What should I do if I have been sexually assaulted?
- Find a safe place.
- Call the police. If you are in fear of your safety, call the police (911) immediately, especially if the assailant is still nearby. For an assault on campus, call the Campus Safety and Security Office at 304.829.7744 as well.
- Call someone you trust. This could be a friend, family member, or someone whom you feel you can talk to (i.e., Residence Life staff member, the College Counselor Renee Stock, a staff member at the Wellness Center, or another Bethany College faculty or staff member). A member of the Student Life staff is on call 24/7 when classes are in session, and can be reached at 304.830.3933.
- Seek emotional care. Regardless of whether you report the assault, it is often helpful to seek counseling or another form of emotional care.
Should I seek medical attention?
In the event of sexual assault or violence, it is important to seek medical attention to treat the physical damages the assault may have left behind, and also to collect any evidence that may help in an investigation of the crime. Physical examination can also provide the opportunity for sexually transmitted disease testing, such as HIV and hepatitis, and also for pregnancy testing. This action should be taken as immediately as possible to help preserve the evidence of the crime that was committed, and treatments for some sexually transmitted diseases must be initiated within 24 to 72 hours to be effective. You do not, however, have to make a decision about whether or not you want to press charges at this point.
An advocate from the Sexual Assault Help Center located in Wheeling, WV, can offer support at the hospital. However, survivors must ask for the advocate. Victims also have the opportunity to speak to the police at the hospital if they would like to press charges, but they are not required to do so. Private physicians are not required to call the police, but can if asked. Remember that you do not have to press charges at this point, and this is a measure to provide you the option in the future.
To best preserve evidence, do not bathe, urinate, douche, brush teeth or drink liquids after the assault. Do not change your clothes, but if you must, bring your original clothing to the hospital in a paper bag, as plastic bags could damage evidence.
Wheeling Hospital – 16.5 miles from Bethany College
1 Medical Park
Wheeling, WV 26003
Ohio Valley Medical Center – 17.5 miles from Bethany College
2000 Eoff St.
Wheeling, WV 26003
Weirton Medical Center – 20.5 miles from Bethany College
601 Colliers Way
Weirton, WV 26062
Washington Hospital – 22.5 miles from Bethany College
155 Wilson Ave.
Washington, PA 15301
What can survivors expect from the College Counselor and Wellness Center?
The College Counselor is located in the Health and Wellness Center, and can provide the opportunity for a victim of sexual violence to talk about their feelings associated with their assault. Renee Stock, the College Counselor, is experienced in helping victims of trauma and is available through walk-ins and by appointment. She is also a staff members who is not required to report an assault, and can be a place to go if you would like to talk about an assault without pressing charges or initiating an investigation. Renee Stock can be contacted by phone at 304.829.7572 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The staff at the Wellness Center can also provide treatment for minor injuries and pregnancy testing in the case of an assault.
The process seems complicated. Can you explain what I can expect as a victim after filing a report?
After the Title IX Coordinator is made aware of the report that has been filed, the Title IX Coordinator has seven calendar days to begin an investigation into the matter. The initial investigation will involve the Title IX Coordinator determining what policy was violated and if a policy was violated. After this has been determined, the victim and the respondent will be notified of the next step in the process. The College may enact interim measures, such as removing the respondent from classes or from campus as a whole, in order to protect the college community.
The College creates an investigatory team that will be responsible for determining if the evidence presented to them represents a policy violation. If a policy violation has taken place, there are many options for a victim to choose how they would like to proceed in a formal or informal manner.
The Title IX/Sex Discrimination Policy states that I can bring a support person with me during a formal resolution. What does this mean?
A support person is someone who does not act in the capacity of a witness or lawyer, but acts as emotional support to the victim throughout a hearing.
As a complainant, I have a right to protection from retaliation. What does that mean?
Protection from retaliation means the College will take action if you are harassed or negatively impacted because of your status as a reporter or victim. The College takes retaliation seriously and will act quickly to end it. The College encourages you to report any harassment or perceived retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator immediately.
How do you make a report about sexual violence?
If you are in current danger, call 911 or Campus Safety and Security at (304) 829-7744 to file a report and get help to safety. On the Bethany College website, you have access to several forms that can assist you in reporting sexual violence. To report that you have been a victim of sexual violence, you can use the Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Form to report using your name and to open a non-anonymous investigation. To report that you have been a victim of sexual violence and you do not wish to be identified in an investigation, or that someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence and you are not a mandatory reporter, you can file a report through the Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Anonymous Report Form. If you would like to report an incident of sexual violence that you witnessed or have been told about and do not wish to be anonymous, or if you are a mandatory reporter, you can file a report through the Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Incident Report Form. To make a report, you can also contact the Title IX Coordinator at 304.829.7131 or at titleIX@bethanywv.edu.
Who is required to report a sexual assault when they are made aware of one?
Any faculty and staff member of Bethany College that is not legally awarded confidentiality, including students who hold employment at the College over the summer break, are “mandatory reporters,” meaning that they must report any incident of sexual violence that they are made aware of, no matter what the circumstances. They can do this by contacting the Title IX Coordinator at 304.829.7131 or at titleIX@bethanywv.edu, or by using our online Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Incident Report Form.
If I have reported an incident as a mandatory reporter, does that make me involved in the investigation?
Thank you for reporting the incident – it is key that incidents are reported for the College to address them appropriately. Once you have taken the step to report an incident, you role is mostly finished. You may be interviewed by investigators as they gather information on the incident. Otherwise, your role in the incident it just as a reporter. As a mandatory reporter, your rights to information about the case are also finished after your report is complete.
If someone tells me about an assault that happened several months ago, do I still need to report it as a mandatory reporter?
Yes. Reporting incidents is the only way that the Title IX team can respond to them appropriately. Even if the incident happened several months ago, an investigation can still be initiated and remedies may be made. Sometimes victims can come forward with their stories after many months, sometimes as a part of the healing process. It is best to help and encourage them to speak about what happened to them because it can be very helpful and healing.
I was a witness in an investigation. Do I have the right to know the outcome, or to know if the investigation is continuing?
Witnesses in investigations are allowed limited information, only what is necessary for them to provide a fair and thorough statement to the case. In the interest of confidentiality and privacy, the College can only notify the complainant and respondent of the outcome of an investigation.
What does it mean that the College attempts to keep its investigation confidential?
Bethany College does everything in its power to keep investigations that it conducts confidential, in an attempt to protect the reputation of the complainant and the respondent. Information about these investigations are only revealed as the law and Bethany College policy permits. The information in these investigations is not to be publicized in any manner, as it is a violation of Bethany College policy and is strictly prohibited.