Sexual violence remains a significant risk for college students, especially for women, people of color, and transgender students. Sexual assault can affect many aspects of a survivor’s life. In addition to experiencing the physical and psychological harm of sex crimes, student survivors may struggle to attend classes, keep up with coursework, or complete their education.
Title IX, a federal law which prohibits sex discrimination in education, exists to prevent and address the issues experiencing a sex crime can cause. Title IX requires schools to take action to protect students who have experienced sex crimes that happen on campus or at a school-affiliated event. Title IX is not the only law that protects people from sexual assault; there are other laws that protect student survivors of sex crimes.
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. You may 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 is best for you, you have legal rights to take action.
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 does not matter where you were, what you were wearing, or 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 cannot give their consent, is sexual assault.
This website is a resource for students who have been sexually assaulted at a 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 last updated in May of 2021. We would appreciate your feedback on how we can make it more useful to you, and whether there are other 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.