In case of sexual assault:
Go to a Safe Place
Immediately after an assault, one of the first concerns should be to get out of physical danger. Go to a safe place, such as a friend's room, the Student Health and Counseling Services during weekday business hours, or the Office of Public Safety anytime, both in Heubeck Hall. Call Public Safety (410 337-6111). Call someone who can support you: your family, a friend, your CA, etc. TurnAround is Baltimore County's sexual assault and domestic/dating violence service. You can reach their 24-hour hotline at 443-279-0379.
Get Medical Attention Whether You Report to Police or Not
If you choose to report to the police, you may be asked to have a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) performed at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Better evidence will be collected if you do not shower, bathe, go to the bathroom, douche, smoke, eat, drink, brush teeth or hair or change clothes between the time of the incident and the time of the SAFE exam. You should bring a change of clothes including underwear. If you let Public Safety or Residential Life know that you are going to the hospital a Residential Life Coordinator will meet you at the ER. The department of Public Safety can provide transportation to the hospital for a SAFE exam.
Even if you are undecided as to whether to report to police, you can have evidence collected in a SAFE exam. The evidence will be held under an assigned name for some period of time, giving you an opportunity to decide. The nearest location at which you can have a SAFE exam is Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) here in Towson. A SAFE exam can also be done at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore City.
If you do not choose to report to police, it is important for you to have a medical examination to check for physical injuries, the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy as a result of the sexual assault. For this, you can choose to go to Goucher College Student Health and Counseling Services which is staffed weekdays from 9 am until 5 pm. You will be examined by a nurse practitioner who will assess your injuries if any, provide emergency contraception, and test for STDs. The Health Services is not able to provide forensic exam and evidence collection.
Find someone you trust to talk with about the assault
Sometimes a victim doesn't want to report a rape or assault immediately. That's your choice, but assault can be very traumatic and it's important for you to speak to someone, especially someone who can provide support and help you find resources and options to address what has happened.
You may choose to tell a friend or family member about the incident or someone who works at the college. If you choose to discuss what happened with a Goucher employee, you should know that individuals in certain positions at the college can offer greater confidentiality by virtue of their profession. A CA, staff member, or faculty member may be required to share information about the incident without identifying you in any way, or may also be required to provide identifiable information if a member of the college community is at risk. However, Chaplain Cynthia Terry (extension 6048), Rabbi Josh Snyder (extension 6545), and Student Health and Counseling Center counselors (extension 6481) and medical personnel (extension 6050) are not obligated to do so. If you are concerned about confidentiality, ask the person what his or her obligations are before you start the discussion.
You should also know that the college is required to collect and report serious crime statistics every year, under a federal law called the Clery Act. Under Clery, college faculty and staff, with the exception of the Chaplain, medical and psychological counseling personnel, are required to report to the Office of Public Safety any serious crime on campus of which they have knowledge. The information in a Clery report is of a statistical nature and contains no identifying information at all. The Chaplain, medical and psychological counseling personnel, while not required, may choose to make a Clery statistical report.
The annual statistical report is cumulative, completely anonymous, and doesn't include any details about individual incidents.
Take care of your mental health
- Sexual assault can be an extremely traumatic experience.
- You may often feel numb, unsafe, regretful, guilty, overwhelmed, fearful, depressed, worthless, panicked, worthy of blame, and even suicidal.
- You may find that you are indulging in riskier behaviors, and are prone to abuse alcohol and other drugs
- Some survivors may suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, characterized by extreme depression, panic attacks, sleep problems, flashbacks, irritability, mood swings, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares. These symptoms can continue for months. They are normal reactions to a traumatic event, and can be addressed with therapy.
- Build a strong support network, keep your body healthy, and commit yourself to keeping your life going. Eat regular meals, avoid excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, get daily physical activity and allow regular sleep.
- Consider calling Counseling Services at 410 337-6481
Adapted from the website of Swarthmore College Gender Education