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 Information
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
600 Cedar Street
Room 177
St Paul, MN 55101

Call or text: 612-208-5299

Hotline: 888-282-4858

Email: krista.m.sheridan.civ@army.mil

Two Types of Reporting

Restricted Reporting – This option is for Service members who 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 an official need to know.

Contact the JFHQ SARC’s office, your unit’s SARC, or your unit Victim Advocate, for more information.

DoD Safe Helpline

Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community

The DOD Safe HelpLine is a 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 and available globally 24/7, users can log on to www.SafeHelpLine.org to receive live, one-on-one confidential help from 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 (988).

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.

Additional Resources and Links

Additional Resources and Links

Office of Justice – Victim Service Provider Directory
Victim Service Directory – Sorted by County.pdf (mn.gov)

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
Military – National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (ncdsv.org)

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

Potential Impacts of Sexual Assault

  • 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
  • Changes in relationships (such as increased conflicts, distancing, and decreased or increased intimacy)
  • Other biological, psychological, and emotional responses

The Choice to not Report

Inregard to the military demographic, reasons for under-reporting include:
  • Recalling a sexual assault can be upsetting and painful and, if met with an unsupportive response, can risk re-traumatization.
  • Many survivors grapple with various feelings. They may feel shame or guilt, and that feeling can be amplified as the assault is disclosed. Some survivors may feel a sense of judgement, blame, or disbelieved. Survivors may also have numerous fears, including a fear of retribution, a negative response from others and authorities, ostracization, and not being believed. Some survivors may feel alone and confused about why they were the target of assault and are working to rationalize the event. Survivors may worry that disclosure will jeopardize their military career
  • Military and civilian response options may be daunting to survivors.
  •  Some survivors have been groomed and made to believe they are to blame and therefore they don’t accurately identify what was done to them

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 them – 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 the victim and others may respond to the assault will make you better prepared to assist
  • Respect their choices, even if they are not the ones you would make
  • Demonstrate compassion, acceptance, and support
  • Help empower them, encourage decisions which help them regain control and power over their life
  • Validate their emotions as an understandable response to the assault
  • Reassure the survivor they did their best to survivor and only did what was necessary to prevent further harm
  • Recognize their strength to survive and heal
  • Help them to prepare for what lies ahead
  • Ask before touching – some people can’t stand a hug; others can’t make it without one

It is important to note sexual assault is an act of violence effecting not only the victim, but also those close to them. For this reason, it is important both victims and their supporters prioritize self-care.


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 regardless of gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.

2. What is “Consent”?

Consent is 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 or the manner of dress does not constitute consent being given.

Remember: Consent can’t be given if you are asleep, unconscious or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

An easy way to understand what consent is, and isn’t, is through the acronym: FRIES

  • Freely given, Reversible (at any time), Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific.
3. What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

First, get to a safe place. If you need urgent medical attention, call 911. If you are not physically injured, you might still need medical attention to protect your health (STIs and pregnancy are two examples of commonly assessed health concerns). The medical treatment facility offers you a safe and caring place. In MN, the exam fee is paid for by the state. To protect evidence, it is important you try not to shower, brush your teeth, put on make-up, go to the bathroom, eat, drink, or change your clothes until advised to do so. However, you can still receive care if you have done any of those things. You may report the crime to law enforcement, and/or speak confidentially with a SARC, Victim Advocate (VA), or a Chaplain. The SARC, VA or Chaplain can help you identify additional confidential resources in your area. The SARC or VA will also assist with explaining your reporting options.

4. What should I do if I know someone who has been sexually assaulted?

You should ensure the victim is safe and show respect. Do not make any judgments, listen, and take the disclosure seriously. Let the victim know they are NOT to blame for their assault.  Protect the victim’s confidentiality by NOT discussing the assault with anyone (there is an exception to this if you are a mandatory reporter; contact your SARC).

Remember: The safety of your fellow soldiers and airmen, your unit, and your community may depend on your intervention. Sexual assault can be prevented when we CARE (Confront the situation, Alert others, Redirect Attention, Engage Peers). It is your duty to intervene, act and motivate others to stop sexual assaults.

5. What are some challenges to intervening against SA?
  • The greatest specific barrier to effective upstander intervention is the potential for and fear of negative emotions and feelings of uncertainty after engaging in upstander behaviors.
    • Simply put… “If I speak up, what will people think of me?”
  • Another very common reason upstanders often fail to act is because they feel they have less responsibility to act than someone, or another group of people, who may also be in the area. 
  • When it comes to overcoming these common challenges to intervening, remember to CARE – “Confront the situation, Alert others, Redirect Attention, Engage Peers”.  This method can be used by upstanders to help diffuse and deescalate a situation before something bad happens.  Remember, if you see something – DO SOMETHING!! 
6. Who poses the greatest risk, strangers, or those we know?

Approximately 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. You can be sexually assaulted by your partner, relatives, friends, or co-workers.

Remember you have the right to say “No” even if you:

  • Said yes, but change your mind
  • Are engaging in foreplay
  • Went to their house or they came to yours
  • You are in a consensual sexual relationship with this person
  • Have been drinking alcohol, or
  • Wore provocative clothing
  • *NO Always Means NO!

7. Can men be sexually assaulted?

YES. According to the CDC, “About 1 in 3 men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Men can be victims of sexual assault, including forcible sodomy and indecent exposure. The response of the SARC, VA, Chaplains, Commanders, and all other resources is the same for all victim, regardless of gender

8. What is a ‘drug-facilitated Sexual Assault’?

It is when a drug is used as a tool to perpetrate a sexual assault in order to render victims very weak, tired, or unconscious and incapable of providing CONSENT. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug to facilitate sexual assault.

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 someone 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. Everything 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.

10. Important Points of Contact:

MNNG SAPR 24/7 Hotline:  888-282-4858

DoD Safe Helpline:  877-995-5247

Suicide and Crisis LifeLine:  988