Sexual Assault

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Sexual assault is a crime of violence that is never acceptable and will not be tolerated at Tufts University. The University is dedicated to the elimination of sexual assault within the Tufts community. The Tufts University Policy regarding sexual assault can be found at the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Anyone who has been assaulted is encouraged to report the incident to the university police, who have been trained to respond appropriately and with sensitivity to such incidents, and who can assist in gaining the cooperation of other police agencies if the incident occurred off campus. The police can assist in obtaining emergency medical care and crisis counseling (if requested) and in securing important evidence. The police can also assist in filing reports with the appropriate jurisdiction. Information on obtaining restraining orders can be supplied by the Tufts Police. The Department of Public Safety will issue a Campus Safety Alert if the assailant is unknown or remains at large. Also, a member of the University counseling staff will be available to either respond to the scene of the incident or to be in touch with the victim. For more detailed information and resources concerning Sexual Assault, please visit the Office of Equal Opportunity's page about sexual misconduct.

Survivors of sexual assault are strongly encouraged to seek medical care and an examination, both because of the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and because of the need to obtain and document evidence in order to preserve the survivor’s legal options.

Survivors who may be reluctant to report to the university police have other places where they can report this matter. Students  may report an assault to their Dean of Student Affairs, to the Title IX Coordinator (617-627-3298 or email) or to one of the Title IX Liaisons (available to receive reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination) located on their campus. All of these individuals can answer questions about University resources and adjudication options.

Tufts Public Safety officials and the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs can be helpful in discussing options for pursuing a complaint of sexual assault both within and outside the university. For students within the schools of Arts & Science, and Engineering, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs can process complaints concerning assault and rape, involving university students. For more information regarding sexual assault and the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process, please refer to the Office of Equal Opportunity's page about the sexual misconduct adjudication process.

The Dean’s office can also assist the survivor in notifying the proper law enforcement authorities, assist in obtaining counseling services, issue no contact orders and advise students of options for changing academic and living situations.

Students in Boston and Grafton may obtain information regarding the disciplinary processes from the Deans within each school.

Pursuant to Title IX, Tufts University is committed to providing a campus environment free of sexual discrimination, sexual  harassment and sexual assault. Sexual assault is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title IX. Accordingly, anyone who has been assaulted may also contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator located in the Office of Equal Opportunity (617-627-3298 or email) or any of the Title IX Liaisons located on your campus.

A report, whether made informally to the dean or formally to the university police, does not commit the victim to a specific course of action (or any action). The victim will be informed of their options within the university’s student disciplinary system and in the criminal court system. Students should be aware that, under Title IX, the University has an obligation to investigate and respond to reports of sexual assault involving students in order to protect the safety of others on campus. Information on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board can be found at the local municipal police departments or online.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted, coerced, or forced sexual contact or intercourse OR sexual contact or intercourse with someone who is not able to give consent (e.g. incapacitated by alcohol or drugs or asleep). Sexual assault can involve the sexual penetration of any body orifice, but also includes other unwanted sexual contact including Statutory Rape (minor under 16 in Massachusetts). Victims can be either women or men. Most survivors know the perpetrators who may be the survivor’s best friend, lover, partner, date, family member, neighbor, teacher, employer, doctor, or classmate. The perpetrator can be a boyfriend or girlfriend. Sexual assault can occur between members of the opposite sex or same sex. Alcohol, date rape drugs, or other substances may be involved.

What if this Happens to Me?

 If you are sexually assaulted you may want to consider: 

  • Finding a safe place
  • Calling a friend
  • Calling for assistance
  • Contacting campus or community police
  • Seeking medical treatment
  • Preserving evidence

Preserving Evidence: Things You Need to Know to Make Decisions

It is very difficult to know in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault whether or not you might eventually wish to pursue legal charges. Having evidence collected does not commit you to reporting or prosecuting the assault; the evidence can be sent to the crime lab anonymously and held for six months. Evidence can usually be collected up to five days after the assault, though the likelihood of capturing evidence decreases with time. Showering, urinating, and brushing your teeth may destroy evidence. Your clothing or bedding may contain evidence; take these with you to the emergency room in a PAPER BAG (not plastic). You may stop the exam at any time, and you may have someone with you during the exam. The drugs used in drug facilitated sexual assault leave the body very quickly. If you suspect that you may have been drugged and need to urinate before arriving at the emergency room, try to collect the urine in a clean container and take it with you.