For emergencies, always call 911.
Sexual assault will not be tolerated at the University of Michigan. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, call the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) at (734) 763-1131. You also can visit our Sexual Assault Reporting page to learn more about next steps.
Sexual assault facts
- If you are sexually assaulted, you are not to blame, regardless of the circumstances.
- If someone has unwanted sexual contact with you without your consent, this is sexual assault, which is a crime.
- About 90% of sexual assaults on campus involve survivors and perpetrators who knew each other (Fisher, et al, 2000).
- Approximately 50% of reported cases of sexual assault involve alcohol consumption by the survivor, the perpetrator or both (Abbey, et al, 2001).
- Many rapists attack more than once—one unreported assault may allow one or more additional rapes to occur (Lisak, et al, 2002).
For more information about sexual assault, please choose a topic below.
University of Michigan policy states that “Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity. Consent must be voluntarily given and cannot be obtained through coercion or force.”
Additionally, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries. It’s important to recognize that consent:
- Is about communication
- Should be given every time
- Can be withdrawn at any time
Positive consent can look like this:
- Communicating when you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”
- Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.”
- Using physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level.
Consent does NOT look like this:
- Refusing to acknowledge “no.”
- Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting or kissing is an invitation for anything more.
- Being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state.
- Being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol.
- Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation.
- Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past.
While the responsibility and blame for sexual assault lie squarely with the perpetrator, there are proactive steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Party with people you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and plan ahead how you’re getting home. If your plans change, make sure to tell the other people in your group. Don’t leave someone stranded in an unfamiliar or unsafe situation.
- Know your limits. According to the National Institute of Justice, alcohol is the substance most frequently used to facilitate sexual assault. As such, it’s important to know your limits. Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Also be aware of your friends’ behaviors.
- Protect your drink. Don’t leave your drink unattended. If you go to the bathroom or step outside, take the drink with you or throw it away. Drink only from containers that were given to you unopened or drinks you watched being made and poured. Perpetrators of drug-facilitated sexual assault may use substances that have no color, taste or odor.
- It’s okay to leave. You are never obligated to remain in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, pressured or threatened. Excuse yourself from these situations. Potential excuses include: needing to take care of another friend or family member, an urgent phone call, not feeling well or having to be somewhere by a certain time.
- Be a good friend. Trust your instincts and stick together. If you notice something happening with your friend that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
The University of Michigan is committed to getting our students, faculty and staff home safely, even late at night. Learn more about the university’s After Hours Transit Services.
When bystanders take action, sexual assault may be prevented. The U-M’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) lists “The Four D’s,” or strategies for bystander intervention if you notice a situation and interpret it as problematic:
- Direct: directly intervene
- Distract: distract either party
- Delegate: get help from others
- Delay: continue to check in
The key message: If you see something, say something. Take care of your fellow Wolverines.
The Special Victims Unit (SVU) at the University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD) was created to help survivors of interpersonal violence navigate the criminal justice system. Other campus resources include:
A special guide, Our Community Matters, has been developed by the university to help you make decisions about what to do when a sexual assault occurs.
Request a presentation
To request a presentation on sexual assault awareness, please contact DPSS Community Outreach at (734) 763-3434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.