Survivors

Sexual or relationship abuse and violence can take many forms. We want you to know:

You are not alone

You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame for the harm someone else did to you.

You deserve to be safe and supported. You may experience a range of emotions. There is no right way to respond to sexual or relationship violence.

Resources are available for any kinds of harassment, abuse, or violence you have experienced.

Next steps

All reports of sexual and relationship violence on campus or at college-sponsored events will be investigated by the college as possible Title IX violations. No matter where the incident occurred, a complaint will be investigated as per the policy. Behavior that is illegal may be reported to law enforcement.  Depending on the type of misconduct, you can do any of the following:

Get information and support from others before your decide what to do next. You can access a deputy coordinator, counselor, friend, and/or faculty/staff member.

Make a report to the College, which will start a Title IX investigation and provide you access to accommodations such as no-contact orders, academic support, and emergency housing, if appropriate. (Link to current form)

Report to law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the assault took place (if on campus, that would be the Washington City Police). Campus and Public Safety can assist you with that process. If you think you might want to report to the police, it is important that you preserve any evidence. This could include physical evidence (including fibers or fluids on your body or clothes) and messages.

Call Campus Safety (724-223-6032) or 911 for immediate help or if you are afraid that you may be hurt again.

Get medical attention, including a wellness exam and emergency contraception.

Speak with a crisis advocate on campus (member of the Administrator on Call Team - 724-223-6032) or in the community (Washington Crisis Center 877-225-3567). These people are trained to listen to you and to offer information and support for all of your options. They can also help you decide whether to report to the police or go to the hospital.

Get crisis intervention and on-going therapy from Student Health and Counseling.

Get a restraining order to keep the offender from contacting you on and off campus, even if you don’t make a police report.

Additional Options for Recent Sexual Assault

Medical care: You may have injuries that can be treated at an emergency room or the Student Health and Counseling Center. You can ask about medications to prevent some sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency contraception (available at some pharmacies without a prescription) can reduce the chance of pregnancy. If you need transportation to the hospital, Campus & Public Safety can coordinate or contact an Administrator on Call to coordinate transportation to and from the hospital.

Sexual Assault Forensic Exam: If it has been less than 48 hours since the assault, you can receive a medical forensic exam from a trained nurse at an emergency room. The nurse will collect any evidence that may be on our body or clothes. You can have a friend or advocate with you. There is no cost to you. You do not have to talk to law enforcement. Without an exam, it is very hard to prove to a criminal court that the assault happened. If you think you might want an exam, it's best not to shower, change clothes, eat or drink, or go to the bathroom.

Friends of a Survivor

Many survivors of sexual and relationship violence say what helped them most was the unconditional support of a friend. You don’t need to understand what they’re going through to be helpful. Even if you don’t know what else to do, saying “I’m sorry this happened to you, you didn’t do anything wrong,” can be extremely validating for a survivor to hear. Providing emotional support can go a long way. Unless you have an immediate concern about the health of your friend, understand that they have to make and live with the consequences of their own decisions. It’s not helpful to push someone toward making a choice they are not ready for or don’t want to take. Sexual assault and relationship abuse are about someone else taking control of one’s life and body. Recovery depends on getting that control back.

How to be Supportive

Survivors have a variety of reactions to trauma, including feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, or anxiety. There’s no one “right” way to respond.

In speaking with survivors, use language that validates the survivor’s experience, and reflect back to them what they’ve told you. Reinforce that you believe the survivor and what they are feeling and however they want to deal with their experience is okay. If a survivor is speaking to you about an event that happened years ago, realize that healing can be a long, ongoing process.

Avoid using language or asking questions that could suggest that what happened was the survivor’s fault.