Although many victims are reluctant to report sexual assaults to campus or local law enforcement authorities, prompt notification is very helpful. Filing a report does not commit you to pressing charges against an assailant, but the information you provide about an incident or individual may be critical to security and to the police in preventing further violence. If you are unsure about whether or not you want to report an assault, talk with a member of the Counseling Center at 801.832.2237 or call the Rape Recovery Center at 801.467.7273 for more information about your options. Additionally, you may talk to Westminster's interim Title IX coordinator Joy Sarr at 801.832.2262 or Westminster's Title IX deputy coordinator Traci Siriprathane. Some options you have include the following:
- Complete a formal police report aimed at prosecuting a suspect.
- Complete an anonymous police report that gives the police information only—no action is taken, and the suspect is not contacted.
- Take action through college disciplinary proceedings. Westminster College reserves the right to pursue enforcement of its own rules, regardless of whether or not legal proceedings are underway or in progress. An individual who chooses not to file a criminal complaint does not relinquish the right to an institutional investigation.
- If disciplinary procedures are initiated, both the accused and the accuser are entitled to have others present during investigatory proceedings, and both will be informed of the outcome. Possible disciplinary sanctions for sexual assault include suspension or dismissal from the college.
If you are raped by someone you know (Date Rape/Acquaintance Rape)
Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows—in fact, a better way to state this is that people who commit such acts often know the victims. This is probably the most frequent kind of rape that occurs on college campuses. Rape victims who know their assailants often experience more guilt and self-blame, and are less likely to report the assault. It is very important to remember that if it occurs against your will, it is a crime.
It is still rape even if you know the attacker and even if you had been intimate with them before. A person has the right to say they do not want any further sexual contact, no matter how much sexual interaction has already taken place. Furthermore, even if the person had earlier agreed to more sexual interaction, they have the right to change their mind. Any further contact is considered to be without the person's consent and therefore against the law.
If you have been assaulted by someone you know, follow the guidelines given above. It is especially important to find someone to talk to about the assault. Remember, it is not your fault—you are the victim. Survivors/victims of threatened or actual sexual assault by strangers or acquaintances may experience one or more common, but highly stressful, reactions. These may include depression, self-blame, intense anxiety, confusion, a feeling of loss of control, and recurring nightmares. These reactions may continue for some time after the assault. Regardless of how recently the assault occurred, or of how severe the reaction, discussing the experience with a trained professional can be very helpful.
The following campus and community resources are available: