Sexual Assault

In The Event Of A Sexual Assault the UCC Is Available For Assistance.

We can provide immediate crisis counseling, help with referrals and linkage to community resources (including the YWCA Nurse Examiner Program in Grand Rapids 616-776-RAPE or the Center for Women in Transition in Holland 616-392-1970 or 800-848-5991), and ongoing counseling services.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Consent has to be clearly and freely given and the absence of "no" is not consent. Consent cannot be coerced through threats of harm, when the assailant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated (temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling their conduct due to influence of narcotics, alcohol, etc.), or when the victim is physically helpless (unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness).

Across the nation, 19% of undergrad women reported experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college. Additionally, estimates of dating violence from college students range anywhere from 10% to 50% (Source: USDOJ).


If Someone You Know Has Been Sexually Assaulted:

  • Get to a place where you / they feel safe.
  • Try to preserve all the physical evidence (even if they don't want you to press charges at this point), keep clothes and other items in a brown paper bag.
  • Reinforce that it wasn't their fault.
  • Provide information about options but allow them to make decisions about what to do next.


Available Options & Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors:

Click here for GVSU Women's Center sexual assault options and resources.


Where To Go For Assistance:


  • If you feel you are in a life threatening situation, CALL 911.
  • Contact your RA, Graduate Assistant, or Living Center Director.
  • Contact the Counseling Center at 616-331-3266
    (after business hours, contact your RA or Public Safety at 616-331-3255).
  • Contact the Women's Center at 616-331-2748.
  • Contact the YWCA Sexual Assault Program in Grand Rapids
    24-hour hotline at 616-776-RAPE (7273).
  • Contact the Center for Women in Transition in Holland
    24-hour hotline at 616-392-1970 or 800-848-5991.


  • If you feel you are in a life threatening situation, CALL 911.
  • Contact the YWCA Sexual Assault Program 24-hour hotline 616-776-RAPE (7273)
    or visit their Web site at
  • Contact the Counseling Center 616-331-3266.
  • Contact the Center for Women in Transition in Holland
    24-hour hotline 616-392-1970 or 1-800-848-5991 or visit their website at

Even if the survivor doesn't want to press charges or get counseling, stress the importance of contacting the YWCA Sexual Assault program or the Center for Women in Transition in Holland as quickly as possible and encourage them to be seen by a nurse examiner.

The examiner can check for physical injury, discuss STD prevention, emergency contraception, and collection of evidence in case the survivor changes their mind at a later date about reporting. These agencies also have staff who can discuss options and other services that are available.


How To Help A Sexual Assault Survivor:

  • Keep telling the survivor that it is not their fault.
    Never blame the victim. Don't let them blame themselves. Sexual assault is never the survivor's fault even if they didn't yell for help, fight back, or was drinking.
  • Tell the survivor that their survival is all the really matters.
    It will be reassuring for the survivor to hear that what is most important is they survived and got through the experience as best they could. Questions like "Why did you go there alone?" are blaming, not reassuring.
  • Assure the survivor that you believe that they were sexually assaulted.
    If you communicate that you believe them, you will be helping the survivor a great deal. If they say they were sexually assaulted, then that is enough even if they didn't scream or there was no evidence of harm.
  • Tell the survivor that you will support them by listening.
    Be supportive by listening, not judging or prying. Let them take their time to share the details. Let them share only what they are able to.
  • Ask the survivor what they need from you instead of telling them how to handle the situation.
    Let the survivor be in control of who to tell about the assault and how they manage their life. This will help them feel that they are regaining the control they lost by being victimized.
  • Tell the survivor that it is okay to talk about their feelings for as long as they need.
    It is normal for a survivor to feel angry, afraid, anxious and depressed. If these feelings intensify and continue to overwhelm them and they are not getting help, support them in getting help.