It's typical for a college student who has been accused of sexual assault to receive little to no support from the educational institution they attend, fellow students and school staff. Over the years it's been apparent that whether these allegations happen to be completely fabricated, accurate or somewhere in between has no effect on the fashion in which the accused is treated and presumed to be guilty. However, society's pitiless reaction towards a respondent solely based on uncorroborated allegations is not completely irrational or unreasonable.
School administrators, authorities and even other students are aware that completely discrediting the claims of an accuser in an effort to avenge the accused before an investigation has ensued may hinder victims of sexual assault from coming out in the future. This reasoning is valid and makes sense, especially in the event that the accuser was not lying about an incident. However, schools have perpetually struggled with properly executing these processes in a way that protects both the accuser and the accused. Not only in terms of physical protection through the enforcement of no-contact orders and interim requirements, but there should be an emphasis on emotional and psychological protections also.
Not many people consider the feelings of the accused. Oftentimes, schools are merely concerned with the mental health and wellbeing of an accuser, and they completely disregard the psychological effect these allegations may have on a respondent. Being labeled as a rapist, being shunned by the peers you were once close to, facing the possibility of the discontinuation of a college career and having to come to family members with the claims brought against you is overwhelmingly stressful. Even if you feel that you can escape these circumstances completely unscathed, it would be in your best interest to talk to a mental health professional. Being accused of sexual assault is traumatic, don't just depend on yourself to make it out unaffected.
If you have been accused of sexual assault, here are a few things that you should consider in regard to your mental health:
Each higher education institution is required to have accessible counseling services available for the students that may need them. School officials definitely will suggest these services to accusers but they may not recommend for respondents to utilize these services. Despite what a school may offer, it is important that you take advantage of these resources.
Many students who have been accused of sexual assault may refrain from doing so for several reasons. The most common reason is that he or she is under the impression that the school counselor is not on their side. A school counselor is a useful source of much needed emotional support. And they abide by the same disclosure guidelines as an outside counselor would adhere to, although it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask before partaking in any conversations about the incident. Taking advantage of this indispensable resource could help you cope with your circumstances the right way.
Making Smart Decisions
Also, learning how to effectively deal with emotional and psychological issues associated with sexual assault accusations could deter you from making decisions that you might regret. Everyone has made the mistake of sending a text or email that they instantly regret. But when you are up under such immense scrutiny for sexual assault claims, the repercussions of doing this could cost you much more than sheer embarrassment. After obtaining the emotional support you need to think clearly, you'll be more inclined to make rational decisions that won't sabotage your chances of a favorable outcome.