Boston College Sexual Assault Network (SANet)
(617) 552 - 2211
The WRC offers services to survivors and friends of survivors. The Boston College Sexual Assault Network (or SANet) is a project of the Office of the Dean for Student Development and the Women’s Resource Center. It provides support and resources to any Boston College student affected by sexual assault, rape, relationship violence, and other related crimes. SANet’s services are free and confidential and can be accessed 24 hours a day by calling (617) 552-2211.
- What are sexual assault and rape?
- What is relationship violence?
- What to do after a sexual assault?
- What will happen if I call SANet?
- How can SANet help?
- What resources are available to survivors?
- What judicial options are available to survivors?
- What if the incident occurred in the past?
- Can men experience sexual or relationship violence?
- How can I volunteer with SANet?
According to Massachusetts law, sexual assault is intentional physical contact of a sexual nature that occurs without the willing consent of the victim. Rape is sexual intercourse that occurs against the will and without the consent of the victim. This means penetration of a bodily orifice (vagina, anus, or mouth) by penis or other body part or by an object. A person cannot consent to sexual contact if she or he was using drugs or alcohol to the point of incapacitation.
Sexual assault and rape can occur even if the survivor freely went to the assailant’s room, was using drugs or alcohol at the time, knew the assailant, or cannot remember the incident clearly.
The Boston College Code of Student Conduct prohibits all forms of sexual violence, coercion, or harassment whether they were perpetrated by a stranger or an acquaintance, occurred on or off campus, or were directed against a member of the Boston College community or someone from outside the University community.
Prohibited conduct ranges from acts clearly identifiable as rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault, to sexual misconduct that may not be in all instances criminal, including:
- sexually harassing communication
- sexual activity in a context of emotional coercion
When there is reasonable cause to believe that a student member of the University has violated the Code of Student Conduct, the University will take action in accordance with the established policies and procedures outlined in the Boston College Student Guide. University judicial action may be taken whether or not criminal charges are filed and without regard to whether the conduct occurred on or off the Boston College campus.
Relationship violence is intentional violent or controlling behavior by a person who is currently or was previously in a romantic relationship with the victim. Relationship violence includes actual or threatened physical injury, sexual assault, psychological abuse, economic control, or progressive social isolation. The Boston College Code of Student Conduct affirms that all students have “the right to be free from violence, force, threats, and abuse, and the right to move about freely.”
SANet advocates are trained to recognize signs of and respond to incidents of relationship violence. They can assist survivors in obtaining University Stay Away and criminal restraint orders if necessary.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please consider taking the following actions:
Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
Call SANet at (617) 552-2211.
Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not wash your face or hands, bathe, brush your teeth, drink or eat, douche, or change clothes if you can avoid it. If you do change your clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in individual paper bags (not plastic). It is important to preserve as much evidence as possible should you later decide to press criminal charges.
Contact the BC Police at (617) 552-4444. The BC Police can also be reached by activating the blue light boxes located throughout campus. The BC Police can assist you in reporting an assault that occurred off campus to the appropriate municipal authorities.
Seek medical attention. It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons:
- to assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained;
- to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures;
- and--if you choose--you may have evidence collected to aid criminal prosecution if you later decide to file criminal charges. It is best for any physical evidence to be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. (The quality and quantity of evidence collected later than this may be substantially diminished.)
The Boston College Police and/or a SANet advocate are available to transport you to the hospital if necessary. The hospital can provide general medical treatment and, if the victim chooses, conduct a special evidence collection exam. A medical exam could include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. A specially trained nurse, an emergency department physician, or a gynecologist will perform the evidence collection exam. A sexual assault advocate or a support person of your choice may be present throughout the procedure.
The hospital emergency department follows national standards for victim care, rape exams, and evidence collection procedures. If the decision is made to conduct an evidence collection exam, the anonymous evidence may be held for six months or longer. This means you do not have to decide immediately whether you want to press criminal charges.
Even if you choose not to have evidence collected, it is still important to get medical attention to treat any physical problems and to conduct tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. To arrange non-emergency treatment, contact University Health Services at (617) 552-2225, or as a walk-in visit in Cushing Hall 119, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evening and weekend assistance are also available at the Inpatient Unit in Cushing Hall (617-552-3227) during the fall and spring semesters. If you say that you have been a victim of sexual assault, you will receive care by medical personnel trained in sexual assault response.
Contact University Counseling Services. Psychologists are available 24 hours a day for students in crisis. Call (617) 552-3310 during the day and (617) 552-3227 on nights and weekends. University Counseling Services works closely with the SANet.
You will reach a recording that gives you the option to press "1" to speak with a staff advocate or "2" to speak with a student advocate. The call will be directly routed to the advocate on call. All advocates are trained to respond to incidents of sexual assault, rape, and relationship violence and to help you understand your options regarding medical attention, legal and judicial procedures, and counseling and support services. While all SANet services are confidential, callers may also choose to remain anonymous.
You do not have to report or press charges if you contact SANet. Advocates seek to empower survivors by providing options and support; all decisions remain up to the survivor.
The survivor always chooses which services to utilize. SANet advocates are available to assist survivors in a variety of ways including providing:
- Emergency rape crisis treatment and emergency medical services, including accompanying the survivor to the hospital, the police, etc. as requested.
- Guidance and support throughout the University judicial process and/or the criminal justice process if the survivor chooses to pursue this course of action.
- Advice in obtaining either internal, University Stay Away Orders or criminal restraining orders.
- Addressing academic concerns.
- Obtaining alternative living arrangements if desired.
- Contacting community resources such as rape crisis centers, support groups, etc. if desired.
- General support and assistance as needed
Sexual Assault Network (SANet)* 617-552-2211
Police (Municipal) 911
Police (Boston College)* 617-552-4444 (emergency), 617-552-4440 (non-emergency)
University Health Services (day)* 617-552-2225
University Health Services (nights and weekends)* 617-552-3227
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (ER) 617-754-2400
Brigham and Women's Hospital (ER) 617-732-5636
Counseling and Support
University Counseling Services (day)* 617-552-3310
University Counseling Services (nights and weekends)* 617-552-3227
Beth Israel Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery 617-667-8141
Fenway Community Health Violence Recovery Program 617-927-6250
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 617-492-7273
Campus Ministry* 617-552-3475
Office of the Dean for Student Development* 617-552-3470
Women's Resource Center* 617-552-3489
Survivors at BC may choose to:
- Report the assault to the police with or without pressing charges.
- Report the assault to the Office of the Dean for Student Development (ODSD) with or without initiating internal disciplinary action if the assailant is a BC student.
- Do both.
- Do neither.
Reporting an incident does not commit you to prosecute; choosing to prosecute is a separate step. When you file a report, you are not obliged to continue with legal proceedings or university judicial action.
University Judicial Action
If the assailant is a BC student, you may consider University judicial action through ODSD. You are encouraged to discuss the matter with the Office of the Dean for Student Development to learn about University judicial procedure. The discussion does not oblige you to pursue official action. An advocate of your choice can accompany you throughout this process.
Information about the internal disciplinary system may be obtained and internal disciplinary charges against another student may be filed at the Office of the Dean for Student Development. A survivor may be accompanied by a person of his or her own choosing when meeting with a member of the ODSD staff. ODSD is also where an internal restraining or stay away order may be requested and where summary (i.e., interim) suspensions from housing and/or the University may be imposed when appropriate.
The Boston College Police and the Office of the Dean for Student Development will handle situations with discretion and do everything possible to ensure confidentiality. It will be the decision of the survivor as to what services to utilize and how far he or she chooses to proceed with any formal allegations. If you do not feel comfortable after interacting with any member of the above departments, you may request to meet with another staff member of that department. Boston College's first obligation is to the needs of the survivor. Staff members will assist you in the process in any way that they possibly can.
Reporting to the Police
The Boston College Police are available to respond immediately to Boston College survivors and to provide such services as assistance with medical treatment, information on filing criminal charges, and obtaining a court restraining order. Trained officer are available for information about criminal/legal matters surrounding sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse, or relationship violence. Survivors have the right and are encouraged to consider filing formal charges against an alleged perpetrator.
In off campus cases, the BC Police are available to act as a liasion with the appropriate municipal police department and the district attorney's office.
To immediately report an assault that occurred on or off campus, call the BC Police emergency number: (617) 552-4444.
Reporting to the police:
- helps protect you and others;
- assists with obtaining a University Stay Away Order against the assailant;
- helps to apprehend the assailant;
- and helps maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, University judicial action, and/or civil action against the perpetrator.
When you report the incident, you may request to speak with a male or female officer. The BC Police will take a written report, which will be important if you want to press charges either immediately or at a later date. Your identity will be kept anonymous. You may be asked questions about the scene of the crime, any witnesses, and what happened before and after the incident.
If you choose to press criminal charges, the BC Police and/or a SANet advocate can assist you in speaking with an Assistant District Attorney and a Victim Witness Advocate in the county where the crime occurred. At this meeting the criminal process will be discussed, and the survivor will be given options on the best way to proceed with the case.
Many individuals experience sexual or relationship violence and do not tell anyone about it at the time. If you were victimized weeks or even years ago, help is still available. Talking about the incident may aid you in healing and SANet advocates are available to provide support.
You may also want to consider joining one of the support groups offered by the Women’s Resource Center. Stop by McElroy 141 for more information.
Yes, anyone can be a victim of these crimes. While most survivors are women, men experience both sexual and relationship violence. Male survivors receive the same services as women at Boston College. Emotional support, counseling regarding options, medical treatment, and so on are all available to men. Survivors may request a male advocate when calling SANet.
SANet is always looking for students, faculty, and staff interested in becoming advocates. Training is held at least once a year, and includes information about sexual violence, advocacy, medical concerns for survivors, the law enforcement and judicial processes, and peer counseling. Stop by the Women's Resource Center (McElroy 141) for more information. The next training session for new advocates is expected to take place in October 2013. Please email SANetGA@gmail.com to sign up for information.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or relationship violence, support is available.
Call SANet at 552-BC11.
Services are free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day.