If you have experienced sexual violence, please know that it is not your fault and that you are not alone.
There are many people on and off campus ready and waiting to support you. Staff at the Sexual Violence Resource Center can help explore options and resources available. Behavioral health clinicians at UHCS can also assist in this process. Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a hotline you can access 24 hours a day/7 days a week- 800.841.8371.
After an experience of sexual violence, here are some steps you may want to take:
Seek safety. The most important thing is to find a space where you are safe and away from the perpetrator- your room, a friend’s, a public place, or an office on campus like NUPD.
NUPD is available 24 hours a day. If you feel unsafe, call NUPD immediately at 617-373-3333.
Call someone you trust. A friend, family member, victim advocate, or counselors are good resources. You do not have to go through this alone.
ASAP-Within a week after the assault
Medical treatment is available to you as is help with evidence collection. UHCS can provide medical care Monday-Saturday during business hours- Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8AM-5PM; Tuesday, Thursday 8AM-8PM; Saturday 12PM-4PM (Summer hours may be abbreviated). Local SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) hospitals can provide evidence collection in addition to medical treatment 24 hours a day. Local SANE hospitals include Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Cambridge Hospital. Whether or not you feel comfortable using your insurance, both UHCS and health advocates at local hospitals can make sure your treatment is free of charge.
TYPE OF TREATMENT TIME FRAME WHERE TO ACCESS
If you want to go to a hospital…
NUPD can provide free transportation. They are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. Call 617-373-3333.
What should I bring?
For evidence collection purposes, put any articles of clothing, bedding etc. into a paper bag (if you can). It’s best if you don’t shower, bath, douche, brush your teeth, or throw away clothing because the SANE nurse will best be able to collect evidence that way. BUT do what’s best for you to take care of yourself. Even if you’ve showered or thrown clothes away or it’s been a few days, there can still be evidence to collect.
What do they do during a SANE examination?
With your permission, an examiner may take photos of any marks, collect samples by checking under your finger nails or combing through your hair, do a pelvic exam. You will also have the option to get a toxicology screen done (if you think you may have been given any type of drug), to be tested for STIs, or take pregnancy or HIV prophylaxis. Each part of the process is opt in. The nurse will explain what will happen and ask you at each step of the way if it’s okay to go forward.
Do I have to go alone?
No. You can bring whoever you want with you to the ER. Also, an advocate from Boston Area Rape Crisis Center will meet you at the hospital. If you want, they can also talk you through the process or stay with you during it.
At any time
Consider reporting. Sexual violence, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking are acts of violence not tolerated at Northeastern University. The University recommends that survivors report incidents to NUPD and prosecute the perpetrator in the criminal courts. In cases where the perpetrator is identified as a Northeastern student, the additional option of charging that student under a violation of the Code of Conduct through OSCCR exists.
Learn more about reporting options through the Office for Gender Equity and Compliance. Keep in mind that reporting to the Title IX Coordinator at The Office for Gender Equity and Compliance is not the same as bringing criminal charges with the police (which is another option available to you). It is possible to file an anonymous report with Title IX.
Seek counseling. Healing after an assault is a complex process. Many survivors of sexual assault find it helpful to know that some reactions and symptoms are common and can include symptoms of PTSD. Some of these include- terror, shame, anger, trembling, hyper alertness, numbing out, loss of appetite, avoidance, increased substance use, dissociation, nightmares/sleep disruption, muscle aches and stiffness, fatigue, nervous habits- like nail biting and foot tapping, distrust, guilt, mood swings.
Counseling can help in managing some of these symptoms. UHCS provides individual counseling. BARCC (Boston Area Rape Crisis Center) offers groups for men and women. Check out the website http://www.barcc.org/help/services/groups to see offerings.
Ask for help. The Sexual Violence Resource Center can be a starting point. Staff in the office can help explain the options available to you. Alternatively, you can access services directly from any of the partners. Some of these services include academic accommodations, changes in housing, and no-contact orders. Click here to learn more about what each of the partners can provide.