What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is any form of forced sexual activity that you don't agree to, ranging from touching to penetration. It is commonly referred to as rape. It is a serious crime-even if you know the person who attacked you, including a friend, a floor mate, someone you went on a date with, a family member, a professor or staff person, or someone you work with. It's a crime even if you didn't fight back. It's a crime even if you were drinking, taking drugs, given drugs or unconscious. It's a crime no matter what you were wearing or what you did before the perpetrator began making advances. Anyone -- men, women, children and elderly people -- can be the victims of sexual violence.
What should I do if I've just been raped?
If you've just been raped, you should first get to a safe place, away from your attacker. Contact Campus Security at extension x8911 if you need assistance. Then you should immediately go to the Rutland Regional Medical Center Emergency Room (160 Allen Street, Rutland, 802-775-7111). Although feeling like you want to bathe or change your clothes before you go to the hospital is common, avoid bathing or changing your clothes until after you have been checked out. Get there as fast as you can. If you need help finding a friend you trust to go with you to the hospital, let a Student Life or Wellness Center staff person know. Calling the police is something you can do from the hospital if you choose to. You do not have to call the police-the Emergency Room will give you that option.
What happens in the emergency room?
The Emergency Room has a Sexual Assault Nurse (SANe Nurse) on duty at all times; she will examine your body for injuries and collect information, using what they call a "rape kit," which is a standard kit with little boxes, microscope slides and plastic bags for collecting and storing information. The attacker may have left behind pieces of information such as clothing fibers, hairs, saliva or semen that may help identify him or her. The hospital will keep this kit on file for several months after your attack. If you choose to seek justice through the legal system, the rape kit will be ready for you to serve as your primary piece of physical information.
Next, the SANe Nurse will take a blood sample from you. Women will be checked for pregnancy and all rape victims are tested for diseases that can be passed through sex. Cultures of the cervix may be sent to a lab to check for disease, too. They may also check to see if a "date rape" drug was given to you. The results of these tests will come back in several days. If any of the tests are positive, you'll need to talk with your doctor about treatment.
What kind of treatment might I need?
The SANe Nurse can tell you about different treatments. If you take the birth control pill or have an intrauterine device (IUD), your chance of pregnancy is small. If you don't take the pill, you may consider pregnancy prevention treatment. Pregnancy prevention consists of taking 2 estrogen pills when you first get to the hospital and 2 more pills 12 hours later. This treatment reduces the risk of pregnancy by 60% to 90%. (The treatment may make you feel sick to your stomach.)
The risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease during a rape is about 5% to 10%. Your doctor can prescribe medicine for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis when you first get to the hospital. If you haven't already been vaccinated for hepatitis B, you should get that vaccination when you first get to the Emergency Room. Then you'll get another vaccination in 1 month and a third in 6 months. The doctor will also tell you about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Your chance of getting HIV from a rape is less than 1%, but if you want preventive treatment, you can take 2 medicines-- zidovudine (brand name: Retrovir) and lamivudine (brand name: Epivir) -- for 4 weeks.
What else should I know?
Being raped can have a huge effect on your life. While some people are affected more or less than others, you may be upset, and you may feel disbelief and shock, fear, anger, anxiety and guilt. You may have an upset stomach or feel nervous, or notice changes in sleeping, eating, and personal hygiene habits, or have nightmares, anxiety attacks, or flashbacks. About half of all people who are raped say they are depressed during the first year after the attack. It's important that you keep appointments with your doctor. Be sure to tell him or her about any physical, emotional or sexual problems you have during this time, even if you don't think they're related to the rape. Counseling services are available to all students at Green Mountain College. Victims of sexual violence may find counseling especially useful to minimize the long-lasting effects of this crime, and our Wellness Center has both male and female counselors who are trained to listen and help you get through this situation. To make a confidential appointment, contact the Wellness Center at 287-4320, or stop by to schedule an appointment at your convenience. In addition, a counselor is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your counselor can help you access this emergency system; you can also reach a counselor by telling your RA, another Student Life staff member, or contacting Campus Security.
Where can I get more information?
Be sure to visit your doctor 1 or 2 weeks after the incident to review the results of the tests done in the Emergency Room. Your doctor will give you information and tell you more about other support services, too. Some of these services include hospital social workers, local rape crisis services, your local public health department and the state attorney general's office.
Remember, sexual assault is a terrible crime. But it's not your fault, and you didn't cause it to happen. Rape is against the law. You have the right to report this crime to the police, and you have the right to be treated fairly during the justice process.
* Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-228-7395
* Rape Crisis Emergency Hotline: 1-800-489-7273
* Rutland County Rape Crisis Line: 802-775-3232
* WomenSafe: 1-800-388-4205
* Adult Protective Services Department: 1-800-564-1612
* Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: 800-656-HOPE
* National Coalition Against Sexual Assault: 717-728-9764