Assault Contact Team

Support for Victims of Sexual Assault

Ramapo College is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment in which all its members are treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to providing timely support and assistance to victims/survivors* of sexual violence. In the aftermath of a sexual assault survivors have many options for support, reporting, and advocacy services.

Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Any student in need of immediate assistance should call Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. Monday – Thursday). After hours please contact Public Safety at 201-684-6666 to contact an emergency counselor.

Facts about Sexual Assault

Q: What is sexual assault?
In New Jersey, sexual assault is the legal term to define what is most commonly referred to as rape. Sexual assault is defined as any act of penetration by a penis, hand, finger or other object (vaginal, oral or anal) performed or perpetrated by another without mutual consent or with the inability of one party to consent due to age, mental or physical incapacitation.

Sexual assault, as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Sexual activities that fall under this definition include forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

Q: What are the relevant statistics?
A 2007 campus sexual assault study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that around 1 in 5 women are targets of attempted or completed sexual assault while they are college students, compared to about 1 in 16 college men. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network reports that college-aged women are four times more likely than any other age group to face sexual assault.

Each year schools disclose the number of sexual assaults reported on campus in their annual security reports, and to the U.S. Department of Education. In 2013, the requirements for schools were updated as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Colleges and universities will now also disclose the annual number of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents reported.

Q: Who are the perpetrators of sexual assault?
According to a 2000 report funded by the National Institute of Justice, the vast majority of campus sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim — in 90 percent of the reported cases, the victim knew her or his attacker.

Q: How often is rape reported?
Less than 5 percent of rapes and attempted rapes of college students are reported to campus authorities or law enforcement.

Q: What role does alcohol play in campus sexual assault?
Alcohol is the most widely used date-rape drug; 89 percent of assaults occur when the survivor is incapacitated due to alcohol. Sexual assault is never the fault of survivors, regardless of whether they were using drugs or alcohol (voluntarily or against their will). Use of alcohol or drugs by perpetrators is no excuse for their actions.

Q: What role does federal law play?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits the sexual harassment of college and university students. Sexual assault, an extreme form of sexual harassment, “denies or limits, on the basis of sex, a student’s ability to participate in or receive benefits, services, or opportunities at the institution.” When it affects the survivor’s or other students’ educational opportunities, sexual assault creates what the legal system identifies as a hostile environment. In April 2011, the DOE issued guidance on the responsibilities of colleges and universities under Title IX. The 2011 guidance requires colleges and universities to

  • Define sex discrimination (including sexual violence) and publish a policy stating that the school does not discriminate on the basis of sex
  • Have and distribute procedures for students to file complaints when sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence takes place
  • Appoint a Title IX coordinator to oversee these activities, review complaints, and deal with patterns or systemic problems (even when there are no formal complaints) and distribute the Title IX coordinator’s name to students

Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act) institutions of higher education must also notify students about crime on campuses, publicize their prevention and response policies, publish their crime statistics, and advise victims of their basic rights.

In 2013, Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act and included provisions to improve campus safety. Colleges and universities will now have to report the number of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents that occur on campus every year in addition to the longstanding requirement to disclose sexual assault incidents, along with other crimes. They will also have to update their annual security reports to include the institution’s programs (available to all students and employees) to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In addition, students will now be provided with clear options and support when they report an incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. These new requirements are in addition to the longstanding obligations under Title IX and the Clery Act.

(Source: Adapted from the AAWU Sexual Assault Resource Page)

NJ Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights

New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights

Pursuant to NJSA 18A, Chapter 61E

A college or university in a free society must be devoted to the pursuit of truth and knowledge through reason and open communication among its members. Academic communities acknowledge the necessity of being intellectually stimulating where the diversity of ideas is valued. Its rules must be conceived for the purpose of furthering and protecting the rights of all members of the college community in achieving these ends. The boundaries of personal freedom are limited to applicable state and federal laws and  institutional rules and regulations governing interpersonal behavior. In creating a community free from violence, sexual assault and non­consensual sexual contact, respect for the individual and human dignity are of paramount importance. The state of New Jersey recognizes that the impact of violence on its victims and the surrounding community can be severe and long lasting. Thus, it has established this Bill of Rights to articulate requirements for policies, procedures and services designed to insure that the needs of  victims are met and that the colleges and universities in New Jersey create and maintain communities that support human dignity.

Bill of Rights 
The following Rights shall be accorded to victims of sexual assault that occur:

  • on the campus of any public or independent institution of higher education in the state of New Jersey, and
  • where the victim or alleged perpetrator is a student at that institution, and/or
  • when the victim is a student involved in an off­ campus sexual assault.

Human Dignity Rights

  • To be free from any suggestion that victims must report the crimes to be assured of any other right guaranteed under this
    policy.
  • To have any allegations of sexual assault treated seriously; the right to be treated with dignity.
  • To be free from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them.
  • To be free from any pressure from campus personnel to:
    • report crimes if the victim does not wish to do so
    • report crimes as lesser offenses than the victim perceives the crime to be
    • refrain from reporting crimes
    • refrain from reporting crimes to avoid unwanted personal publicity.

Rights to Resources On and Off Campus 

  • To be notified of existing campus and community based medical, counseling, mental health and student services for victims of sexual assault whether or not the crime is formally reported to campus or civil authorities.
  • To have access to campus counseling under the same terms and conditions as apply to other students in their institution seeking such counseling.
  • To be informed of and assisted in exercising:
    • any rights to confidential or anonymous testing for sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency  virus, and/or pregnancy
    • any rights that may be provided by law to compel and disclose the results of testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases.

Campus Judicial Rights

  • To be afforded the same access to legal assistance as the accused.
  • To be afforded the same opportunity to have others present during any campus disciplinary proceeding that is allowed the
    accused.
  • To be notified of the outcome of the sexual assault disciplinary proceeding against the accused.

Legal Rights 

  • To have any allegation of sexual assault investigated and adjudicated by the appropriate criminal and civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the sexual assault is reported.
  • To receive full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities.
  • To receive full, prompt, and victim­ sensitive cooperation of campus personnel with regard to obtaining, securing, and maintaining evidence, including a medical examination when it is necessary to preserve evidence of the assault.
  • To be free from any suggestion that victims were contributory negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted.

Campus Intervention Rights 

  • To require campus personnel to take reasonable and necessary actions to prevent further unwanted contact of victims by their alleged assailants.
  • To be notified of the options for and provided assistance in changing academic and living situations if such changes are reasonably available.

Statutory Mandates 
Each campus must guarantee that this Bill of Rights is implemented. It is the obligation of the individual campus governing board to examine resources dedicated to services required to implement the Bill of Rights and to make appropriate requests to increase or reallocate resources where necessary to ensure implementation. Each campus shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that every student at that institution receives a copy of this document.
Nothing in this act or in any “Campus Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights” developed in accordance with the provisions of this act, shall be construed to preclude or in any way restrict any public or independent institution of higher education in the State from reporting  any suspected crime or offense to the appropriate law enforcement authorities

NEW JERSEY VICTIM’S BILL OF RIGHTS (PDF)

What are my resources for support?

ON-CAMPUS RESOURCES:

The Counseling Center

Professional counselors are available in the Counseling Center to provide victim-centered services and resources for survivors of sexual assault.

All interactions with Counseling Services, including scheduling of appointments, content of your sessions, and your records are confidential. To learn more please click here.

A counselor will:

  • Listen and provide sensitive, nonjudgmental support
  • Review the victim’s rights under the NJ Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights
  • Explain the types of medical care available after an assault
  • Assist in making arrangements for getting medical care if desired
  • Review legal and/or campus adjudication options so that the survivor can make an informed decision about what actions they may take. Getting help does not mean that you must press charges.
  • Assist in filing a formal report if the student should decide to do so
  • Review additional resources and options
  • Provide follow-up assistance if desired

Counseling Services is located in room D-216 (entrance behind stairwell on left).

Health Services

Health Services provides emergency contraception, testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), pregnancy testing, and more. These services are provided free of charge for survivors of sexual assault. Health Services is located near the campus South Gate entrance at the corner of Route 202 and Hornbeam Road.

The Women’s Center

The Women’s Center advocates for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation. Peer listening is available for survivors of sexual assault. The Women’s Center also offers programs to support survivors and prevent interpersonal violence such as Take Back the Night, The Clothesline Project, and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The Women’s Center is located in room C220.

OFF-CAMPUS RESOURCES:

healingSPACE: A Sexual Violence Resource Center:

healingSPACE provides confidential information, support, and victim services. They have trained advocates that provide counseling and medical and legal accompaniments to survivors. HealingSPACE also offers support groups, volunteer training, and educational programs for schools and businesses, as well as sponsors activities to raise community awareness about sexual violence.

Their free and confidential 24-hour hotline number is (201) 487-2227.

New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA):

NJCASA is a statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors. Their mission is to promote the compassionate and just treatment of survivors and their loved ones; foster collaborative relationships between community systems; and affect attitudinal and behavioral changes in society as we work toward the elimination of sexual violence against all people.

 

What are my options for medical treatment?

IMMEDIATELY after an Assault:

If the assault has just occurred, the first and most important consideration is your safety. Get to a safe place where you can make arrangements for medical services as soon as possible. Do not wash your hands, shower, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, eat, smoke, or douche. If possible preserve each item of clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault separately in a paper bag. This can be important to preserving evidence should you choose future action.

An emergency counselor is available 24/7 by contacting Counseling Services at 201-684-7522 during regular business hours. After hours please contact Public Safety (201-684-6666) to contact an emergency counselor.

If you are on campus and have been physically injured, call Public Safety. By contacting Public Safety, you are not obligated to file an incident report. At your request, only an anonymous crime report will be completed for statistical purposes.

If the Assault took Place within the Past 5 Days:

If the assault has taken place within the past five days students have two options for medical treatment: on-campus medical treatment and off-campus medical treatment. Campus counselors are available to provide emotional support regardless of which option a survivor selects.

On-campus Medical Treatment:

Health Services provides emergency contraception, testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), pregnancy testing, and more. These services are provided free of charge for survivors of sexual assault. Health Services is located near the campus South Gate entrance at the corner of Route 202 and Hornbeam Road.

Please visit the Health Services website for hours, services, and contact information.

Off-campus Medical Treatment:

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you can benefit from receiving a specialized medical examination. In addition to the examination, you will also be provided with information regarding your rights and options to ensure your physical and emotional well-being.The medical examination can also provide useful information and evidence if you decide to report the assault. Please use this information to empower yourself to make informed choices and decisions.

A survivor seeking evidence preservation in addition to medical treatment can call (201) 646-2700 to activate the Bergen County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). Survivors will have the option of meeting with any of the following SART members chosen by the survivor:

Students wishing to use any or all of SART services may also still avail themselves of campus services such the Counseling Center.

WHY SHOULD I HAVE A SPECIALIZED MEDICAL EXAMINATION FOLLOWING A SEXUAL ASSAULT?

You should have a thorough medical examination immediately after a sexual assault, even if you have no apparent injuries. You may be in shock and have internal injuries. You may also have minor injuries, such as scratches or other marks on your skin. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can give you a thorough physical examination and, if indicated, can provide treatment for injuries that are related to the sexual assault. The examiner can also document any injuries that you have so that if you decide to take any legal action, you will have a record of what happened to you.

Physical evidence can be identified and collected during a sexual assault medical examination. Even if you are undecided about whether you want to make a police report and unsure whether you want your assailant prosecuted, you should have evidence collected as soon as possible after a sexual assault. This is the best way to keep your options open for the future.

A sexual assault can place you at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). A health care provider can help you evaluate your risk of getting various STIs and advise you about ways to protect yourself from these risks. One of the benefits of obtaining medical care as soon as possible after a sexual assault is that immediate evaluation and medication can prevent some STIs.

If you are a female victim, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can help you determine the likelihood that you could become pregnant as a result of the sexual assault and advise you about the alternatives available to you.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE EXAMINATION?

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will usually begin by asking questions about your general health. If you are a female victim, you will be asked about your menstrual history and your use of contraception. You will also be asked specific questions about the assault. Although it may be difficult to recall some of the details and it may be emotionally painful to remember and talk about what happened, the answers you provide to these questions will help the doctor or nurse practitioner to conduct a thorough physical examination. This usually includes a pelvic examination but only with the survivor’s consent.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will look for injuries and other signs that force was used, such as tender areas, marks on your skin and bruises. If you have visible injuries, you may be asked to give consent to have photographs taken of the injured areas. Photographing injuries is important because if you choose to prosecute, by the time you go to court, the injuries may have healed.

In addition to checking you for other injuries, the medical team can look for other evidence of a sexual assault. Depending on the type(s) of sexual contact that occurred, the evidence may include taking samples from your vagina, mouth, and/or rectum to test for sperm cells and semen. Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault.

After the examination is complete, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will document the findings in your medical record. This can be subpoenaed to assist in the legal process.

IF THE ASSAULT TOOK PLACE More than 5 DAYS Ago:

Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and pregnancy is available from Health Services and other medical providers. After 5 days have passed, evidence that is able to be processed from a medical exam is unlikely to be collected.

Please see the “What are my resources for support?” section of this website for ongoing support including options for counseling, peer listening in the Women’s Center, and community resources.

Frequently Asked Medical Questions:

CAN I CONTRACT A STI AS A RESULT OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT?

The likelihood of contracting an sexually transmitted infection (STI) as a result of a sexual assault depends on various factors including the type of sexual contact that occurred, the number of assailants, and whether or not an assailant was infected with an STi at the time of the assault.

There are several STIs that can be contracted during sexual contact including Hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, or vaginitis. There are immediate and effective treatment choices for some of these STIs.

You may choose to reduce the risk of contracting certain STIs (Hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or vaginitis) by taking medication immediately as a preventive measure. You may also opt to wait to see if you actually contracted any disease(s) before taking medications.

AM I AT RISK FOR GETTING HIV IF I HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED?

The probability of contracting HIV through a single sexual contact is very low. You should consult with a physician or nurse regarding how to access your risk factors and what you can do to deal with the unlikely event of contracting HIV as a result of a sexual assault.

For your peace of mind and the protection of your sexual partner, it is recommended that you be tested for HIV. The doctor or nurse will talk to you about where and when to be tested and what precautions you should take to protect your sexual partner.

There are laws in some states that permit a criminal court judge to order a sexual assault suspect to be tested for HIV and other communicable diseases and to inform the victim of the test results. Speak to the police investigator or prosecutor for further information.

WHAT IS THE RISK OF PREGNANCY AS A RESULT OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT?

If you are a female, your risk of getting pregnant from a sexual assault depends on many factors. The time in your menstrual cycle, your current use of contraceptives, your fertility, the fertility of the assailant, and whether or not the assailant ejaculated in or near your vagina are all factors involved. The physician or nurse can help you evaluate your personal risk for pregnancy.

If you are at risk for becoming pregnant as a result of a sexual assault, a medical care provider can explain the various treatment options available to you. If you choose to have immediate treatment to prevent risk of a pregnancy, the options are most effective if you seek care within 72 hours after the assault. Immediate treatment options may prevent conception, however, they will not interrupt a pregnancy once it has begun.

You may decide to wait and see if you become pregnant as a result of the assault. If you do become pregnant, a health care provider can discuss your options with you.

How can I report an incident of sexual assault?

ANONYMOUS Reporting

The Public Safety Complaint Form  is available for anonymous reports. Submissions are read and responded to during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Any submissions sent after business hours or during weekends or holidays will be read and responded to on the next business day.

If you believe there is imminent danger to a student, or to the community, you must immediately contact Public Safety at  (201) 684-6666.

REPORTING TO THE Title IX Coordinator

What is the role of the Title IX Coordinator?

To oversee the processes that address reported concerns or claims of sex or gender based discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking.  Each school must designate a Title IX administrator to review, update and implement current Title IX policies, to coordinate appropriate training and resources, and ensure effective and timely responses to complaints of sexual violence, misconduct, discrimination or harassment.

Is my Title IX complaint confidential?

The College will make every effort to keep the confidentiality of any person(s) reporting a claim and when possible will keep the identity of an unwilling victim or witness confidential. However, we cannot guarantee unqualified confidentiality as we must also balance the safety of other members in our community. If we determine that there is the threat of imminent harm to an individual or to the community, information may need to be shared and then only with appropriate individuals. Complainants will be advised if information pertaining to a claim is shared with individuals outside of the College’s investigative process.

How do I contact the Title IX Coordinator at Ramapo College?

Please visit the Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance website for more information.

REPORTING TO THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY

Office Location: C-102
Phone: (201) 684-6666

The Office of Public Safety Department is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. By contacting Public Safety, you are not obligated to file an incident report. At your request, only an anonymous crime report will be completed for statistical purposes.

Only after discussing your situation with a confidential counselor and learning what is entailed in filing a report will you be asked to make decisions regarding legal and judicial options. Even if you do not want to make a formal incident report or file charges, you still have the right to other victims’ services.

Members of this department are trained to gather information on your complaint. Public Safety Officers must provide notice of your complaint to the Title IX Coordinator within 24 hours or as soon as practicable.

More information about reporting a crime or violation of campus policies is available here.

REPORTING TO THE Bergen County Police

Students can also contact the Bergen County Police by calling (201) 646-2700 to activate the Bergen County Sexual Assault Response Team. Students will have the option of meeting with a police officer, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (for evidence collection) at a local hospital, and a member of the healingSPACE: A Sexual Violence Resource Center.

 

How can I help a friend who has been assaulted?

If a friend discloses to you that they have been assaulted, the first thing to do is believe them. Often a victim’s worst fear is that the person they tell will not believe them.

Ask them if they need medical help, and if they do, take them to the nearest hospital that has a sexual assault nurse examiner present.

If they do not want to go to a hospital, do not insist unless it is a medical emergency. When a person is assaulted, they can feel a loss of control over their body and their life. If you push them to tell you more than they volunteer, to report the assault, or to submit to a medical exam, you can unintentionally perpetuate that loss of control.

Use this website to learn the resources available on our campus and help your friend connect with those resources. Remember that he or she must be the one in control of the decision to seek support.

 

*A Note on Language:

Throughout this website the words “victim” and “survivor” are used interchangeably. We respect the decision of those who have experienced violence to identify as a victim or a survivor. We recognize that choosing to identify as a survivor is an important part of the healing process for some who have experienced sexual violence.