Sexual Assault Information
How do I know if it was sexual assault?
Briefly, sexual assault is any unwanted touching of an intimate part or intercourse without freely given agreement. This definition came from La Crosse Sexual Assault Services Group (LSASG ).
Any sexual contact that you do not want is sexual assault. Please know that being assaulted is never the victim’s fault. The cause of sexual assault has nothing to do with the victim’s previous or current behavior, nor does it happen because the perpetrator simply can’t control him/herself. Sexual assault happens due to the desire of the perpetrator(s) to exert power and control over an individual(s).
Potentially, one in four college women and one in six college men are victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault.
Legal Definitions of Sexual Assault in Wisconsin
It is important to understand the legal definition of sexual assault. Sexual assault is any forced or coerced sexual intercourse or contact. It is a crime of violence in which assailants, whether known to the victim or not, are motivated by a desire to humiliate and have power over the victim. There are four degrees of sexual assault.
This information was taken from the Wisconsin State Statutes and is not in its entirety. The statute in full can be found at Wis. State. Sec. 940.225.
First Degree Sexual Assault
Sexual contact or intercourse which:
- Causes pregnancy or great bodily harm.
- Is accomplished by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon.
- Is aided or abetted by one or more persons through the use or threat of force or violence.
Second Degree Sexual Assault
Sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent:
- Through the use or threat of force or violence.
- Which causes injury, illness, disease, or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ, or mental anguish requiring psychiatric care.
- Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person known by the perpetrator to be unconscious or mentally ill or mentally deficient.
- Sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent while aided or abetted by one or more persons.
Third Degree Sexual Assault
Sexual contact involving ejaculation or sexual intercourse with a person without the consent of that person.
Fourth Degree Sexual Assault
Sexual contact with a person without the consent of that person.
What does it mean to have "consent"? - Consent means words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
Consent is not an issue in alleged violations of second degree sexual assault. The following persons are presumed incapable of consent:
- A person suffering from a mental illness or defect which impairs capacity to appraise personal conduct.
- A person who is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act. If the person assaulted was intoxicated at the time, they are unable to give consent. The perpatrator could be charged with 2nd degree alcohol-faciliated sexual assault
What does "sexual contact" mean? - Any of the following:
(a) Intentional touching by the complainant or defendant, either directly or through clothing by the use of any body part or object, of the complainants or defendants intimate parts if that intentional touching is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or for the purpose of sexually humiliating the complainant or sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant or if the touching contains the elements of actual or attempted battery under s.940.19(1);
(b) Intentional penile ejaculation of ejaculate or intentional emission of urine or feces by the defendant upon any part of the body clothed or unclothed of the complainant if that ejaculation or emission is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or sexually humiliating the complainant or for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant;
Sexual intercourse includes the meaning assigned under s.939.22(36) as well as cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal opening either by the defendant or upon the defendant's instruction. The emission of semen is not required.
Sexual intercourse with a child age 16 or older. Whoever has sexual intercourse with a child who is not the defendant's spouse and who has attained the age of 16 years is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
Sexual exploitation by a therapist Intentional sexual contact by a therapist during any ongoing therapist/patient or therapist/client relationship. This is also a crime and should be reported. Refer to Wisconsin State Statutes 940.22.
What to do if you are sexually assaulted
If you are sexually assaulted, it is important that you care for yourself in the manner that is best for you. For some, this means reporting the crime immediately and working to have the assailant brought to justice. Others prefer to seek medical and emotional care without reporting the assault as a crime. Regardless of your preference for self-care, these are three steps that everyone who has been sexually assaulted should follow:
Get prompt medical care.
Remember that the person assaulted is not at fault.
Obtain emotional support to help with healing and feeling safe.
Get Medical Care
First, find a safe environment away from the assailant. Then go to a medical center or hospital emergency room to get medical attention, and to be checked for sexually transmitted disease and internal injuries.
Medical attention is confidential.
Most medical centers and hospital emergency rooms have doctors and counselors who have been trained to assist individuals who have been sexually assaulted. Franciscan Skemp
and Gundersen Lutheran
provide sexual assault nurse examiner services (SANE) in their emergency rooms.
It’s best to seek medical care immediately after a sexual assault. However, if an examination does not occur right away, it is still possible to visit a medical professional to be examined for STDs, pregnancy or injuries:
Write down as much as you can remember about the assault and the assailant.
Medical attention also helps if one decides to press charges, providing evidence needed to prosecute if a criminal case is pursued.
Preserve evidence of the attack—don’t bathe or brush teeth.
To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a “rape kit” exam. Even if the rape was not completed, an exam can still be very helpful in gathering evidence.
Those who think they may have been drugged can ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will be analyzed by a forensic lab.
It is often helpful to have friends and family members along for support when seeking medical care.
The person who has been assaulted should visit their doctor one or two weeks after the assault to review the results of tests taken in the emergency room.
The person assaulted is NOT at fault
Sexual assault is a crime of violence in which the assailant is motivated by a desire to humiliate and achieve power over the person who is assaulted. Ninety-three percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. (Safe Path, 2004)
Sexual assault usually occurs as a deliberate action by the perpetrator. It is not the fault of the person who has been assaulted. No one has the right to have sex against someone’s will without their consent.
Most people who are sexually assaulted know the perpetrator. Because of this, the person who has been assaulted may not want to reveal the name of the assailant. Some feel comfortable reporting an incident of sexual assault, others do not. The person assaulted should take the steps they feel will best help them feel safe to heal.
Many assailants will attempt to lay blame and fault the person who was assaulted by saying these or other things: “You asked for it” or “You wanted it.” In fact, how another person acts, what they say or what they wear is never justification for rape.
Obtain emotinoal support
Being sexually assaulted may be emotionally traumatic and have a major impact on a person’s life. Proper support, emotional care, and attention can assist in the healing process and prevent later concerns.
Those who have been assaulted often feel a combination of disbelief, fear, confusion, anger, numbness, anxiousness, guilt, shame, and embarrassment. It’s not uncommon to want to be alone or to withdraw from fiends and family.
Depression during the first year after a rape is reported by about half of all those assaulted. It is important to keep scheduled visits with doctors and report any physical, emotional, or sexual problems.
After an assault, it is frequently hard to sleep, eat, concentrate, in school, or participate in everyday activities. It often seems as if one will never get over the distress of rape. While these effects are perfectly normal, seeking professional support can be very helpful.
Talking with a trained professional in assisting sexual assault victims is the best way to ensure long-lasting healing. Working through the hurt sooner rather than later can help reduce side effects.
Counseling services are free, confidential and available to all enrolled Viterbo students. The counselor is available in the fall and spring semesters. Counseling services is located in the Student Development Center (next to San Damiano Chapel). The phone number is 608-796-3808.
These La Crosse agencies offer 24 hour hotlines and services for those who have been sexually assaulted:
Franciscan Skemp Safe Path Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Services offer free counseling and sexual assault advocacy, 608-791-7804 or 800-362-5454 ext. 27804
Gundersen Lutheran Sexual Assault Services, 608-775-5950 or 800-362-9567, ext. 5950. Offers free counseling and advocacy.
New Horizons Shelter and Women’s Center, 608-791-2600 or 888-231-0066
The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated for free, 24 hours each day can also provide you with support and guidance. The number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
How to help someone who has been assaulted
Faculty and staff who come in contact with a student who has been a victim of sexual assault should be gentle and concerned. Assure the student that for reporting purposes, names of victims are kept confidential.
Be there and listen. Do not be judgmental. Remember—the person assaulted is not at fault.
Do not tell the person assaulted what they “should” do in terms of reporting, seeking help, etc. Ask what they want to do and support them in their decisions.
Be patient. Being assaulted is not only a crime but a severe violation of someone’s trust. It will take time to heal and cope. Recovery can be made easier for the person assaulted if they receive constant support by those around them.
Offer to assist in obtaining medical care.
Encourage the person to seek professional help.
For more information, visit the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault Web site—http://www.wcasa.org
In an effort to support individuals who have been assaulted, to comply with statues on collection and reporting of sexual assaults to decrease crime, these procedures are outlined:
Viterbo students are encouraged to report assaults and seek help from any of the following resources. However, contacting any of the resources below does not mean you must make a formal report.
Student Development Center Staff, 936 Franciscan Way
- Lesley Stugelmayer, Counseling Services, Student Development Center, 608-796-3808
- Diane Brimmer, VP for Student Development, Student Development Center, 608-796-3801
- Sue Danielson, Health Services, Nurse and Educator, Student Development Center, 608-796-3806
Students may also report an assault to any member of the Viterbo faculty or staff, including resident assistants.
The individual who is assaulted may request that the vice president for student development work with other campus staff members to explore alternatives to adjust academic schedules and living arrangements.
Any campus community member who has received a firsthand account of a sexual assault should complete a report form after talking with the person assaulted (not during the conversation). Once the form is completed, deliver it to the vice president for student development.
The confidential forms are used to compile sexual assault statistics that are reported to the federal government annually. Completing the form assists the university in maintaining a safe environment. Forms are available in the Student Development Center, 936 Franciscan Way.
The vice president for student development works in cooperation with other university employees to compile security data necessary for federal reporting requirements.
University personnel are available to initiate contact and arrange a meeting between you and police. A university advocate will accompany you if you prefer.
Viterbo University encourages students, faculty, staff and guests to report all sexual assaults to the police. You may report the assault to the Police without pressing charges. Even if you do not press charges, filing a report is important as it makes law enforcement aware of criminal activity and helps city police make accurate reports to the public on crime in the area.
The number for the La Crosse Police Department is 911 or 608-785-5962.
You are also encouraged to contact any of the off-campus resources listed under Reporting Options for further support and information.
Consequences for Offender
If reported to on-campus officials and the person assaulted chooses to have disciplinary action taken:
When determining the severity of consequences for those committing sexual assault, the circumstances of each incidence are considered by the administration. Students who have committed sexual assault have not only committed a state and federal crime, but have also violated the Code of Student Conduct outlined in the student handbook. The university may impose sanctions for violations of the Code of Student Conduct up to and including expulsion from the university.
When reported to off-campus officials and the person assaulted chooses to press charges:
The following are legal consequences that a person convicted (not charged with) of sexual assault or rape could face in the State of Wisconsin:
First Degree Sexual Assault:
Whoever commits the following can be found guilty of a Class B felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years:
Sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent:
- which causes pregnancy or great bodily harm or,
- accomplished by use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon or,
- while aided or abetted by one or more persons through the use or threat of force or violence.
Second Degree Sexual Assault:
Whoever commits the following can be found guilty of a Class BC felony, which includes fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 10 years.
Sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent:
- through the use or threat of force or violence, or
- which causes injury, illness, disease, or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ, or mental anguish requiring psychiatric care, or
- sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person known by the perpetrator to be unconscious or mentally ill or mentally deficient, or
- sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent while aided or abetted by one or more persons.
Third Degree Sexual Assault:
Whoever commits the following can be found guilty of a Class D felony, which includes fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years.
- Sexual contact involving ejaculation or sexual intercourse with a person without the consent of that person.
Fourth Degree Sexual Assault:
Whoever commits the following can be found guilty of a Class A Misdameanor, which includes fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 9 months.
- Sexual contact with a person without the consent of that person or sexual intercourse with a person 16-17 years old.