Sexual violence remains a significant risk for college students, especially for women, people of color, and transgender students, and a sexual assault can affect many aspects of a survivor’s life. In addition to experiencing the physical and psychological harm of being raped, student survivors may have a hard time attending classes, keeping up with their coursework, or completing their education.
That is why a federal law, known as Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education, requires schools to take action to protect students who have been raped, and to prevent rape on their campuses. Title IX is not the only law that protects people from sexual assault; there are other laws that protect students who have been raped.
If you have been sexually assaulted on or off campus, you have rights. If you have been sexually assaulted by anyone, whether it be a fellow student, a teacher, or even someone unaffiliated with your school, you have rights. You can decide whether to report the assault and where to report the assault; many people decide not to report at all. Some decide to report the assault to the police; others decide to report only to campus authorities. Whatever you decide to do, you have legal rights.
And, if you have been sexually assaulted, know that you did nothing to deserve it or bring it on yourself. It can be difficult to know how to feel or what to do after a sexual assault. We want you to know that it is NOT your fault. It doesn’t matter where you were, what you were wearing, how much you had to drink, whether you were dating or had previously been intimate with the person who assaulted you.
Having sex with someone without their consent, or when they can’t give their consent, is sexual assault.
This website is a resource for students who have been sexually assaulted at a Washington State college or university, including community colleges and trade schools. It contains information about your legal rights, as well as links to resources that provide emotional support, counseling, and legal help. What you do after a sexual assault is your decision. This guide is not intended to suggest that one response is better than another. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You may wish to talk to an attorney or an advocate for more information about your options.
In 2018, we will add information for students at colleges or universities in the other Northwest states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.
This site was launched in September, 2017. We would appreciate your feedback on how we can make it more useful to you, and whether there are other legal rights questions we can answer for you.
All the props to the fabulous and dedicated Legal Voice volunteers who helped create this guide. We especially appreciate the co-chairs of our work group and lead co-authors, Olivia Ortiz and Alanna Peterson, and all the wonderful members of the workgroup who contributed so much to this project: Holly Brauchli, Emma Breysse, Brittany Gregory, Alexandra Kory, Marti McCaleb, Shana Nishihira, Cassie McMaster, and Evangeline Simmons.