Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is an umbrella term that includes physical acts of a sexual nature that take place without a person's consent. Sexual assault includes touching, penetration by an object, and sexual intercourse.


A specific form of sexual assault that includes an act of sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral penetration), accomplished against a person who does not consent to the sexual contact, or is incapable of consenting. This includes situations in which a victim is. . .

  • Forced to engage in intercourse
  • Threatened with harm if they do not participate
  • Prevented from resisting due to intoxication from alcohol or drugs
  • Incapable of giving consent because of a disability
  • Asleep or unconscious to the nature of the act

Consent is positive cooperation involving an act of free will, absent of coercion, intimidation, force, or the threat of force. Understanding Consent

Emotional and Physical Impact of Sexual Assault

Reactions to a traumatic experience such as sexual assault vary from person to person. The following are examples of both physical and emotional reactions that a survivor might experience:

Possible Physical Effects

  • Aches and pains (i.e. headaches, backaches, stomach aches)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations
  • Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, interest in sex
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Easily startled by noises or unexpected touch
  • More susceptible to colds and illness
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Possible Emotional/Psychological Effects

  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Numbness or apathy
  • Disorientation
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Substance Abuse
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Unwanted memories, flashbacks, or nightmares
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loss of trust in others
  • Self-blame
  • Concern for the rapist
  • Lack of Concentration, resulting in academic difficulties

These and other responses can occur after an assault and may be signals that it is time to reach out for help. You do not have to deal with these alone. There are many resources available to you to help you through this time.

The Influence of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Sexual Assault

Alcohol and other drugs are involved in the majority of sexual assaults among college students; however, even if you are drinking or using other drugs you do not deserve to be raped. You are not to blame for it if it happens. No one has the right to sexually violate you at any time.

Rape is a felony level crime. Regardless of whether or not you were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you still have the option to report the sexual assault to the police.


Alcohol is the most commonly used chemical in drug-facilitated sexual assault. In large part this is due to the fact that alcohol is easily accessible and a chemical that many people use in social interactions.

Effects of alcohol on the Victim

  • Ability to protect herself or himself is reduced
  • Impaired judgment
  • May not realize that a situation has become dangerous
  • May have trouble handling or avoiding conflict
  • Perceptions of others not as clear
  • Difficult to set limits
  • Ability to resist, both physically and verbally, may be impaired

Effects of alcohol on the Perpetrator

  • May misinterpret the behaviors of another as sexual interest (NOTE: misinterpretation is never an excuse).
  • May feel justified to force himself or herself on a drunken partner because he/she views the drunken partner as being partially responsible for whatever happens.
  • May become increasingly aggressive and assertive

"Date-Rape drugs"

Sexual offenders use many different drugs to impair their victims in order to rape them. These drugs are often put into alcohol, soft drinks, water, or other drinks. Drugs like Benadryl are put in food (such as brownies) to cover up the taste; however, many of these drugs are tasteless and odorless.

You may not know you have been drugged until you feel very drowsy or overly intoxicated. This can happen within minutes after ingesting the drug. You may blackout or pass out. You may not remember anything that happened while you were under the influence of these drugs.

If you suspect you were given a drug in your drink or food, you can find out by having a lab test at a local hospital. The sooner you are tested the better. You can also request testing information from the CARE office, UCI Police Department, or a local rape crisis center, as well as information about counseling and advocacy resources.


Rohypnol is a strong tranquilizer, often referred to as "roofies," that is not legal for use in the United States. It's a small white tablet that looks a lot like aspirin. It quickly dissolves in liquid and can take effect within 30 minutes of being ingested. The effects peak within 2 hours and may have lingering effects for 8 hours or more.

Effects of Rohypnol:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Memory impairment
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea/aspiration on own vomit

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

Pure GHB is commonly sold as a clear, odorless liquid or white crystalline powder. Because it is made in home labs, the effects are often unpredictable. Once ingested, GHB takes effect in approximately 15 minutes and can last 3-4 hours.

Street Names:

Grievous Bodily Harm (GHB), Liquid X, Liquid E, G, Georgia Home Boys, Easy Lay, Cherry Meth, Soap, PM, Salt Water, Vita G, G-Juice, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime Scoop, Gamma 10, Energy Drink, and Goop.

Effects of GHB:

  • Sedation of the body
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Hampered mobility
  • Verbal incoherence
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea, aspiration on own vomit
  • Headache
  • Respiratory failure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizure-like activity
  • Coma, death


Information adapted from: Coping with Sexual Assault: A Guide to Healing, Resolution, and Recovery (TS Nelson Publications, www.tsnelson.com)

What To Do If You Have Experienced a Sexual Assault

If you have experienced a sexual assault (or dating/domestic violence or stalking) please consider the following:

  • Your safety is important. Find a place where you are safe from further harm. If you are in immediate danger or require medical attention, please contact the police or emergency medical services.

  • Consider reaching out to someone you trust, such as a friend or family member.

  • You have choices regarding what to do.

  • It’s not your fault.

  • There are people available to support you. If you are a current UCI student, you can contact the UCI CARE office at 949‑824‑7273 to speak with the UCI Victim Advocate, who can offer confidential support and a safe place to talk with you about your options and resources.

    If it is after regular business hours you can call Waymakers at 949‑831‑9110 to receive confidential support and talk about your options and resources.

    You can also call the police to report the crime. Contact the police department in the city in which the assault occurred.

  • Please consider seeking medical attention to check for injuries, test for STDs and pregnancy, and if you think you may have been drugged, collect a urine sample for analysis.

    You can also receive a forensic medical exam to collect evidence of the assault. You will work with a Forensic Nurse as she collects evidence. Forensic Nurses are trained to handle sexual assault cases, and are trauma sensitive. Police involvement is optional – even if you do not want an investigation you can still have evidence collected. More information on Medical Options.

  • Preserve evidence of the attack – Don’t bathe or brush your teeth; if you have changed your clothing, preserve it in a paper bag; if the assault took place in your home, do not rearrange or clean up anything.

  • Write down all of the details you can recall about the assault and perpetrator as soon as possible.