Gordon College is deeply concerned about any incident of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a criminal act that causes enormous pain, both to the individuals directly involved and to the community. It is punishable by civil and criminal legal action. It is also a serious violation of the life and conduct standards of Gordon College and it will not be tolerated within our community.
Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault: woman, man or child. A perpetrator can be anyone, as well: a stranger, someone you have known for a long time, or someone you have just met. Statistics indicate that one in four women will be raped during her lifetime, and that rape is often perpetrated by an acquaintance.
As a Christian college committed to personal and institutional integrity, Gordon College must be fully transparent and forthright about the nature of criminal incidents, including sexual assault. To that end, the college has established a sexual assault policy, designed to educate the campus community about:
A student who believes she or he has been a victim of sexual assault is encouraged to report it immediately. The Gordon Police employs trained sexual assault investigators who are on call to take confidential reports at any time. Investigators will also inform victims of their rights, options for further action, and the broad range of other services available. Reporting a sexual assault to the Gordon Police does not itself initiate any investigative, disciplinary, or criminal action, but it does help ensure the future availability of these options. Gordon College students are responsible to be familiar with and abide by the standards of conduct set forth in the sexual assault policy.
Location: Rodger Reception Center at the main entrance to campus
Phone: 978.867.4444 (non-emergency) or 978.867.3333 (emergency).
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Contact the Gordon Police to file a report and/or a complaint. (See section on Reporting an Incident, Filing a Complaint, and Pursuing Criminal Charges)
Location: Jenks 201 & 202
Hours: Monday–Thursday: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Friday: 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Contact the Counseling Center to speak with a counselor. All services are confidential and free. (See section on Support)
Location: Lane Student Center, downstairs
Hours: Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Contact the Health Center to receive medical attention. All services are confidential and free. (See section on Support)
CENTER FOR STUDENT DEVELOPMENT:
Location: Lane Student Center, 2nd floor
Contact the Center for Student Development to file a complaint with the Judicial Officer (See section on Filing a Complaint with the College)
NORTH SHORE RAPE CRISIS CENTER
24 hour hotline for free and confidential care regarding a rape or sexual assault
BEVERLY HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM:
Location: 85 Herrick Street, Beverly, MA 01915
Rape Kit: The hospital will offer a rape kit, which involves an exam and aftercare instructions. The exam must take place within 5 days in order for the exam findings to be accurate for use as evidence. The sooner the exam is done, the better. It is best to refrain from showering and changing clothes, but it is still possible to complete a rape kit even if this is not the case. After the exam is complete they provide aftercare instructions for the patient and offer emergency contraception as required by law.
Rights of Victims:
The college assists victims of sexual assault. Victims are entitled to free and confidential health care services through the Health Center, free and confidential counseling services through the Counseling Center, and to file a complaint with the Judicial Officer or Gordon Police. The Student Handbook contains the policies and procedures of the campus judicial system, which will be followed should a complaint be filed.
Additional rights include, but are not limited to:
Consent to any sexual activity is pivotal to the reduction and prevention of sexual assault and coercion.
Consent is a voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, informed, mutual, honest and verbal agreement. It is an active agreement and cannot be coerced. Consent is a process which must be given for every sexual act. It cannot be assumed and is never implied, even in a relationship. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes.”
Within a community that prohibits premarital and extramarital sexual encounters, any confusion or ambiguity about consent should be lessened, and morally responsible behavior should be the norm.
Consent is not just about getting a “yes” or “no” answer, it is about communicating and making joint decisions in a manner that respects and honors the needs and desires of both partners. Communicating clearly about sexual expectations eliminates the entitlement that one partner may feel over the other. If a person is not absolutely sure that his/her partner is consenting without coercion he/she should stop.
Under current Massachusetts law, intercourse is generally considered to be committed by force and against a person’s will if:
If you are a victim of a sexual assault while on campus you are asked to report the incident to the Judicial Officer, the Gordon Police, or a local law enforcement agency. You are also encouraged to seek medical care at the Health Center, or a local hospital emergency room. In addition, you may file a complaint and/or pursue criminal charges.
If you make a report, no further action will be taken.
If you also file a complaint, the college will investigate all complaints of sexual assaults and will take appropriate disciplinary action in each instance. It will also provide information on pursuing criminal or other legal actions. Additionally, it will provide health care, counseling, advocacy and other support services on campus for students and visitors who are victims of sexual assault.
If you have been victimized, do not blame yourself. The person who has committed the assault is responsible. Sexual assault, or the continuation of unwanted behavior when you have stated you wish it to stop, is a violation of the law. Sexual intercourse, without your consent, even with someone you know, is rape.
Making a Report to the College:
You are encouraged to report to the Gordon Police or a local law enforcement agency any incident involving a sexual assault. A report is an account or description of a specific incident. You may make a report without filing a complaint. If you make a report but do not file a complaint, no investigation will occur, and nothing further will be done with the information.
You may make a report in person or in writing. You will need to explain where and when the incident took place and whether the assailant is known to you. The officer will make sure you are safe, and encourage and assist you in getting appropriate medical care.
Filing a Complaint with the College:
Filing a complaint is different from reporting an incident. A complaint is a request that the college investigate the incident. You may file a complaint with the Gordon Police, or with the Judicial Officer at the Center for Student Development.
Should you decide to make a complaint you will be asked to assist the police with the investigation and provide them with details of what happened and with the collection of all relevant evidence.
Note: In order for the Judicial Officer to pursue charges, you must file a complaint within a year of the date of the incident.
Pursuing Criminal Charges:
Every victim of a sexual assault maintains the right to file criminal charges with the appropriate local law enforcement agency in addition to making a report and/or filing a complaint with the college. For more information about pursuing criminal charges, contact the Gordon Police.
Ultimately, the decision to file a complaint or pursue criminal charges is yours. You have the option of simply reporting the incident without filing a complaint and/or pursuing criminal charges, but you are strongly encouraged to make a report of any incidence of sexual assault.
If you have been sexually assaulted or are unsure of whether you have been, you need a safe, confidential place to talk about what has occurred. When you are ready, the Gordon College Counseling Center provides free counseling to Gordon students by professional licensed counselors, who are able to support you during this confusing and scary time. If you have been sexually assaulted, you may find yourself feeling alone, more fearful, unable to make it to class, having difficulty eating, or eating too much, not sleeping at all, or sleeping more than normal, feeling sad, crying, or feeling nothing at all.
Our counselors are here to help you, to listen to you, and support you in all aspects of being a victim of sexual assault. Individuals who have been sexually assaulted often blame themselves. The Counseling Center offers a place for you to process what has happened in a non-judgmental, supportive environment to determine what, if anything, you would like to do, and to help you begin to heal.
Counseling is confidential and all information shared in counseling will not be shared with anyone else without the student’s written consent, except in “life-threatening” situations or by court subpoena.
To Make an Appointment: Fill out an online intake form via the Go Site: select “Departments,” then “Counseling,” and click on “Counseling Center Intake Registration Form.” The intake coordinator will contact you within 24 hours to schedule you for an appointment. You may also come to the Counseling Center and fill out an intake form in person.
Location and Hours: The Counseling Center is located in Hilton Hall, directly across the street from the Bennett Center. The Counseling Center is open Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Friday 8:30–11:30 a.m. and other hours by appointment. After hours, counselors can be contacted by the Center for Student Development (a Resident Director) or Public Safety.
The Health Center staff will encourage students to seek medical care as soon as possible after a rape/sexual assault and will support them through the process. Our contact point for this type of very specialized care is through the Beverly Hospital Emergency Department. We will call and alert them that a student is being referred and they will be prepared to spend whatever time it takes to evaluate and treat the student’s medical and emotional needs. They will offer the services of a trained crisis counselor from the North Shore Rape Crisis Center to explain each step of the process and to support the student until the evaluation is completed.
Location and Hours: The Health Center is located downstairs at the Lane Student Center. It is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. It is not necessary to make an appointment; students can walk in at any time during these hours and speak with a nurse. After hours, the Health Center staff can be contacted through the Center for Student Development (a Resident Director) or Public Safety.
Any victim of sexual assault has the right to an advocate. Advocates can be anyone the student selects, as long as the person is not in any way involved in the incident. The role of the advocate is to support and assist the student in making decisions and carrying out all necessary steps in caring for themselves following any sexual assault. Ideally, the advocate should be someone who is familiar with the procedures involved in sexual assaults, such as a counselor, a residence life staff member, or a nurse.