If you were the victim of or a witness to sexual misconduct, you probably have a lot of questions. We have some answers for you.

I was sexually assaulted. What should I do?

Get to a safe, well-lit place where there are other people, preferably those you trust. Then, you should:

  • Call a friend, family member or someone you trust to be with you.
  • Call for help! People who care and will provide you with support and information are available 24 hours a day via Residence Life. You can call our professional staff members at 704–324–1408 or call the Union County Sexual Trauma Hotline at 704–283–7770. Staff members at both centers can help you consider your reporting options, decide what to do next and support you through the process.
  • Do not bathe, douche, brush your teeth, drink, change clothing or even comb your hair before seeking medical attention. It’s natural to want to do so, but you may destroy physical evidence needed if you wish to pursue criminal charges. It’s also beneficial to preserve physical evidence, such as clothing or sheets, if you wish to pursue criminal charges immediately or in the future.
  • Get immediate medical attention. The closest hospital is CMC-Union at 600 Hospital Drive Monroe, NC 28112. Their phone number is 704–283–3100. Evidence collection and emergency treatment are available 24 hours a day at the local emergency rooms. The evidence collection process must be done within 72 hours of the assault. The Health Center can help you with immediate needs or follow-up care. The North Carolina Rape Victims Assistance Program and Crime Victims Compensation Act covers most, if not all, medical costs related to rape.
  • Report the assault. Call Wingate Police at 704–233–5657.
  • Review Wingate’s Survivors’ Information page.

What does “consent” mean?

Wingate University defines consent as the explicit mutual understanding to engage in sexual activity through clear words and/or actions by involved parties. The parties must freely and actively demonstrate their approval to participate in any sexual activity.

How do I report sexual misconduct and Title IX compliance violations?

We encourage you to review our information about how to report sexual misconduct and the official Wingate University Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF). If you have questions, we’re here to help you.

I didn’t resist physically. Does that mean it wasn’t sexual assault?

People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t assault. In fact, many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be expressed by saying “no,” or it can be implied from the circumstances. Examples include if you were under the statutory age of consent, if you had a mental disability or if you were afraid to object because the perpetrator threatened you with serious physical injury.

I thought “no,” but didn’t say it. Was it still assault?

The law will require more information to answer this question. If you didn’t say no because you were scared for your life or safety, then it may be assault. Sometimes it isn’t safe to resist, physically or verbally, such as when someone has a knife or gun to your head or threatens you or your family if you say anything. However, people can absolutely feel assaulted even if when the situation has not met the legal definition.

I used to date the person who assaulted me. Does that mean it wasn’t assault?

Assault can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship, or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It doesn’t matter whether the other person is an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend or a complete stranger, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve engaged in sexual activities in the past. If it is non-consensual this time, it is assault.

I don’t remember the assault. Does that mean I can’t report it?

Just because you don’t remember being assaulted doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of drugs given to people to lower their inhibitions and from excessive drinking. That said, without clear memories, it may be difficult to pursue legal charges. Staff from the Office of Residence Life, Wingate Police or the Union County Sexual Trauma Hotline can offer more guidance.

I was asleep or unconscious when it happened. Does that mean it wasn’t assault?

Assault can happen even if you’re unconscious or asleep. And if you were asleep or unconscious, then you didn’t give consent, which means it’s assault.

I was drunk and/or the other person involved was drunk. Does that mean it wasn’t assault?

Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse or an alibi. The key question is did you consent or not? Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is non-consensual, it is assault. If you were so drunk or drugged that you passed out and were unable to consent, it is assault.

I was in violation of Wingate University’s Drug and Alcohol Policy at the time. Can I still report the incident?

Yes, you can report sexual misconduct even if you were in violation of our drug and alcohol policy at the time. Wingate University takes sexual misconduct and Title IX compliance very seriously. We want your voice to be heard, and we want to get you the support you need. That’s why we provide complainants and third-party witnesses under the influence of drugs or alcohol amnesty in sexual misconduct cases. You won’t be subject to disciplinary action from the university for consumption of drugs and/or alcohol near or at the time of the incident, as long as these violations didn’t endanger the health or safety of someone else. Wingate University may, however, address the violation via educational discussion or intervention. Amnesty is only extended for violations of the drug and alcohol policy, and it does not preclude or prevent action by legal authorities.

Do I need an attorney for my sexual misconduct or Title IX case?

The complainant and accused are both responsible for representing themselves throughout the case. However, Wingate University encourages you to have an adviser throughout the process, such as a faculty or staff member, parent or mentor. Lawyers are only permitted to act as a mentor in cases regarding sexual misconduct and cannot represent you in the investigation or hearing process.

Your Title IX Coordinator

In accordance with federal regulations, we have dedicated a Title IX Coordinator responsible for the administration and implementation of Wingate University’s Title IX compliance efforts. If you have Title IX questions, complaints or concerns, please contact:

Patrick Biggerstaff
Title IX Coordinator
Director of Operations
Campus Services
315 E. Wilson Street
Wingate, NC 28174
704–233–8247

Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX may be referred to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR ensures institutions receiving federal funding comply with Title IX regulations.

When to Contact Your Title IX Coordinator

If you feel you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment, misconduct, assault or violence or sex discrimination, we encourage you to reach out. That goes for students, faculty, staff, visitors and applicants for admission or employment. Federal and state laws prohibit retaliation against individuals who file a complaint in good faith or participate in an investigation involving an alleged Title IX violation.

Title IX Resources

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against or are a victim of sexual harassment, we’re here to help. In addition to your Title IX coordinator, you can contact:

  • Campus Safety 704–233–8999
  • Dean of Students 704–233–8242
  • Office of Human Resources 704–233–8710
  • Police (Emergency) 911
  • Residence Life 704–233–8247
  • Wingate Police (Non-emergency) 704–233–5657