Minnesota Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
The purpose of the Minnesota National Guard's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR) is to reinforce the commitment of the Department of Defense in eliminating incidents of sexual assault within the military through a comprehensive policy that centers on awareness, prevention, training, education, and victim advocacy for not only Service members, but their families as well.
Contact InformationSexual Assault Response Coordinator
John J. Thompson
600 Cedar Street
St Paul, MN 55101
Two Types of Reporting
Restricted Reporting - This option is for Service members that want to confidentially disclose the crime to specifically identified individuals (SARC, Victim Advocates or Chaplain) to receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering an investigation.
Unrestricted Reporting - This option is for Service members who want medical treatment, counseling, and an official military or criminal investigation. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate reason to know.
Contact the JFHQ SARC’s office or your unit Victim Advocate for more information.
DoD Safe Helpline
Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community
DoD Safe Helpline is a new crisis support service for adult Service members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one expert advice and information. Available globally 24/7, users can log on to www.SafeHelpline.org to receive live, one-on-one confidential help with a trained professional through a secure instant-messaging format.
A second option is to call the telephone hotline (877-995-5247) to speak with Safe Helpline staff for personalized advice and support. Safe Helpline staff can also transfer callers to installation or base Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs)/On-call Victim Advocates (VAs), civilian rape crisis centers or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The third option is for users to text their location to 55-247 (inside the U.S.) or 202-470-5546 (outside of the U.S.) to receive automated contact information for the SARC at their installation or base.
Resources and Links
Office of Justice - Victim Service Provider Directory
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Impact of Sexual Assault
Symptoms of sexual abuse include:
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Changes in appetite
- Reduced concentration
- Feelings of shame and self-blame
- Excessive concern about security of your environment
- Mood swings
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and enjoyable activities
- Increased use of alcohol, nicotine and other drugs
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the incident
- Feeling sad, lonely, betrayed or hopeless about the future
- Fear of going to places that may cause disturbing memories of the incident
- Feeling numb or disconnected from others, physically and emotionally
Possible Impact on Relationships
Conflicts - Sometimes the sexual assault increases the potential for conflicts between the victim and those closest to him/her. Changes in mood or behavior may occur and friends/relatives may not know how to respond. They may be afraid of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing and make things worse. On the other hand, they may not understand the impact on the victim and have unrealistic expectations on how someone should go through the healing process.
Distancing - Some sexual assault victims feel numb, depressed, or isolated from people they love. Their feelings about what happened can make it hard for them to be close or "emotionally available" to others. This reaction may make victims appear cold or unfeeling to those who care about them. Sometimes alcohol and/or drug abuse becomes a problem for a victim of sexual assault. Friends, family, or co-workers may become angry or impatient with a sexual assault victim for not being his or her "usual self," so they may withdraw from the victim or seem to punish him or her in other ways. Others may try to make the victim "snap out of it," perhaps by smothering him or her with attention and well-intentioned suggestions.
Fear of Intimacy - Sexual assault can make it harder to achieve intimacy. Some victims prefer not to be touched for awhile. This can cause a partner or spouse to feel confused, sad, angry, or hurt. A partner or spouse may also become frustrated by the rejection of their desire to be physically close to the victim. It may take time and professional help for couples to work their way through the effects of the assault and reestablish intimacy.
Reasons for Under-Reporting
Regarding the military, reasons for under-reporting are as follows:
- The belief that nothing will be done
- Fear of being ostracized or ridiculed for coming forward
- Concern about becoming the subject of gossip
- Fear that military career will be harmed
How to Support a Sexual Assault Survivor
No one should try to cope alone. There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted:
- Believe him/her, this is the most important thing you can do
- Don't blame or judge — it is NEVER the fault of the victim
- Be patient and understanding — healing takes time
- Let the survivor talk, but don't force a discussion
- Educate yourself — knowing how she and others may respond to the assault will make you better prepared to assist
- Respect his or her choices, even if they are not the ones you would make
- Demonstrate compassion, acceptance and support
- Help empower them, encourage her/him to make decisions which help to regain control and power over their life
- Validate their emotions as an understandable response to the assault
- Reassure the survivor that he/she did their best to survivor and what was necessary to prevent further harm
- Recognize their strength to survive and heal
- Help her/him to prepare for what lies ahead
- Share your feelings with him/her so that he/she knows they are not alone and have your unconditional love and support
- Ask before touching, some people can't stand a hug , others can't make it without one
It is important to note that sexual assault is an act of violence that affects not only the victim, but also anyone close to them. For this reason it is important that you make your self-care a priority.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. What is sexual assault?
Sexual Assault is a crime. Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Consent should not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Additionally, consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious. Sexual assault includes rape, non-consensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (e.g., unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commits these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.
2. What is “Consent”?
Words or overt acts indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression or lack of consent through words or conduct means there is NO consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the offender’s use of force, threat of force or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating relationship by itself or the manner of dress does not constitute consent being given.
Remember: Consent can’t be given if you are asleep, unconscious or passed out.
3. What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
First, get to a safe place. If you are in need of urgent medical attention, call 911. If you are not injured, you still need medical attention to protect your health. The medical treatment facility offers you a safe and caring place. To protect evidence, it is important that you do not shower, brush your teeth, put on make-up, go to the bathroom, eat, drink or change your clothes until advised to do so. You may report the crime to law enforcement, the SARC or a Unit Victim Advocate (UVA), a Chaplin or to your chain of command –see the reporting options section of this website. If you are uncomfortable reporting the crime contact the SARC, UVA or Chaplin for confidential counseling resources in your area. The SARC or UVA will also assist with explaining your reporting options.
4. What should I do if I know someone who has been sexually assaulted?
As a Guard Member, you should report immediately any activity that indicates a sexual assault may take place or has taken place. You should ensure the victim is safe and show respect. Do not make any judgments, listen and take the allegations seriously. Encourage the victim to report the crime. Protect the victim’s confidentiality by NOT discussing the assault with anyone, except the authorities. Let the victim know they are NOT to blame for their assault!
Remember: The safety of your fellow soldiers and airmen, your unit, and your community may depend on your reporting these incidents. You should report suspicious behavior immediately. Sexual assault can be prevented-when you see or sense the risk of sexual assault, it is your duty to intervene, act and motivate others to stop sexual assaults.
5. Can you be sexually assaulted by someone you know?
YES. Approximately 68% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. You can be sexually assaulted by your husband, partner, relatives, friends and co-workers.
Remember you have the right to say No even if you:
- said yes, but change your mind
- have been kissing or making out
- willingly went to their house or they came to your home
- have had consensual sex previously with this partner
- have been drinking alcohol
- are wearing provocative clothing
*NO means NO Always!
6. Can men be sexually assaulted?
YES. Men may be victims of forcible sodomy or indecent assault. The response of the SARC, UVA, Chaplains, Commanders, and all other resources is the same for any victim, regardless of gender.
7. What is a ‘drug-facilitated Sexual Assault’ and what kind of drugs are used?
It is when a drug is used in a sexual assault to render you very weak, tired or unconscious. When the victim is under the influence of the drug the offender commits the sexual assault. Alcohol is the drug most commonly used to facilitate sexual assault. There are 3 other commonly used drugs; 1. GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid) GHB has a few forms: a liquid with no odor or a white powder and/or a pill, 2.Rohypnol (Roofies) which is a pill that dissolves in liquid, 3. Ketamine is a white powder. All leave you helpless to stop an assault, unable to refuse sex or remember what happened. The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste and are easily added to flavored drinks. Alcohol can worsen the drug’s effects and is the most common ‘date rape drug’. All these drugs metabolize in your system quickly so they are hard to detect. Over the counter cough and sleep medicines are also being used.
Remember: never accept drinks form other people—even trusted friends, don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t share drinks and always open drink containers yourself. Don’t drink anything that tastes or smells strange. Sometimes, GHB tastes salty.
8. How can I reduce my risk of being sexually assaulted?
Be assertive and state what you want or don’t want. ‘No’ means ‘No’. Match your body language and your words-don’t laugh and smile when you are saying ‘No’. Be prepared and always travel with a buddy or stay in a group. Stay sober, half of all sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol by the offender, victim or both. Your best defense is having a clear mind. Never leave your drink unattended. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts-if something feels unsafe, it probably is.
Deployment environments can present special risks. Sleeping areas may be less secure-report any unauthorized personnel in sleeping areas. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Different Cultures may treat females differently than they are treated in the U.S. Be assertive and clearly state if you feel uncomfortable with how someone is treating you. Report any inappropriate behavior to your commander immediately.
*These tips can help reduce your risks of sexual assault, but they can’t completely eliminate the risk. If you say “No” and still feel threatened, leave immediately or call for help!
9. Am I to blame if I was drinking or didn’t fight back?
NO! The responsibility of a sexual assault always lies with the offender-no one can make another person attack him or her by the way they look or act. No one has the right to judge what you did or did not do during an assault or prior to an assault. Many people do not fight back due to fear, shock or the perception that fighting will lead to even greater harm. Anything you did to survive was the right thing to do.
Remember: You are NOT to blame for the sexual assault! Nothing you did or did not do makes you responsible for the crime.