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Link to help, information, and resources on your UW campus.

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Help is available to survivors on college campuses, even if they choose to not report to law enforcement.

Students at UW System campuses have the right to report to law enforcement, and the right to decline to report to law enforcement.  Regardless of their choice to report to law enforcement, survivors can request changes from their campus to help keep them safe, such as changes to their working, living, academic, or transportation situations.  Campus Title IX Coordinators can provide information and assistance to survivors about their rights and options to report to campus, to law enforcement, and/or request supportive measures.

Understanding sexual violence and sexual assault

What is the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, and Title IX?

“Sexual violence” is used on this website as an umbrella term to refer to instances of sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.

“Sexual Assault” means an offense that meets any of the following definitions:

  • “Rape” means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of the complainant, without the consent of the complainant.
  • “Fondling” means the touching of the private body parts of the complainant for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of the complainant’s age or because of the complainant’s temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • “Incest” means sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law as provided in s. 944.06, Stats.
  •  “Statutory rape” means sexual intercourse with a complainant who is under the statutory age of consent as provided in s. 948.02, Stats.

“Sexual harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies any of the following:

  •  Quid pro quo sexual harassment.
    1. An employee of the institution conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the institution directly or indirectly on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
    2. An employee of the institution either, explicitly or implicitly, conditions the provision of an academic, professional, or employment-related opportunity, aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct
  •  Hostile environment sexual harassment.
    1. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature directed towards a student, an employee, or a person participating in a program or activity of the university that, when using the legal “reasonable person” standard, is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies the person equal access to the institution’s education program or activity; or
    2. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature directed towards an individual that, when using the legal “reasonable person” standard, is so severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or participation in an university sponsored or supported activity.

” Sexual exploitation” means attempting, taking or threatening to take, nonconsensual sexual advantage of another person. Examples include:

  •  Engaging in the following conduct without the knowledge and consent of all participants:
    1. Observing, recording, or photographing private body parts or sexual activity of the complainant.
    2. Allowing another person to observe, record, or photograph sexual activity or private body parts of the complainant,
    3. Otherwise distributing recordings, photographs, or other images of the sexual activity or private body parts of the complainant.
  • Masturbating, touching one’s genitals, or exposing one’s genitals in the complainant’s presence without the consent of the complainant, or inducing the complainant to do the same.
  • Dishonesty or deception regarding the use of contraceptives or condoms during the course of sexual activity.
  • Inducing incapacitation through deception for the purpose of making the complainant vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.
  •  Coercing the complainant to engage in sexual activity for money or anything of value.
  • Threatening distribution of any of the following, to coerce someone into sexual activity or providing money or anything of value:
    1. Photos, videos, or recordings depicting private body parts or sexual activity of the complainant.
    2. Other information of a sexual nature involving the complainant, including sexual history or sexual orientation.

“Dating violence” means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

“Domestic violence” means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Wisconsin, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Wisconsin as per ss. 813.12(1)(am) and 968.075, Stats.

“Title IX” means no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

What constitutes consent?

“Consent” means words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent, indicating a freely given agreement to engage in  sexual activity or other activity referenced in the definitions of sexual assault and sexual exploitation in this section.  A person is unable to give consent if the person is in a state of incapacitation because of drugs, alcohol, physical or intellectual disability, or unconsciousness.

How do I know if I’ve given consent or if my partner has given consent?

“Consent” means words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent, indicating a freely given agreement to engage in  sexual activity or other activity referenced in the definitions of sexual assault and sexual exploitation in this section.  A person is unable to give consent if the person is in a state of incapacitation because of drugs, alcohol, physical or intellectual disability, or unconsciousness.

For example, Tim and Ashley met at a party, and have an immediate attraction.  Later in the night, Tim notices Ashley is having a hard time standing on her own, is slurring her speech, and even leaves to throw up. When Tim asks if Ashley wants to have sex with him, Ashley is unable to respond. Tim has sex with Ashley.

Tim has violated the Sexual Violence policy. Ashley has not, and is unable, to consent because she is not able to freely give informed consent and is incapacitated because of alcohol or drugs.

Example 2: Kevin and Darius went on a great first date together and decided to watch a movie in Kevin’s dorm room.  The two begin to kiss, when Kevin asks Darius if he wants to have sex. Darius is surprised things are progressing so quickly and is uncomfortable and not ready to have sex. He says nothing and is very stiff as Kevin begins to have intercourse with him.

Kevin has violated the Sexual Violence policy. Darius did not “indicate a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.” Although a verbal response is not mandatory, it should be clear through either words or actions that both parties are willing to engage in sexual activity.

What can I do to help as a member of the UW System community?

All students, faculty and employees must receive appropriate sexual violence and harassment training, as mandated by their institution.  Such training particularly addresses the notion of bystander intervention, which seeks to change social norms supporting sexual violence and empower individuals to intervene with peers to prevent violence from occurring.  See, e.g, Sexual Violence: Prevention Strategies from the CDC.

All employees who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receive a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted shall report to the dean of students of the institution. This is a requirement of state law.

In addition, certain employees who are designated as “responsible employees” have additional reporting obligations.

All members should strive to do their part to help promote cultural and societal change in the area of sexual violence.

Does the UW System offer education and training for students and employees on sexual violence issues?

Yes. Sexual Violence and Harassment training is required at all UW institutions. Please contact your institution’s Title IX coordinator for additional information.

Getting help

Something happened to me and I think I’ve been sexually assaulted. How do I know?

“Sexual Assault” means an offense that meets any of the following definitions:

  • “Rape” means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of the complainant, without the consent of the complainant.
  • “Fondling” means the touching of the private body parts of the complainant for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of the complainant’s age or because of the complainant’s temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • “Incest” means sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law as provided in s. 944.06, Stats.
  •  “Statutory rape” means sexual intercourse with a complainant who is under the statutory age of consent as provided in s. 948.02, Stats.

If you wish to speak to someone on campus about what happened, please visit the Get Help link on this website. If you prefer to speak with someone not associated with campus, please visit here to find Wisconsin and National  support services.

I’ve experienced sexual violence. Where can I go for help?

If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate help, call 911.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence or harassment but are not in immediate danger, find support and services on your campus.

Can I report anonymously?

Most institutions, police departments, and community agencies will allow you to submit an anonymous report.  However, please be aware that filing an anonymous report may limit the actions the organization can take on your behalf.

I’ve been sexually assaulted. Can I get a professional medical exam?

You can get a medical exam within 120 hours of your assault by an expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).  SANEs specialize in providing timely medical care and emotional support, using legally sound forensic methods that will preserve evidence for court. These examinations are more commonly known as a “rape kit.”

SANE nurses are on-call to respond to sexual assault victims at Wisconsin locations found here. More information about the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program is available at http://www.wcasa.org/pages/Intervention_SANE.php.

If you are seeking a medical exam after 120 hours, please follow up with your health care provider.

If I talk to a campus resource or my Employee Assistance Program, will my personal information, such as my name, be kept confidential?

Those who are identified as Confidential Employees or Confidential Resources do not have to report your personal information. Other employees at UW System institutions cannot maintain confidentiality.

A Confidential Employee is any employee who is a licensed medical, clinical, or mental health professional, when acting in that role in the provision of services to a patient or client who is a university student or employee. A Confidential Employee will not report specific information concerning a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment received by that Employee in the Employee’s professional capacity unless with the consent of the reporting individual or unless required by the Employee’s license or by law.

Confidential Resources are individuals or agencies in the community, whose professional license or certification permits that individual or agency to preserve the confidentiality of the patient or client.

I just want to talk to someone, and I don’t want to file a report, or I’m not ready to decide if I want to report yet. Can I still get help?

Yes. Your institution provides information concerning those employees and resources who can maintain confidentiality.  Some community resources that might be helpful include: WCASA, DAIS, End Abuse Wisconsin, Forge, and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.

If I experienced sexual violence off-campus or before I enrolled or started working in the UW System, can I still get help?

Yes. Institutional resources, as well as local resources, are available to all students and employees

I’m concerned that the person who did this to me might retaliate.

When an individual reports an act of sexual violence against them, that individual is offered what is sometimes referred to as “interim measures”—steps that can be taken to support that person’s welfare during a sexual violence investigation.  These may include no contact orders, counseling, changing residence halls, and classroom changes among other things.  In some cases, the accused individual may be placed on emergency suspension.

In addition, university policies prohibit retaliation.  If you think someone is retaliating against you based on your reporting of an incident, contact your institution’s Title IX coordinator.

Some individuals also want to obtain a restraining order.  Your campus police or security can provide you information about restraining orders should you choose to pursue this option.

Filing a report

I haven’t decided if I want to file a report yet. Can I talk to someone to better understand my options?

Yes. Your institution will have confidential resources that do not require you to file a report. You can also connect with community resources such as WCASA, DAIS, End Abuse Wisconsin, Forge, and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.

How do I file a formal report about sexual violence I’ve experienced?

You are encouraged to contact the Title IX coordinator at your institution who can assist you with your reporting options.

Can I report anonymously?

Most institutions, police departments, and community agencies will allow you to submit an anonymous report.  However, please be aware that filing an anonymous report may limit the actions the organization can take on your behalf.

Will information that I report be confidential?

The confidentiality of the information depends on to whom the information is reported.  Institutions have confidential resources, such as trained counselors, whose professional license permits them to maintain confidentiality.  Many professional advocates likewise may maintain confidentiality.  Other individuals, such as Title IX coordinators, police officers, or deans of students, cannot guarantee confidentiality.  However, all these individuals will treat the information sensitively.

In addition, if the individual is a minor and is a victim of sexual violence, because all UW System employees are mandatory reporter for child abuse and neglect, the employee may not keep this information confidential.

If I decide to file a report, will there be an investigation?

Your institution’s Title IX coordinator will determine if the complaint necessitates an investigation.  In many cases, an investigation is conducted following a report of sexual violence or harassment.

Will the university investigation result in disciplinary action for the accused?

Much like in a civil court case, respondents must be found responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.  If the evidence in the case is found to have met this standard, the appropriate disciplinary action will be applied.  Contact your institution’s Title IX coordinator to find out more about the disciplinary process at your institution.

What is the UW System’s policy on retaliation against someone who files a formal report?

Retaliation is explicitly prohibited against those who are involved in the reporting of an incident of sexual violence or harassment. Your institution will identify remedies for those who have been subject to retaliation under the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policy.

Education and training

What are the sexual violence education and training requirements for students and employees in the UW System?

All current employees and students must complete appropriate web-based training modules covering the general topics of sexual violence and harassment on campus.  All new employees must complete the training within one month of their start date. Contact your institutional Title IX office for additional information.

What concepts are covered in the UW System’s education and training program?

General training for employees and students includes such information as sexual harassment prevention, Title IX, the Campus SaVE Act, VAWA, Title VII, and bystander intervention.

In addition, employees with higher-level responsibilities at each institution, such as supervisors, managers, directors, responsible employees, investigators, hearing examiners and panels, and campus police will receive additional training in the following areas:

  1. Setting expectations for harassment-free workplaces, classrooms, and campus environments
  2. Preventing unlawful harassment
  3. Responding to Title IX and VAWA complaints and reports
  4. Reporting requirements of the Clery Act and under state law
  5. Specifying when the disciplinary process regarding sexual violence or harassment is involved
  6. Employing survivor and trauma-informed interventions and strategies
  7. Identifying roles and responsibilities of Title IX coordinators and deputy coordinators
  8. Identifying employees serving in the role of investigator
  9. Identifying employees and students serving on hearing panels

In addition, Title IX personnel, hearing officers, and investigators require additional training in the following areas:

  1. Title IX regulations related to advisors and live hearings
  2. Administrative Code UWS Chapter 4 – academic staff
  3.  Administrative Code UWS Chapter 7 – faculty
  4.  Administrative Code UWS Chapter 17 – students
  5. Regent Policy Document 14-2, Appendix C – Non-academic staff and faulty
  6. Rules of decorum and hearing notes
  7. Sexual violence and domestic violence statistics and notes
  8.  Unconscious/implicit bias

Do I have to take the education and training every year?

All students must complete the training within the first six weeks of the start of their first semester enrolled at the institution and complete a refresher training annually.

All employees must complete the training as part of their new employee training and complete a refresher training at least once every three years.

Do students, faculty, and employees take the same education and training course?

No. Although some of the topics will be the same, others are tailored towards the employment context or student experience.

If you have been accused

Where can I go for information and help if I’ve been accused of sexual violence or harassment?

Your institution’s Title IX coordinator will provide information, resources, and  a timeline regarding the complaint against you.  Additionally, the Wisconsin Administrative Code and related policies outline the disciplinary procedures for faculty, staff, and students [UWS 4, 7, 11, and 17; Practice Directive GEN J, and UW System Administrative Policy 1233].

What are my rights as an accused individual?

Accused students and employees have certain rights, which include the right to written notice of the allegations; the right to provide relevant information and evidence and names of relevant witnesses as part of the investigation; the right to request or be granted a hearing; right to an advisor which, which must be provided by the institution if the party does not have an advisor;  rights associated with the hearing; the right to a written and timely decision, outlining the results of the investigation explaining the basis of the conclusion, and outlining the proper course of an appeal. Lastly, you have the right to appeal the outcome.  For more information, contact your institutional Title IX office.

If I’ve been accused, should I hire an attorney?

The choice of whether to hire an attorney is a personal one.  The role of attorneys in disciplinary proceedings is addressed in applicable policies and varies from the attorney serving only as an adviser to the attorney serving as a representative.  Contact your Title IX office for additional information on an attorney’s role at your institution.