An aerial photo of campus featuring the Heights and Blanton Hall.

Sexual Assault Survivor Resources FAQs

How do I know what services are best for me?

You can choose what services feel most helpful to you at this time.  There are several options available to you.  For example, if you would like to meet with a counselor, get help seeking academic accommodations, and/or learn more about reporting options, the University Health Center can connect you with these services.  If you have concerns about pregnancy risk, STIs, or physical symptoms, you can get an evaluation and support through the University Health Center in Blanton Hall 1st floor.  An exam is not required, no fee for the consultation.

Do I have to have a medical exam or counseling in order to get academic or other accommodations?

No. You choose which services are most helpful for you—nothing is required, and you can change your mind at any time.

What will a forensic exam cost me?

There is no charge for the evaluation or examination at the University Health Center.  The medications you may need are not billed to your insurance and they are not billed to your student account.

Will people believe me?

Everyone at the University Health Center is committed to supporting students, and we believe you. Your experiences should never be questioned. You are always welcome to share your feedback about your visit with us.

What is a Forensic Exam?

A forensic exam is much like a physical that a patient would have had for school, sports, or a wellness check at some point in their life; but with a more extensive look at the skin. The exam process (what the nurse does) is directed by the patient’s preferences and the nurse examiner will respect your wishes. Services can include any or all of these options: gathering evidence (Q tips/swabs) from different places on the body, treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections or to prevent pregnancy, HIV preventative medication, documentation in a medical record, medical photographs. A forensic exam does NOT need to include a pelvic/gential exam. Evidence can be collected up to 120 hours (5 days) after an unwanted sexual encounter. In New Jersey, evidence can be collected with or without a report.

Preparing for a forensic exam

If you are able to, try to avoid activities that could potentially damage evidence such as:

  • Bathing
  • Showering
  • Using the restroom
  • Changing clothes
  • Combing hair
  • Cleaning up the area

It’s natural to want to go through these motions after a traumatic experience. If you have done any of these activities, you can still have an exam performed. If possible, you may want to bring a spare change of clothes with you

Will my parents find out if I come to the UHC?

The UHC will not contact parents unless you request it. Even if your parents pay your tuition or insurance, anything you tell us is confidential (by law) and protected as part of your medical record.

Do I have to report to the police or the university if I come to UHC?

No, you will not be pressured or required to report. We can discuss your options for reporting to campus and/or to law enforcement if that is something you are interested in but you will not be required to report. UHC services are confidential unless mandated by law.

Is there a time limit for reporting or for getting services?

No. UHC offers support to students for any sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking concerns, no matter when or where they occurred.

For reports to law enforcement, there are some considerations regarding the timeline for reporting called the Statute of Limitations. Please check online for the statute of limitations of the state where the event(s) occurred for additional information.

What if I’m not sure what happened to me?

Oftentimes students aren’t sure what happened—either they don’t remember, aren’t sure if something happened, or wonder how to label their experience. We believe that you deserve support no matter what the circumstances are and we do not label you or your experiences.

What if I am underage and was drinking at the time?

You deserve support. Nothing that you did or did not do caused what you have experienced. In the event you were drinking underage, indicate that victims of crimes including sexual assault will not be disciplined for underage drinking and are entitled to university and community assistance and are encouraged to seek help.

 

Am I a victim or a survivor of a sexual assault?

Both terms can be used. The term “victim” is more commonly used when referring to someone who has recently been affected by sexual violence; when discussing a particular crime; or when referring to aspects of the criminal justice system.  The term “survivor” is sometimes used when referring to someone who has gone through the recovery process, or when discussing the short- or long-term effects of sexual violence.  Some people identify as a victim, while others prefer the term survivor; the choice is yours. The best way for our office to be respectful is to ask for your preference.

Other resources to add: