Information about HLS Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resources
The Women’s Law Association has specially trained student “SASH” (sexual assault sexual harassment) advisors who have been trained to be first responders to any student with a concern about sexual assault, harassment, relationship abuse, or a friend or partner in a difficult relationship situation. To reach the HLS SASH advisors for completely confidential support, contact Stephanie Davidson.
The Law School does not tolerate sexual misconduct including rape and other forms of sexual assault. Any student who commits an act of sexual misconduct against another member of the Harvard community will be subject to severe penalties inside and outside the Law School.
Definition of Sexual Misconduct:
Sexual misconduct is to be understood as encompassing the following behaviors:
Rape includes any act of sexual intercourse that takes place against a person’s will or that is accompanied by physical coercion or the threat of bodily injury. Unwillingness may be expressed verbally or physically. Rape may also include intercourse with a person who is incapable of expressing unwillingness or is prevented from resisting, as a result of conditions including, but not limited to, those caused by the intake of alcohol or drugs. Rape includes not only unwilling or forced vaginal intercourse, but also the sexual penetration of any bodily orifice with a body part or other object.
Sexual assault includes any unwanted touching or fondling of a sexual nature that is accompanied by physical force or threat of bodily injury.
Sexual misconduct may also include other serious or persistent unwanted sexual contact or conduct, such as harassment, threats, intimidations, or unwanted touching or fondling.
Being intoxicated does not diminish a student’s responsibility in perpetrating rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct.
(Source: OSAPR and FAS definition http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~osapr/definitions.htm and http://webdocs.registrar.fas.harvard.edu/ugrad_handbook/2009_2010/chapter5/sexual_assault_misconduct.html)
What Is Consent?
Consent is freely given agreement to sexual activity. You have a right to stop sexual contact at ANY point.
Silence, previous sexual relations, or agreement given under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is NOT considered consent. If you have not consented to sexual intercourse, it is rape.
What to do if you experience an assault:
First, get to a safe place. Your room, a friend’s room, or any well-lit, comfortable, familiar place.
Then, consider taking the following steps, in the order most appropriate to your situation.
- Get medical attention. To obtain medical care: you can seek assistance at the walk in clinic or after hours urgent care at Harvard University Health Services at 617-495-5711. Harvard University Health Services can provide you with free emergency contraception, and preventative antibiotics to fight sexually transmitted infections. You can also access medical care by calling the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at 617-495-9100. A friend or a staff member of the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response may accompany you to provide support if you wish.
- Call the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at 617-495-9100 (24/7 confidential support and information to student survivors of sexual violence over the phone or in person). The OSAPR staff is trained to provide options, listen supportively, and provide referrals to services on campus and off-campus. Staff of OSAPR can accompany you to UHS, the hospital, and the police. You can also call the Response Peer Counseling Group between the hours of 9pm-8am at 617-495-9600. If you want to speak to someone particularly familiar with the law school community, contact Stephanie Davidson, firstname.lastname@example.org, to be connected with HLS students who are trained as SASH (Sexual Assault and Sexual Health) Advisers.
- Call HUPD at 617-495-1212. HUPD can take a report of the incident and/or transport you to UHS, whether or not you decide to file a police report. If you wish, you may call and request transportation to UHS without divulging that you have been sexually assaulted.
- Preserve physical evidence. You have several months to decide if you wish to prosecute the assault, but having medical evidence may improve the strength of your case. You should not bathe, brush your teeth, douche, change clothes, or remove anything from the area in which the incident occurred (bed linens, etc.). If possible, you should bring any relevant bed linens and wear or bring the clothes with you to the hospital that you were wearing at the time of (or immediately after) the assault. Take care to store these items in a paper bag, rather than a plastic bag.
If you know that you wish to have medical evidence collected, you can go directly to the Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center emergency room for this process. You are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you for this process if you wish. www.bidmc.org/CentersandDepartments/Departments/EmergencyMedicine.aspx
When you arrive at the emergency room, tell the intake assistant that you need to be seen for a sexual assault. They will escort you immediately to a private room and you will be met by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a nurse who is specially trained to perform the evidence collection. The Nurse will ask you if you want to report the assault to the Police – the choice is yours. The evidence can also be collected anonymously while you take some time to decide.
- Write down everything that can be recalled about the assault. This includes a physical description and/or name of the perpetrator, specifics about the use of force or threats, the location, time and date and the assault, and any witnesses or others who may have seen you immediately before or after the assault. This may be helpful later if you decide to bring charges against the perpetrator.
Summary of Harvard University Resources:
Harvard University Police Department (HUPD)
Sensitive Crimes Unit
617-495-1796, 8 am–4 pm. After these hours, HUPD, 617-495-1212
HLS Dean of Students Office
Harvard University Health Services
HUHS After-Hours service
HUHS Mental Health Service
Summary of External Resources:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery:
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC):
(617) 492-8306 24 Hour Hotline: (617) 492-7273
Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cambridge Health Alliance Victims of Violence Program (VOV):
Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office:
Adult Sexual Assault Unit
For additional information and resources, please refer to the Harvard University Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at www.fas.harvard.edu/~osapr/.