If You Have Been Assaulted
Here are answers to some questions related to being assaulted, such as: What should I do about preserving evidence of an assault? To avoid seeing the accused, can I change residence hall rooms or modify my class schedule? What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened? What do I do if a friend tells me they have been assaulted?
What do I do if I have been sexually assaulted?
- Go to a safe place: If you are in a vulnerable area, it's important that you go to a safe location: your home (with locked doors), a friend's home, a residence hall, a locked car, or a place where there are a lot of people. Consider calling someone for support.
- Call the police.
- Medical Care:
- Injuries: Seeking Medical care can provide treatment for injuries (shock, and general aches and pains may be difficult to distinguish from a serious or internal injury).
- Pregnancy & STI: Prevention and assessment of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy (prevention possible within the first 72 hours).
- Seek out crisis counseling: (Building 960 or call 474-2420, after hours ask to speak with the counselor on call.)
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Police and Medical Professionals are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the victim's person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time.
- If you believe you have been sexually assaulted, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing.
- Request a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and has been specifically trained to treat victims of sexual assault (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you).
- A Victim Advocate from the University, (850) 474-2415, or the local Rape Crisis Center, (850) 433-RAPE (7273), can also accompany you to the hospital to ensure you are treated well and informed of your rights.
Please click on the headings below for more information.
Victim's Rights - Forensic Evidence
If a victim goes to the hospital, it is their choice to have a "Rape Kit" (collection of forensic evidence) completed. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim, but will not obligate him or her to any course of action including pressing charges. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it. The evidence will be confidentially and anonymously stored for three years. Victims can press charges and enact the processing of the forensic evidence at any time in those three years.
Preparing to go to the Hospital
Hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital and/or a Victim Advocate, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene - leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
To avoid seeing the Accused, can I change residence hall rooms or modify my class schedule?
The University will notify the complainant (person filing the report) of any interim remedies/measures available under this Policy. These remedies are designed to prevent the recurrence of the alleged misconduct, retaliation and to limit the negative effects of the alleged misconduct during the investigation period. Depending on the circumstances, immediate remedies which may be available to a complainant include, but are not limited to:
Please click on the headings below for more information.
No Contact Order
The University may issue no-contact orders between the accused individual and the complainant.
On-Campus Housing Reassignment
The University may complete an administrative housing reassignment in order to separate the complainant and the accused student. This may include reassigning the complainant, the accused, or both.
The University will work with a complainant to assist him/her regarding his/her academic coursework. Depending on the circumstances, examples of interim measures may include working with instructors related to missed classes, assigning the complainant or accused student to a new course section as scheduling permits, allowing the complainant to finish the course requirements via distance learning or independent study, or providing the complainant with a medical withdrawal from one or more courses.
The University will work with a complainant to provide interim measures in situations where the alleged sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination occurs within the context of his or her employment on campus, including student employment. Depending on the circumstances, examples of interim measures may include, but are not limited to, allowing the employee to work alternative hours in order to avoid contact with the accused, assigning the employee to a different work location in order to avoid contact with the accused, or assigning the employee to a different department during the duration of the investigation.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the institution's sexual misconduct policy, we encourage you to seek counseling from UWF Counseling & Psychological Services by making an appointment or scheduling an emergency confidential consultation. You can also contact the Dean of Students or UWF Police. UWF provides advisors who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.
What should I do if a friend tells me they have been assaulted?
Believe them!! Sexual assault is a traumatic event in one's life. It often has a rippling effect which not only affects the victim, but one's friends and family. If a friend discloses that they have been assaulted, believe him/her. It takes courage and strength to tell someone, therefore this person trusts you. Listen to your friend and let him/her talk at their own pace and share as much or little as they are comfortable with. Do not try to control the situation or ask multiple questions. Use the above information as a guide to your friend, but do not pressure him/her to reach out to a certain resource until your friend is ready.
- University Police Department: (850) 474-2415
- Counseling & Psychological Services: (850) 474-2420
- Wellness Services: (850) 473-7112
- Dean of Students: (850) 474-2384
- 24 Hour Rape Crisis Hotline: (850) 433-RAPE
- Lakeview Rape Crisis Center: (850) 463-3800
- Favor House of Northwest Florida: (850) 434-6600
- Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
- Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- No More
- It's On Us
- Men Can Stop Rape
- Men Stopping Violence
- National Center for Victims of Crime
- Office on Violence Against Women
- Culture of Respect (provides help and resources for individuals, parents, institutions, and activists who would like information about response to and prevention of sexual violence.)