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

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 Gina Capra, Program Coordinator Violence Prevention and Educational Outreach at (617) 521-2118.

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].

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 Assistant General Counsel Gretchen Groggel Ralston as the Title IX Coordinator to comply with Title IX and the University's sexual misconduct policy, Section 504 and other equal opportunity regulations and law. Questions or concerns about Title IX, Section 504 or other aspects of the University's equal opportunity or harassment policy should be directed to her.

For student complaints and inquiries, as well as those involving Athletics:

Gretchen Groggel Ralston, Associate VP & Associate General Counsel  & Title IX Coordinator
Main College Building, E-200
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
Send an email

Click here for the Title IX and Free from Discrimination and Harassment Policy

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. If you choose to access these services, a staff member can accompany you.

You may report a sexual assault to Public Safety in the following ways:

Anonymous Report:

All members of the community, may also make an anonymous report concerning an allegation of sexual misconduct to Ethics PointEthics Point is a service that allows anyone to report suspected misconduct or other issues with complete anonymity or confidentiality. This service allows the person making the report and university administrators to confer about additional details, while the reporting party's identity remains anonymous and unknown to the University.

An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her name, identifying the respondent, or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, anonymous reporting may impact the University's ability to respond or pursue appropriate action.

Anonymous reports may be made by telephone at 888-260-5947 or online. All reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator for review.

EthicsPoint utilizes its own secure servers, outside of the University network, as well as their own call center. While the reports will be forwarded to University administrators for appropriate review and action, the source of all reports submitted to EthicsPoint will remain confidential and will not be shared with University administrators without your permission.

Formal Complaint: 

You may file a formal complaint with Public Safety. A specially trained officer(s) will conduct an investigation. Public Safety also works with the Boston Police Department and may utilize their expert services. You may also file your complaint directly with Boston Police.

Questions about Confidentiality:

We take your confidentiality very seriously and understand that reporting a sexual assault can be very difficult. Because of this, we will work to ensure that only those staff that can be most helpful to you will be informed. Above all, it is important that you feel comfortable with the process and that you have as much control as possible over what happens.

In instances when there is a risk of imminent harm to the victim or other members of the Simmons community, the University has a legal and ethical responsibility to do whatever is necessary to safeguard the community. Any and all actions taken by the University staff, including the release of a possible warning to the community, will be designed to protect the victim's anonymity.

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 sustained from an assault.

Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART)

The University has established a multidisciplinary Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART), with representatives from Student Life, Residence Life, the University Health and Counseling Centers, Health Education, and Public Safety. These individuals are specifically identified as community resources for students and other community members to offer confidential consultation and to answer questions about sexual assault reporting options and/or available services and resources at the university and in the greater community.


  • 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 of sexual assault and 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 an object. Rape may include an implicit or explicit threat and/or use of force. Rape also includes those circumstances in which an individual is not capable of giving consent because s/he is intoxicated, unconscious, physically incapacitated, mentally impaired or under the age of 16.
  • Date Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance.

What to do. What if it happens to Me?

  • Get to a safe place immediately.
  • 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 CenterCounseling CenterPublic SafetyStudent Life or Residence Life.
  • 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 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.

Medical Care

A person who has experienced a rape or other form of sexual assault should 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.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)

Medical care can be provided at BIDMC by specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).This medical service is offered through the Rape Crisis Intervention Program, which is widely regarded as one of the best sites for care in the Boston area. The exam takes about three to four hours, possibly longer if there are injuries. You are welcome to bring a support person with you.

If you seek care at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center your evaluation will 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 Univeristy Health Center

Medical care can be provided at the Simmons University Health Center by a nurse practitioner or doctor. If you call the Health Center you should ask to speak to the clinical nurse coordinator or one of the nurses. The nurse can schedule your visit with the appropriate medical provider in the Health Center or give you further information about the services offered at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

If you seek medical care at the Simmons University Health Center you will 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, feelings of being "damaged"
  • Anger, frustration, and revenge fantasies
  • Memories of previous trauma
  • Self harmful behaviors
  • Fear of being crazy or not being able to function at all

Talking about rape or assault can help you to heal or give you a sense of control. We recommend that you see a therapist or counselor 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 always help available.