Frequently Asked Questions:

ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT

Where Can I Purchase Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is commonly available at sporting goods stores  University Police recommend that anyone wishing to purchase pepper spray contact them at 789-9999 to learn about proper use. 

Where Can I Learn Self-Defense?

University Police periodically offer this training.  Contact them at 789-9999 for more information.  You can also look in the Yellow Pages for businesses in the area that offer self-defense classes.

Is It True That You Can't Be Ticketed For Underage Drinking If You Report A Sexual Assault That Happened When You Were Drinking?

Most law enforcement agencies and prosecutors prefer to treat this issue on a case-by-case basis.  While there is no guarantee that you won't receive a ticket, the primary concern is that you get help.  In many cases, no ticket is issued to someone who has been the victim of a crime such as sexual assault while they were under the influence of alcohol. 

How Can I Help A Victim of Sexual Assault?
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help.  The UW-L Violence Prevention Office is a good place to start:  (608) 785-5126, ipeterson@uwlax.edu, http://www.uwlax.edu/violenceprevention  The VPO is located in 149 Graf Main Hall.
  • Be there and listen.  Do not be judgmental.  Remember--the person who was assaulted is not at fault.
  • Do not tell the person who was assaulted what they "should" do in terms of reporting, seeking help, etc.  Ask what they want to do and support them in their decisions.
  • Be Patient.  Being assaulted is not only a crime, but a severe violation of someone's trust.  It will take time to heal and cope.  Recovery can be made easier for the person assaulted if they receive constant support by those around them.
  • Offer to assist and/or accompany them to obtain medical care.

My Friend Was Sexually Assaulted Recently, But Doesn't Want To Report The Assault To Police.  What Should I Do?

It is not necessary to report an assault to the police in order to receive services.  Many victims are reluctant to report, and need time to think about this very important decision.  Many never report to the police, yet they still have many options for dealing with the stress and anxiety that often follow an assault.  Contact one of the following places for free, confidential assistance:

Resources
On Campus:
  • Ingrid Peterson, Sexual Assault Victim Advocate and Prevention Specialist, 785-8062, 149 Graff Main Hall
  • Student Life Office, 785-8062, 149 Graff Main Hall
  • Student Health Center, 785-8558, 1030 Health Science Center
  • Counseling & Testing Center, 785-8073, 2106 Centennial Hall
  • University Police, Emergency: 789-9999, Non-Emergency: 789-9000

24 Hour Resources

  • Great Rivers - Crisis Hotline, 211 or 1-800-362-8255 (24 hours)
  • Mayo Clinic Health System, 608-392-7804 or (800) 362-5454, X7804
  • Gundersen Lutheran, 608-775-5950
  • La Crosse City Police, Emergency: 911, Non-Emergency: 785-5962

ABOUT RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE

  • Is It True That If The Police Respond To A Domestic Violence Call They Must Arrest Someone, So They Usually Just Arrest The Male?

This is not true.   According to Wisconsin law, police must make an arrest in domestic violence cases if  they have probable case to believe that a crime has occurred, and then they are to arrest the person whom they believe was the predominant physical aggressor in the incident.

  • If Someone Is Experiencing Violence And/Or Abuse In A Relationship, Why Don't They Just Leave?

Leaving a relationship, even when there's violence, is a highly personal and difficult decision.  Many victims don't want to end the relationship, they just want the violence to stop.  Some victims will never leave.  This does not mean that they do not deserve help and support for what they are experiencing.  See the answer to the next question for some ways that you can be supportive to someone who is in an abusive relationship.

  • I Think My Friend Is In A Relationship That's Violent Or May Become Violent.  How Can I Help?

Listen.  Show support.  Don't blame them for what is happening to them.  Tell them you are worried about them and ask how you can help.

Encourage them to seek help, and help them obtain information about available resources both on-and-off campus.

Don't tell the person what they "should" do and be patient.  Those in abusive situations are already being told what to do by their abusers and are not allowed to make decisions on their own.  Support their decisions on what to do.

Avoid confronting the abuser.  It could be dangerous not just for you but for the person being abused.

Find someone you can talk to.  Helping someone who is being abused can be frustrating and hard to understand.  Being able to talk to someone else about the situation will make you a better source of support.

For Help in developing a Safety Plan, contact the Violence Prevention Office (608-785-5126, OR ipeterson@uwlax.edu)

 

ABOUT STALKING

  • What's The Best Advice For Someone Who Is Being Stalked?

Contact the police.

Don't communicate with the stalker, or respond to attempts to contact you.

Keep evidence of the stalking--note dates, times, places, and methods of contact.

Tell roommates, friends, family, co-workers about the unwanted contact. 

For Help in developing a Safety Plan, contact the Violence Prevention Office (608-785-5126, OR ipeterson@uwlax.edu)

  • How can I Help Someone Who Is Being Stalked?

Listen.  Show support.  Don't blame them for what is happening to them.  Tell them you are worried about them and ask how you can help.

Encourage them to seek help, and help them obtain information about available resources both on-and-off campus.

Don't tell the person what they "should" do and be patient.  Support their decisions on what to do.

Avoid confronting the stalker.  It could be dangerous not just for you but for the person being stalked.