If you are a victim of sexual violence, you are not alone and are in no way responsible for your assault.
If you, or someone you know, has experienced a sexual assault or sexual misconduct, safety is of the utmost importance. You may take the following steps to ensure your safety:
- Call 911 immediately if you believe you are in danger.
- Get to a safe place or call a supportive friend.
- Call the confidential OSU Center for Health Sciences Victim Advocate at 918-200-5218.
- Call the confidential local 24 hour Rape Crisis Line at 918-743-5763
- Do not shower, bathe, douche, change or destroy clothes; do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum; do not take any medications. Preserving evidence for possible criminal prosecution is important.
- Seek medical help to gather evidence for possible criminal prosecution and for treatment of any possible injuries.
Decide whether to file a report with one or all of the following:
- OSU-CHS Security: Tulsa 918-625-8592 or Tahlequah 918-453-3572
- Tulsa Police Department: 918-596-9222
- Tahlequah Police Department: 918-456-8801
- Title IX Coordinator
Tina Tappana, Director Human Resources
Main Hall 1405, OSU-Tulsa
You may also contact Domestic Violence Intervention Services of Tulsa at 918-585-3163 or in Tahlequah 800-300-5321.
If you are unsure whether a particular incident is a form of sexual misconduct, read definitions here.
What to do if you are a victim of sexual violence
- If you are not safe and need immediate help, call the police or 911. If the incident happened on campus, call the OSU CHS Security in Tulsa at 918-625-8592 or in Tahlequah at 918-453-3572. If the incident occurred elsewhere in Tulsa, call the Tulsa Police Department at 918-596-9222. If the incident happened elsewhere in Tahlequah, call the Tahlequah Police Department at 918-456-8801. If the incident happened anywhere else, call the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the location where it occurred.
- Do what you need to do to feel safe. Go to a safe place or contact someone with whom you are comfortable. You can call the 24-hour Rape Crisis Line (Tulsa 918-743-5763 or Tahlequah 800-300-5321) to get advice and discuss options for how to proceed. You can also call the Oklahoma State University Victim Advocates 918-200-5218.
- Do not shower, bathe, douche, change or destroy clothes, eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, take any medications or straighten the room or place of the incident. Preserving evidence is critical for criminal prosecution. Although you may not want to prosecute immediately after the incident, that choice will not be available later without credible evidence. The evidence collected can also be useful in the campus conduct process.
- Go to the Hillcrest Medical Center ER in Tulsa or WW Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah to receive care for any physical injuries that may have occurred. While in the emergency room, treatment will be provided for sexually transmitted diseases and infections and to prevent pregnancy if desired. These services are free of charge.
- With your permission, the sexual assault response advocate will support you throughout the entire exam, which will be performed by the nurse. The advocate will provide a packet of written materials that contains information about common reactions to sexual assault, follow-up medical needs and support services.
On and Off Campus Resources
Sexual violence can be emotionally disruptive, and it takes time to come to terms with such major stress. In addition to support that may be found in family and friends, several agencies and departments can serve as resources. It is important to be aware of the different individuals that one may contact for assistance following an incident. These individuals may have different responsibilities regarding confidentiality, depending on their position at the university or in the community. Under state law, some individuals can assure the victim of confidentiality, including counselors and victims’ advocates. Many university employees cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, and all are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual violence. Universities must balance the needs of the individual victim with an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large.
OSU Victim Advocates – Confidential Service
The OSU Victim Advocates can confidentially provide students with information about on- and off-campus resources available to victims.
Counseling Resources – Confidential Service
OSU CHS Student Counseling Center
24 hour crisis line: 918-743-5763
4300 S. Harvard, Suite 100
Help in Crisis in Tahlequah
205 N. College Ave
Employee Assistance Program
Employee web ID: OKSTATEEAP
Guidance Resources for Students
Student web ID: OKSTATESAP
OSU Tulsa Counseling Center
700 N. Greenwood Ave, Main Hall 2403
WW Hastings Indian Hospital
19500 E Ross St
Medical Services – Confidential Service
It is important to have a thorough medical examination after a sexual assault even if the victim does not have any apparent physical injuries. Medical providers can treat injuries and treat for sexually transmitted infections.
Hillcrest Medical Center
1120 S. Utica Ave
LOCAL SERVICES AVAILABLE TO VICTIMS (NON-CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING OPTIONS)
First Floor CAME Building
Tulsa Police Department
600 Civic Center, STE 303
Tulsa, OK 74103
Tahlequah Police Department
100 Phoenix Ave, Tahlequah
- Sexual Assault Survivor's Response Guide
Following a traumatic event such as sexual assault, you may experience disruption to your daily life and sense of wellness and safety. These disruptions are trauma reactions, your system’s attempt to make sense of the trauma, provide temporary relief, and protect you from further harm. These are normal and temporary reactions to an abnormal and disruptive event. Trauma reactions occur due to the body’s innate survival system that initiates an unconscious fight, flight, or freeze response to get you through a threatening situation. After surviving the trauma, the body will be alert to future potential threats and you may experience a similar trauma reaction when triggered, even if you are not in actual danger. Trauma reactions may be triggered by people, places or things connected to the assault, while other reactions may seem to come from “out of the blue”. Some trauma reactions may lessen with time, while some may require additional support from a counselor or advocate. This is a normal part of the recovery process. You may find you have experienced multiple trauma reactions.
- Common Trauma Reactions
Many survivors feel guilty and ashamed about the assault. Survivors often question that they somehow may have “provoked” or “asked for it”, that they shouldn’t have trusted the assailant, that they should have somehow prevented the assault, or that they are somehow ruined by the experience. Some of these feelings are the result of society’s myths about sexual assault and sexuality. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, etc. One in three women and one in six men are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.
Remember, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME, even if:
- Your attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, sibling, guardian, other relative, professor, coach, or even employer.
- You have been sexually intimate with that person or with others before.
- You were drinking or using drugs.
- You froze and did not or could not say “no” or were unable to fight back physically.
- You were wearing clothes that others may see as seductive.
- You said “yes” but later said “no” and were not listened to.
It is common to want to avoid conversations and situations that may remind you of the assault. You may have a sense of wanting to “get on with life” and “let the past be the past.”
“It wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m just imagining this. This couldn’t really have happened.”
Survivors often have difficulty admitting to themselves that the assault actually happened. Survivors sometimes don’t realize the extent of the trauma right away.
Shock and numbness
Survivors may feel emotionally detached or drained, may be unaware of what is happening around them, may not know how to react, may have difficulty recalling details of the trauma, may experience an altered sense of time, may experience crying uncontrollably or laughing nervously, withdrawing, or claim to feel nothing or to be “fine”.
Disruption of daily life
After an assault, survivors may feel preoccupied with thoughts about the incident. It may be difficult for survivors to concentrate, attend class, or focus on school or work. You may find that your ability to finish school, your academic standing, and/or your sense of safety in your residence are negatively affected by the assault. OSU has procedures in place to provide you with individualized support as needed. See 1 is 2 Many Sexual Violence Resources https://medicine.okstate.edu/hr/1is2many/ for more information.
Loss of control
During assault, someone else has used their power to take away your sense of autonomy and control. Survivors may temporarily lack their usual self-confidence. Decisions that were made routinely before now may feel monumental.
It is not uncommon for survivors to fear people and feel vulnerable even when going through the regular activities of life. They may be afraid to be alone, or afraid of being with lots of people. They may find themselves not knowing who to trust. Survivors may be hyper-alert to their surroundings and startle easily. Panic episodes may be common.
Survivors may feel their experience sets them apart from others, others cannot understand, others will know about the assault or judge them, not want to upset loved ones by talking about the assault, etc. Survivors may withdraw or distance themselves from family and friends.
Survivors may have different reasons to feel angry or irritable. Often anger is focused on the assault occurring, at the assailant, at a loss of security, a lack of support from loved ones, changes in lifestyle, etc. Anger is an appropriate, healthy response to sexual assault. Survivors vary greatly in how readily they feel and express anger. Irritability may not have a specific focus point.
Resistance in Reporting /Concern for the assailant or other parties
Some survivors express concern about what will happen to the assailant, mutual friends, or other related loved ones if the attack is reported or prosecuted. The survivor has the authority to decide if, when, and whom to report the assault. Guidance on the survivor’s options are available from https://medicine.okstate.edu/hr/1is2many/
Anxiety, shaking, nightmares
Survivors may experience shaking, anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares after an attack. This can begin shortly after the attack and continue for a long period of time. Nightmares may replay the assault or include dreams of being chased, attacked, etc. Survivors often fear that they are “losing it” and may feel that they should be “over it by now”. Flashbacks occur during wakefulness and are reported as re-experiencing part of the trauma.
Survivors of trauma often experience physical symptoms as well as emotional and social reactions. Physical symptoms may include a change in appetite, disruption of sleep, increased heart rate, palpitations, dizziness or fainting, reduced immunity, weakness or fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, grinding teeth, gastrointestinal issues, gynecological symptoms etc.
Survivors may experience a variety of intimacy concerns after an assault. Survivors may want no intimate or sexual contact whatsoever; others may use sex as a coping mechanism. Particular sexual acts may provoke flashbacks and thus, be very difficult for the survivor to engage in. Survivors will likely need to be patient and engage in intimacy at a pace they are comfortable with and will need to be supported by their partner.
- Self-Care for Survivors
When recovering from a traumatic experience, taking care of yourself is very important. Here is a list of things that might be helpful for you:
- Get support from friends and family – try to identify people you trust to validate your feelings and affirm your strengths and avoid those who you think will deter your healing process.
- Talk about the assault and express feelings – choose when, where, and with whom to talk about the assault, and set limits by only disclosing information that feels safe for you to reveal.
- Use stress reduction techniques – try heavy work and exercise like jogging, aerobics, walking or relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, prayer, journaling etc.
- Maintain a balanced diet and sleep cycle as much as possible and avoid overusing stimulants or depressants like caffeine, sugar, nicotine, and alcohol.
- Use healthy distractions such as reading, listening to music, playing games, painting, etc.
- Take “time outs.” Give yourself permission to take quiet moments to reflect, relax and rejuvenate – especially during times you feel stressed or unsafe.
- Reach out to a professional for support in your recovery such as a counselor or sexual assault victim’s advocate.