If You are Raped...
- Get To A Safe Place
- Tell Someone
- Get Medical Attention
- Take Care Of Yourself
- Report It
Get To A Safe Place. Once you are safe, call Campus Police at x800 or x2490 or Health Services at x2800. If on another campus, call the Campus Police office for that campus. Off campus call the local police at 911.
Tell Someone. You may feel ashamed or embarrassed, think no one will believe you or that you are in some way to blame for the attack. The most important thing to remember is that whatever happens no one should be forced to have sex against their will. Telling someone will give you an outlet to express your emotions. Feeling overwhelmed is a natural response, and contacting someone who can help will assist you sort out what resources are available and what, if anything, you want to do. Confidential resources that can be accessed at the time of the assault:
- Health Services (x2800) for medical assistance and counseling
- The local sexual assault hotline: Everywoman's Center (UMass, Amherst)
545-0800 or 1-888-337-0800
Other important resources include:
- Campus Police (x800 or x2490)
- Residence Hall Staff
- AC on call
- Health Services (x2800)
If you are not in the Northampton area, rape crisis centers are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Rape" or "Social/Human Services."
Get Medical Attention. Medical care after a rape can detect injuries and test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In addition, a health care provider can collect evidence that could be used should you ever decide to take legal or disciplinary action. Although Smith College Health Services has trained staff, survivors* will be sent to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for medical follow-up after the initial assessment. When appropriate, blood and urine samples to test for the drugs Rohypnol and GHB may be collected at the Health Center. Emergency contraceptives can also be dispensed.
* Both the terms "victim" and "survivor" appear in this resource guide. "Victim" is used to refer to the individual at the moment of the crime, or shortly thereafter. "Survivor" is used as a less stigmatizing, more empowering way to identify the individual who is no longer powerless.
Take Care of Yourself. Rape is a traumatic experience and there is no set formula for recovery. Seek counseling to support and guide you through the healing process.
Report It. Only 1 of 10 women ever reports their rape. The number of men who report is even smaller. There are many reasons why this number is so low. Survivors may…
- feel ashamed
- think that the pain will go away
- not be sure if what happened was really rape
- believe they are responsible in some way
The decision to report is totally up to you. For many survivors having their number counted, at least, is an important step in regaining the power they lost. You can discuss your situation with any of the resources listed here before you make a decision. There are many options to explore; the most important thing is to choose the path that is most comfortable and productive towards your recovery.
Surviving the Assault:
If you are assaulted, your goal is survival. Your best weapon is your ability to think clearly and put your welfare first. Whatever you do to escape is okay: scream, bite, punch, kick, grinding your keys into the assailant's body. There are as many responses as situations. Here are some possibilities:
- Use your voice---talking can effectively diffuse some assaults. Speak calmly, not crying, pleading, or moralizing. Try to maintain eye contact. If help is within hearing distance, you may try screaming "Fire!" or "Help!" instead of "Rape!" since the former are more recognizable distress calls.
- Stalling is an intermediate approach to give you time to recover from initial shock and to assess your situation. Do the unexpected convincingly. Stalling can take many forms: pretending to cooperate, going limp and sinking to the ground, or faking sickness.
- Running away is an option if you are sure you can make it to a safe place.
- Physical resistance must be quick, hard, and vicious in order to be effective. This option is not for everyone; many people cannot use physical resistance. Remember, the goal is to survive the assault. Resistance should be geared to allow escape. If you think your natural reaction would be to fight, then make sure you know how to do so effectively. The Campus Police Department offers self-defense classes. Residential Life and the the Dean of Student's Office can also assist with crime prevention programs.
- Weapons can take the form of many items---combs, keys, nail file, hair spray, books, pens, pencils, umbrellas. You can also use your body, voice, teeth, knees, hands, fingers, thumbs, feet, and legs to defend yourself. Direct your defense to vulnerable locations such as the eyes, throat, knees, top of the foot, and groin. Remember, though, any weapon could be taken away from you and used against you.
Preserving the Physical Evidence:
If you report an attack, before Campus Police officers arrive, go to a safe place like a neighbor's room, but try to preserve the physical evidence. If the attack occurs outside, use the Campus Police Blue Light phones to call for help.
- Do not change your clothing. If you must change, place your old clothes in a paper bag.
- Pack a change of clothes to bring to Health Services or the hospital.
- Note: Health Services will refer survivors to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for the evidence collection examination.
- Do not wash or clean your clothing.
- Do not take a shower, bathe, or clean up.
- Do not apply medication or cosmetics.
How and to whom may a student victim report a rape or sexual assault?
Smith College uses an anonymous sexual assault recording form to gather accurate information on the incidence of these crimes on this campus. Requiring a minimal amount of general information, the form in no way identifies the survivor.
Students may report to members of the following departments:
- Health Services
- Campus Police
- Dean of Students
How does the College handle report of a sexual assault?
Campus Police, the Dean of Students Office, and Health Services staff collaborate to assist victims. However, because of confidentiality constraints on survivor information, each organization needs permission to exchange information. Departments will not release information without the survivor's permission.
By Massachusetts General Law, the police and court records that contain the name of the victim in a case of rape or assault with intent to rape must be withheld from public inspection. Except as permitted by a judge, it is unlawful to publish or disclose rape victim's names.
Campus Police will not release your name to other College officials without your permission. Campus Police is required by federal law to notify the members of the community of any events or incidents that place people at risk; and will do so while maintaining the confidentiality of your identity.
In conducting a thorough investigation of a rape or an assault, Campus Police will assign an officer who has received specialized training in investigating sexual assaults. During the investigation, the officer will ask you many questions and go over the details of the crime. This is necessary because a person frequently recalls additional information and details during subsequent interviews. This procedure is not intended to embarrass or intimidate you.
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