What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Assaulted?
- Talk to someone that you trust.
- Get medical attention at a hospital emergency room immediately! Even if you do not want to report the incident.
- Certain activities destroy important physical evidence that aid in prosecuting the assailant(s) if you decide to do so. Physical evidence is best collected ASAP. Do not bathe, douche, shower, drink, or eat after the assault. Place your clothing in a paper bag (plastic destroys evidence) or take a change of clothes to the hospital, they will use the ones you're wearing as evidence.
- Write down everything you remember with as much detail as possible. This will help your own healing process as well as any legal action you might take.
Remember! It's NOT your fault!
Things to Consider
PLEASE put your physical safety and well-being first! You may be unaware of injuries you have. Southside Community Hospital provides Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners to collect and preserve evidence as well as provide treatment for exposure to sexually transmitted infections. They can also discuss options for preventing pregnancy i.e. "the morning after pill." (This should ideally be provided within 72 hours).
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience and many survivors find counseling to be a very important part of the healing process. A counselor can assist you in understanding and work through your feelings about the assault. The Counseling Center also provides excellent follow-up services to aid in the recovery process.
We strongly encourage you to report sexual assaults to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and officials. Reporting an assault is the only effective way that action can be taken against the alleged attacker(s). Several reporting systems are available.
Reporting to campus police helps protect yourself and others from future victimization. Reports can be used for criminal prosecution, Longwood disciplinary action, and/or civil action against the perpetrator(s). If you report an incident, a Longwood police officer will take your statement of what happened. You will be asked to identify or describe the alleged assailant(s), questions about the scene of the crime, and about any witnesses. Reporting an incident is NOT the same as choosing to prosecute. When you file a report, you are not obligated to continue with legal proceedings or Longwood disciplinary action. The Longwood police officer will take a written report which is important in case you wish to file charges (criminally or through the judicial process) immediately or at a later date.
Longwood Judicial Process
Longwood's Judicial Process has jurisdiction if the sexual misconduct charge is filed with the Director of Honor and Judicial Programs within 180 days and if both the survivor and alleged perpetrator(s) are Longwood students.
The survivor is entitled to a confidential hearing to determine whether there has been a violation of the student conduct code and, if so, what type of sanction(s), up to and including dismissal from the University, should be imposed. The decision may be appealed by the accused (see the Rights of Students as Applied to Disciplinary Hearings section of the Student Handbook). The survivor and accused may have a personal advisor help them prepare and make a case at the hearing.
The advantages of a judicial hearing are confidentiality and that it can be completed approximately three weeks from the date charges are filed.
Judicial Process: My Rights
- The right to have present throughout the disciplinary process an advisor which may also be a legal counsel.
- The right to remain present throughout the entire judicial hearing.
- The right to have access to existing campus mental health and survivor support services.
- The right to submit a survivor impact statement.
- The right to know the outcome of the proceedings.
Longwood encourages reporting the incident to the campus and/or local police. Reporting an assault does not mean the survivor has to go to court, but it does begin the legal process should the decision to prosecute be made at a later date. Longwood police officials are available to assist the survivor throughout the investigation and criminal court process.
Survivors may hire a private attorney to file a lawsuit for damages against the perpetrator(s). Many attorneys take cases on a contingency basis; their fees are an agreed upon portion of any compensation that is collected from the perpetrator(s). This process takes place in a local civil (not criminal) court. The purpose of the lawsuit is to financially compensate the survivor for the wrong done to him or her.
Third Party/ Anonymous Reports
Either the survivor or someone on her/his behalf may complete a CONFIDENTIAL form available on-line at http://www.longwood.edu/police.
Please know that Longwood University values the safety and confidentiality of all faculty, staff, and students. Electronic notifications regarding incidents such as sexual assault are sent to the Longwood Community without identifying information.
Who Can I Contact For Help?
- Campus Police: 395-2091
- Counseling Center: 395.2409
- Piedmont Crisis Center: 888.819.2926
- Southside Community Hospital: 434.392.8811
- Virginia Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.838.8238
- Student Health and Wellness: Center 395.2102
- Dean of Students: 395.2389
- Honor/Judicial: 395.2490