Sexual Harassment & Assault
If You are Assaulted
REPORT THE ASSAULT TO THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. You are not obligated to file charges if you report a sexual assault. However, if you decide to file charges, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chance of convicting a perpetrator of sexual assault:
- Always remember that the responsibility for the assault rests solely with the perpetrator.
- Do not change clothes, bathe, or douche. Bring a change of clothes with you to the police department or hospital emergency room.
- Remember all the detail you can about the assault. A trained investigator will take a detailed statement about the incident. Every detail is important in convicting a perpetrator.
- Being drunk or under the influence of drugs is not an excuse for the perpetrator to commit sexual assault.
- Being drunk or under the influence of drugs does not preclude you from reporting a sexual assault.
- You may report a sexual assault to the TWU Department of Public Safety:
- TWU Denton Campus DPS 940-898-2911
- TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas Center DPS 214-689-6666
- TWU Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center DPS 713-794-2222
- If you live off campus, you may report a sexual assault to your local police department.
- During the immediate reporting process, you can ask the police department to contact your local sexual assault crisis center. The crisis center will provide you with an advocate who will help you through the legal and medical processes and help you afterwards with on-going support and counseling.
What to Expect at the Hospital
In the hospital, you will be asked for information pertinent to the assault and to your health. You will be given necessary emergency room treatment. If you choose to file charges, you will be given a special rape examination, administered by a qualified examiner, and up to $700 of the cost of the exam in the State of Texas will be paid for by your local law enforcement agency. If you choose not to file charges, you should still have a medical check-up including vaginal and/or anal examination. It is also important to be tested for venereal diseases, HIV, and pregnancy. For additional information about the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Program go to www.oag.state.tx.us/victims/guidelines.shtml or call 1-800-983-9933.
What to Expect from Law Enforcement Intervention
The police/sheriff will want an initial report as soon as possible to increase the possibility of catching the perpetrator. They will collect evidence and ask questions necessary for the investigation. Within a few days of the assault, you should be interviewed and asked to give a more detailed statement. Additional information may be requested from time-to-time during the investigation.
What to Expect from the District Attorney
When a law enforcement agency files your case with the District Attorney’s office, that office is responsible for presenting it to the Grand Jury. If an indictment is handed down, the case should be set for trial. In Denton County, Victim Assistance can provide you information about your case and further inform you of rights to compensation. A Victim’s Assistance Coordinator can be reached at the District Attorney’s office and at the Sheriff’s Department. Other counties will have similar services.
What to Expect of Yourself
A sexual assault causes emotional and physical injury and both require time for healing. The trauma associated with sexual assault includes many different feelings and thoughts. Recovery is not an easy process, but it can be achieved with courage and support. Remember that the reactions you have are normal reactions to a violent and frightening experience. These reactions may include:
- Shock/Numbness: Loss of normal functioning, not knowing what to do.
- Shame/Humiliation: Feelings of personal violation and degradation.
- Confusion/Memory Loss: Events may not be clear, memory can temporarily be blocked or incomplete.
- Fear: That the perpetrator may come back and find you, or that you will never be safe again.
- Anger: Both at the perpetrator and at the world in general.
- Guilt: Thinking that somehow the assault was your fault or that you should have done something differently.
- Dirty: Feeling damaged, finding yourself wanting to shower or bathe often.
- Powerless/Helpless: Feeling that you have no control over your body or your life.
- Distrust: Feeling unable to trust those around you, being nervous and suspicious.
- Sexual Fears: Feeling that you want to stop sexual relations and intimacy with significant others, that you will never be able to enjoy sexual relations again.
Many survivors experience these and other reactions that disrupt their intimate relationships, work, sleeping, and eating. There is a sense of "not being yourself", of others not understanding. Please remember that it can get better, over time, with counseling and support.