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Counseling and Psychological Services

Sexual assault, unwanted sex, and sexual exploitation are more common than you might think. Although the most frequent scenario is that of a male perpetrator and female victim, males are also sexually assaulted and same-sex sexual assaults do occur.

One in every 4 or 5 women will be the victim of a completed or attempted sexual assault while attending college. Nineteen percent of female and 6% of male undergraduate students report being sexually assaulted since entering college.

Help after an incident

You can talk to a counselor at WSU Counseling & Testing Services to discuss options. You will be treated with dignity and your choices will be respected. Talking with a counselor is confidential unless you are under 18 years of age. Call 509-335-4511 during business hours. On evenings, weekends or holidays call 509-335-2159.Below is a list of options available to you.

Immediately after an incident:

  • If you are in danger or feel unsafe, call 911.
  • You can have a gynecological exam to ensure that you do not have any injuries.
  • You may be given preventative medication for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Emergency contraception (morning after pill) is available at pharmacies without a prescription. You must show an ID (driver’s license, passport) verifying you are 17 or over as of 6/2013.
  • If you are considering pressing charges in the criminal court system, you will need to have a forensic exam (also called a rape kit) as soon as possible. An advocate from Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse (ATVP) can come to the exam or talk to you on the phone or in person about the exam. You can have a forensic exam at Health and Wellness Services or Pullman Regional Hospital. More information on what to expect from a forensic exam can be found here.
  • If you are not sure yet whether you want to press charges, Health and Wellness Services can have the evidence held while you make up your mind. You have up to one year to decide whether to press charges.
  • You can talk to a WSU Counselor to discuss your options at 509-335-4511 from 8 am to 5 pm M-F; at 509-335-2159 after 5 pm and weekends and holidays. Someone is always available to talk to you.
  • You can talk to an advocate at Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse – 24 hour hotline at 509-332-4357.

Any time after an incident:

  • Counseling – You can come to walk-in hours at WSU Counseling and Testing Services and you will meet with a counselor who will be sensitive to your concerns. You can call in advance or speak to a counselor on the phone.
  • Medical exam – You can be seen at Health & Wellness Services to have a gynecological exam or to discuss treatment or screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections.
  • Student Conduct Complaint – You can make a complaint with the WSU Office of Student Conduct to have a Student Conduct hearing against the perpetrator if they are a WSU student. If the perpetrator is a WSU employee, you can make a complaint with the Office for Equal Opportunity.
  • Help with academics – You can get help with academics such as extended deadlines, notification to faculty that you will be absent from class, or other accommodations. Contact WSU Counseling Services for help with this.
  • Need to move because you want to avoid seeing the perpetrator? If you live in a residence hall or on-campus apartment, contact WSU Counseling Services for help. If you live in an off-campus apartment, contact Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse for help.

Confidentiality
If you do not want an investigation by WSU that may result in a Student Conduct Hearing, make sure you understand which resources are confidential. A full list of confidential and non-confidential resources can be found on the Office for Equal Opportunity website.

For more information, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at Counseling & Psychological Services at 509-335-4511.

Understanding the aftereffects

It is normal to experience troubling thoughts, feelings and symptoms as a result of coercive sexual experiences (not just rape), including:

  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Feelings of fear and anxiety
  • Feelings of distrust and betrayal
  • Nightmares and bad dreams
  • Loss of energy
  • Depression
  • Feelings of being powerless and helpless
  • Thoughts of self-blame and shame
  • Feelings of being degraded and inferior
  • Intrusive unwelcome memories
  • Flashbacks
  • Spacing out or loss of ability to concentrate
  • Anger and irritability

50% of sexual assault victims naturally improve in three weeks. Healing takes time. There are effective therapies when symptoms do not decrease on their own. Counseling can help.

How to help a friend

Listen. Believe. Hearing about sexual assault can be difficult. It is okay if you do not know what to say. You can be very helpful to a survivor if you remain calm, non-judgmental, and just listen.

  • Let the individual tell you about the assault on his/her terms. Avoid asking a lot of questions.
  • Let the individual know that you believe him/her. Fear of not being believed is a concern expressed by many survivors.
  • Accept the seriousness of the situation. Being sexually assaulted is traumatic.
  • Commend the survivor for talking and reaching out for help. Talking about the assault is often a big step.
  • Assure survivors that they are not to blame for the assault. Survivors often have deep feelings of guilt or shame about the assault.
  • Listen to what the survivor tells you. Sometimes assault victims just need to talk. Listening can be a great gift you give to the survivor.
  • Refrain from giving advice. Each person needs to figure out what works for her/him on their own.
  • Allow the survivor the freedom to choose when, where and how to talk about the trauma and also let the survivor choose what to do about the assault.
  • Be patient. Recovery from rape trauma is slow. Let the person proceed at her/his own pace.
  • Respect the privacy of the survivor.
  • If the survivor wants to know where to turn for help, know what resources are available.

Resources

WSU and Community Departments, Programs and Organizations
The Office for Equal Opportunity maintains a comprehensive list of confidential and non-confidential resources. Health & Wellness Services has more information on prevention efforts.Books