Sexual Assault Resources

What is sexual assault and rape?

Rape and sexual assault are, above all, criminal actions defined by lack of consent.

Giving consent means freely communicating, through words or actions, your agreement to engage in sexual activity. Silence, a past sexual relationship, a current relationship, or the use of alcohol and/or other drugs by the perpetrator are not excuses for rape or sexual assault and do not imply consent.

Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted nonconsensual or forcible sexual touching, including fondling, kissing, groping, attempted sexual intercourse, digital penetration, and/or penetration with an object. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by someone known or unknown, including an acquaintance, spouse, partner, date, relative, friend, or stranger. It can be perpetrated by men or women.

Rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is characterized by penetration, which may be oral, vaginal, or anal, by either a body part or object. Rape may include an implicit or explicit threat and/or use of force. Rape also includes circumstances where an individual is not capable of giving consent because she/he is intoxicated, unconscious, physically incapacitated, mentally impaired, or under the age of 16.

What do I do if it happens to me?

Get to a safe place immediately.

After business hours or on the weekend: Contact public safety at 617-521-1111. They will contact a member of the on-call staff who can assist you and mobilize the appropriate College resources.
During business hours: You may seek assistance from any of the following offices: Student Life, Health Education, Health Center, Counseling Center, Residence Life, or Public Safety.
If possible, do not drink, bathe, shower, douche, brush your teeth, change your clothes, or brush your hair.

Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Seek counseling and/or other sources of support. Talking with a trained counselor can help in coping with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Family and friends can also be a source of comfort and support. What is most important is that you are comfortable with and trust the individuals you choose to confide in. There are a number of on- and off-campus resources available to you that are outlined below.

What happens if I report a sexual assault to campus authorities?

When you report an incident of sexual assault, the first concern of any staff person will be to ensure that your physical and emotional needs are met. Depending upon your situation, we may recommend that you get medical care and/or speak with a counselor. In either instance, the decision is yours to make. If you choose to access these services, a staff member can accompany you.

What about confidentiality?

We take your confidentiality very seriously and understand that reporting an assault can be difficult due to the sensitivity of the information shared. Because of this, we will work with you to ensure that only those staff that can be most helpful to you will be informed. It is important to us that you feel comfortable with the process. In instances when there is a risk of imminent harm to you or someone else, it is important to note that the College has a legal and ethical responsibility to do whatever is necessary to safeguard all involved individuals.

How can I help a friend?

Sexual assault and rape can be traumatic, and the aftermath is often accompanied by a wide range of emotions. The victim may be openly upset, angry, or experience other strong feelings. Alternately, a victim may appear very calm or numb. Sexual assault also impacts those who are close to the victim. Understanding what to expect and the range of responses to sexual assault can help prepare you to be as supportive and helpful as possible. Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Ask how you can help
  • Listen; do not judge
  • Be patient, non-threatening, and not overly protective
  • Let your friend know that she/he is not to blame
  • Encourage seeking medical attention
  • Encourage talking to a counselor
  • Let your friend make their own decisions
  • Remind your friend of available resources
  • Offer to accompany your friend to seek other resources
  • Be aware of your own limits; get support for yourself

On-Campus Resources

The College has established a multidisciplinary committee, the Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART), with representatives from Student Life, Residence Life, the College Health and Counseling Centers, Health Education, and Public Safety. These individuals have undergone training to prepare them to be identified specifically as resources within the community for students. The team has also developed a resource guide for the Simmons community, develops educational programs, and sponsors training opportunities for staff and students to ensure maximum support for our students. For more information regarding these individuals you can speak with confidentially during business hours, or the work of the Sexual Assault Resource Team, you may visit the following website:

Or contact:
Lisa Smith-McQueenie, Associate Dean for Student Life
MCB, Room C-211

Additional On —Campus Resources:

Public Safety


617-521-1112 (non-emergency)

617-521-1111 (emergency)

Student Life

MCB, C-211


Residence Life

94 Pilgrim Road


Health Center

94 Pilgrim Road

617-521-1020 (ask to speak with a nurse)

Counseling Center

Palace Road 305


Health Education Betsy's Friends/Sexual Assault Peer Educators



After Hours/On-call residence staff
access through Public Safety


617-521-1111 (ask to speak with RD on call)

Off-Campus Resources

Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 


 Boston Area Rape Crisis Center


 Boston Police Department,
Sexual Assault Division

911 or 617-343-4400

 Fenway Health
Violence Recovery Program


 The Network/La Red


Strategies for Maximizing Personal Safety

It is important to keep in mind that assaults, including rape, can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. It is never your fault if you are assaulted. There is no set plan of action that can ensure your protection, but the following list of precautions may help:

It is important to keep in mind that assaults, including rape, can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. It is never your fault if you are assaulted. There is no set plan of action that can ensure your protection, but the following list of precautions may help:

Travel in groups. Do not walk alone or leave friends or roommates alone at parties or social events.

Be aware of your surroundings. Especially when attending off-campus events, know where you are. Avoid poorly lit open spaces, empty buildings, or deserted parking lots. Stay in well-lit and populated areas.

Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, don't be afraid to say so and remove yourself from the situation. Do not be concerned about being rude or abrupt; your safety should always be your first priority.

If you choose to drink, do not take a drink from an open punch bowl. Always get your own drink, and open it yourself. Do not leave your drink unattended.

Carry your cell phone with you. Be sure to program important emergency numbers into your cell phone.

For more information on how you can get involved in any campus outreach and educational initiatives on this issue, you may contact Lisa Smith-McQueenie or Gina Capra in the Office of the Dean for Student Life at 617-521-2124 or