Sexual Assault

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

We can provide immediate crisis counseling, short-term therapy, help with referrals, and linkage to campus and 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. Silence, passivity, or a lack of active resistance does not imply consent. Consent cannot be obtained by intimidation, threat, coercion, force, or 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, or some other condition), or when the survivor is physically helpless (unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness). Consent can be revoked at any time.

See the GVSU Interim Sexual Assault Policy for more information.

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:

Support, Advocacy, & Health Options:

  • The GVSU Women's Center offers a Victim Advocate who provides private 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 crisis help, short term respite, counseling, and a nurse examiner program at no cost. Call the Sexual Assault Program 24-hour hotline 616-776-7273.
  • The CWIT (Center for Women in Transition) in Holland offers nurse examinations, sexual assault case management and legal advocacy, and trauma therapy. Call 616-392-1970 or the 24-Hour Crisis Line 800-848-5991 for more information.
  • Campus Health Center: 616-252-6030 Monday-Friday / 9am-5pm.

Where to go for Assistance:



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.

Reporting Options:

Reporting Incidents to University Title IX Coordinator

Theresa Rowland 
Title IX Coordinator
Office:  616-331-9530
Fax:  616-331-3684


Reporting Incidents to Law Enforcement:

GVPD Sexual Assault Response Options 

Emergencies: 911

Grand Valley Police Department (Allendale): 616-331-3255

Pew Campus Security (Grand Rapids): 616-331-6677

How to Help a Sexual Assault Survivor:

  • Keep telling survivors that it is not their fault.
    Never blame the survivor. Don't let them blame themselves. Sexual assault is never the survivors' fault, under any circumstances.
  • Tell the survivors that their survival is all that 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.