If you are a victim of sexual violence, the very first thing to do is get to a safe location. If you continue to be in immediate danger call 911.
Seek immediate medical attention regardless of whether you want to make a report to the police and reach out to appropriate support people. Trained support people can explain your options and help you receive medical attention which includes a sexual assault exam.
Preserve evidence of the assault by not eating, drinking, urinating, bathing or showering, douching, brushing teeth, or changing clothes. It is best to complete a sexual assault exam immediately for both health and evidence gathering reasons. It is crucial that the exam be completed within 72 hours after the assault for purposes of preserving evidence.
You do not have to make a decision about reporting the assault or pressing charges at the time of the exam. A sexual assault exam will preserve evidence so that it is available if you choose to make a report. There are reasons, other than gathering evidence, to have a sexual assault exam including potential pregnancy, STD's, and internal injuries.
Sexual violence includes a continuum of conduct that includes sexual assault, non-forcible sex acts, dating and relationship violence, stalking, as well as aiding acts of sexual violence.
Sexual assault is an actual, attempted, or threatened sexual act with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault is often a criminal act that can be prosecuted under Minnesota law, as well as, form the basis for discipline under Minnesotat State Colleges and Universities student conduct codes and employee disciplinary standards. It includes but is not limited to:
Violence including physical harm or abuse, and threats of physical harm or abuse, arising out of a personal intimate relationship. This violence also may be called domestic abuse or spousal/partner abuse and may be subject to criminal prosecution under Minnesota law.
Stalking is conduct directed at a specific person that is unwanted, unwelcome, or unreciprocated and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her or his safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Consent is informed, freely given, and mutually understood willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear, unambiguous, and affirmative words or actions. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to ensure that the other person has consented to engage in the sexual activity. Consent must be present throughout the entire sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. If coercion, intimidation, threats, and /or physical force are used, there is no consent. If the complainant is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the complainant cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. A lack of protest, absence of resistance, or silence alone does not constitute consent, and past consent or sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. The existence of a dating relationship between the people involved or the existence of a past sexual relationship does not provoke the presence of, or otherwise provide the basis for, an assumption of consent. Whether the respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the complainant may be a factor in determining consent.
Non-forcible acts include unlawful sexual acts where consent is not relevant, such as sexual contact with an indivdiual under the statutory age of consent, as defined by Minnesota law, or between persons who are related to each other within degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.