Dating Violence

Sexual Violence


    Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact or behavior including: sexual harassment,7 voyeurism and rape. Only we can decide what happens to our bodies and it is never our fault when someone chooses to violate that right.


    any sexual act with someone who, for any reason, cannot consent or refuse

    • any act of violence where sex is a weapon
    • any form of non-consensual sexual activity
    • any sexual act one is forced to perform


    Each state has different laws around sexual violence and reporting.

    New Hampshire state sexual assault statute

    Vermont state sexual assault statute

    Find your state sexual assault statute


    Rape, also referred to as Sexual Assault, is defined by the FBI as: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”  8



    1 in 4 college women report surviving rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime. These are anonymous reports on multi-campus surveys sampling thousands of college students nationwide (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2006). This rate has remained the same since studies in the 1980s (Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewki, 1987).


    1 in 5 young women have been sexually assaulted while they are in college. 9


    First year students are most vulnerable to rape during the Red Zone – the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.


    91.9% of female victims of rape were a partner or acquaintance of the perpetrator (CDC, NISVS, 2011).


    For female rape survivors, 98.1% of the time a man was the perpetrator (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011).


    For male rape survivors, 93% of the time, a man was the perpetrator  (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011).


    96.1% of drug related sexual assault involved alcohol consumption (Steven et al., 2010).


    In up to 50% of the cases, the victim, perpetrator, or both had been drinking (Abbey et al, 2004).


    WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    Call 866-348-WISE
    for immediate support or email a WISE Advocate.


    Everyone’s experiences of sexual violence are different and unique. Additional layers of shame, depression, fear, powerlessness and silence are created when identities are culturally marginalized. It may not feel safe looking for support from families, friends or communities who had previously excluded you because of your LGBTQIA identity.  If the perpetrator is also part of the LGBTQIA community it may feel extra hard to find support because of pressure from the group or fear of additional criticism from the outside world.

    Rape myths often hide the realities of dating and sexual violence in our culture and make it much harder to recognize all the varieties of experiences and identities that are affected. Cultural myths such as women cannot rape or that a man who raped a man must be gay, can make survivors feel like their experience was not actually an assault and create implications or confusion around sense of identity or what happened.  If you experienced sexual violence, know that it is real and it is not your fault.


    Hate Crimes

    When people are targets for crime and violence because of their identity, the violence is considered a hate crime. 10 There are additional laws that exist to protect people who are victims of hate motivated violence. 11


    You are not alone


    People who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bi-sexual have an equal or higher prevalence of experiencing sexual violence. 12


    64% of transgender people have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime. 13


    Nearly half of bisexual men and 4 in 10 gay men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.  It is likely that the rate is higher or comparable to heterosexual men. 14


    Holders of multiple marginalized identities are even more likely to experience sexual violence. 15


    In our society, men and boys are pressured to be strong, powerful, dominant, and in control at all times. Because of social pressure, male survivors of sexual violence often feel unable to talk about what happened or to seek help. Everyone processes sexual assault differently. Whatever you may be feeling is normal.


    Some common feelings that male victims experience are:

    Confusion: Sexual violence does not always hurt. You may have been physically aroused by what happened. It is a normal physiological response and does not mean that you wanted the assault to happen.

    Questioning: Sometimes men, who were assaulted by other men, question their sexuality.
    A physiological response stimulated by a perpetrator does not indicate homosexuality.

    Betrayal: You may feel that your body betrayed you because you did not fight the perpetrator. It is very common for sexual assault victims to freeze and become unable to fight.

    Embarrassment: You did nothing wrong and did not cause the assault. The perpetrator is the only one to blame for what happened. It was not your fault.

    Avoidance: You may have a desire to avoid your feelings or forget about the assault. You can talk about what happened to you. You do not have to go through this alone.

    WISE advocates support all survivors of sexual violence, including men. For information and support exclusively for male victims, check out


    You Are Not Alone


    1 in 71 adult men will be raped at some point in their lives.1


    1 in 5 adult men experience sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime (M.Black et al., The National Intimate Partner Survey and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, 2011).


    Nearly 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 (National Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Exploitation, National Plan to Prevent the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children, 20120). 2


    For male rape survivors, 93% of the time, a man was the perpetrator (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, & Merrick, 2011).


    WISE has 30+ trained advocates to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    Call 866-348-WISE for immediate support.



    The legal definition of consent varies from state to state.

    New Hampshire Legal definition of Consent

    Vermont Legal definition of Consent

    Your state’s legal definition of Consent


    It can be confusing when considering legal definitions and solely relying upon body language.  Consent is not just permission.  For any sexual act to be consensual, it has to be freely chosen, without coercion, force or manipulation.  A person has to want to engage in sexual activity for it to be consensual.  The clearest way to guarantee consent is to talk.  Current ideas about hooking up are based on the idea that we can assume everything is OK until someone says NO.  This is wrong.  Consent means that you are asking before anything happens and assuming a NO until you hear a clear YES.

    • Pressuring someone to say “yes” is not consent.
    • Body language must match verbal language. If your partner(s) does not seem into it, check in with them.
    • Consent for one sexual activity does not assume consent for another sexual activity.
    • You and your partner(s) can change your mind and stop whenever you want. Just because you’ve started to hook up, doesn’t mean you have to keep going.
    • Alcohol and drugs can affect one’s ability to give consent.
      No  one can legally give their consent when they are incapacitated.
    • “No” does not mean “try harder.”


    Consent sounds like...


    Let’s do it

    I want to___

    That feels so good

    Keep going

    Don’t stop

    Will you touch me ____?


    How do you check in with your partner?

    What do you want to do?

    Do you like this?

    Do you want to make out?

    Would you be into doing ___?

    Does that feel good?

    What do you like?

    What do you want to do to me?

    What do you want me to do to you?

    Do you want to try _____?

    Do you want to stop?

    Do you want to keep going?

    Are you OK?

    Is there anything you don’t want me to do?

    More Resources for Consent

    Watch, Scott Pilgrim vs The World




    50% all student victims do not identify what has happened to them as “rape.” This is especially true when no weapon was used, there is no obvious physical injury, and alcohol was involved 16


    We all respond to trauma in different ways, you are your best expert. WISE advocates can talk you through your options, so you can decide what makes sense for you.


    Seeking medical treatment

    You may want to consider seeing a doctor to examine any internal or external injuries and test for pregnancy or STIs. This can be done at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Alice Peck Day, Planned Parenthood or Dick's House.

    Nurses, called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), are specially trained to care for sexual assault victims and collect physical evidence.

    If you want to make a report to law enforcement, it is highly recommended that you are examined by a SANE as soon as possible, although a SANE can collect evidence within 5 days.

    Try to avoid the following: brushing teeth, eating, drinking, showering, going to the bathroom or anything that may destroy physical evidence on your body.

    Bring the clothes that you were wearing during the assault (especially underwear) in a brown paper bag.

    If you are unsure about making a report you may have evidence collected by a SANE anonymously and the evidence will be stored should you choose to make a report at a later date.

    Exams are paid for by the state. Your insurance will not be billed.


    Making a report to law enforcement

    The SANE will notify the police only if you give permission. If you do not give permission, you will need to contact the police to give a statement.

    If you are under 18 the police will automatically be called.

    We know that when we experience trauma, our brains do not always allow them to remember the assault chronologically. This is a normal physiological response to what has happened to their body. You can read more about trauma in our Surviving Sexual Violence Booklet.

    Give yourself time to remember and write down things as they come to you.  This can help provide a clear statement.

    Once you give a statement, what proceeds is out of your hands. It is up to the police to decide whether they have enough evidence to continue with an investigation.

    A WISE advocate can go with you to make a statement to the police.


    Making a report through the college

    Making a report through the College: Any individual who has experienced a victimization by someone who is affiliated with the College has the option to make a report or file a complaint with Dartmouth College through the Title IX Coordinator. You can choose to make a report with the College regardless of whether or not you also report to law enforcement. You can also report to the Department of Safety and Security or the Office of Judicial Affairs. If the report is received by the Department of Safety and Security or the Office of Judicial Affairs, they will promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator.

    Please note that some people and resources on campus may have to disclose any knowledge of sexual violence (as well as other forms of gender-based violence) to the Title IX Coordinator. To confidentially discuss this process or for support in navigating this process, you can contact the WISE Campus Advocate. All communication with WISE advocates is privileged and confidential.

    For more information on what resources at Dartmouth College are private or confidential, see here.




    Supporting someone who has survived sexual violence is much harder when we do not have good information. Because of the intrusive myths that exist about sexual violence, many survivors feel silenced. It is our job as a community to create a culture that supports survivors in sharing their experiences.


    Listen and believe

    People do not like to talk about sexual assault. False reporting only happens in rare occasions. If the survivor says that it happened, it did.


    Tell the survivor it was not their fault

    No one wants to be assaulted. The survivor did not ask for it no matter where (s)he was, what (s)he was wearing, how much (s)he was drinking, or what (s)he was doing. The only reason the assault happened is that the perpetrator chose to assault the individual.


    Use the Empowerment Model

    A victim loses power when violated. By empowering the survivor to make his or her own decisions, (s)he regains power. Let the survivor have control. Let the individual see how proud you are that (s)he survived. Respect the survivor’s perseverance.


    Let the survivor process the assault(s) and their own pace

    It can be a difficult time for loved ones because they want the survivor to “get better.” Each person has their own pace for processing trauma, there is no time line that someone should follow. Rushing a survivor is not helpful.


    Encourage the survivor to do things that make them happy and feel good

    We all deserve to have joy in our life and make time for the things that make us happy. When we've experienced violence and are doing what we can to survive, it's important to make time for the good parts of our lives. Walks, eating well, taking baths, yoga or spending time with friends can be helpful activities. Help identify what would be comforting to the individual.


    Call 866-348-WISE for immediate support or email a WISE Advocate.

    Read the Surviving Sexual Violence Booklet.



    Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would put a reasonable person in fear. The motivation of a stalker is to have power and control over the victim. Stalking behaviors often are not criminal individually, but do become criminal when the context is examined.

    New Hampshire Stalking Law

    Vermont Stalking Law

    Stalking can involve threats or sexual innuendo and the stalker generally tries to intimidate or induce fear in the person they are stalking.


    The rates of stalking on college campuses are higher than in the general population and are similar to the rates of sexual assault (National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center).


    1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men have experienced stalking at least once in their lifetime. 16

    4 out of 5 campus victims knew their attackers (Fisher, 2000)

    81% of victims stalked by their intimate partners report previous physical assaults by the same offender (NVAW Survey). 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims are stalked by current or former intimate partners. 17

    ● Abusers may stalk their victims as a way to maintain control during the relationship.

    ● Abusers may stalk their victims as a way to regain their control if the victim leaves the relationship.


    Stalking victims who are raped most often identify the stalker as a former intimate partner, friend, roommate or neighbor (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics 2009).


    Victims may only realize they are being stalked once they identify a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents.

    receiving phone calls and text messages

    getting incessant messages left on social networking sites

    finding unwanted letters or gifts

    feeling of being followed, stared at or watched

    seeing the stalker at random or unusual places

    having things moved or missing from your room or home

    creating print flyers about you and hanging them around campus

    posting information about you online

    trying to contact or gain information about you through other people

    showing up at your room, work, etc. uninvited

    making direct or indirect threats to harm you or people in your life

    damaging your property


    Perpetrators may use technology as a tool for stalking.  Technology is constantly changing and advancing. It’s important that you regularly check privacy and security settings for your personal profiles.

    A stalker may:

    check your internet history if they have access to your computer

    install spyware software that sends copies of your keystrokes including: passwords, websites visited, emails sent

    follow you via social media “check-ins” or mutual “friends”

    post private information, pictures or other content about you, build websites or blogs

    write attacks through email or social media

    send incessant emails or messages

    call constantly and leave voicemails and text messages

    use call spoofing software that allows him or her to change the number that appears on your caller ID or change the sound of his or her voice

    track you using GPS within your cell phone if the stalker has access to your cell phone account

    place GPS underneath your car, in your bag, etc.

    place very small cameras in your room, or car.




    Stalking can be very dangerous and should be taken seriously. 76% of intimate partner femicide victims had been stalked by their intimate partner. 18

    Trust your instincts! You are not crazy and your fear is real.

    Take all threats seriously.

    Change routes. Leave for your class or work at different times, vary your schedule.

    Decide in advance what to do if you see the stalker in public, in school, in a resident hall, at a party, etc.

    Ask for support from trusted friends, family, professors, UGA, coaches, employer or co-workers.

    Change passwords frequently: email, PIN, online banking, phone screen lock, Facebook, etc.

    Keep privacy and security settings on personal online profiles up to date.

    Do not communicate with the stalker.

    Consider getting a second phone and/or new email address to keep in touch with friends and family. You will have the security of a private phone and email and you can keep a record of incriminating evidence of calls and messages on the old phone and email account.

    Keep evidence of stalking in order to demonstrate a pattern and to provide context for the scary behaviors.

    ● Write down time, date, place of any stalking occurrence

    ● Keep emails, messages, notes

    ● Photograph any damages

    Talk and safety plan with Campus Safety & Security or local police.

    Call 866-348-WISE for immediate support or email a WISE Advocate.




    In New Hampshire

    You may apply for a Domestic Violence Petition if you are being stalked by a current or former intimate partner or household member. If your stalker does not meet the relationship criteria for a DV Petition, you may apply for a Stalking Petition. Both orders are obtained at Lebanon Family Court in Centerra Parkway.

    To learn more about police support in New Hampshire, read the NH Stalking Protocol for Law Enforcement.


    In Vermont

    You may apply for a Relief from Abuse Order if you are being stalked by a current or former intimate partner or household member. If your stalker does not meet the relationship criteria for an RFA, you may apply for an Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault. Both orders are obtained at Windsor Family Court.


    On Campus

    You can meet with the Title IX Coordinator and request a No Contact Order or contact Safety and Security to discuss the possibility of a No Trespass Order.


    A WISE Advocate can support you through any of these processes.



    Listen and believe

    Many behaviors of stalkers are not criminal and may not look scary or harmful out of context. A victim may find talking about the experience difficult.  They may fear that they will not be believed or will be viewed as crazy.

    Validate your the individual’s feelings and experiences.

    Check in often

    Stay in contact. Establish a frequency of time that the two of you will connect.

    Document evidence

    Document any evidence of stalking that you witness. Make a report to the police if the individual asks for your help.



Growing Up With Violence

While it is not uncommon to experience or be exposed to domestic and sexual violence, the violent behaviors you grew up with were not OK. The impacts of domestic and sexual violence are vast and varied. It can be especially challenging for people who grew up with the threat of violence and never felt safe to talk about the abuse. What happened to you when you were young was not your fault. You deserve the space to process your experiences and the opportunity to live a life free from violence.


    Not all children who are exposed to domestic violence are impacted in the same ways. Some children have more severe reactions than others. Being exposed to domestic violence includes not only seeing or hearing the violence, but also perceiving the violence and seeing the aftermath.5

    Each state has different laws around children witnessing domestic violence.

    Find your state statute.

    In a home with domestic violence, “fear, instability and confusion replace the love, comfort and nurturing that children need.” 6

    Children may feel they caused the violence or feel guilty for loving the abuser. Often children live in constant fear of violence.7 The violence you were subjected to or witnessed was not your fault or the abused parent’s fault. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. It is also OK to have loving feelings for the abuser and be angry about what they did. Whatever fleeting or lasting feelings you have are OK.

    Violence is a learned behavior. Boys who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit violence towards their partners. Girls who witness domestic violence are more likely to be victimized as adults.8 Although violence is a learned behavior, it does not mean that one is destined to a life of violence. Norms can be unlearned. It is also not a justification for perpetrators to continue to abuse their loved ones. With support and information people can learn to have violence-free and healthy relationships.

    Reactions to witnessing violence are varied. But some common symptoms are: guilt about the violence, sleep disturbances, headaches, stomach aches, concerns about individual safety and the safety of others, anxiety, aggressive behavior, difficulty concentrating, desire for revenge, coping behaviors that may be self-endangering (i.e., cutting, substance abuse), etc. (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health. “Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Supporting Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: What you might see and what you can do.” September 2011).

    Children who grow up with domestic violence may have impaired ability to concentrate and difficulty in completing school work.9 These behaviors are very similar to those of ADHD and can sometimes lead to a misdiagnoses.10

    Studies have found that children show remarkable resilience! As their environment improves (i.e., being surrounded by positive, supportive and healthy relationships, protective adults, etc.), the affects they experience can decrease. (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health. “Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Supporting Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: What you might see and what you can do.” September 2011).




    15.5 million children in the US live in homes where an incident of intimate partner violence occurred at least once over the past year. For 7 million children, the violence at home was severe. 1


    Only a quarter of domestic violence incidents that children witness are ever reported to the police. Less than 2% resulted in an arrest. “Children See Domestic Violence that Often Goes Unreported, Research Finds.” July 2014.


    40-60% of men who abuse women also abuse the children in the home.2


    In 2012 26% sexual abuse victims were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% sexual abuse victims were younger than 9 years.3


    The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

    In as many as 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse.4





    People who perpetrate sexual violence against children or adults are exercising power and control over their victims. Perpetrators intentionally chose their victims and create an environment that gives them power over the victim.

    Not all sexually abused children exhibit symptoms—some estimate that up to 40% of sexually abused children are asymptomatic; however, others experience serious and long-standing consequences. 11

    About 85% of children who are sexually abused never tell, or delay telling, about the abuse.12 The abuser does a good job at making the victim unable to talk about the abuse through threats, coercion and manipulation. Victims of childhood sexual abuse are legally able to make reports as adults. The Statute of Limitations is different in every state

    Find your state statute of limitations here.

    Victims of childhood sexual abuse are not more likely to perpetrate sexual violence on others. 13

    The perpetrator is likely to be male, and someone in the victim’s life who is viewed as a trustworthy person. 14 Our society has an inaccurate view of who sexual perpetrators are. This makes it hard for victims to understand why someone they know and love is hurting them, as well as hard for the community to believe that it is true.

    You deserve to be in control of what happens to your body. You deserve to have relationships that are safe and respectful.


Empowerment Model

The individual is not the cause of his or her problem. With information and support, the individual can make the best decisions for generating a solution.


The process of empowerment enables one to gain power, authority and influence over oneself, within institutions or society. Empowerment can be the totality of the following or similar capabilities:

● Having decision-making power

● Having access to information and resources to make decisions aligned with personal goals and outcomes

● Having a range of options to make choices (not just yes/no, either/or)

● Having the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making

● Trusting oneユs ability to affect change for oneself and in the world

● Having the ability to build skills for improving one's personal or group power

● Being active in a growth process and self-evolution that is never ending and self-initiated

● Increasing one's positive sense of self and overcoming stigma

● Increasing one's ability to identify things that are comfortable and those which violate a sense of self or boundaries


Empowerment is a multi-dimensional, social process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. The process creates power to use those choices in oneユs own life, community and society, with individuals acting on issues that they define as important.


WISE works from the perspective that domestic and sexual violence is embedded within a social and historical context of oppression, and must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and empowerment. The services offered by WISE are designed to support empowerment by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities, based on the goals and objectives defined by each survivor. WISE recognizes that the systems victims are involved in are often confusing and perpetuate social imbalances of power. The organizational mission and services of WISE are rooted in the principles of the empowerment model.

Power and Control Wheel

click the dots to reveal definition


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  • Not all children who are exposed to domestic violence are impacted in the same ways. Some children have more severe reactions than others. Being exposed to domestic violence includes not only seeing or hearing the violence, but also perceiving the violence and seeing the aftermath.5