Responding to Harassment and Sexual Assault

If You Are Sexually Harassed

You may feel confused. You may worry that you are overreacting. You may be concerned that you may have encouraged the harasser. You may think that the situation is not serious enough to report. Remember, you are not responsible for the harasser's behaviors. However, you are responsible for taking care of yourself. Here are some suggestions for actions you may take:

Clearly state your concerns.
Let the harasser know that you find the behavior offensive.

Keep a written record.
If the behavior is repeated (whether or not you have confronted it), log specific dates, times, locations, and behaviors to assist you if you decide to file a complaint in the future.

Talk to someone.
Telling a friend, a co-worker or counselor can help you decide the next course of action. You are probably not alone in considering the harassing behavior objectionable. You may not be the only on being harassed.

Make a report.
Any person who knows about a harassment problem is strongly encouraged to report it. The university's Campus Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Sexual Misconduct forbids retaliation for reporting a sexual harassment problem.

Often sexual harassment complaints can be resolved informally, especially if the complaintant is primarily interested in putting a stop to the offending behavior. The policy also provides for procedures when the complainant wishes to pursue the matter more formally.

If You Are Raped or Sexually Assaulted

1. Go somewhere safe.

If you feel in danger, call Security Services at 253.879.3311 (campus) or local police at 911 (off campus). Seek emotional support from friends, trusted staff or faculty, or one of the agencies listed below.

2. Get medical attention immediately.

You may take a friend or victim advocate with you to the hospital. Trained advocates are available 24 hours a day from the Crisis Line or the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County (253.424.RAPE).

Not all injuries are immediately evident, so seek medical attention. Do not change clothes, bathe, shower, or douche before going to the hospital. Doing so may destroy important medical evidence. If you have changed clothes, bring your soiled clothing with you for evidence collection. Forensic evidence may be collected up to 72 hours after an assault. The recommended hospital in the vicinity is:

Tacoma General Hospital Emergency Room
315 South K St., 253.403.7537

Counseling, Health and Wellness Services on campus is not able to conduct examinations in order to collect evidence necessary for criminal or civil action against an assailant. For such an exam, victims should visit a hospital emergency room. Even if you don't seek medical attention for legal reasons, it is still important to access and treat any injuries and determine the possibility of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

You may also get treatment from:

Counseling, Health and Wellness Services
216 Wheelock Student Center
253.879.1555

or

A medical professional of your choice.

3. Seek Counseling.

Whether or not you choose to report the rape or harassment, you should consider seeking some support or counseling. Even if you think you can handle this yourself, counseling can provide additional support in a confidential setting.

Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services
216 Wheelock Student Center
253.879.1555

University Chaplain
3219 N. 13th St. (the little yellow house across from the Wheelock Student Center parking lot)
253.879.2751

Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County
253.597.6424

Consultations with staff from these departments and agencies are confidential and will not initiate an official report or investigation without your permission. If you have questions or doubts about your readiness to make an official report, you may want to discuss an incident with one of these confidential resources first.

4. Request support from a Harassment Reporting Officer (HRO).

Harassment Reporting Officers are trained to respond to inquiries about harassment, and to assist complainants and respondents as support persons throughout the reporting and resolution process.

5. Report the Assault.

It is your decision whether to report a rape to the police or university Harassment Reporting Officer, but you are encouraged to do so. The university will make every possible effort to avoid unnecessarily revealing a victim's identity during the course of any investigation which may result from a reported assault.