What to Do if You Have Experienced Sexual Violence
If you have experienced sexual violence on campus or think you may have experienced it, help is available. It is not your fault, and there are resources to provide support and help you heal. You also have several options to report the incident if you choose. You are not alone.
Immediate Medical Concerns
If you are concerned about your safety and/or feel that you may need medical attention, call 911 or go to a local medical facility:
University Health Services (UHS)
333 East Campus Mall
- Main Clinic Hours: M, T, Th, F: 8:30am-5:00pm; W: 9:00am-5:00pm
- Lakeshore Drop-In Clinic Hours (Dejope Hall): M-F: 10:00am-4:30pm
Meriter Forensic Nurse Examiner Program
If you are concerned about your safety, we encourage you to contact local law enforcement:
UW Police Department
1429 Monroe Street
Madison Police Department
211 S. Carroll St.
Common Responses to Sexual Violence
Sexual violence of any kind can result in a wide variety of feelings and reactions. It is common for the survivor to experience levels of fear, anger, self-blame, depression, and anxiety that can be displayed emotionally, physically, and even socially. Additional reactions may include:
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
- Social withdrawal
- Emotional numbing
These reactions are all considered normal and you are not alone in experiencing them. The variety of reactions may also depend on the survivor’s previous life experiences, the type of force used, and the relationship between the offender and the survivor.
Steps to Consider:
- Preserving Evidence
It is important to preserve physical evidence of an assault even if you do not yet know whether you want to report the assault or pursue filing a complaint. Evidence is best collected as soon as possible. That being said, consider waiting to shower or bathe to avoid washing away important physical evidence. You can also preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, and other communications that may be useful to investigators. Certain types of evidence (such as surveillance video) may only be available for a certain period of time unless it is saved.
- Seeking Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
The trained professionals at Meriter Hospital in Madison can collect necessary physical evidence (refer to Meriter Forensic Nurse Examiner Program). Even if you do not choose to go forward with forensic evidence collection, healthcare professionals can treat your injuries and take steps to address concerns such as pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Reporting the Sexual Violence
You have a choice whether or not you want to report sexual violence. Please refer to I Want to Report an Incident for more information.
- Seeking Other Assistance and Support
You may want to seek support from the confidential resources listed on the sidebar. For more information, please refer to I Want To Talk to Someone.