Assault and Rape Information, Support, and Education
Serving members of the FGCU community impacted by sexual violence
Working to create a violence-free campus
Learn about resources for physical and mental health care, on- and off-campus supports, reporting options, and how to support someone who has experienced sexual violence.
On-Campus and Off-Campus resources for those affected by sexual violence
ARISE members can provide educational programs for classes, student groups, etc. on sexual violence, supporting survivors, dating violence, and more. If interested, please submit a request at least three weeks before the desired program date using this request form.
Frequently Asked Questions and Brief Overview of Important Information
How is sexual violence defined? How is consent defined?Toggle More Info
- Sexual violence: any non-consensual sexual acts.
- Examples include: catcalling, dating or domestic violence, flashing, rape, revenge porn, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and unsolicited/unwanted nude photos.
- Definitions of specific criminal acts vary by state. To learn more about Florida laws, check out Florida Criminal Statutes.
- Consent: mutual assent by words or actions to engage in a particular sexual activity that
must be made voluntarily and competently by all parties.
- In order for consent to be given voluntarily, it must be free from threat, force, intimidation, extortion, and undue influence.
- In order for consent to be given competently, all parties must have the capacity to consent. If one or more of the parties is incapacitated due to, among other things, drug or alcohol use, then that person(s) lacks the necessary capacity, and thus the competency required to consent.
Consent is required for all sexual acts, including (but not limited to): sexual intercourse, oral sex, kissing, fondling/sexual touching, use (or non-use) of protection, recording of sexual acts, taking explicit photos, sharing explicit photos and/or video/audio recordings.
- Additional factors to consider regarding consent:
- Consent cannot be given by someone who is intoxicated, unconscious, asleep, significantly intellectually
disabled, or a minor.
- The age of consent in Florida is 16 years old, however, 16 and 17 year olds can only consent to sexual activities with 16-23 year olds.
- Consent can be revoked at any time.
- Previous consent does not equal current or future consent.
- Consent cannot be obtained through manipulation, drugs/alcohol, threats, or force.
- Learn more about consent
- Consent cannot be given by someone who is intoxicated, unconscious, asleep, significantly intellectually disabled, or a minor.
- Sexual violence: any non-consensual sexual acts.
Myths and Facts about Sexual ViolenceToggle More Info
- MYTH: Sexual violence is caused by perpetrators' uncontrollable sex drives.
- FACT: Sexual violence is about power and control, not sex. “Sexual violence is an aggressive act. The underlying factors in many sexually violent acts are power and control, not, as is widely perceived, a craving for sex. Rarely is it a crime of passion. It is rather a violent, aggressive, and hostile act used as a means to degrade, dominate, humiliate, terrorize, and control” (World Health Organization).
- MYTH: Only women are survivors and only men are perpetrators.
- FACT: Anyone can be harmed by sexual violence, regardless of gender. Anyone can perpetrate sexual violence, regardless of gender.
- MYTH: Survivors' behaviors cause sexual violence (e.g., what they were wearing, doing, drinking, etc.).
- FACT: The only people responsible for sexual violence are perpetrators. Survivors' behaviors before, during, and after are not causes of sexual violence.
- MYTH: Sexual violence is rare.
- FACT: Sexual violence is alarmingly common. 24% of transgender students are sexually assaulted during their college careers. 23.1% of female students are sexually assaulted during their college careers. 6.3% of male students are sexually assaulted during their college careers. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before age 18.
- MYTH: Sexual violence mostly happens in isolated locations and is mostly perpetrated by strangers.
- FACT: 80% of survivors know the person who harmed them, 2/3 of incidents occur in the survivor's home or the home of someone they know.
- MYTH: Rates of false reports of sexual violence are very high.
- FACT: False reports of sexual violence are very rare: only .6%-2.5% of all reported sexual assaults turn out to be false; false reports of sexual violence occur at the same rate as other violent crimes, such as assault, battery, kidnapping, etc.
All statistics are from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center
What are common reactions to sexual violence?Toggle More Info
- There’s no universal, "right," or "wrong" way to react to sexual violence. Each survivor's
reactions will be different based on a variety of factors.
- Emotional Reactions: strong feelings that may change unexpectedly or frequently (including sadness, anger, fear, joy, confusion, guilt, numbness); anxiety; irritability; loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities; suicidal thoughts; depression.
- Cognitive Reactions: avoidance of traumatic memories; unwanted or unexpected recalling of traumatic memories; lowered motivation; incomplete or missing memories of the trauma; self-blame; shame; lowered concentration; disconnection from self and/or others; racing thoughts; difficulty making decisions.
- Existential Reactions: changes in worldview, especially about the goodness/safety of the world; questioning (Why me? Why do things like this happen?); hopelessness; redefining or changing perspective on meaning-making or spiritual belief systems.
- Physiological Reactions: new or intensified physical health issues (especially related to pain, digestive system, and cardiovascular system); changes in sleep and/or energy levels; nightmares; panic attacks; fatigue; restlessness; feeling on alert for danger or something bad to happen (even if not sure why); changes in eating/appetite; injuries caused by perpetrator; unexplained muscle tension; easily startled.
- Behavioral Reactions: substance use, self-harm, eating, gambling, etc. to manage reactions; changes in school, work, athletic performance; restlessness; withdrawal from responsibilities and/or previously enjoyed activities.
- Interpersonal Reactions: loss of relationships; isolating from others; difficulty being alone; changes in social and/or family functioning; difficulty trusting others.
- There’s no universal, "right," or "wrong" way to react to sexual violence. Each survivor's reactions will be different based on a variety of factors.
Factors to Consider After Sexual ViolenceToggle More Info
- There are many factors to consider in the immediate aftermath of sexual violence, including safety, physical health, mental health, and possible preservation of evidence.
- Medical and/or mental health care are available to survivors, even if they choose
not to make a formal report.
- There is no "right" answer about whether to report or not. Survivors need to make the best decision for themselves.
- See the Resources or Where to Go for Help parts of this site for options for medical and mental health care.
- Speaking with someone can help, though it's entirely the survivor's decision whether
and when to do so. Options include:
- FGCU Victim Advocate: Aisha Lewis, 239-745-4344, firstname.lastname@example.org, or make an appointment directly
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 239-590-7950 during business hours, 24/7/365 Helpline: 239-745-3277
- Student Health Services: 239-590-7996 to schedule an appointment or for after hours care
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673, or online chat, or via the RAINN app
- Reports can be made to on- and off-campus authorities, including the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC), University Police (UPD), and local police departments (see details on their contact information below and check Resources page for additional details on these options).
What are options for evidence collection and emergency medical care?Toggle More Info
For FREE forensic/evidence collection exams ("rape kits"), STI testing, pregnancy prevention, and counseling, consider the following community providers. It is not necessary to file a police report to receive any of these services:
- Lee/Glades/Hendry Counties: Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT), 24 hour hotline : 239-939- 3112 (TTY)
- Collier County: Project HELP, 24 hour hotline: 239-262-7227 (TTY)
- Charlotte County: Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies (CARE), 24/7 helpline: 941-637-0404 (TTY)
Local Hospitals: Note that evidence collection ("rape kits") is not in local emergency rooms, only at ACT, Project Help, and CARE
- Gulf Coast Hospital (closest to campus): 13681 Doctors Way, Fort Myers
- Lee Memorial Hospital: 2776 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers
- Cape Coral Hospital: 636 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral
- Physician’s Regional Hospital: 8300 Collier Blvd, Naples
- Naples Community Hospital: 11190 Healthpark Blvd., Naples
- Fawcett Memorial Hospital- 21298 Olean Blvd., Port Charlotte
- Charlotte Regional Medical Center: 2500 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte
What are options related to sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy?Toggle More Info
Testing for STIs or pregnancy (call to make an appointment):
- Student Health Services: 239-590-7966 (offers low-cost services)
- Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT): 239-939- 3112 (TTY) (offers free services)
- Project HELP: 239-262-7227 (TTY) (offers free services)
- Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies (CARE): 941-637-0404 (TTY) (offers free services)
Emergency contraception (EC) options:
- Plan B: a hormone used in birth control pills to prevent ovulation, fertilization, and attachment
to the uterine lining. Plan B does not cause an abortion. It should be taken as soon
as possible (must be within 72 hours) with food.
- Available without prescription at most pharmacies (usually around $50 for name brand, less for generic brands) or for $15 at Student Health Services
- Ella: a hormone used in birth control pills (different than hormone in Plan B) to prevent
ovulation, fertilization, and attachment to the uterine lining. Ella does not cause
an abortion. It should be taken as soon as possible (must be within 5 days). Ella
may also be more effective for individuals weighing over 165 pounds.
- Available by prescription only, usually costs about $60 at many pharmacies
On- and Off-Campus Reporting OptionsToggle More Info
Whether to make a report to authorities is solely the choice of the survivor. Survivors must be respected whether they report or not.
- There is no "right" or "wrong" answer when it comes to reporting.
- Survivors can take their time when deciding whether to file a report or not. Survivors are not required to make a report immediately after they were hurt.
- Survivors can change their mind about reporting, even after they started making a report.
- Survivors have the right to have a support person with them when making a report and/or having evidence collected. This could be a friend, family member, Victim Advocate, or other trusted person.
- If a survivor is not sure about reporting, they can discuss their options with the
FGCU Confidential Victim Advocate who will help survivors learn about and weigh their
options in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.
- The Victim Advocate, Aisha Lewis, can work with students who have experienced any form of interpersonal violence at any time in their lives.
On-Campus Reporting Options
- Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC): Provides supportive measures (e.g., campus housing room switches, class assistance,
etc.), and informal and formal resolutions through the University (perpetrator must be a current FGCU student, staff, faculty, or contractor).
- Reports can be filed online, in-person (Edwards Hall 114), or by phone (239-745-4366).
- OIEC investigations are non-criminal proceedings. OIEC Investigators determine whether
there is sufficient evidence to support a conclusion the perpetrator (called "respondent"
in OIEC proceedings) violated any University policies.
- If there is sufficient evidence that a policy was violated, the appropriate decision-maker will determine the responsibility and outcome: for complaints against a student, that is the Office of Student Conduct; for complaints against an employee, that is their respective Vice President, along with Human Resources, in accordance with any applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements.
- FGCU Police (UPD): Conducts criminal investigations into incidents of sexual violence that occur on-campus.
- Reports can be filed in-person (Campus Support Complex) or by calling (239-590-1911) and an Officer will be dispatched.
Off-Campus Reporting Options: Conduct criminal investigations into incidents of sexual violence that occur off-campus.
- Fort Myers Police Department: 239-321-7700
- Lee County Sheriff's Office: 239-477-1000
- Collier County Sheriff's Office: 239-774-4434
- Charlotte County Sheriff's Office: 941-258-3900
On-Campus Residential Support OptionsToggle More Info
- Survivors who live on campus can speak with their Resident Assistant (RA) and/or Resident Directors, even if the incident occurred off-campus.
- These staff members have been trained on how to talk about and share resources with survivors of sexual violence. Staff members can be a great support system.
- It's important to note that RAs and Resident Directors are required to report any
incidents of sexual violence they're informed of to the Office of Institutional Equity
and Compliance (OIEC)
Just because an incident is reported to OIEC does NOT mean it has to be investigated and survivors don’t have to participate in an investigation if they don’t want to. Only in rare instances (e.g. a serial offender or clear immediate risk to the campus community) would OIEC proceed without a survivor's involvement.
ARISE Committee MembersToggle More Info
Katherine Cascio, Counseling and Psychological Services, Committee Chair
Ashleigh Droz, Internship and Cooperative Programs
Shelby Gilbert, Department of Health Sciences
Nikki Kirdahy, Prevention and Wellness Services
Myles Kittleson, University Police Department
Aisha Lewis, Victim Advocate
Jan-Martijn Meij, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Amy Miller, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Kristin Phillipine, Student Health Services
Jana Sabo, Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
Please reach out with questions
Katherine Cascio, PhD, Staff Psychologist
(she, her, hers)
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
300 Student and Community Counseling Center
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, Florida 33965