If the person who assaulted you knows where you are and may return, then leave the area. Go to visit a friend or to a well-lit public area until help arrives. If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911. Police can respond to an ongoing situation, provide a safety escort, or drive you to the hospital. If you are uncomfortable giving your name, a friend or support person can call for you. You can utilize police services without making a criminal complaint and you can choose whether or not a police investigation will occur. UW-Whitewater Police 911 (non-emergency: 262-472-4660)
Talk to Someone
An advocate is available 24 hours per day by calling 472-1060. The advocate can provide confidential emotional support, advocacy, and information either over the phone or in person. Consider calling a friend or relative. If you want to report the crime, the sooner you call the police the better. If you live on campus, your Complex Director or RA can also help you get immediate care. There is a RA on duty every night. Contact information is posted in each residential building.
Care for Yourself
You have been through a trauma. Your body has been flooded with stress hormones and your autonomic nervous system has increased your heart rate, breathing rate and muscle tension and slowed your digestion. Your normal ability to assess threats and self-regulate your response to threats has been disrupted. Drink plenty of water and exercise to flush out the excess stress hormones in your body. Allow yourself to become deeply relaxed through deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your autonomic nervous system. Take a bath, hug a pillow, wrap up in a blanket, rock or engage in other behaviors you find soothing.
The normal reactions to an assault can make you feel very uncomfortable and counseling can help you heal sooner and more completely. Every person responds differently, but common reactions include numbness, shock, disbelief, flashbacks, rage, tearfulness, being easily startled, grief, feeling violated, fear of being alone, difficulty concentrating, joylessness, difficulty sleeping, social withdrawal, and nightmares.
Everyone does not heal at the same pace. Your healing will depend on many factors including: the type of assault, your relationship to the offender, your personality, your prior life experiences, and your support system and whether or not you receive adequate professional counseling. In some cases, phobias, alcohol or other drug problems, depression, sleep or eating disturbances, difficulty trusting others, or sexual dysfunction can develop if a survivor of an assault does not process their feelings about the trauma. You can call UHCS at (262) 472-1305 for a free counseling appointment or a referral to another organization. When calling to schedule an appointment, please inform the receptionist that you are calling regarding an urgent issue to assure that you receive an appointment as quickly as possible.
Decide about taking legal action
You have three avenues open to you:
1. If you wish to press criminal charges, notify the police. For an assault that occurred on campus, call the University Police. If the assault occurred somewhere else, call the local police where the assault occurred. An advocate or friend may come with you. The police will investigate the crime and determine the criminal charges. Then the District Attorney will decide whether or not there is enough evidence to prosecute. This can result in a trial or plea bargain.
2. If the perpetrator is a University of Wisconsin student from any campus, you may file a complaint with the Assistant Dean of Student Life: (262) 472-1533. If the perpetrator is a UW-Whitewater employee, you may file a sexual harassment complaint with the Title IX Coordinator: (262) 472-5669.
3. If you want to sue in civil court, hire a lawyer to file the suit. If you are under the age of 18, the law requires many helping professionals to report your assault to the authorities as child abuse.
Keep Your Options Open
If you have been sexually assaulted, do not bathe, shower, douche, brush your teeth, change clothes or move or touch anything at the location of the assault. If you preserve the evidence, you maintain your choice to press charges at some point. If you do not, that chance may be lost forever. The sooner you do this, the better, but some evidence may be able to be collected up to 72 hours later. To collect medical evidence go to a hospital emergency department and ask for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse) to perform a forensic exam. The closest hospitals that offer this exam are Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn, WI and Fort HealthCare in Fort Atkinson, WI. A state fund will pay the charges for a forensic exam. A friend, advocate or police officer can go with you. Bring along a change of clothes because you may need to leave your clothing as evidence. If you think someone may have slipped you a drug, ask that a specific drug test be done immediately before the drug leaves your system.
Seek Medical Attention
If you go to the hospital for the forensic exam, you will also receive medical care. If don't go to the hospital, go to the University Health and Counseling Services to be checked for internal and external injuries and possibly treated for sexually transmitted infections. Let the health care provider know if you are interested in emergency contraception which can prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after the assault. At UHCS there is no charge for the exam and only small charges for tests and medication. Contact the Director of Health at UHCS if you need assistance paying for these expenses by calling (262) 472-1300. In Wisconsin, if you report the crime to the police within 5 days and apply for crime victim compensation within one year, you can be reimbursed for medical, hospital, and counseling expenses as well as lost wages and clothing reimbursement. Call 1-800-446-6564.
As a UWW student you have the right to:
- Medical treatment
- Counseling and support
- Advocacy from a trained advocate
- Have your complaints to the conduct officer investigated
- Have others present at your hearing
- Be informed of the outcome of the hearing
- Report to the police
- Change your academic or living situation
- Written educational materials
- Be treated in a non-judgmental, respectful manner and with confidentiality
- Know that statistical reporting of all incidents does occur
In Wisconsin, if you report the crime to the police within 5 days and apply for crime victim compensation within one year, you can be reimbursed for medical, hospital, and counseling expenses as well as lost wages and clothing reimbursement. Call 1-800-446-6564.
This site is not meant to replace the advice of health care, counseling or legal professionals. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation.