Western Kentucky University

Crisis Response

Safezone

Crisis Response

Sexual assault is an act of violence.  The victim of an assault may be in a state of shock and disbelief, and may be feeling a variety or emotions such as fear, anger, helplessness, shame, and/or guilt.   A victimized student may not know who to trust or where to turn for help.  The student who has been sexually assaulted has many options in seeking assistance.  A number of resources are available both on and off campus to assist assault victims. Although it is the student's option whether to seek legal, medical, and/or psychological services, students are encouraged to utilize these resources in order to make the most informed choices regarding prosecution, physical safety, and emotional recovery. 

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, please know that you are in no way to blame for the criminal behavior.  Here are some guidelines to help you in the aftermath of a sexual assault:

  1. GO TO A SAFE PLACE as soon as possible.
  2. TRY TO PRESERVE ALL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.  Do not wash, bathe, use the toilet, or change clothing if it can be avoided.  If changing clothes is a must, put all clothing worn at the time of the assault in a paper bag, not plastic.  A plastic bag can be used if paper is not available.  However, do not seal the bag tightly, as that can cause a breakdown of the evidence.
  3. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU WERE GIVEN A DATE RAPE DRUG  see physician or nurse immediately.  Wait to urinate until you arrive at the hospital. However, if you can't wait, collect your first urine in a clean container with a lid and take it to the emergency room or police station with you. Ask specifically for a drug screen that includes GHB, Rohypnol, and other common drugs used to facilitate sexual assaults. It is imperative that you be tested as soon as possible for the drug's presence in your body, as most of these substances can only be detected for a short period of time after ingestion.
  4. CONTACT SOMEONE for support and information (family, friend, university staff, or campus police).  You can also call 1-800-656-4673 or 846-1100 to talk with a rape counselor.
  5. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION to address physical health needs, to insure that you are disease- and injury-free, and to collect important evidence in the event of a later decision to take legal action.  Hospital emergency rooms provide evidentiary exams, which include testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and physical trauma.  Emergency medical care can be received at The Medical Center of Bowling Green (250 Park Street or 745-1000) or Greenview Hospital (1801 Ashley Circle or 793-1000).  For victims assaulted in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, these exams are free of charge.  Should you need transportation, the University's Police Department (745-2548) can assist you.  If you choose not to have an evidentiary exam conducted, please consider an appointment at a health department, Health Services (745-5641), or with your regular physician.
  6. CONSIDER COUNSELING for support and to help you deal with a variety of feelings that often follow an assault. Free and confidential counseling services are available through WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center (745-3159) or through Hope Harbor (846-1100): Life Skills (237-4481).
  7. If you choose to REPORT THE ASSAULT, you can contact law enforcement by calling 911 or WKU police at 745-2548.  A call to the university police does not mean that you must bring criminal charges.  The decision to file an official police report is yours to make.  If the assault did not occur on campus, university law enforcement can assist you in determining how and where to file a police report.  Timely notification helps the police in conducting their investigation and it provides a better chance of successful prosecution. You are encouraged to report the sexual assault and have it documented, even if you are not sure about filing formal criminal charges. Regardless of whether you report the incident to the police, you are still encouraged to seek medical attention to insure your own personal safety. 

Reporting an assault and receiving medical treatment does not require that the victim press charges.  It does, however, allow the collection of data and information that can be used should the victim choose to press charges.

If you NEED ASSISTANCE OR ADVOCACY, contact your Residence Life Staff, the Office of Judicial Affairs (745-5429), The Counseling and Testing Center (745-3159), or Hope Harbor (846-1100) for accompaniment to medical and/or legal proceedings and/or referral for other support services.

 
 Last Modified 5/27/14