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Sexual Assault Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you do if you have been sexually assaulted?

  1. Find a safe place.
  2. Call the police. If you are in fear of your safety, call the police (911) immediately, especially if the assailant is still nearby. For an assault on campus, call the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888. For an off-campus assault, you may call the ECPD or the local police department.
  3. Call someone you trust. This could be a friend, family member, or someone whom you feel you can talk to (e.g., Residence Life staff member, Counseling and Psychological Services, Center for Health and Wellness, ECPD, or other individuals on the Emerson staff).
  4. Get medical attention. Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Boston Medical Center are experienced and prepared to help sexual assault victims. See our Resources page for websites and phone numbers.
  5. Seek emotional care. Regardless of whether you report the assault, it is often helpful to seek counseling or another form of emotional support.

Should you get a medical exam? What does 'preserving evidence' mean?

It is extremely important that you seek medical attention immediately to assess and treat physical injuries you may have sustained and to collect evidence of the assault. Medical evaluation will determine risk of any sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/Hepatitis exposure, and pregnancy. Some treatments must be initiated within 24 to 72 hours following the assault to be effective. Regardless of the time that may have passed since the assault, a medical exam is still strongly recommended. Physical evidence will be helpful if you decide to press criminal charges. Evidence for a sexual assault can be collected up to 120 hours (5 days) following the assault. Before seeking medical attention, do not drink, bathe, douche, brush your teeth, change your clothes, or comb your hair so as not to destroy evidence that could be helpful in prosecution of the assailant.

What can survivors expect from the Counseling Center?

Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) is a place where sexual assault survivors and concerned friends can safely and confidentially discuss their feelings associated with the assault. The office is staffed with therapists who are experienced in helping victims of crime and other traumatic incidents. Sessions are designed to explore the impact of an assault on everyday functioning and to develop skills to regain control over one’s life. ECAPS also provides referrals to other agencies in the greater Boston area. To make an appointment, call 617-824-8595.

What can you do to help someone who has been assaulted?

Faculty and staff can take the following steps as appropriate to the situation:

  1. Ensure the safety of the student survivor.
  2. Encourage the student survivor to seek immediate medical treatment to one of the local hospitals and preserve evidence if possible.
  3. Inform the student survivor of the appropriate resources on campus, such as ECAPS, Center for Health and Wellness, the Campus Police, the Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator or Housing and Residence Life.
  4. Encourage the student survivor to seek emotional support.
  5. Inform the student survivor of his or her option to file a complaint with the Dean of Students (if the perpetrator is also a student), to report the crime to the Police Department or the District Attorney’s Office of jurisdiction where the assault occurred, or take no administrative/legal action.

What forms of support can the victim expect to receive?

Emerson's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) members are available for immediate consultation and assistance. SART members include professional staff from the following departments and centers: Emerson College Police Department (ECPD), 617-824-8555; Counseling and Psychological Services, 617-824-8595; Center for Health and Wellness, 617-824-8666; Dean of Students, 617-824-8640; Human Resources Department/Title IX Coordinator, 617-824-8580; Office of the General Counsel, 617-824-8908; and Housing and Residence Life, 617-824-8620.

Emerson's Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate Team (SASA) members are volunteers who are trained to give information and support to students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or intimate violence. SASAs will strive to be nonjudgmental and responsive to each individual’s needs and to provide options in a way that encourages the survivor to make informed and thoughtful decisions.

How do you make a report?

File a report with the ECPD or call 911 for an off-campus emergency. Reporting a sexual assault to the police does not commit you to further legal action. The earlier you report an assault, the easier it will be for police to investigate the crime and to prosecute the case successfully if that is your choice. Reporting helps to preserve your options for the future. Many police departments, including Boston, Cambridge, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, have officers who have undergone special training and are certified by the state in rape investigation. In the initial meeting with the police, you will be asked to tell the police what happened, where it happened, and whatever identifying information about your assailant you can remember.

Can you go to the police and pursue legal action at Emerson?

Yes, judicial/disciplinary action can be taken. For an external incident: If you wish to have the assailant prosecuted, the police and district attorney’s office will handle the legal proceedings without expense to you. You do not need to hire an attorney. For an internal incident: If the assailant is a member of the College community, you also have the option to file a complaint through the College’s disciplinary system (see Student Handbook) or Title IX coordinator. In either instance, a College representative will be available to assist you through the process.

Who is required to report a sexual assault when they are made aware of one?

The ECPD is required to report statistics concerning the occurrence of certain criminal offenses reported to the local police agency or any official of the institution who has “significant responsibility for student and campus activities”. According to federal law, specifically, The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 (re-named the Clery Act in 1998), the definition of “Campus Security Authority (CSA) is as follows: An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings.

What changes, if any, have been made to Emerson's Policy on Sexual Assault?

Since 2011, Emerson has been actively engaged in developing best practices, including Title IX training and education to address the issue of sexual assault, which impacts colleges and universities nationwide. The College has revised and distributed the Sexual Assault Brochure, created a more robust web presence, and developed new programs and resources, such as SASA and SART. Read more about the recent steps Emerson has taken to address the issue of sexual assault in a college setting.

What is Title IX?

Federal law under Title IX requires colleges and universities to investigate any incident that comes to their attention to take steps to address any potential effects and prevent future harm to the community. Any member of the Emerson community who observes an incident that may constitute a sexual assault or who otherwise becomes aware of such an incident must immediately notify the Title IX coordinator, dean of students, or ECPD. If the student asks that her or his name not be revealed, Emerson will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the student’s request as long as doing so does not prevent the College from responding effectively to the sexual assault complaint and taking measures to protect other students.

Consistent with the requirements of Title IX, its regulations and guidance provided by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Emerson College has designated a Title IX Coordinator.

Additionally, Emerson has selected deputy coordinators to help implement Title IX policy and investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination in violation of this policy.

What is the Clery Act?

This federal law requires colleges and universities to publish an annual report including crime statistics for the prior three years, policy statements regarding safety and security measures, campus crime prevention program descriptions, and procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex offenses. The Clery Act also requires universities to keep an up-to-date crime log, to issue timely warnings in the event of a crime threatening the safety of students or employees, and to keep accurate crime statistics.

Emerson publishes an annual campus security report for each of its three campuses (Boston, Los Angeles, and Kasteel Well, Netherlands), in compliance with the Clery Act. View the reports for each campus.