Sexual Assault Essential Information

If you have been sexually assaulted, please click here.

Western Michigan University strives to cultivate a healthy and diverse community that recognizes the value of each individual and helps foster safety, civility and respect for all people. The University encourages all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcome and respectful environment on campus. We affirm the commitment of the University and our community to the values of transparency and timely communication, and accountable and responsible behavior within an ethical, compassionate, diverse and respectful environment. 

The University prohibits sexual or gender-based, harassment or violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking by any member of the University community. All Western Michigan University community members are strongly encouraged to report information regarding any incident of such behaviors directly to the Title IX Coordinator. In addition, many Western Michigan University employees, referred to as Responsible Employees, are required to share information with the Title IX Coordinator, the administrator who oversees this policy and the University's compliance with Title IX and related federal and state laws. 

The University prohibits retaliation against any person or group who makes a good faith complaint, cooperates with an investigation, or participates in a grievance or related processes. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator for investigation, which may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying prohibited conduct. 

How does WMU define sexual assault?

The University prohibits sexual or gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking by any member of the University community. This includes acts committed by or against WMU community members of any gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
WMU Sexual Misconduct Policy

WMU prohibits the following behavior under the University Sexual Misconduct Policy:

  • Sexual and gender-based harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Non-consensual sexual contact
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Harm to others
  • Stalking
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Retaliation

How does Michigan define sexual assault?

Michigan Judicial Institute: Sexual Assault Benchbook

The Michigan Judicial Institute's Sexual Assault Benchbook is a publication designed to assist Michigan trial court judges conduct proceedings involving sexual assault. Incorporating statutory references and case law discussion, topics include crimes involving sexual assault, pretrial and trail procedures, evidentiary issues, sentencing, and the SORA requirements (Michigan Judicial Institute, 2016).

What should you know about sexual assault? 

  • Sexual assault is defined as having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual by force or threat of force; without consent; or where that individual is incapacitated. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration of any gender identity, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact. It is important to note that any form of unwanted sexual contact can be as mentally and emotionally harmful to a survivor as forced sexual intercourse by a stranger, acquaintance, family member, etc.
  • Non-consensual sexual contact is defined as having sexual contact with another individual by force or threat of force; without consent; or where that individual is incapacitated. Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing another to touch one's intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.
  • Retaliation is defined as acts, words or attempts to take adverse action again the complainant, respondent, or any individual or group of individuals because of their good faith complaint or participation in an investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of prohibited conduct. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, including, but not limited to a respondent or complainant. Retaliation can take many forms, including threats, intimidation, pressuring, continued abuse, violence or other forms or harm to others. 
  • If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, you can help . If you are a survivor of sexual assault, remember that you are not alone. There are people who can help you heal. Survivors of sexual assault can experience a range of emotions after being assaulted, including helplessness, anger, rage, depression, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, guilt, despair, numbness, and fear. All survivors will experience a unique set of emotions and should be allowed to heal in the way that is best for them.