First and foremost, listen to what your friend has to say. Let them know that they are not alone, and will be supported through whatever course of action they eventually choose to take, whether they decide to file a formal complaint with the College, press charges with the police, or simply wants to talk to a counselor at CAPS. Don't ask questions that could be construed as judgmental, like how much they had to drink or about the clothes that were worn. Encourage your friend to look at the sexual misconduct website, which describes the resources available to survivors. Finally, make sure you take care of yourself while respecting your friend's confidentiality. As a support person, you too, may access any of the available on-campus or off-campus resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
These questions may come up in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but addresses some of the questions commonly asked by Haverford students.
My friend just told me they were assaulted at Haverford, what should I do?
What happens if I tell the College who assaulted me?
The College is required under Title IX to investigate any incident of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault) when there is enough information to conduct an investigation. However, you can choose whether or not to pursue criminal charges. Regardless of any charges or investigations, you are still eligible to receive support and treatment from all resources available.
What happens if I do not tell the College who assaulted me?
In general the College is required under Title IX to investigate any incident of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault) when there is enough information to conduct an investigation. Please see the statement on privacy and confidentiality to learn more about your options for reporting sexual misconduct and how your report will be handled. You can choose whether or not to pursue criminal charges. Regardless of any charges or investigations, you are still eligible to receive support and treatment from all resources available.
Can I Report An Incident of Sexual Misconduct in Confidence?
Yes! If you speak with a CAPS Counselor or one of the Licensed/Ordained Religious Advisers, they will not report anything to anyone at the College about the incident without your permission. There are others, including Health Services, the Women's Center and the Women's Center Student Assistants, to whom you can also speak in confidence. While they will be required to inform the College that an incident of sexual misconduct has occurred, they will not provide any personally identifying information without your permission. Read more about reporting options and confidentiality here.
What kinds of remedies are available to me?
The College has a duty to protect and support any member of the community who has experienced sexual misconduct. Any student who comes forward to make a complaint of sexual misconduct will be informed of options for assistance in securing appropriate and reasonably available remedies to enhance a feeling of safety and comfort on campus. Such remedies may include, but are not limited to, "no contact" orders, and changes in housing assignment and/or academic schedule. Other options may be considered as appropriate and feasible. Any remedies approved will be reviewed and modified as conditions warrant.
I think I was assaulted by a woman, can I get help?
Women can assault men and women, and Haverford takes allegations of woman-perpetrated sexual assault seriously. Haverford provides the same support and resources to survivors regardless of the sex or gender identity of the survivor or the assailant.
The College is currently closed, whom can I contact?
If it is an emergency, please call 911. Campus Safety is always open, even when the college is closed for holidays and breaks. A dispatcher can be reached 24/7 at (610) 896-1111 to refer you to the right person.
- I was assaulted while studying abroad, what are my options?
I was assaulted a few years ago, what are my options now?
Normally, Haverford requires that complaints of sexual misconduct be made within one year of the incident in question. The Dean of the College, however, may extend this time limitation at her sole discretion. Regardless of whether a complaint has been made within one year, all of the support systems and resources at Haverford for students who have experienced sexual misconduct will be made available.
Who can put me in touch with the police?
Kim Callahan, the Associate Director for Investigations at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges has expertise in the area of rape and sexual assault. She can help refer you to the correct police department–either the Haverford Township Police or Lower Merion Police. Kim can also tell you what to expect from a police investigation and advise you throughout the process.
I don't want to press charges now, can I do so at a later point?
A sexual assault evidence collection kit may be administered at a hospital by a licensed Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or forensic examiner. A “rape kit” involves a process of collecting DNA evidence that may have been left by the perpetrator. If you do choose to undergo a rape kit, you are not required to cooperate with law enforcement or pursue criminal charges. However, only DNA evidence collected by a rape kit is admissible in court.
If you want to keep your legal options open, Haverford suggests that you receive a rape kit at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Representatives from the Women’s Center and/or local organizations like Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) are available to accompany you to the hospital and support you during the process.
Kathy McGovern, the Director of Health Services, can provide you with more information about your options; she may be reached at (610) 896-1089 or after-hours through Campus Safety.
I don't want a rape kit, can I ask that one not be done?
You have every right to refuse a rape kit. You still have the right to receive medical treatment, emergency contraception, STI testing and treatment, and pregnancy testing. Haverford College Health Services can provide you with this medical care and/or refer you to a clinic that provides free or low-cost primary care and testing.
I'm worried about STIs, what should I do?
If you are worried about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, you should seek immediate medical care. Health Services can provide you with emergency contraception, which can prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after intercourse. Health Services also offers pregnancy testing and counseling, as well as STI testing and treatment. Contact Health Services at (610) 896-1089 for more information.