Sexual assault

If you are sexually assaulted or someone shares their experience of sexual assault with you, it can be hard to determine what to do. Often individuals are unsure if what happened was sexual assault. Reaching out to a caring professional can help bring clarity about your next steps. Know that you are not alone.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual Assault includes any sexual contact that occurs without clear initial consent or lacks ongoing consent throughout additional sexual activity. Perpetrators can be acquaintances, classmates, colleagues, supervisors, former or current intimate partners, family members and strangers.

Sexual assault affects people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, social classes, ages and abilities.

Seeking medical care

Visit UW Sexual Assault Medical Care to learn what your options are for seeking medical care after sexual assault. It contains information on what a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) entails and which medical locations offer exams.

Supporting a friend or colleague

Many individuals turn to someone they trust when they need support. Your response when a friend or colleague shares that they have been sexually assaulted will go a long way in helping them feel supported. It may also impact whether they choose to seek additional help. Please consider taking these steps when someone discloses to you:

  • Validate: Believe them and thank them for sharing with you.
  • Listen: Ask how you can help.
  • Connect: Share with them that there are resources on campus to support them.
  • Consult: Call SafeCampus to determine options or share any safety concerns.
  • Self-care: Take care of yourself and be aware of your own feelings.

Confidential campus advocates

The University of Washington offers free confidential advocacy for students and employees affected by sexual assault and other related experiences. Advocates can help you learn about resources that are available to you, your rights and reporting options. Additionally, they can support you in making a holistic plan for managing and reducing the impact of your experience.

Meeting with an advocate will not automatically trigger any kind of investigation by the University or the police.

Learn more about how an advocate can support you and how to contact them at the UW Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy site.

Sexual assault and Title IX

Sexual assault may be a form of sexual misconduct and a violation of Title IX.

Protection orders

Please visit our protection orders page to learn what a protection order is and to consider if you would like to seek one for yourself.