Counseling Center

Counseling Center

What is Sexual Assault?

  • Any unwanted sexual activity (ranging from unwanted sexual touching to forced penetration) or contact without explicit consent.  Consent is a positive agreement between the individuals involved, to engage in sexual activity.
    • Communicating Consent:
      • A “no” or absence of resistance is not required to prevent sexual contact; where a verbal or nonverbal “yes” is required to permit sexual contact.
      • Consent to one activity (such as kissing or touching) does not imply consent to a different activity, such as intercourse of the individual involved.
      • Consent may be withdrawn at anytime during the sexual act.
      • Unwanted sexual activity includes instances in which the individual is coerced or unable to give consent because of:
        • Intoxication or Impairment
        • Sleep
        • Unconsciousness

Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of their gender, race, class, age, appearance, or sexual orientation. Approximately 10% of all sexual assault victims are male.

Some examples of Sexual Assault

  • A date insists that you engage in sexual activity, even though you have said you do not want to.
  • Your significant other forces you to have sex; a current or previous dating or marital relationship does not constitute consent.
  • Someone gets you drunk or drugs you in order to engage in sexual activity with you.

 What do I do if I am Sexually Assaulted?

  • Get to a safe place and call someone you trust, such as a friend, relative, or Public Safety (716) 888-2330 or 711 (from a campus phone)/ Local Law Enforcement (911).
  • Get medical attention immediately.  In addition to treating injuries, a prompt medical examination will test for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  You do not have to press charges if you seek medical attention, however, should you decide to proceed with legal matters a medical examination can secure valuable evidence that can be used later should you wish to have the perpetrator prosecuted.  If requested, someone will accompany you to the hospital.
  • Preserve evidence.  You should not drink, bathe, douche, brush teeth, change clothing or comb hair.  It is only natural to want to do those things, but doing so may destroy evidence.  You do not have to decide if you want to prosecute right away, but preserving the evidence helps if you decide to prosecute at a later date.
  • Document the incident.  As soon as possible you should write down every detail of the incident, as time passes you may recall additional details, be sure to document them as well.
  • Get professional help and support.  Regardless of whether the assault is reported, it is often helpful to seek support for a traumatic experience:
    • Counseling Center 716-888-2620
    • Campus Ministry 716-888-2420
    • Crisis Services of Erie County 716-834-3131

What are my options when reporting a Sexual Assault?

There are options for reporting a sexual assault, and your right to make choices will be respected.  College staff will neither coerce you to report a sexual assault, nor prevent or discourage you from reporting a sexual assault.  You have the opportunity to pursue all legal and/or disciplinary remedies without academic penalty by the College. 

  •  Judicial Process – External

You may file a report with the local police.  The police and the District Attorney’s Office will handle the legal proceedings.  You may reach the local police at 911 or Buffalo Police Sex Offence Unit at 716-851-4494.

  •  Judicial Process – Internal

If the perpetrator is a member of the Canisius College Community, you also have the option to file a report through the College disciplinary system.  Any campus proceeding will be handled with sensitivity and with respect for privacy.   Your report may be filed with Public Safety or the Dean of Students.  All reports will be investigated and individuals found to be in violation of the college policy will face a variety of sanctions.  For more information or clarification about this process please contact the Counseling Center or the Dean of Students.  Please note that the Dean of Students cannot guarantee confidentiality.

What on-campus resources are available to help me?

Counseling Center
888-2620
Bosch Hall 105

Campus Ministry
888-2420
Old Main 208

Student Health Services
888-2610
Frisch Hall 001 (tunnel level)

Public Safety
888-2330
Bosch Hall (tunnel level)

Office of Student Affairs
888-2130
Old Main 102

Office of Residence Life
888-8300
Dugan Hall (tunnel level)

What are some of the community resources available?

Crisis Services
(716) 834-3131 (24-Hour Emergency Mental Health Services)

  • Crisis Services is staffed 24 hours a day by trained volunteers who are able to connect with professional counselors for emergency outreach.  Crisis services will send a counselor to meet you in the emergency room.
Local Hospital Emergency Departments

Erie County Medical Center
    462 Grider St., Buffalo
    (716) 898-3161

Buffalo General Hospital
    100 High St., Buffalo
    (716) 859-7100

Sisters of Charity Hospital
    2157 Main St., Buffalo
    (716) 862-1800

Women & Children’s Hospital
    219 Bryant St., Buffalo
    (716) 878-7408 

How do I help a friend who has been Sexually Assaulted?

  • Listen and believe them.  Make sure they feel supported and in control as much as possible.
  • Encourage them to seek medical attention and support, but remember that it is their decision. 
  • Assure them that it was not their fault.
  • Provide comfort and safety.  Make sure you are there for them.  Ask them what you can do to be helpful.
  • Keep all conversations private.  Build a trusting relationship.
  • Be patient.  Remember that healing from any type of trauma takes time.
  • Seek help for yourself.  It may be overwhelming to deal with your own feelings or response in addition to your friend’s.  Talk to someone else about this.

How can I reduce my risk of becoming a victim of date or acquaintance rape?

While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.

  •  Be assertive.  Communicate your limits clearly.  Be direct and firm.
  • Attend social gatherings with friends you trust.  Watch out for one another.  Arrive together, check-in with each other, and leave together.
  • Trust your instincts.  If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended. 
  • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know.
  • If you suspect you or your friend has been drugged, get medical treatment immediately.

Additional Resources

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexual Assault