What should I do if I'm a victim of any sexual violence?
Once you are safe, contact someone you trust to be with you for support. There are a lot of options for victim/survivors and it is always your choice to decide which options are best for you.
Get Medical Attention
- Hospital treatment is recommended in situations where there is serious physical harm including loss of consciousness or a blow to the head, continual bleeding following the assault, possible broken bones, a laceration requiring stitches, abdominal or chest pain present, pregnancy, or other serious medical or emergency conditions.
- After an incident of sexual assault, you should consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible from a specially trained nurse: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). SANE exams can be completed within 120 hours of a sexual assault.
- A nurse examiner program is different from visiting an emergency room at a hospital. Their job is to make sure you are healthy/safe. They can document any injuries, collect evidence, provide STI medication, provide Plan B (if applicable), and connect you to resources. This service is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. You do not have to report to the police to access a SANE exam.
- If you choose to seek medical attention, and with your consent, evidence can be collected by a specially trained nurse in a supportive environment.
- In the State of Michigan, evidence may be collected even if you chose not to make a report to law enforcement.
- In addition to collecting evidence, a nurse examiner can also provide emergency contraception, high-dose antibiotics to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia and other important resources, such as counseling.
- Although it is not an absolute deadline, it is strongly encouraged that physical evidence be collected within 120 hours.
- It is helpful that as a victim/survivor of sexual assault, you do not shower, bathe, douche, smoke, brush your teeth, change clothing or clean the bed/linen/area where you were assaulted; but doing so does not disqualify you from an examination.
- Any preserved evidence collected may be used to the proof of criminal activity or in obtaining a protection order.
- If possible you should maintain the scene exactly as it was at the time of the assault if you intend to report the incident to the police.
- The collection of evidence does not presume that charges will be filed against the assailant; the filing of a criminal charge is always the choice of the victim/survivor.
- As time passes, evidence may dissipate or become lost or unavailable, thereby making the investigation, possibly prosecution, disciplinary proceedings, or obtaining protection orders from abuse related to the incident more difficult.
- If a victim/survivor chooses not to file a complaint regarding an incident, they nevertheless should consider speaking with a member of the Public Safety Services staff or other law enforcement to preserve evidence in the event that the victim/survivor changes their mind at a later date.
Consider Reporting to Police
- You are encouraged to report incidences of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking to the Grand Valley Department of Public Safety Services.
- Reporting incidents to the Police Department does not commit you to further legal action; the police will help whether or not you choose to prosecute the assailant.
- If you choose, the earlier you report these crimes to the police, the easier it will be for police to investigate the crime and to prosecute the case.
- Earlier reporting helps to preserve your options for the future.
- Those not wanting to report incidents directly to the police may wish to speak with a Campus Victim Advocate.
- Public Safety Services officers can assist you in contacting a variety of University services including the Campus Victim Advocate in the Center for Women & Gender Equity, the University Counseling Center, and with transportation to a nurse examiner program.
How to Contact the Police
For Incidents Occurring on ANY campus, contact:
Police Response Options
Consider Reporting to Grand Valley State University
If you have experienced, witnessed, or been impacted by sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, you can report the incident to GVSU by contacting our Title IX Coordinator by phone, email, or in person. Reports can also be made at any time (including during non-business hours) through GVSU's online reporting form.
Reporting to GVSU allows our office to engage in an interactive process with you to discuss and provide supportive measures. You do not have to decide to file a formal complaint or choose any particular course of action. Coming to our office does not obligate you to initiate a university investigation unless you choose to do so.
The decision to file a formal complaint is yours to make.
Once a report is received, a member of our team will promptly reach out to the Complainant and:
- discuss supportive measures available to ensure their safety and continued access to programs and activities GVSU offers
- You can access supportive measures even if you choose not to file a formal complaint.
- inform them of helpful resources on campus and in the community; and
- discuss options for university resolution.
Contact us for assistance and information. We are here to help.
Kevin Carmody (he/him), Title IX Director & Coordinator
Office for Title IX and Institutional Equity
4015 James H. Zumberge Hall
A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, which will initiate the Formal Grievance Process ("Process A"). This option is available when the other party is affiliated with GVSU, and once filed, a detailed notice is sent to that party. A member of our team can assist in determining the Complainant's preferences, as well as assist in determining the applicable policy and resolution process.
A Formal Complaint means a document filed/signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging a policy violation by a Respondent and requesting that GVSU investigate the allegation(s).
Visit our Reporting to GVSU page for more details about reporting and mandatory reporters.
Consider Meeting with a Campus Victim Advocate
- The Campus Victim Advocate can assist by:
- Contacting the Department of Public Safety for transportation to the court for a personal protection order, or in contacting other law enforcement agencies in the event that the assault did not occur on campus.
- Referrals to counseling and other supportive services on campus and in the community
- Support and assistance in navigating the GVSU sexual misconduct system, if you choose
- Support and assistance in participating in University resolution
- Referrals for assistance in academic, housing, employment or other accommodations
- Offering education about medical options and procedures, including evidence collection
- Information about the referrals to legal advocacy, including Personal Protection Orders
- Offering assistance for significant others and friends of victim/survivors of gender/based violence
- Informing you of various options in reporting the incident. This includes reporting the incident to Grand Valley Police Department who will respect the choices made by you, even non-reporting.
- If you request an investigation, the advocate will contact appropriate personnel to assist. If you have a gender preference for an officer, every reasonable attempt will be made to make one available.