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What should you do?

If you are a victim of sexual violence, the very first thing to do is get to a safe location. If you continue to be in immediate danger, call 911.

Seek immediate medical attention regardless of whether you want to make a report to the police and reach out to appropriate support people. Trained support people can explain your options and help you receive medical attention, which includes a sexual assault exam.

Preserve evidence of the assault by not eating, drinking, urinating, bathing or showering, douching, brushing teeth, or changing clothes. It is best to complete a sexual assault exam immediately for both health and evidence-gathering reasons. It is crucial that the exam be completed within 72 hours after the assault for purposes of preserving evidence.

You do not have to make a decision about reporting the assault or pressing charges at the time of the exam. A sexual assault exam will preserve evidence so that it is available if you choose to make a report. There are reasons, other than gathering evidence, to have a sexual assault exam, including potential pregnancy, STDs, and internal injuries.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence includes a continuum of conduct that includes sexual assault, non-forcible sex acts, dating and relationship violence, stalking, as well as aiding acts of sexual violence.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is an actual, attempted, or threatened sexual act with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault is often a criminal act that can be prosecuted under Minnesota law, as well as, form the basis for discipline under Minnesota State Colleges and Universities student conduct codes and employee disciplinary standards. It includes but is not limited to:

  • Involvement without consent in any sexual act in which there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the victim. Forced sexual intercourse is included in this definition, as are the acts commonly referred to as date rape or acquaintance rape. This definition also includes coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force sexual intercourse or a sexual act on another.
  • Involvement in any sexual act when the victim is unable to give consent.
  • Intentional and unwelcome touching of a person’s intimate parts (defined as primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast); or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person’s intimate parts.
  • Offensive sexual behavior that is directed at another, such as indecent exposure or voyeurism.

What is dating, intimate partner, and relationship violence?

Violence, including physical harm or abuse, and threats of physical harm or abuse, arising out of a personal intimate relationship. This violence also may be called domestic abuse or spousal/partner abuse and may be subject to criminal prosecution under Minnesota law.

What is stalking?

Stalking is conduct directed at a specific person that is unwanted, unwelcome, or unreciprocated and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her or his safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

What is consent?

Consent is informed, freely given, and mutually understood willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear, unambiguous, and affirmative words or actions. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to ensure that the other person has consented to engage in the sexual activity. Consent must be present throughout the entire sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent. If the complainant is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the complainant cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. A lack of protest, absence of resistance, or silence alone does not constitute consent, and past consent or sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. The existence of a dating relationship between the people involved or the existence of a past sexual relationship does not provoke the presence of, or otherwise provide the basis for, an assumption of consent. Whether the respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the complainant may be a factor in determining consent.

What are non-forcible sex acts?

Non-forcible acts include unlawful sexual acts where consent is not relevant, such as sexual contact with an individual under the statutory age of consent, as defined by Minnesota law, or between persons who are related to each other within degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Sexual Violence Statistics

  • 1 in 5 college women will become victims of completed or attempted rape. (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000)
  • One-half of all sexual violence crimes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or both.
  • Males can also be victims of sexual violence and may be even less likely to report. (Hart & Rennison, 2003)
  • Among college women, 9 of 10 victims of rape and sexual assault knew their offenders. (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000)
  • The majority of sexual assaults, an estimated 63%, are never reported to the police (Rennison, 2002).

Help & Guidance

Support people are very important. Trained support people can explain and process options with you, as well as, help you contact or navigate resources available to you. Not all support people have the same confidentiality levels. Support people will be able to keep your information confidential at differing levels. You should consider your confidentiality needs carefully.

The most confidential support person is one of Violence Intervention Project’s (VIP) or Community Intervention Violence Center (CVIC) advocates. VIP and CVIC advocates have an ethical obligation to keep your information confidential. It is also important to know that these advocates cannot be subpoenaed by a court and required to disclose your information. Working with an advocate is an excellent decision.

Northland has a counselor on each campus. Northland’s counselors have an ethical obligation to keep your information confidential — they are not required to report your information. It is a safe place to process and gather information. However, it is important to know that counselors can be subpoenaed by the court system and required to disclose your information.

If you are not 18 years of age or there is a danger to the community, counselors, and advocates may be required to report information but will do their best to ensure that your identity is not shared.

Any person other than an advocate or counselor is limited in their ability to keep your information confidential. Police, college administrators, and some employees may be required to report your information and/or take appropriate action. As much as possible, they will try to keep your identity private.

Additional Resources