Sexual Assault


In the Event of a Sexual Assault the UCC is Available for Assistance.

We can provide immediate crisis counseling, help with referrals and linkage to community resources.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Consent has to be clearly and freely given and the absence of "no" is not consent. Consent cannot be coerced through threats of harm, when the assailant knows or has reason to know that the survivor is mentally incapacitated (temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling their conduct due to influence of narcotics, alcohol, etc.), or when the survivor is physically helpless (unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness).

Across the nation, 19% of undergrad women reported surviving completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college (CDC). 3% of college men reported surviving rape or attempted rape as a child or an adult (oneinfourusa.org). Additionally, estimates of dating violence from college students range anywhere from 10% to 50% (USDOJ).

 

If Someone you Know has Been Sexually Assaulted:


  • Get to a place where you/they feel safe.
  • Try to preserve all the physical evidence (even if they don't want you to press charges at this point), keep clothes and other items in a brown paper bag.
  • Reinforce that it wasn't their fault.
  • Provide information about options, but allow them to make decisions about what to do next.

     

Available Options & Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors:


  • The GVSU Women's Center offers a victim advocate, Theresa Rowland, who provides confidential and non-biased support to student survivors of gender-based violence. For more information and to view the Women's Center's sexual assault survivor options/resources click here.
  • The YWCA offers a Nurse Examiner Program in Grand Rapids. Call 616-776-RAPE for information.
  • The Center for Women in Transition in Holland offers ongoing counseling services. Call 616-392-1970 or 800-848-5991 for more information.

 

Where to go for Assistance:


ON CAMPUS:

  • If you feel you are in a life threatening situation, CALL 911.
  • Contact your RA, Graduate Assistant, or Living Center Director.
  • Contact the University Counseling Center at 616-331-3266
    (after business hours, contact your RA or Public Safety at 616-331-3255).
  • Contact the Women's Center at 616-331-2748.

OFF CAMPUS:

  • If you feel you are in a life threatening situation, CALL 911.
  • Contact the YWCA Sexual Assault Program 24-hour hotline 616-776-RAPE (7273) or visit their Web site at www.ywcawcmi.org/counseling-services.php.
  • Contact the Women's Center at 616-331-2748.
  • Contact the University Counseling Center 616-331-3266.
  • Contact the Center for Women in Transition in Holland's 24-hour hotline at 616-392-1970 or 1-800-848-5991 or visit their website at www.aplaceforwomen.org.
  • Contact the Men's Resource Center in Grand Rapids at 616-456-1178.

The survivor may not want to press charges or get counseling. The YWCA Sexual Assault program or the Center for Women in Transition in Holland can check for physical injury, discuss STD prevention, emergency contraception, and collection of evidence in case the survivor changes their mind at a later date about reporting. These agencies also have staff who can discuss options and other services that are available.

 

How to Help a Sexual Assault Survivor:


  • Keep telling survivors that it is not their fault.
    Never blame the victim. Don't let them blame themselves. Sexual assault is never the survivors' fault, under any circumstances.
  • Tell the survivors that their survival is all the really matters.
    It will be reassuring for survivors to hear that what is most important is that they survived and got through the experience as best they could. Questions like "Why did you go there alone?" are blaming, not reassuring.
  • Assure survivors that you believe that they were sexually assaulted.
    If you communicate that you believe them, you will be helping survivors a great deal. If they say they were sexually assaulted, then that is enough even if they didn't scream or there was no evidence of harm.
  • Tell survivors that you will support them by listening.
    Be supportive by listening, not judging or prying. Let them take their time to share the details. Let them share only what they are able to.
  • Ask survivors what they need from you instead of telling them how to handle the situation.
    Let survivors be in control of who to tell about the assault and how they manage their life. This will help them feel that they are regaining the control they lost by being victimized.
  • Tell survivors that it is okay to talk about their feelings for as long as they need.
    It is normal for survivors to feel angry, afraid, anxious and depressed. If these feelings intensify and continue to overwhelm them and they are not getting help, support them in getting help.