After experiencing or witnessing violence, the most important things are getting to a safe place and taking care of yourself. Realize that what happened to you is not your fault and that you are in control of what happens next.
Telling someone is a brave act, but there are many reasons why you might not feel comfortable sharing with other people. At the same time, there are many benefits to telling someone you trust what happened, and there are several options that you may pursue according to the kind of support that you want. The choice is yours as to whom you want to share the information with and how much information. Note: if you decide to tell someone, you may want to ask about their responsibilities related to reporting and confidentiality as early in the conversation as possible.
If you or someone you know experiences sexual assault or violence on or off campus, please know that there are trained professionals in the Seattle area who are available to offer confidential support and counseling, if you wish. Every question you have is valid and important. Trained staff at the Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress Center at Harborview can also provide assistance connecting survivors with advocates to guide you through a forensic exam and through any reporting process you might choose.
The GenEQ Resource Center does not have trained counselors on staff; however, we can assist with navigating the reporting process or finding resources to support your choices.
Chat online and get help from a trained support specialist through RAINN.org
Call the 24-hour national sexual assault support hotline: (800) 656-4673.
If there is immediate and active threat or emergency, dial 9-1-1.
Reporting at NSC
Things to know about making a report to law enforcement or the college
- • You may ask that a friend or advocate to accompany you.
- • For incidents occurring on campus contact the NSC Safety and Security Office at (206) 934-3636 and a campus security officer will meet you at a safe location on campus.
- • The police officer taking the initial report and detectives who continue the investigation, as well as campus investigators, will ask you for as much information, in as much detail as you can give, about the circumstances of the crime and the assailant. This doesn’t mean they do not believe you; they are trying to build their case.
- • The questions asked may be difficult to answer but are designed to help you accurately recall the incident. You have the right to ask the purpose of a question and to have the officer or investigator explain to you why your answers are needed.
- • Do not be afraid to say you are not sure or don’t remember. Feel free to request an explanation if you don’t understand what is being asked.
- • You may find that as the days pass, you will remember more details about what happened. Consider contacting the police and/or the campus investigator to provide them with this additional information.
- • With a police report, you should be given a report number at the time the report is made, and you can request a copy of the report once the case is closed.
- • In a campus investigation, if you choose to discontinue your participation, you may do so at any point in the process.
Reporting to the local police
Information on reporting sexual assault to the local police.
- • It is the survivor’s right to choose whether to report the sexual assault.
- • Law enforcement officers are not confidential resources.
- • Many survivors who decide to report do not do so immediately. It is never too late to make a report or to seek help from advocates and agencies. A prompt report may strengthen the case for prosecution.
- • If reporting a sexual assault immediately, you can protect evidence to support your case in the following ways: not washing, bathing, or brushing your teeth; not removing sheets or clothes; not straightening up or touching anything in the area where the assault took place.
- • If a survivor needs more information to make a decision, an appointment with GenEQ staff can help get your questions answered.
After experiencing or witnessing violence, the most important thing to a survivor is getting to a safe place. Telling someone is a brave act, and there are many reasons why someone might not feel comfortable sharing with other people. If someone chooses to share their experience with sexual violence with you, it is a sign of trust. Respect the trust and confidentiality. Ask them if they just want you to get resources for them, accompany them to the clinic for a check-up or a counselor’s office for a first appointment, or just listen in confidence.
If you or someone you know experiences sexual assault or violence on or off campus, please know that there are trained professionals in the Seattle area who are available to offer confidential support and counseling, if you wish. Every question you might have is valid and important.
Although the GenEQ Resource Center does not have trained counselors on staff; we can assist you with navigating the reporting process or finding resources to support you and your friend.
Sexual assault affects people of all cultural backgrounds, ages, abilities sexual orientations and gender expressions—everyone. It is important to know that:
- • Many perpetrators of sexual assault are someone the victim knows.
- • Sexual assaults can happen on a date or at a party.
Sexual violence, assault, harassment and abuse are prevalent in our culture. There is no fail-proof way to prevent sexual violence, but it helps to understand the issues, how to stay safe, and build a culture that does not tolerate manipulation, abuse or harassment.
Learn to recognize warning signs and controlling behaviors. Rape, one form of sexual assault, is a crime of power and control. Most rape survivors recall feeling “uncomfortable” about some of their partner’s behaviors including:
- • Intimidating stares.
- • Degrading jokes or language.
- • Refusal to acknowledge or respond to stated physical limits.
- • Refusal to accept “no” as an answer, whether in a sexual context or otherwise.
- • Overstepping emotional boundaries.
- • Not asking for or respecting consent.
- • Insistence on making all of the “important” decisions about the relationship or date.
- • Extreme jealousy, possessiveness.
- • An unwillingness to interact with you as a person rather than a sexual object.
- • Strong belief in sex role stereotypes.
- • A history of violent, abusive or manipulative behavior.
Learn to notice rape culture and how to change it.