If It Happens to You
Sexual assault can happen to anybody. If it happens to you, there are several courses of actions you can take. The list of options below include:
Seeking Medical Care
A physical exam should be done in all cases of sexual assault, regardless of the length of time that has elapsed since the violence. Medically related concerns may include pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and physical injuries. If the violence occurred within the past 120 hours, an individual has the option of having an evidence collection exam. Consider seeking medical attention for any physical abuse experienced.
HB1297: If You Chose Not To Report But Want A Medical Exam
HB1297 (effective May 28, 2008) allows GA to be in compliance with the VAWA reauthorization of 2005 that requires all states to prove in policy and practice that all individuals (ages 12 and up) have access to a forensic exam regardless of whether or not they choose to speak with law enforcement or further the case and that the results of a polygraph or other truth telling device of an individual cannot be the basis for ending an investigation.
If the individual calls 911 dispatch requesting a Sexual Assault Kit, but does not want to make a report to Law Enforcement, dispatch is to contact The Haven Rape Crisis Advocate and a SANE Nurse will be contacted. Evidence will be collected and labeled with the individual’s information by the SANE Nurse. Law Enforcement, within the jurisdiction of the rape or sexual assault, is responsible for paying for and storing the forensic exams for 12 months, regardless of whether or not the individual wants to talk with Law Enforcement or move forward in their case.
If the individual comes to the hospital wanting a Sexual Assault Kit, but does not want to make a report to Law Enforcement, the hospital is to contact The Haven Rape Crisis Advocate and a SANE Nurse will be contacted. If needed, The Haven Rape Crisis Advocate will transport the individual to the Rape Crisis Center for the exam after the individual has signed a confidentiality agreement. Evidence will be collected and labeled with the individual’s information by the SANE Nurse. Law Enforcement, within the jurisdiction of the rape or sexual assault, is responsible for paying for and storing the forensic exams for 12 months, regardless of whether or not the individual wants to talk with Law Enforcement or move forward in their case.
Reporting to Officials
An individual who experiences violence has several reporting options to consider. It is always the individual’s choice as to whether to report. An incident may be reported to the Student Conduct Office (if alleged offender is a University student) or to the appropriate law enforcement agency, or both. It is most efficient to file a report both with police and with the Student Conduct Office (Dean of Students). The criminal investigation and the campus violation of student code investigation are independently conducted, occurring simultaneously or sequentially, on a case-by-case basis.
Reporting to the Police
Time is of the essence when sexual violence has occurred. The sooner violence is reported, the easier it is to collect valuable evidence. If reported to the police within 120 hours, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can conduct a Rape Protocol Exam (rape kit). In order to preserve physical evidence of sexual violence, it is advised not to urinate, shower/bathe, douche, brush teeth, or wash clothing (unless they are certain they do not intend to report the incident to police). Any clothing worn at the time of the incident should be stored in a paper bag and taken to the hospital. If the use of rape drugs is suspected, ask that a urine sample be collected and preserved as evidence. Physical evidence for a criminal prosecution cannot be collected without a report being made to the police. After 120 hours, the Rape Protocol Exam cannot be conducted, but a police report can be filed. If physical violence has occurred, contact the police to file a report. Documenting incidents of relationship violence is very important when working within the legal system.
Talking with a counselor can be an important step in the recovery process. Students are able to receive services on-campus. In addition, community based organizations can often provide direct counseling services and/or referrals to appropriate counseling resources.
Filing an Administrative Complaint
To file a complaint regarding another student, contact the Student Conduct Office (Dean of Students) (229) 333-5941. Reporting violence to the Student Conduct Office can begin the University’s investigation of the issue and serves as a form of official documentation of the incident. A finding of dating or sexual violence under this policy will be considered a code violation. Disciplinary sanctions for violations of this policy will be imposed in accordance with the Code of Conduct. The range of sanctions includes, but is not limited to, the following measures: expulsion, disciplinary suspension, disciplinary probation, reprimand, and restrictions. See the “Disciplinary Process” section the Student Code of Conduct: http://www.valdosta.edu/studentaffairs/documents/SAF_Student_Handbook_02122010revision.pdf
A student may request changes in her or his academic and living situations after a report of violence is made, and the University may grant any reasonable request for such change.
Any violation of this policy should be reported to one of the following locations:
- VSU Police (229) 333-7816
- VSU Counseling Center (229) 333-5940
- The Haven Rape Crisis Center 1-800-334-2836