How to Get Help
If you are a victim of sexual harassment involving sexual intercourse or contact, we encourage you to do the following:
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not wash clothes or use the toilet. Put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper bag, not in a plastic bag.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. A medical examination will provide any necessary treatment and collect important evidence. Injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Talk with a counselor if you would like to maintain confidentiality. On campus, you can call Counseling Services at 757.455.3131. In addition to counselors, the University Chaplain and personnel in the Student Health Center are confidential employees. When Counseling Services is closed, a University counselor is on-call and may be reached by either Campus Security or the Office of Residence Life; you only need to say that you would like to speak with the counselor on call.
- Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA at 757.226.9922 is a local organization that is available on a 24-hour basis and can provide sexual assault advocacy, counseling, and information and education. Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA has an agreement with the University to assist any VWU student, faculty or staff member who has been sexually assaulted. On-campus, the Victim and Survivor Support Specialist is specially trained and available to respond to incidents involving sexual assault, 757.455.3131.
- You may contact someone you trust, such as a close friend, to be with you and support you.
- You may contact the local police department by calling 911.
- You may contact Campus Security by calling 8888 (from a campus phone) or 757.233.8888.
On campus, a blue light emergency phone will connect you directly to the Campus Security dispatcher.
- You may contact one of VWU’s DTIX Coordinators, of which there are four. They can talk with you about your options on campus and refer you to resources available on campus. However, these individuals are responsible for initiating the investigatory process. Should you wish for the matter to remain confidential, consider contacting Counseling Services, the University Chaplain, or Student Health Center.
Past Abuse. Many individuals experience sexual misconduct and do not tell anyone about it at the time of the incident. If you were victimized weeks ago or even years ago, assistance is still available. Talking with someone now may help you better cope with abuse from the past.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Victims. The University prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The University uses the same process to respond to and investigate reports by or involving members of the LGBTQ community.
The University prohibits all sexual misconduct, including sexual misconduct directed at LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff. LGBTQ victims at the University receive the same services and support. Emotional support, counseling, and medical treatment are available to assist any individuals recovering from sexual misconduct.
Male Victims. Records show that most victims of sexual misconduct are women; however, it is important to know that men can also be victims. Male victims at VWU receive the same services and support, as do female victims. Emotional support, counseling, and medical treatment are available to assist any individuals recovering from sexual misconduct.
Medical Treatment. It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons:
- To assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained.
- To determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures.
- To gather evidence that may aid criminal prosecution. Physical evidence should be collected immediately—ideally within the first 24 hours. It may be collected later, but the quality and quantity of evidence may be diminished.
Immediate Emergency Services. A special hospital exam (PERK: Physical Evidence Recovery Kit) should be performed by an emergency department. VWU students can receive the exam at the following hospitals:
- Sentara Leigh Memorial Hospital Emergency Department
830 Kempsville Road
Norfolk VA 23502
- Sentara Independence Emergency
800 Independence Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Emergency Department*
600 Gresham Drive
Norfolk, VA 23507
*The Forensic Nurse Examiners Program is based out of the Emergency Department at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Forensic Nurse Examiners are Registered Nurses specializing in providing immediate, comprehensive medical-forensic examinations and evidence collection to survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The Forensic Nurse Examiners Program can be reached directly at 757.388.2443.
Hospital emergency departments follow national standards for survivor care, sexual misconduct exams, and evidence collection procedures. As long as you do not present your insurance card and are at least 18 years of age, your parents will not be notified. Should you choose, you could remain anonymous in order to report and receive care—just inform the triage nurse of your request for anonymity upon your arrival to an emergency room. You likely will not be billed for treatment depending on other medical attention needed. Consider speaking with a counselor to discuss your options.
At the hospital, you may choose to undergo a PERK exam even if you are unsure whether you want to report the sexual misconduct to the police and want time to think about it. If you choose to report anonymously, hospital authorities will collect the evidence without revealing your identity to the authorities.
Arrangements for forensic examinations can also be made through Sexual Assault Support
Services of the YWCA or Chesapeake Forensics, which are the local sexual assault and
advocacy programs. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE Nurses can be contacted through their 24-Hour emergency hotline at 757.398.5105.
Counseling and Emotional Support
- On-Campus. You may reach Counseling Services by calling 757.455.5730 or 757.455.3131 or the University Chaplain by calling 757.455.3400 during regular office hours. Counseling Services also maintains an on-call schedule for emergencies and may be reached through Campus Security at 757.455.3349 or by contacting the Office of Residence Life. Counselors in this office are available to assist in a crisis and to provide you with any information about your options including medical assistance, psychological counseling, University disciplinary procedures, and legal prosecution.
These counselors can provide safe, confidential support for you during this difficult period. They can inform you of common reactions to crises and discuss coping methods that may assist you immediately following the misconduct and later.
Talking about your concerns with one of these individuals may help you sort through feelings and decide what to do. You do not need to disclose your name if you call for information and they will not reveal your identity to anyone without your permission.
- Off-Campus. Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA at 757.226.9922 is a local organization that is available on a 24-hour basis and can provide sexual assault advocacy, counseling, and information and education. Sexual Assault Support Services of the YWCA has an agreement with the University to assist any VWU student, faculty or staff member who has been sexually assaulted.
Transportation. Campus Security or the Office of Residence Life are always available to transport victims of sexual misconduct to the hospital. To arrange transportation, call Campus Security at their emergency number 757.233.8888 or the regular number, 757.455.3349 and indicate your need for immediate assistance. You may say you are a VWU student and not provide your name if you so choose.
Non-Emergency Medical Procedures. Even if you choose not to have a hospital exam, it is still important to get medical attention. An exam, in these instances, may include treatment of any physical problems and arrangement of lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy. Any non-emergency treatment can be arranged on campus by calling the Student Health Center at 757.455.3108 and making an appointment.
Reporting to Local Police. It is also appropriate to involve the local police if you choose to do so. A student may contact the Virginia Beach Police Department by dialing 911, or if it is not an emergency, by calling their non-emergency phone number at 757.385.5000.
A student may also wish to contact the Victim Assistance Program at 757.385.4401, located in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
Reporting an incident is a separate step from choosing to prosecute. When you file a report, you are not required to continue with legal proceedings.
By reporting to the police, you help to:
- Warn future victims.
- Apprehend the accused individual.
- Bring awareness to the community.
- Maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, University Arbitration, and/or civil action against the accused individual.
When you report the incident, a local police officer will talk to you about the events and may take notes during the conversation. You will be asked to remember, to the best of your ability, any information that may help to identify the accused individual, to include their physical descriptions (i.e., clothing, hair color, etc.). You may be asked questions about the location(s) of the incident, whether there are any other witnesses, and what happened before and after the incident. Many people are afraid to report alcohol or drug use to the police; however, it is important that your investigator know all the relevant facts (Please know that the University will extend limited immunity from its own judicial sanctioning for illegal alcohol use to victims, witnesses, and other individuals reporting incidents and/or assisting victims of sexual misconduct). The police officers and investigators are trained to handle your information with sensitivity, privacy, and respect.
The police officer will create a written report, which is important should you wish to bring charges, immediately or later.
Criminal Investigation and Charges. If you choose to pursue criminal charges in your case, your assigned investigator will be available to assist you in understanding and following through with this process. The case itself will come under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Beach courts. The Commonwealth Attorney will handle the criminal proceedings and will need to speak with you regarding your case. You may also wish to speak with your personal or family attorney for legal advice.
University Disciplinary Procedures. If you are considering formal action after an incident of sexual harassment, you are encouraged to consult the VWU Title IX Coordinator or one of VWU’s Deputy Title IX Coordinators. They can review the Title IX inquiry procedures and the procedures followed by the University's Arbitration System.
How to help a Victim
Tend to needs. Medical attention, safety, and support are important needs.
Believe them. Being believed is the most important factor in recovery.
No more violence. Threatening to harm “the person who did this” will only make the victim feel afraid.
Provide comfort. They need to know they are valued and important.
Listen. Let them get it all out before you talk. Avoid “why” questions and suggestions.
Give control. They need to regain a feeling of control in their life. Accept their decisions even if you disagree. Ask before you touch.Be aware of your limitations. Recovery can be a long process. Utilize the resources on and off campus to support yourself and the victim.