Understanding and Reporting Sexual Assault
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a broad term that encompasses a continuum of words and actions varying in degree from harassing comments of a sexual nature to a sexual contact. Sexual assault is actual, attempted, or threatened sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault often is a criminal act that can be prosecuted under Minnesota state law, as well as under the Student Conduct Code and employee discipline procedures. A sexual assault is NEVER the fault of the victim. Recovering from sexual assault, or other types of sexual violence, can be a difficult task when faced alone. The University of Minnesota, Morris Police Department partnered with the University of Minnesota, Morris Violence Prevention Program offer help to victims/survivors of sexual violence as well as to those who are concerned about someone they know.
Consent is informed, freely and actively given, and mutually understood. If physical force, coercion, intimidation, and/or threats are used, there is no consent. If the victim/survivor is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the victim/survivor can not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, and the condition was or would be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. Silence does not mean consent. If consent is given under duress (physical or emotional threats) it is not given freely or willingly. If someone is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, it does not constitute consent (even if the person says yes). Consent, when given, must be given willingly and freely.
What if it happens to me?
- Go to a safe place.
- Remember it is not your fault.
- Report the assault to police as soon as possible!
- Call someone you trust (a friend or relative) to be with you.
- Consider calling or visiting a Residence Life staff member, University of Minnesota, Morris’s violence prevention coordinator/survivor advocate 320-589-6061, Student Counseling 320-589-6060, or the Someplace Safe Advocate 320-589-3208 to help you with the immediate effects of the assault. They will respect your privacy and choices.
- Don’t take a shower, clean up, or change clothes until you have had a chance to review your options.
- Health Service, Stevens Community Medical Center, and other medical providers can:
- Provide treatment for any internal injuries and sexually transmitted infections.
- If you choose, collect evidence in case you decide on legal action in the future.
- Arrange for a friend or advocate to be with you for support.
The cost for the exam is covered by the county or UMM.
Making a report to law enforcement allows the incident to be documented and evidence preserved. It is helpful to law enforcement if you report as soon as possible. By making a report to law enforcement, you are not “filing charges.” The county attorney makes all decisions about whether charges are filed against someone. It is policy in Stevens County to consult the victim and not to proceed with prosecution without the approval of the victim, except in unusual cases. Please note that if you give approval to prosecute it is the county attorney who will make the final decision to press charges.
You can report a sexual assault by calling:
- campus police at 320-287-1601
- Someplace Safe advocate at 320-589-3208 or 1-800-974-3359 (24-hour response line)
- UMM’s violence prevention coordinator/survivor advocate at 320-589-6061
- local law enforcement at 320-208-6500
Any of these numbers will connect you with the appropriate law enforcement agency: Campus Police, Morris Police Department, and the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office. All have trained sexual assault investigators.