E.4 What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted recently, there can be time-sensitive decisions to make about preventing sexually transmitted infections, preventing pregnancy and collecting physical evidence. Students who have been sexually assaulted are advised to proceed with the following:
I. Immediate Action to Take
- Go to a safe location.
- Contact the confidential Sexual Assault Resource Center or the Center for Women and Men (CWM) at (213) 740-4900 (24 hours) for medical resources, emotional support and advocacy. If you prefer to seek confidential counseling off campus, call the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center, (310) 319-4000 (24 hours), or Peace Over Violence, (213) 626-3393 (24 hours).
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital, emergency room or a specialized forensic clinic that works with sexual assault survivors. Some options in Los Angeles include the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center, (310) 319-4000 (24 hours), and the Violence Intervention Program, (323) 226-3961 (24 hours). Both locations provide medical care, specially-trained staff, and the collection of forensic evidence. You may also request medications for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and emergency contraception. If you think you may have been given a rape drug, request that the hospital or clinic take a urine and blood sample. These samples need to be collected quickly as these drugs leave the system quickly. If you wish, the Department of Public Safety or the Center for Women or Men can transport you to either the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center or the Violence Intervention Program.
- If you want to report the crime immediately, notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at (213) 740-4321 (24 hours) and/or call 911 or (626) 793-3385 (24 hours). Please note that any report alleging rape or sexual assault filed with DPS will be forwarded to LAPD.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault, even if you are unsure whether you want to report the crime. Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination. Save all the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault and bring them and any other potential evidence to the medical exam. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag (do not use plastic bags). Do not clean or disturb the area where the assault occurred.
- Call a trusted friend, family member or someone else who can provide support.
If more than one week has passed since the assault, or if you are certain that you do not want the collection of forensic evidence, Engemann Student Health Center, (213) 740-9355, provides medical care, including emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections. Staff at the Engemann Student Health Center, including the Student Counseling Center, also assure confidentiality to students seeking their services. (Please note that, in the cases in which there is a physical wound or injury due to a rape, or in the case of a sexual assault of a minor, physicians may be required to report these situations to the proper legal authorities.) See also Section E.3.III. About Confidentiality.
II. Follow-up Action to Take:
- If you wish to pursue disciplinary action against the person responsible, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, (213) 740-5086, and the complaint will then be investigated. This can be done in addition to filing a report with DPS and filing a Los Angeles Police Department report. Students should note that any report alleging rape or sexual assault filed with DPS will be forwarded to LAPD.
- Talk to a counselor for emotional support and advocacy. The nature of sexual misconduct or assault, particularly by an acquaintance, date or partner, makes it difficult for many students to report their experience. For this reason, the Center for Women and Men (CWM) is designated as a place where individuals may seek confidential assistance. You can speak confidentially with a CWM counselor on campus, (213) 740-4900 (24 hours). If you prefer to seek confidential counseling off campus, call the Rape Treatment Center, (310) 319-4000 (24 hours), or Peace Over Violence, (213) 626-3393 (24 hours). See also Section E.3.III. About Confidentiality.
- The CWM and/or the university’s Title IX Coordinator can meet with the reporting student to explain the process and provide the option to start a formal investigation by filing a complaint.
III. Rights Concerning Reporting
In connection with reporting sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, a student has these rights:
- If the alleged assailant is a USC student or employee, the right to request an investigation through the Office of the Title IX Coordinator at (213) 740-5086.
- The right to be informed of reporting options with regard to notifying law enforcement authorities, and to be assisted in notifying such authorities if they so choose. These reports can be made to DPS and the Los Angeles Police Department, or other appropriate local law enforcement.
- The right to request that sexual misconduct incidents, including sexual assaults, be investigated by the proper criminal authorities, and to have the full and prompt assistance and cooperation of campus personnel in this regard (in addition to any campus disciplinary proceedings as outlined above).
- The right to full and prompt cooperation from campus personnel in obtaining and securing evidence (including medical evidence) necessary for any potential criminal proceedings.
- The right not to be discouraged by university officials from reporting an assault to both on-campus and off-campus authorities.
- The right to be free from pressure to report assaults as lesser offenses than the reporting student perceives them to be.
- The right to be free from any suggestion that a reporting student was responsible for being assaulted.
- The reporting student has the option of participation within the university’s judicial proceeding. Should the reporting student choose not to participate, the university still retains the right to proceed with disciplinary action.
- The right to the same level of support at any Title IX investigation as is permitted to both the reporting student and the respondents, and the right to be notified in a timely manner of the outcome of such proceeding.
- The right to have access to existing campus counseling and medical professionals, victim support services, and to be given referrals to off-campus counseling and support services if desired.
- The university will change a student’s academic and/or living situation after an alleged sex offense if those changes are requested by either the reporting student or the named student, and the requested changes are reasonable. Options for possible changes include, but are not limited to: termination of an existing housing contract, assistance in locating alternative housing and/or withdrawal from classes. See also E.3.II.3. Interim Measures.
- The university will not permit retaliation against any person for exercising the right to make a formal or informal sexual misconduct complaint, to use any of the informal processes provided by the university or to testify or offer evidence connected with a complaint. Retaliation is a violation of this policy whether or not the underlying claim of sexual assault is proven. See also E.1.IV. Retaliation.
- The right to be treated with respect and dignity by university officials.
Revised July 2014.