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Wellness Center

General Information: Sexual Assault

If a Sex Offense Occurs

  • Go to a safe place as soon as possible: your home, a friends home, a locked car, or busy public place
  • Obtain assistance. Contact a close friend or other trusted person who can help you clarify what you want to do next. Trained advocates at ASPEN are available 24-hours a day at 1-509-925-9384. ASPEN Victim Advocacy Services can provide medical advocacy, support groups, legal advocacy, information and referrals. All services are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.
  • Contact VPRT (Violence Prevention and Response Team) at 509- 963-3233. A member of the violence prevention and response team will act as your guide and coach as you decide how you want to respond to your assault. If you need legal or medical assistance, the VPRC can refer you to the proper people. Also VPRC can provide academic accommodations or alternative housing. If it is before 8 AM or after 5 PM, or on the weekend, please consult with ASPEN or the CWU Police.
  • Obtain a medical examination in all cases of sexual assault or rape. An exam will check for physical injury and the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. It is important for your well-being. If done promptly, the exam can obtain important evidence that can be used in a criminal prosecution.
  • Contact the police to report the assault. ASPEN advocates and other CWU personnel are available to assist you in contacting the appropriate law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police. It is import to remember that sexual assault is never the victim's fault and perpetrators should be held accountable.
  • Preserve all physical evidence available to document a sexual assault or rape. Do not bathe, shower, or douche until you have had a medical examination. You can change clothes, but do not launder what you were wearing at the time of the incident. Keep clothes from the incident in a paper bag to preserve evidence. If the crime scene is accessible to you, disturb it as little as possible. Do not change or launder bedding.
  • Students who have been the victims of a sex offense or other type of sexual misconduct can request modifications in their on-campus living and/or academic arrangements.
  • You can report a rape by calling 911. 911 is used to report rapes which are still in progress or shortly after when the perpetrator is still in the vicinity. The dispatcher will ask you if the situation is currently in progress, where you are located and who you are. An officer will be sent to your location.
  • If there is no immediate danger or some time has lapsed since the rape or assault call 509-925-8534 (CWU police) or call the VPRC at 509-963-3233 during regular business hours.

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Reducing Risk of Assault

Be aware of language

Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. We live in a society in which words are often used to put women down, where calling a girl or woman a "bitch," "freak," "whore," "baby," or "dog" is common. Such language sends a message that females are less than fully human. When we see women as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect, disregard their rights and ignore their well-being.


Sexual violence often goes hand in hand with poor communication. Our discomfort with talking honestly and openly about sex dramatically raises the risk of rape. By learning effective sexual communication, stating your desires clearly, listening to your partner, and asking questions when the situation is unclear. Make sex safer for yourself and others by using open, effective communication.

Speak Up

You will probably never see a rape in progress, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote rape. When your best friend tells a joke about rape, say you don't find it funny. When you read an article that blames a rape survivor for being assaulted, write a letter to the editor. When laws are proposed that limit women's rights, let politicians know that you will not support them. Do anything but remain silent.

Support Survivors

Rape will not be taken seriously until everyone knows how common it is. In the U.S. alone, more than one million women and girls are raped each year (Rape in America, 1992). By learning to sensitively support survivors in their lives, we can encourage victims speak out about being raped and let the world know how serious a problem rape is.

Work to End Other Oppressions

Rape feeds off many other forms of prejudice including racism, homophobia and religious discrimination. By speaking out against any beliefs and behaviors including rape, that promote one group of people as superior to another and deny other groups their full humanity, you support everyone's equality.

Physical Safety

Think carefully about leaving a party with a person you do not know well. If you do leave with someone, tell another person that you are leaving and be sure to say with whom you are leaving with.

Communicate your wants early. Know what your limits are for both alcohol and sex before going to a party or bar. Be assertive about communicating what you want from another person. Ask the person you are with to do the same.

Trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable for you, there is probably a good reason.

Be aware of the effects of alcohol on your body. Alcohol interrupts the ability to make sound decisions and impairs your ability to communicate clearly.

Do not leave your drink unattended, especially at a bar or a party.

Avoid being alone with an unfamiliar person, especially when alcohol is involved. If you are alone, make sure that your friends know where you are and how long you will be gone.

When on a date with someone new, make sure that you are responsible for your own transportation. It is safer to meet up with someone than to rely on an unfamiliar person for a ride.

Remember: Drunk sex jeopardizes your ability to get and give consent.

When dating someone, watch out for controlling behaviors by your companion, such as:
  • Making all the decisions.
  • Paying for everything.
  • Telling you how to dress or with whom to associate.
  • Pressuring you to have sex
  • Forcing or coercing you to consume alcohol or other drugs.

Excerpted from Western Washington University Sexual Assault-Prevention/Response

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Prevention Programs

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How to Help a Friend

  • Keep what is said confidential.
  • Provide a safe environment. If possible, stay with your friend.
  • Listen and accept what you hear. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to reflect on what has happened and to share some of her or his feelings.
  • Validate the survivor's feelings by using his or her words.
  • Confirm the seriousness of the problem and let your friend know that she or he is not to blame. Many victims tend to blame them selves for the offender's actions, especially if the perpetrator was an acquaintance.
  • Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if she has not done so already, but in other respects resist your natural desire to give advice. Survivors of sexual assault need to regain a sense of control over their lives. Allow your friend to make their own decision about their next steps.
  • Seek emotional support for yourself. Call ASPEN 1-866-925-9384 or VPRC at 509- 963-3233. VPRC is located in the Wellness Center SURC, Room 139 on the CWU campus.
  • Be patient and understanding. Survivors have their own time table for recovery.
  • Accept their choice of solution to the assault even if you disagree with what they have chosen to do. It is more important that they feel empowered to make choices and take back control than it is for you to impose what you feel you think is the correct decision.

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Victim's Rights

  • To be considered a victim of sexual assault when any unwanted act of sex is forced on them through any type of coercion violent or non-violent.
  • To be believed, no matter what choices were made at the time of the assault to survive.
  • To be considered a victim of sexual assault regardless of the relationship to the assailant. Including marriage, kinship and long-term partnerships.
  • To have as much credibility as a victim/survivor of any other crime.
  • To be treated in a manner that does not take control away, but that empowers the survivor to determine their own needs and how to best meet those needs.
  • To be provided with information about all possible options related to legal and medical expenses.
  • To receive medical and mental health treatment or participate in legal procedures only after giving one's informed consent.
  • To be asked only those questions that are relevant to a court case or to medical treatment.
  • NOT to be asked questions about previous sexual experience.
  • NOT to be exposed to prejudice against race, class, age, lifestyle, experience, or occupation.
  • To be provided with information about their rights.
  • NOT to report the assault to the police.
  • To have legal representation that is supportive.
  • To be protected from future assault.

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What Happens if I go to the Hospital

  • Free sexual assault therapy is available for you and/or your family. ASPEN (1-509-925-9384) can provide you with a list of treatment providers in our area. By going to the hospital you have taken an important step towards caring for yourself. The hospital staff is there to help you. You may have a lot of feelings. You may want to have extra support or you may want some time to be left alone.
  • It is okay to ask for what you need to feel safe and comfortable.
  • The hospital will automatically call an ASPEN advocate.
  • An advocate can:
    • Answer question about the medical examination and related medical procedures.
    • Answer questions about legal concerns.
    • Provide a list of names and numbers of community resources who can help with additonal concerns.
    • Remind you that you are not responsible for the rapist's behavior.
  • Victims of sexual assault have priority after life-threatening cases in the hospital. If you have been waiting a long time, it is okay to ask to be seen more quickly.
  • The exam takes an hour to an hour and a half. You may be at the hospital anywhere from two to five hours total.
  • ASPEN offers free emergency advocacy to all sexual assault victims. An advocate can meet you at the hospital or at the police station to provide emotional support and information. Hospital staff can call the local hot-line to arrange for an advocate to be with you.
  • ASPEN has a private room at the hospital already prepared for clients.
  • A trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will perform the forensic exam. All of the trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in Kittitas County are female; however, on occasion a male doctor does have to perform the exam.
  • The advocate can stay with you during your medical exam if you like.
  • The hospital medical staff will want to know the circumstances of the assault to provide you with the best possible medical care and check for injuries of which you might not be aware. Please be sure to bring to the doctors attention any pain, injuries or bruises you have.
  • The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will check for external injuries, such as bruises and cuts. An internal exam will be performed to check for internal injuries. For a women, the exam will include a pelvic examination to insure that the vagina has not been injured.
  • Blood will be drawn to test of sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD/STI). A urine sample will be taken to test for internal injuries and to check for pregnancy. You should ask the hospital staff about an AIDS test if you would like one, however, it is not mandatory to be tested for AIDS. As a precaution, medication maybe offered for STDs and pregnancy.
  • Many people are concerned about contracting AIDS after a sexual assault. The chance of getting AIDS from a sexual assault are very low. Even if the person who assaulted you has AIDS, it is still a very low risk. If you are concerned about this or would like more information about testing options, talk to your medical advocate.
  • Emergency Contraception (EC) is available at some hospitals. The nurse or doctor can explain the procedure as well as the risks and side effects. If you are going to receive the EC, it must be administered to you during the first 72 hours after the assault.

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Contact Information

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