If you are a victim of sexual assault, your first priority should be to get to a place of safety. You should then obtain necessary medical treatment. The MSJ Police Department strongly advocates that a victim of sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to an MSJ University police officer (513-244-4226), the Women Helping Women crisis line (513-381-5610), and/or a Campus Security Authority. Filing a police report with a University police officer or CSA or contacting Women Helping Women will not obligate the victim to prosecute.
Filing a police report or reaching out to Women Helping Women will:
- Ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests;
- Provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later;
- Assure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.
More specifically, if you have been physically assaulted or raped, there are important steps you can take right away:
- Save everything that might have the attacker’s DNA on it. As hard as it may be to not wash up, you might wash away important evidence if you do. Don’t brush, comb, or clean any part of your body. Don’t change clothes, if possible. Don’t touch or change anything at the scene of the assault. That way MSJ or local police will have physical evidence from the person who assaulted you.
- Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined and treated for injuries. You can be given medicine to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and receive other treatment as determined necessary. MSJ Police, Women Helping Women, UC Medical Center (513-584-1000) can all help you find a hospital able to collect evidence of sexual assault. Ask for a sexual assault forensic (or nurse) examiner (SAFE/SANE). A doctor or nurse will use a rape kit to collect evidence. You do not have to decide whether to press charges while at the hospital.
- If you think you were drugged, talk to the hospital staff about being tested for date rape drugs.
- Write down the details about the person who sexually assaulted you and what happened.
MSJU is committed to comply with a student’s request for assistance. A University representative from the MSJ Police Department or another trained staff member or Women Helping Women advocate will guide the victim through the available options and support the victim in his or her decision. Additional information on rights, reporting, and resources relevant to sexual violence can be accessed on the webpage of MSJ Public Safety and Campus Police.
Victims of sexual assault have options regarding the involvement of law enforcement and campus authorities including options to:
- Notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police;
- Be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim chooses; and,
- Decline to notify such authorities.
Victims of sexual assault have additional rights including:
- The right to speak with campus authorities in a private and confidential setting;
- The right to be informed of your reporting options whether criminal or institutional or both without fear of reprisal;
- The right to academic, housing, employment and/or extra-curricular activity accommodations
- No contact orders, escorts or other interim measures as deemed appropriate to prevent further unwanted contact with assailant;
- The right to be informed of and provided with contact information about available counseling or health services, both on and off campus;
- The right to have an advisor of support person of your choice to be presented during any internal disciplinary hearing as described in the following MSJ Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct; and,
- The right to be informed of the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding.
The University strives to protect those who complain of discriminatory, harassing or sexually violent conduct and prohibits intimidation or retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination, harassment, or sexually violent conduct or who participates in any investigation into allegations of such misconduct.
The University recognizes that an individual may not be ready to report the incident as encouraged above. Alternatives to such reporting, including confidential contacts with Wellness Counseling or Health professionals, are also available as articulated in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct.