Auburn University - TITLE IX

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If you have or think you may have experienced sexual misconduct, help is available. It is not your fault, and there are resources on campus and in the community to provide support and help you heal. You also have options for reporting the incident.

Common Responses to Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct of any kind can result in a host of reactions – some are immediate, some can be long term. The variety of reactions may depend on the survivor’s previous life experience, the kind of force used, the relationship of the offender to the survivor, among other factors. Most survivors experience levels of fear, anger, self-blame, depression and anxiety that can be exhibited emotionally, physically and even socially. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating, social withdrawal, nightmares, flashbacks and emotional numbing are all common reactions to sexual misconduct. These reactions are all normal, and you are not alone in experiencing them.

Steps to Consider

You might want to consider the following options as you decide how to proceed.

  • Preserving evidence
    It is important to preserve physical evidence of an assault even if you do not yet know whether you want to report the assault or pursue filing a complaint. Evidence is best collected as soon as possible or at least within 72 hours of the incident. To protect evidence, avoid bathing, brushing teeth, or washing clothing or sheets. If you change clothes, place the clothing along with sheets or other items, in a paper bag and take them to the hospital with you. You can also preserve evidence by saving text messages and other communications that may be useful to investigators.

  • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible
    If you go to an emergency room, the trained professionals can collect necessary physical evidence. Even if you do not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care professionals can treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.

  • Reporting the sexual misconduct
    Although Auburn University strongly encourages all members of the community to immediately report sexual misconduct to law enforcement and the university, you have a choice whether to make such a report, and you can decline to involve the police. Refer to I Want to Report an Incident for more information. An overview of the university’s disciplinary procedures can be found in this document.

  • Seeking other assistance and support
    You may want to seek confidential support. For more information, see I Want to Talk to Someone or Resources for Students.

Last Updated: October 27, 2015