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Sexual Assault Information

What To Do If You’re Assaulted

  • Go to a safe place and tell someone you trust what happened.
  • It is your choice to report the crime to the police and/or MCLA. Please know, however, that action against a perpetrator can prevent others from becoming a victim. If you would like to report an incident, you may call MCLA Public Safety/Campus Police or the North Adams Police Department. You may also make a report to the Title IX Coordinator or another MCLA staff member. Most MCLA employees are obligated to report if they know or suspect a sexual assault has occurred.
  • Don’t shower, bathe, douche or brush your teeth.
  • Don’t throw away any clothing or objects that might contain evidence. Save every article of clothing worn during the attack without laundering or altering it and place them into a paper bag if available. If you choose to go to the hospital, bring the bag with you.
  • Seek medical attention either at the hospital or MCLA Health Services. Not all injuries are evident, so for your well-being, it is recommended you receive a medical exam as soon as possible. Medical staff can help assess your needs including prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy, and emotional counseling.
  • Be a good witness. Even though it may be hard, try to remember details. The sooner you tell, the sooner the perpetrator can be caught.
  • Seek support from trusted friends or family. Go to Counseling Services to confidentially talk with a counselor.
  • Other supports on campus include the Title IX Coordinator, Student Affairs Office, and Residential Programs & Services.
  • Refrain from self-isolation.
  • Be patient. It takes time to recover and trust again.
  • Refrain from blaming yourself. The person who committed the assault is responsible. Sexual penetration without consent (even within the context of a date) is RAPE.

 Common Reactions After An Assault

Survivors of sexual violence have a variety of reactions that might surface at different times following the assault days, weeks or months later. Counseling can help survivors address these needs at any time. Survivors may experience any of the following:

  • Shock/numbness
  • Helplessness
  • Fear/anxiety
  • Guilt/self-blame/shame
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Academic difficulty/difficulty with attention and focus
  • Use of substances to manage painful feelings

 How to Help a Friend Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

  • Listen carefully, without judgment.
  • Do not blame.
  • Offer a safe place to stay. 
  • Let the survivor make decisions about what steps to take next. All control was stripped from the survivor during the assault.
  • Remain calm. You might feel shock or rage, but expressing these emotions to the survivor may cause more trauma.
  • Encourage medical attention, counseling, and assistance in obtaining these services.
  • Seek assistance for yourself.

 Self-Care for Friends and Family of a Survivor

  • When someone you care about is assaulted, it is shocking and upsetting for you. You may have a range of reactions including anger, sadness, fear or helplessness.
  • It is important to show the survivor you care and are there to offer support. Seek emotional support for yourself when you can.
  • Most of the resources mentioned on this website are available to those supporting survivors as well.

Survivor's Rights

Individuals who experience sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation have the following rights regardless of whether they choose to report the crime to MCLA Public Safety/Campus Police or local law enforcement:

  • Determine whether or not to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
  • Pursue conduct action against the accused through the Campus Title IX Investigation Process.
  • Be accommodated, if needed, in the event of a disability.
  • Confidential counseling services by a trained counselor on or off-campus
  • Receive confidential support and information regarding the available choices.
  • Confidential medical treatment.
  • Academic support from faculty and administrators.
  • Change in academic, living, transportation, dining, and working situations, if requested.
  • Availability of reasonable interim measures such as alternate options for transportation, working situations or on-campus housing if one feels unsafe in the current residence area assignment. The burden on the complainant will be minimized whenever possible.
  • No contact orders or judicial orders of protection.
  • Fair, prompt, and impartial investigations and resolutions conducted by College officials who receive annual training.
  • Determine whether or not parents will be notified.
  • To be free from harassment by the accused or friends of the accused.
  • Updates as to the status of the Campus Title IX Investigation

If you have any questions regarding your rights, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.

Nicole Comstock

Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
Title IX Coordinator
Venable 309C