National statistics indicate 20-percent of college women experience a sexual assault while in school. It’s a startling statistic, and it’s unacceptable.
Sexual assaults are one of the most under-reported crimes on college campuses, which is also very troubling. Only about 1 percent of sexual assaults are actually reported to law enforcement — making it nearly impossible to prosecute perpetrators and get them off the street so they can’t re-offend.
Have you been the victim of a sexual assault, or know someone who has? YOU CAN TELL US. The UW–Madison Police Department has many great resources to help you through this difficult time. To report a sexual assault, call (608) 264-COPS and ask to speak to an officer.
Information and resources below borrowed from UW–Madison University Health Services.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any sexual contact made without consent. Consent must be freely given with overt words or actions that clearly communicate an individual’s desire to engage in sexual activities. Consent is a clear yes, not the absence of a no. Consent cannot legally be obtained if an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, is unconscious or asleep, or has limited mental capacity.
Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis, or object.
Am I at Fault?
NEVER. Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator and not the fault of the victim. Whether or not the victim has been drinking is irrelevant. The victim’s previous sexual activities, behaviors, actions, and/or dress is irrelevant. No one deserves to be the victim of sexual assault. Always remember: consent is a clear “yes” — not the absence of a “no.”
I’m a Victim — What Should I Do?
We hope you’ll TELL US. Please call the UW-Madison Police Department at (608) 264-COPS or come to our lobby at any time (1429 Monroe Street, across from Camp Randall) and ask to speak to an officer. Our highly trained police professionals will document important information and explain your options. Our officers will be sensitive to your requests for safety and privacy, they’ll progress at a pace that works for you, and they’ll make sure you know your rights and options as a victim.
What’s the Police Process?
First, we’re going to make sure you’re safe — and we’ll attend to any medical needs you have. It’s also important to know that you’re in control of the police investigation, and we will move at whatever pace you’re comfortable with.
Our highly-trained, sensitive officers will do an initial interview to better understand what happened. Then, we’ll collect evidence from you which includes the clothing you were wearing at the time, bedding (if applicable), etc. — a detective will be called to assist with the investigation. With your permission, we’ll take you to Meriter Hospital for a private SANE exam (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam) with a medical professional. This will assist us in obtaining forensic evidence as well as assuring your medical wellbeing. Officers will not be present during the exam, but you’re welcome to bring a friend or family member to help make you feel more comfortable. Once the SANE exam is complete, officers will collect all of the evidence and transport it to the State of Wisconsin Crime Lab for analysis.
Now, we want you to rest. You’ve been through a traumatic event in your life, and it’s important to take care of yourself. If necessary, we can help you find a safe, alternative place to stay. Once you’re well rested, a detective will contact you for a second interview and discuss your options and how you wish to proceed with the case.
I’m Not Ready to Tell Police
While we hope you’ll turn to us for help, we understand that you might not be ready yet. But, we encourage you to at least tell someone. University Health Servies has compiled a list of great resources in our community to help victims of sexual assault.
View area sexual assault resources >>