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What to Do If You Experience Sexual Assault


If you've been sexually assaulted...

1. Get to a safe place. If you require emergency assistance, please contact the Gordon Police Department (if you are on campus) at 978.867.3333, or the local police by dialing 9-1-1.

2. Get support. Seek out a friend or someone you trust in whom you can confide and who can help as you consider your options.

3. Preserve evidence. If you think you want evidence collected do not bathe, shower, brush your teeth or go to the bathroom if avoidable. This is important for preserving evidence. Do not change your clothes (if you already have, put your clothes in a clean paper bag such as a grocery store bag and bring them with you to the emergency room).

4. Seek medical attention. Go to the Gordon Health Center or the emergency room at Beverly Hospital 978.922.3000 x 3700. If you would like someone to go with you to the hospital call your RA, a friend, or the RD on call.

  • The emergency room will page the on-call nurse examiner. The nurse examiner will complete a rape evidence collection kit and treat any injuries that you may have sustained.
  • The rape evidence collection kit will be held anonymously at the state crime lab (regardless of whether you choose to make a police report) for 15 years. If you make a report within 15 years, the kit is analyzed when it is needed for the investigation. Both the prosecution and defense will have access to the results.

5. Report. You have the option to report an assault to local police, to file a report with the college, to do both, or to do neither. However, it is important to preserve any evidence of the incident. 

Reporting an assault does not in any way obligate you to pursue legal or disciplinary action. However, on rare occasions when the community is at risk, the college may need to take steps to address those concerns. In such cases your privacy will be protected to the greatest extent possible.

  • Reporting to the College. Contact the Title IX Coordinator by emailing or submit an online report. You may also choose to report the incident to a trusted Gordon employee, but be aware that employees of the College are mandated reporters and they will are required to privately notify the Title IX Coordinator. You will not be under any obligation to move forward with a formal complaint unless you choose to do so.

    The College will be able to provide you with assistance and explain the services and options that are available to you. In all cases, every effort will be made to protect the privacy of all individuals.
  • Reporting to the Police. You are not required to report to the police or file a criminal complaint. If you choose to do so, Gordon Police can provide you with support throughout the process.

    If you think you want to make a police report, the sooner you report the better. Legally, you have 15 years to pursue a criminal charge for rape and 7 years for indecent assault and battery; however, it can be more challenging to investigate these crimes the longer you wait. To file a police report call Gordon Police at 978.867.4444 or the Wenham Police Department at 978.468.4000. If you are unsafe or need emergency response, call Gordon Police at 978.867.3333 or dial 911 for the Wenham Police. 
    • If you make a police report or file for a restraining order within five days, you can file for victim compensation to cover medical costs. A victim compensation claim must be filed within three years of the assault. Once a victim compensation claim is open you can request expenses be reimbursed at any time in the future. (Note: it is a good idea to open this claim even though you may not feel you need it now. By having the claim, you can be assured that unforeseen expenses will be reimbursable.)

6. Seek on-going support. There are confidential resources available to you on and off campus. A confidential resource is an employee of the College who is NOT a mandated reporter of sexual misconduct. At Gordon, these are counselors in the Center for Student Counseling and Wellness (CSCW), college chaplains, and Health Center staff. These individuals will keep everything you share confidential unless you give them permission to report on your behalf. You can find a list of these and other resources on the Resource and Support page.

Possible responses to sexual assault

There are many different responses a survivor may have to sexual assault. Some common reactions include:

  • shock or disbelief
  • shame and embarrassment
  • sense of responsibility for the assault
  • fear of being blamed by others
  • loss of control

If you are experiencing any of these reactions, please seek support and resources. You can talk to your resident director or contact the Center for Student Counseling and Wellness at 978.867.4301.