Recognize the Signs: Sexual assault warning signs for college-age adults

Sexual violence, like many other crimes, can occur on college campuses and at locations frequented by college students. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) shares that in 8 out of 10 cases of sexual assault, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows. Knowing the perpetrator makes it difficult for the victim to open up about the assault. The known perpetrator could be a friend, classmate, ex-partner, coworker or family member. It is important for everyone to understand sexual assault warning signs in order to help those who may have been victimized.

Image provided by RAINN.

Sexual Assault Warning Signs:

Information provided by RAINN:
  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”
  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Anxiety or worry about situations that did not seem to cause anxiety in the past
  • Avoiding specific situations or places
  • Falling grades or withdrawing from classes
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use

Warning Signs of an Abusive Partner:

Information provided by RAINN:
  • Withdrawing from other relationships or activities, for example, spending less time with friends, leaving sports teams, or dropping classes
  • Saying that their partner doesn’t want them to engage in social activities or is limiting their contact with others
  • Disclosing that sexual assault has happened before
  • Any mention of a partner trying to limit their contraceptive options or refusing to use safer sexual practices, such as refusing to use condoms or not wanting them to use birth control
  • Mentioning that their partner is pressuring them to do things that make them uncomfortable
  • Signs that a partner controlling their means of communication, such as answering their phone or text messages or intruding into private conversations
  • Visible signs of physical abuse, such as bruises or black eyes

Please know that you are not alone. If you suspect sexual abuse, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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