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RMU Counseling Center
counseling@rmu.edu
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FACULTY/STAFF > DEPARTMENTS & OFFICES > STUDENT LIFE > COUNSELING CENTER > EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION > SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Sexual and Domestic Violence

Sexual violence is a crime which violates a person’s trust and sense of security. The majority of sexual assaults are never reported to the police because a victim may feel like it is their fault that the assault occurred. Let’s get something straight; sexual assault is not the victim's fault. Sexual violence can take many forms. It can range from rape or attempted rape, but is also any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault has to do with consent. If consent has not been given to another person then it is assault, even if the touching occurs through clothing. Sexual assaults can occur from strangers but most often occur with an acquaintance, a friend, or even a family member. RMU has resources on campus to help those who have been assaulted. 

What to Do if You or Someone You Know is Sexually Assaulted

Get to a safe place – Following an assault, the primary concern is to get the survivor to a safe place. Once there, the survivor has several options to consider. She/he can:

  • For a sexual assault that occurs on the RMU campus, contact RMU Police at (412) 397-2424.  The Robert Morris University Police Department encourages people to report sexual assaults to the police. Reporting a sexual assault to the police may seem intimidating, but you don't need to feel scared or embarrassed. Bring a friend or advocate with you when you speak with the police if that provides comfort. Reporting a crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control.
  • For an off-campus incident, call 911 or the local police department.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of a sexual assault on campus, the RMU Police Department will guarantee the following:
    • We will meet with you privately, at a time and place of your choice, to take your report.
    • We will treat you with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding, and professionalism.
    • Our Officers will not judge you, and you will not be blamed for what occurred.
    • We will assist you in arranging for any necessary hospital treatment or other medical needs. We will also connect you with the people who can assist you in locating emergency housing if needed.
    • We will fully investigate your case. You will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the investigation and/or prosecution.
    • We will assist you in contacting counseling and other available resources.
    • We will continue to be available to answer your questions, and to explain the system and process involved (prosecutor, courts, etc.).
    • We will consider your case seriously, regardless of your gender or the gender or status of the suspect.

Seek medical attention All survivors of sexual assault are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the assault to ensure their physical well-being. Calling for transport will not result in a campus investigation unless the survivor wants to pursue an investigation. Even if there is no external physical injury, survivors can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and internal trauma. Preservation of physical evidence is important to the successful criminal prosecution of offenders. In order to preserve such evidence, survivors should not shower, douche, or change clothes or bedding before seeking medical attention. All clothing items should be placed in a paper bag and taken to the hospital. In addition, if oral contact was made, survivors are asked not to brush their teeth, smoke, or eat. Evidence can be collected at area hospitals.

Seek support Contact the RMU Counseling Center (412) 397-5900 for confidential support and linkage to resources on campus and in the community.


Myths About Sexual Assault

MYTH

TRUTH

Sexual assault can be justified under certain circumstances.

Sexual assault can never be justified under any circumstances. 

It isn't rape if the victim is unconscious, drunk, dressed provocatively, or desperate.

If the victim is unwilling to have sex, whether they're unconscious, tired, don't feel like it, or you're just not their type, and forced or coerced into doing so anyway, it is rape.

Sexual abuse is always violent.

Rape can be a violent crime, but it is also assault if someone touches you without your consent, even with your clothes on. 

You can't be sexually assaulted by your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Communication is the key, and only if you have consented to sex, is it OK.

Men cannot be sexually assaulted.

Sexual assault is not exclusive to one gender. Both men and women can be perpetrators and victims. 

It will not happen to you. 

Research shows that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are assaulted in their life time. 



Local Resource for Sexual Assault

PAAR (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape)
1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273) - 24/7 support 
Sexual Assault Helpline
Free legal/medical advocacy and counseling services for residents of Allegheny County, PA

Center for Victims
1-866-644-2882 - 24/7 support
Offers comprehensive services for victims of all types of crime
Services specifically for sexual assault: 24/7 crisis hotline, counseling, victim rights/compensation information, advocacy, and more.


Local Resources for Domestic Violence

Center for Victims
1-866-644-2882 - 24/7 support
Offers comprehensive services for victims of all types of crime
Services specifically for domestic violence: 24/7 crisis hotline, counseling, emergency shelter, transitional housing, medical advocacy, PFA order assistance, safety planning, and more.

Crisis Center North
412-364-5556 or 1-866-782-0911 - 24/7 support

 
Women's Center of Beaver County
724-775-0131 or 877-629-1841 - 24/7 support

Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
412-687-8005 - 24/7 support

National Resources

Love is Respect 
1-866-331-9474 - 24/7 support; o
nline chat available
National Dating Abuse Helpline
Peer advocates answer relationship questions and provide resources
Text “LOVEIS” to 22522 if your question is less than 160 characters


RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) - 24/7 support
National Sexual Assault Hotline

Red Flag Campaign 
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) - 24/7 support
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Campaign to prevent dating violence on college campuses

Make the Connection: Military Sexual Trauma
If you are an active duty or National Guard Service member, Sexual Assault Response Counselors are available 24/7 every day of the year to help you decide if you want to officially report your trauma and to help you get care; each branch of the military has SARCs that you can contact through Military OneSource (1-800-342-9647).

Circle of 6
A free app that prevents dating violence before it happens

Half of Us - Abuse
View videos of real-life stories and learn how to cope with abuse

No More.org
Campaign to raise awareness and empower bystanders to end domestic violence and sexual assault