this worse for the victim is for their torment to be ignored by those of us in a position to support them.
- “If she/he wants to stay in such a lousy situation, that’s his/her problem.”
- Victims are trapped in intimate partner violence by a number of factors: deep fear, lack of financial support, love, loyalty, cultural and family values, and the depression and hopelessness that constant abuse can cause. Also, victims know that abuse doesn’t stop just because they leave. In fact, the danger increases for many victims when they do leave. Imagining that a person is free to leave any time absolves us, but does not help them. Nobody can make the personal and painful decisions for them, but you can be there to support them.
- “Poking my nose in will cost me their friendship…and they don’t seem to want to talk about it.”
- Intimate partner violence could cost your friend their life. Talking about their situation isn’t easy for either of you. They may fee shame and guilt, so you need to be tactful, open, and non-judgmental. They may not respond the first time. They has to decide what’s safe and can’t be rushed in to action. If they hear your open-ended offer to put them in contact with an intimate partner violence hotline when they choose, they’ll feel safe coming back to you.
Here is an example of what to say.
It doesn’t sound very dramatic, but it can make a dramatic difference: “I’m concerned about you. Are you okay? Do you want to talk to me about it? ... It’s not your fault. You didn’t deserve it ... I understand ... I’m not going to share this with anyone else. I’m not going to tell you what to do. What you do is fine with me. You know, there’s a number to call to find out more about this. Do you want to call them now? Shall I give you the number? ... That’s okay. Just know that I have the number, if you ever want it. I do care.
Are there things NOT to say?
It doesn’t help to start planning a rescue or escape. Ask, rather than tell them what YOU think is going on. And don’t start criticizing their partner, however much you may feel they deserve it. (The best way to show you are on their side is by staying out of the business of the relationship itself. If they were able to confront their abuser and leave, they would already have done it.) The idea is to gently break through the isolation they are living in and offer a bridge they can use when they choose to.
Stalking is a series of acts by another person that harasses you (for example repeated phone calls or repeated incidents of following you) and makes you fear for your safety. In California, it is a crime. Cyber stalking is a relatively newer form of harassment. This includes excessive emails or other electronic communications conveying threats.
- Approximately 30% of college women report being victims of stalking
- 81% of women who are stalked by a current or former boyfriend or husband were also physically assaulted by that partner
- The average stalking case lasts 1.8 years
It is very important that you DO NOT make arrangements to meet the stalker!
Do not try to “talk sense” into them. Save all evidence (i.e. emails, voice messages, texts, unused gifts) and present it to the police department. If you think you are a victim of stalking, please contact our office to speak with our victim’s advocate. We can assist you with police reports and restraining orders if necessary, as well as help you obtain psychological counseling services.
Sac State Victim Advocate
WEAVE’S 24 Hour Crisis Line
My Sister’s House 24 Hour Crisis Line
SADVC, Yolo County
Housing and Residential Life
Student Health & Counseling Services
Office of Student Conduct