Assault Resources

Simmons University Police Officers are trained to assist with sexual assault investigations. They can help you get in contact with the medical resources, and assist you through the court process

On Campus Resources

Public Safety Emergency617-521-1111
Public Safety Non-emergency617-521-1112
Violence Prevention and Educational Outreach617-521-2118
Counseling Center617-521-2455
Health Education617-521-1001
Student Life617-521-2124
Residence Life617-521-1096

Off Campus Resources

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center617-667-7000
Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery617-667-8141
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) (24-hour hotline)617-492-RAPE
Boston Police Department Sexual Assault Division911 or 617-343-4400
Casa Myrna Vasquez, Inc (for battered women)617-992-2600
Fenway Community Health Center's Victim Recovery Program (LBBTQ)617-267-0900
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-409-SAFE
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)1-800-656-HOPE
Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance1-855-970-MOVA (6682)

Reporting Options / Confidentiality

The University has designated Associate General Counsel Gretchen Groggel Ralston as Title IX Coordinator.

Students who wish to report sexual harassment, including sexual assault, are encouraged to contact Simmons' Title IX Coordinator:

Gretchen Groggel Ralston
AVP & Associate General Counsel & Title IX Coordinator
Main College Building, A-212
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
[email protected]
File a report online with the Title IX Coordinator

We encourage the Simmons community to review Simmons' Sexual Harassment Policy for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Visitors for additional information about how to report sexual harassment, including sexual assault, how Simmons addresses sexual harassment, including sexual assault, and resources on and off campus.

Students are welcome to report sexual harassment, including sexual assault, to Public Safety. Please note that a report to Public Safety and its officers and staff is not confidential. All information contained in a report will be provided to Simmons' Title IX Coordinator.

In instances when there is a risk of imminent harm to the victim or other members of the Simmons community, the University will take appropriate and necessary action to safeguard the campus community, including issuing a timely warning, as appropriate.

Parental Notification

If you are eighteen years of age or older, your parents will not be contacted without your consent. In all instances, the University will work with you to communicate with and involve parents as desired/needed. Exceptions to this practice may be made in life-threatening circumstances or if the student is hospitalized due to serious injuries.

What are steps I can take if I want medical or other types of assistance after a sexual assault?

  • When it is safe to do so, get to a safe place.
  • If you need immediate medical assistance: call 911.
  • If you want the University to assist you in obtaining medical or other assistance:
    • After business hours or over the weekend: Contact Public Safety at 617-521-1111. They can contact a member of the on-call staff who can assist you and mobilize the appropriate university resources.
    • During business hours: You may seek assistance from any of the following offices: Health Center, Counseling Center, Public Safety, Student Life or Residence Life.
  • If possible, and when you plan to seek immediate medical assistance, do not drink, bathe, shower, douche, brush your teeth, change your clothes, or brush your hair.
  • Seek support, such as through friends, family, and mental health resources, such as the Simmons Counseling Center. We also provide a list of resources through Simmons' Title IX webpage and on this document.

Medical Care

A person who has experienced a rape or other form of sexual assault is encouraged to have a medical exam as soon as possible. Medical care can be provided through Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) or the Simmons University Health Center. Clothing and belongings may provide evidence related to the assault. Therefore, we strongly recommend, if possible, that you do not change, wash, shower, brush your teeth, or even eat or drink before a medical assessment. If you need to urinate, please collect your urine in a clean container, especially if there is any concern that a "date-rape" drug was used against you.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)

Medical care can be provided at BIDMC by specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). The exam takes about three to four hours, possibly longer. You may be permitted to bring a support person with you.

If you seek care at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center your evaluation may include:

  • Assessment and treatment of physical injuries.
  • Assessment and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Discussion of risk of HIV exposure and, if less than 72 hours after exposure, option of medication for prevention of infection.
  • Discussion of risk of pregnancy, and if you choose, use of emergency contraception (morning-after-pill).
  • Collection of forensic evidence (in case you are considering pressing charges - this in no way obligates you to press charges).
  • Discussion of support services and follow-up appointments.

Simmons University Health Center

Students may receive medical care at the Simmons University Health Center from a nurse practitioner or doctor.

If you seek medical care at the Simmons University Health Center, you may be offered:

  • Assessment and treatment of any injuries, with referrals as needed.
  • Assessment and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Discussion of risk of pregnancy and use of emergency contraception (morning-after-pill) can be used up to five days after the assault. (It is most effective, however, if taken as soon as possible after the assault.)
  • Discussion of support services.
  • Follow-up visits in a timely manner as medically indicated, often consisting of appointments at two weeks, three months, and six month intervals.

Common Reactions to Sexual Assault

Victims of sexual assault experience a wide range of feelings and responses based on many factors, including the type of assault, whether the perpetrator was known or unknown, previous trauma history, and the reactions of others following the assault.

It is important to remember that there is no "normal" response to a sexual assault; however, some common reactions reported by assault victims include the following:

  • Shock, numbness, difficulty concentrating
  • Depression, sadness, isolation, lack of interest in activities
  • Anxiety, jitteriness, hypervigilance
  • Moodiness
  • Extreme worries about safety or engaging in potentially dangerous behaviors
  • Inability to remember details about the assault or intrusive thoughts about the assault
  • Acting as if nothing happened, feeling dissociated from the event
  • Difficulties sleeping, nightmares; fear of the dark
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Drinking excessively and/or using drugs
  • Difficulties in relationships and trusting others, discomfort with sex
  • Feelings of self-blame, shame, guilt
  • Anger, frustration, and revenge fantasies
  • Memories of previous trauma
  • Self harmful behaviors

Talking about assault may help you to heal or give you a sense of control. We encourage you to connect with Simmons' Counseling Center as soon as possible. Therapy provides a safe and confidential place to talk about feelings and concerns.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these or other symptoms following an assault, remember that there is help available.

Betsy's Friends

Betsy's Friends is a unique peer education program designed to educate students about relationship violence. A series of student-led workshops are offered and include: how to promote a healthy relationship, how to foster an ideal partnership, positive strategies for communication, relationship violence: the facts and same sex partner violence. These programs aid participants in understanding the continuum of relationship violence, how to make healthy choices about relationships, and how to access help. To learn more about these programs, please contact Annie Hamilton, Case Manager with Violence Prevention and Educational Outreach at [email protected].

Rape Aggression Defense Course (RAD)

RAD is a self-defense program offered by trained and experienced Public Safety staff. The course is open to all Simmons University students, faculty and staff. RAD is easy to learn, retain and use during a confrontational situation. The course consists of six 2-hour sessions and covers increased awareness, risk reduction strategies and physical self-defense. In the final session, students participate in a realistic, simulated exercise where they can practice what they have learned. To learn more about RAD, please email [email protected].