What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
Get away from your attacker and go to a safe place as soon as possible. Call 911 or Public Safety.
Preserve evidence. To assist in proving that the sexual assault occurred, it is important to preserve evidence. If you want evidence collected, do not bathe, shower, brush your teeth, or go to the bathroom. Also, do not change your clothes. If you have changed clothing since the incident, put the clothing you had on at the time of the assault in a clean paper bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).
Seek medical attention to assess and treat any injuries, screen for pregnancy and any sexually transmitted infections, and collect evidence (if you consent to do so).
Seek assistance from friends and family. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support; feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. Call a trusted friend or family member or contact one of the on- and off-campus resources.
Talk with the Title IX Coordinator about your options for reporting an incident. The Title IX Coordinator can review your options and inform you of or connect you to appropriate on- and off-campus support services. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will provide you information regarding how to file a Title IX complaint through the University or a criminal complaint through local law enforcement (you have the right to decide whether to notify law enforcement authorities).
In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will implement appropriate “interim measures,” if necessary. Interim measures are steps taken that:
- Allow you to have equal access to the university’s educational program and activities
- Protect you; and/or
- Protect the safety of the university community.
Interim measures typically are put into place when an individual notifies the university of possible sexual harassment and remain in place throughout the internal Title IX investigation. Interim measures may be available even if you choose not to file or pursue a complaint.
Interim measures include, but are not limited to:
- Issuing a no-contact order
- Imposing interim suspension
- Changing housing assignments
- Changing course schedules, and
- Providing an escort
See below for additional information regarding sexual assault:
What should I do when seeking medical attention?
If you do decide to seek medical attention:
- Contact the emergency room at Cambridge Hospital: 617.665.1429, 193 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 617.754.2323, 190 Pilgrim Road, Boston, MA 02215.
- Call in advance and request a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a nurse who is specially trained to collect evidence. Evidence can be collected up to 96 hours after the incident.
- If you have changed clothing since the incident, take the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean paper bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).
- If you have not changed clothes, take a change of clothes with you to the hospital.
- You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. If you would like someone from Lesley’s staff to accompany you to the hospital, contact Public Safety at 617.349.8888 and ask them to contact the Dean of Student Life and Academic Development.
- If you go to the hospital, the police will be called but you are not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Collecting evidence will not obligate you to any course of action but can assist the authorities in pursing criminal changes should you decide to do so, now or at a later date.
What should I do if I want the sexual assault to remain confidential?
Professional staff members at Lesley’s Counseling Center and Health Services will not, with limited exceptions, share your information without your permission. Other university staff members and faculty members will keep information as private as possible, but must share information about any possible sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator. Sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator is important to: 1) take appropriate steps for the safety of the university community; 2) provide assistance to the individual reporting the sexual misconduct; and 3) allow the university to track trends.
In some instances, the university can speak with the accused party without mentioning the name of the individual making the allegations or moving forward with a formal complaint. In other cases, issues of confidentiality must be balanced against the university’s need to investigate and to take appropriate action.
If an individual requests that his or her name not be revealed to the alleged perpetrator, or asks that the school not investigate and the university determines that it can honor that request, the university’s ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator, may be limited.
What should I do if I want to pursue a university investigation?
When Lesley receives a complaint, the institution is obligated by law to investigate the matter, and will promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate complaints in a fair and expeditious manner. Lesley investigates to determine what happened, whether the university’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy was violated, and then take appropriate steps, if any. For detailed information on the procedure, please review Lesley University's Complaint Resolution Procedures.
What should I do if I want to report the sexual assault to local law enforcement?
Reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence may be made to the Cambridge Police Department or the Boston Police Department by calling 911.
What is retaliation?
- Retaliation is any adverse action, such as harassment, that is made against a person because he/she made a complaint or participated in a university investigation or lawsuit. Retaliation also is any action that is made against an individual because he/she has a reasonable objection to an act, policy, or practice believed in good faith to constitute a violation of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy or relevant law.
- Retaliation is prohibited by Lesley University.
- Any student found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
- Any employee found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
What should I do if someone retaliates against me?