11 Subtle Signs of Sexual Assault That Every College Student Should Look For In Their Friends
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Of course, we all hope that we will never personally witness the pain that comes with sexual violence, but it is important nonetheless to know the warning signs that an assault may have occurred. We need to have enough knowledge about sexual assault survivors to be able to tell that something isn't quite right with friend's behavior, attitude, or even their appearance. To protect them as well as ourselves, it's critical that we know and understand how a survivor may act in the aftermath of such a horrific event.

With that being said, here are a few of the red flags that could be present in the life of someone who has been sexually assaulted:

1. They are experiencing unexplained depression and anxiety symptoms

As of lately, you've noticed that your friend has not been acting like themselves. They may be exhibiting signs of depression such as extreme sadness, hopelessness, chronic fatigue, and changes in their sleep patterns and appetite. Or they might be uncharacteristically anxious, worrying excessively, having regular panic episodes, or being easily startled. If unaddressed, these feelings and behaviors can worsen and prevent the individual from healing from the assault later on. Whether they are having a post-traumatic response or have just been struggling with their mental health, they need your friendship now more than ever.

2. They're being treated for an STI—and they're single, safe, or in a committed relationship

Your friend has always been incredibly cautious with their sexual partners, so it strikes you as odd when they admit that they've been receiving treatment for a sexually transmitted infection. What's more is this person is single, prioritizes their sexual health, or has been in a committed monogamous relationship for quite some time with a faithful partner. With that being said, if their STI-positive status is completely out-of-character, it's possible that they were forced to be unsafe with someone against their will.

3. They engage in reckless drug and alcohol use

This person went from being strait-laced and sober to erratic and preoccupied with drugs and alcohol. They've started binge-drinking or using drugs recreationally, affiliating with a new crowd of friends who encourage them to let loose and let go of their inhibitions. If your friend is a survivor of sexual assault, it's possible that they adopted these new behaviors to distract themselves from thinking about what happened to them. Being drunk and/or high takes away from the sharpness of their emotions, but it also poses some serious threats to their physical health.

4. They make an effort to avoid certain places or situations

Once eager to go out on the town, your friend is suddenly more reluctant than ever— especially when it comes to specific places or events. They might be fearful of a party because it's taking place at a particular house, of a dimly lit street corner or road, of an alleyway, or of any other location that may be where an assault has taken place. Maybe they once jumped at the opportunity to go out to their favorite bar, but they suddenly want to avoid going there at all costs. If your friend seems to be very nervous or on edge when you pass by or even talk about visiting this place, there may be something more to the situation that justifies their fears

5. They isolate themselves from friends and loved ones

Someone who has survived sexual assault is inundated with a lot of emotions that they may want to process in private. When asked if something is wrong, they might dismiss it and assure you that they're okay, but how they've been acting seems to suggest otherwise. Your friend spends a lot more time alone and often turns down offers to hang out. They leave text messages and calls unanswered and may even get defensive if their privacy is infringed upon. Their withdrawal from the people who care about them isn't intentional, but could instead be their way of coping with what happened to them without having to reveal the details of the assault.

6. Their grades are dropping and they routinely skip class and work

Your friend is usually a dedicated student and a hard worker, but they now appear to be moving in a downward spiral. They are skipping classes regularly and missing their shifts at work and their grades are dropping drastically. Anyone who has experienced any kind of trauma is likely to lose focus on their daily routine. The lack of focus may come off as a newfound indifference, or it could be a telltale sign that this individual has undergone a traumatic experience.

7. They show signs of physical abuse (bruises, black eyes, etc.)

Depending on the nature of the assault, survivors can sustain a multitude of injuries that suggest that they were physically harmed. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, scratches, black eyes, and even broken or dislocated bones may result from a bodily attack. In addition, the individual may also suffer from more intimate injuries that could point more directly to sexual assault, including rectal or vaginal tearing and subsequent bleeding. While physical signs of injury alone cannot prove that a sexual assault has taken place, if you feel that your friend has been hurt in a way that was not accidental, it is possible that they were a victim of sexual violence.

8. They admit that they haven't been sleeping well (or at all) recently

It's common for a sexual assault survivor to not sleep well in the aftermath of their attack. They may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep or they may have recurring nightmares that could echo what happened to them when they were assaulted. If your friend confesses that they have been having a hard time sleeping and subsequently feel exhausted all the time, there may be something going on that's a bit more than typical college stress.

9. They are exhibiting post-traumatic symptoms

Sexual assault survivors can exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the immediate wake of the assault or even months or years after it has taken place. The events that unfolded were too much for the survivor to process all at once, so the emotions are embedded deep in their brains and surface every so often in sharp, unpleasant doses. Triggers in the person's environment, including but not limited to sights, sounds, their assailant's voice, images, videos, and sexual language, can evoke a panicked response in the survivor as they appear to relive the trauma all over again. Your friend may be suffering from PTSD related to sexual assault if they have recently started to startle easily or show signs of panic and distress.

10. They appear uncomfortable with even friendly physical contact

After being physically violated by another person, the survivor will likely find it very difficult to feel comfortable in close proximity with others. They may shy away from the touches of even their closest friends and loved ones and they may especially be opposed to romantic contact of any kind. After being so seriously harmed, they want to regain control over their bodies and remain untouched in their effort to stay safe. Even a good-natured touch could startle or unsettle them, for they are trying to remember what it felt like to be unafraid of physical contact.

11. They seem to have developed a very hateful self-image

In the wake of surviving a sexual assault, the person may feel cheap, used, dirty, and disgusting. Their body was violated and their boundaries were crossed, leaving them at their most vulnerable in front of someone who chose to abuse them to demonstrate their power. Survivors often develop a cruel self-image as a result, calling themselves ugly or openly stating that no one will ever want to love them or date them. They might feel that their abuser could not even respect them, so they do not deserve respect themselves. If your once body-positive, self-loving friend has started to view themselves in a darker, more critical light, it's possible that something happened to make them feel less than worthy of love and respect.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, you can visit the following websites for guidance on how to begin the healing process. Know always that you are never alone and that there are so many people who will always be willing to help you get through this. You will win this fight.





Sexual assaut resources for college students:

lRAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (or call at 800-656-4673)

United States Department of Justice

Office of Women's Health: Relationships and Safety

National Domestic Violence Hotline

End Rape On Campus

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What It's Like Being A 20-Year-Old Virgin In The 21st Century

For now, I wait. And that is perfectly okay.
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Sex. The topic we only spoke of in hushed tones in the past has quickly become a part of our everyday interactions. It seems to be the center of our motivations, thoughts, actions, and feelings. This is the reason I don't feel uncomfortable dedicating this week's article to the subject. Now, mom and dad, if you're reading this, I won't be offended if you stop. I'd actually be quite happy. Everybody else, do me a favor and ask yourself this:

What does it mean to be a virgin in today's society?

There is a social stigma associated with being a virgin. We're all prudes, are mega-religious, and have never even thought about what it would be like to share a night with Ryan Gosling. Right? Wrong. I promise you the majority of virgins you'll meet are virgins by choice - not because their moms have them chained to a metal post with their legs strapped shut. I've been racking my brain about questions and concerns and the million-dollar-question I have for y'all is: If it's no big deal to have sex, then why is it a big deal not to have sex? I mean really, whose business is it anyway?

I feel the criticism from my own doctor at times. She'd ask, "Are you sexually active?" I'd respond with a lightening fast "No", which she'd follow with a quick sigh and an even quicker response, "Have you ever been sexually active?" Unreal.

In a culture so consumed by "Netflix and chill" and the infamous right swipe, it's hard not to constantly wonder when (and with who) my time will come. It's almost like we're racing against the clock of chastity. I wonder if Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, or Amelia Earhart worried about who'd swipe their V-card as much as I do? Probably not, they were too busy making the world a better place.

I can't go a day without hearing about sex, talking about sex, or honestly... thinking about sex (sorry, dad). I remember a time when it was "shocking" to discover anybody was having sex and now it's "shocking" to discover anybody isn't. The reactions I get when people discover I still hold the key to my innocence aren't only mildly insulting but sad. When did it become shameful to be a virgin? I'm only 20 years old. I've only lived 1/4 of my life and in no means do I feel rushed to get down and dirty.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't plan for my life to go this way. Shocker, but my Magic 8-Ball didn't prepare me for this. I am a huge supporter of doing what you want, when you want, and with whom you want to do it with. Hell, half of my friends aren't virgins and I'm happy for them. They were with someone they loved (or at least liked) and made a choice. I've made a choice too. I am evolving with the world around me and taking life one wine bottle at a time. I don't want to settle for less than I deserve. I want somebody who loves me, respects me, and understands where I'm coming from.

I'm prepared to deal with the douchebags and the nobody losers who can't deal with the decision I've made equally as much as I'm prepared to meet the guy who can.

For now, I wait. And that is perfectly okay.

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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I Asked People The Weirdest Thing To Happen To Them During Sex And This Is What They Said

Like having certain things blow up in your face.
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I was watching "Friends" and they were asking each other about sex and making fun of each other for weird quirks.

I began to think about what people in this generation would say so I polled them, and boy, the responses were hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.

Of course, names will be left out and you should know that this stuff happens to EVERYONE. It's normal and this is NOT meant to shame anyone. It's for humor and to make others feel comfortable about the weird things that happen during sex.

1. Having certain things blow up in your face.

"He had a funny facial expression and I thought he was well, you know. Then 0.2 seconds later he sneezed on my face."

Nope, not that.

2. In sickness and in health.

"We both came down with a cold. We decided to have sex anyway, and I think we both fell asleep in the middle of it because we woke up in the middle of the night naked and he still had the condom on. Then I'm pretty sure we tried AGAIN and either fell asleep again or just gave up at that point."

I mean, horny is horny.

3. Finding the perfect balance to your relationship.

"We have to move from the bed to the floor a lot right in the middle because both our beds are super squeaky and we both have roommates!"

A bed, sofa, table, or a floor...anywhere is a good place to let your wild side go. But the floor or couch is the best if you have loud sex. Just saying.

4. A moment to release...things.

"Pausing to fart."

Hey! Everyone does it!

5. Taking time to spend quality time together, no matter what (who?) you are doing.

"Stopped to laugh at the emoji movie playing in the background that we turned on so we wouldn't wake his uncle sleeping down the hall."

I mean, the movie was funny. James Corden was in it.

6. Nothing like a tongue punch to the fart box.

"Eating out their butthole and actually enjoying it."

Well, OK then. You never know what you'll like until you, apparently, try it.

7. Remembering to lock your phone from now on.

"Before we started having sex, I was laying down and watching videos on Facebook. One thing led to another and while it was happening, one of us accidentally touched my phone (I didn't lock it when things started up) and random noises started playing from the video I was watching. We both started cracking up and just couldn't go any further. I definitely will remember to lock my phone from now on."

At least she didn't pocket dial her phone and call her mom.

8. The other body fluids during sex.

"Drooling on him during sex."

And that's not the only thing that gets everywhere.

9. Moaning, groaning, and other noises.

"Making weird, comedic noises at each other."

On top of the none comedic ones. I hope no one was home and if they were I hope you explained things to them.

10. Shouting the wrong (or right) name.

"At the moment of climax, I (drunkenly) yelled, 'Prince Zuko' in my best Uncle Iroh voice. 'Prince Zuko' has since become a codeword...for stuff."

This is my personal favorite because it's hilarious and I love "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

11. Trying to staunch the flow and cock block a bit.

"Calling him 'daddy' if he is about to come too quickly (he hates it so it calms him down)."

Hey, you need some orgasms too, and if a word gets him a little soft then I say go for it.

12. Man-splaining at the worst moment, ever.

"He lectured me on piston-cylinder assemblies as we f*cked and differences between male and female orgasms as he came."

Ummm...I hope it was good sex, at least? If not, then at least you learned something new. Guess you really do learn things in the most unlikely of places.

13. The right kind of relationship involves laughing and more noises.

"Burped, its actually hilarious. We just stop and look at each other and start laughing. Ladies, get you a man who doesn't care if you burp during sex."

I support burping during sex.

14. Taking the good kind of break.

"Pausing to have a conversation in the middle."

Hey, everyone needs a few seconds to catch their breath.

15. Wait...before I forget!

"Pausing to remind them about something so you don't forget by the end."

It's usually something dumb or about what happened to you during the day, but it seemed important in the moment!

So just know that the weird things you guys do during a good sex session are totally normal, even if at the time they seem abnormal and embarrassing.

**Responses were edited for clarity and/or length.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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