Sexual assault is a serious problem on United States college campuses and one of the most under-reported crimes. Too often, victims feel shame, humiliation, guilt, or fear they will not be believed. Far worse and most inappropriately, they may fear they will have blame placed upon them for what has happened. A December 2005 study from the National Institute of Justice reports that nearly 3% of all college women become the victim of rape (either completed or attempted) each nine month academic year. In nearly 80 to 90 percent of cases reported, the victim and assailant knew each other. NIJ Report Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It
UMPD urges anyone who has been sexually assaulted on University property to contact us immediately at 612-624-COPS or 911 from any campus phone to make a police report and have your case investigated. Responding officers will assist you in a supportive and non-judgmental manner and forward your case to UMPD investigators who will conduct a follow up investigation and submit the case to the prosecutor’s office if sufficient evidence is collected. To maximize the possibility of a successful investigation and prosecution, the sooner a report is made and physical evidence is collected and preserved, the better.
The officers of UMPD understand that not all victims are ready or willing to participate in a police investigation. We encourage persons to seek additional assistance through other campus resources for help if police assistance is uncomfortable to initiate.
The Aurora Center provides support and assists victims with recovery and advocacy. The Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity investigates violations of the Student Conduct Code when they are reported to their office.
If the offense did not take place on campus and you are unsure who to contact, UMPD or the Aurora Center can assist you in making the appropriate contacts.
While there is no absolute way to prevent becoming a victim of a crime (keeping in mind it is the actions and decisions of the perpetrator that ultimately create a potential victim), there are steps you can take to minimize your risks. These steps include:
- Do not walk alone at night.
- Attend and leave parties with the same group of people.
- If you leave a social setting, let friends know where you are going.
- Do not leave beverages unattended. Unattended beverages could be drugged.
- If drinking alcohol, know your limits. Be prepared to watch out for friends who may not know the own limits.
- Participate in Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Training offered by UMPD or similar self defense/awareness courses.