Sexual Assault

The information on this webpage is here to provide you with some information about sexual assault, and offer you some practical guidelines for reducing the risk of being a victim of sexual assault.

The terms sexual assault, acquaintance rape, and date rape are often used interchangeably. Sexual assault is a general term that describes all forms of unwanted sexual activity. It includes, but is not limited to, rape or attempted rape.

Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent. Some types of sexual acts that fall under the category of sexual assault are forced intercourse (rape), oral or anal sexual acts or unwelcome or forced sexual touching not involving intercourse.

Assailants can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members. Assailants commit sexual assault by way of violence, threats, coercion, manipulation, pressure or tricks. Whatever the circumstances, no one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted.  Do not blame yourself for what happened to you.

Sexual assault in any form is a crime and a violation of Rider’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy which can be found on the Web site at www.rider.edu/thesource.  

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to talk to someone about what happened so that they can get the help and support they need and the University can respond appropriately.   Remember: No one deserves to be the victim of a crime. Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone; no one deserves to be hurt by another person.

What to do if you or someone you know is sexually assaulted

What is SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Nurse?

Who should I tell, available resources

Victim assistance and support

Community resources for victims, their families and friends

How to help a friend who has been sexually assaulted

Male victims of sexual assault

Rape Trauma Syndrome

Safe Dating

WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED

IMMEDIATELY following a sexual assault:

  • Get to a safe place.

  • Call someone you trust. No matter how late it is, you should not be alone.  Call a friend, a family member or someone else you trust and ask them to stay with you.

  • Get immediate medical attention for possible injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss the possibility of sexually transmitted infections with a medical provider.  If you are female, you can prevent pregnancy by taking emergency contraceptive pills within 72 hours of the assault.

  • Contact the Department of Public Safety (609-896-5029) if you would like to be transported to a hospital for examination.

  • Do not clean up. It may be difficult to keep from cleaning yourself up, but if you do you may destroy evidence that could be useful should you decide to report the assault to the police.

  • Preserve all physical evidence. Do not bathe, shower, douche, eat, drink, smoke, or urinate, if possible. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag.  Do not use plastic bags.  Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.  Evidence can be collected at an emergency room and you can decide later whether or not you want to report the incident to the police.  If the crime happened in your room or apartment, do not clean or straighten up until all evidence has been collected.  Even if you are not sure about reporting the assault, it makes sense to preserve the option of reporting until you make a final decision.

  • Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant, her or his identity if you know it, and the use of threats or force.

  • Consider reporting the assault to the University and law enforcement authorities.  Reporting a sexual assault may be an important step in the recovery process and may help to prevent another assault.  Reporting an incident to a University official does not mean you must also report the incident to law enforcement authorities.  As per the New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, it is the victim’s choice whether or not to report the matter to law enforcement authorities.  See the section that follows for further information.

Contact information for reporting to the University:

Robert Stoto
Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator
Moore Library, Room 108
(609) 895-5683
rstoto@rider.edu

Anthony Campbell, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students 
Bart Luedeke Center, Room 110
(609) 896-5101
acampbel@rider.edu

Department of Public Safety
West House, Lawrenceville campus
Bristol Chapel, Princeton campus
Both campuses: (609) 896-5029 (non-emergency) 
(609) 896-7777 (emergency)

Silent Witness Form (anonymous reporting) is available via Rider’s Web site at www.rider.edu/info/publicsafety/witness.htm

  • Contact your local rape crisis program for support, information, and to talk to someone who understands the trauma of rape, your rights under the law, and knows how to help.

  • Call Womanspace at 609-394-9000 or 800-572-SAFE and speak to a Rape Crisis Counselor. You can ask the counselor to activate the Mercer County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) if you desire. The SART consists of a Sexual Assault Advocate and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). You do not have to reveal your identity to the counselor. 

If the SART is activated, an Advocate and the SANE nurse will meet you at the Mercer County hospital of your choice. You also have the option of asking to have a police officer meet you at the hospital if you would like law enforcement to be notified. You DO NOT have to have law enforcement involved in order to have the advocate and SANE nurse meet you at the hospital.  If you DO WANT police involved, then they come to the hospital to ensure that the evidence is sent to the NJ State Police Crime Lab after it is collected at the hospital.  If you DO NOT WANT to have police involvement right away, the evidence kit will still be kept, untested, for 5 years. 

Hospitals
The following area hospitals are part of a program that allows SANE nurses to respond to and perform forensic exams after a sexual assault:

Capital Health, Regional (Helene Fuld)
750 Brunswick Ave., Trenton NJ 08638; (609) 896-6000

Capital Health
1 Capital Way, Pennington, NJ 08534; (609) 303-4000

Princeton Healthcare System
1 Plainsboro Rd., Plainsboro, NJ 08536; 1 (800) 460-4776

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ 08690; (609) 584-6666

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WHAT IS A SANE (SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINER) NURSE?

Being examined at a hospital may be part of the process of dealing with a sexual assault.  It is important to feel safe during this examination.  Having someone trained to perform these particular examinations and who understands the trauma of rape can provide this safety.

  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are emergency room RNs who have completed specialized training to assist sexual assault victims.  They perform the physical examination, collect evidence from your body, provide you with emergency contraception, treat minor injuries, work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies and the courts, and most of all support your needs.

  • SANE nurses strive to preserve their patients’ dignity and ensure that survivors are not re-traumatized by the evidence collection process. 

  • SANE nurses are also trained in identifying patterned injury, documenting injuries, maintaining chain-of-evidence, and providing expert witness testimony.

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WHO SHOULD I TELL?

The information below is taken from Rider’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy which governs the treatment of harassment and discrimination cases at Rider including sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.  You can find the Policy in its entirety at www.rider.edu/thesource.

Reporting and Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Assault: Know the Options

University employees have different abilities to maintain your confidentiality.

  • Disclosing an incident to the Title IX Coordinator, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Department of Public Safety or any other responsible employees (described in the section that follows) constitutes a report to the University and generally obligates the University to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.  Responsible employees are required to report information concerning an incident to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • You are free to discuss an incident, in confidence, with Counseling Center and Chaplain Center staff.  These staff are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator or Associate Vice President for Student Affairs without your permission. 
  • You are also free to discuss an incident, in confidence, with Student Health Services staff.  These staff are required to only report to the Title IX Coordinator, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, or Department of Public Safety that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information.  Disclosures to these staff will not trigger a University investigation into an incident against the complainant’s wishes.

PLEASE NOTE: If you speak to Counseling Center, Chaplain Center or Student Health Services staff and you want to maintain confidentiality, please understand that the University will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the respondent.  If you first request confidentiality, you may later decide to file a complaint with the University or law enforcement authorities and thus have the incident fully investigated.  Assistance in that regard will be provided if you so choose.

Rider University Resources

Student Health Center
Poyda C 1st floor, Lawrenceville campus; (609) 896-5060 weekdays
Taylor Hall, Princeton campus; (609) 721-7100, x8222 weekdays

Counseling Center
Zoerner House, Lawrenceville campus; (609) 896-5157 weekdays
Williamson Hall, Princeton campus (609) 921-7100, x8275

Department of Student Affairs
Bart Luedeke Center, Lawrenceville campus; (609) 896-5101
Scheide Student Center, Princeton campus; (609) 921-7100, x8263

Responsible Employees

Responsible employees are University employees who have the authority to redress sexual violence, who have the duty to promptly report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe have this authority or duty.  When you tell a responsible employee about an incident, the responsible employee must report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, who will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly, fairly and impartially.

To the extent possible, information reported to responsible employees will be shared only with people responsible for handling the University’s response to the report.  

Responsible employees will not pressure you to request confidentiality and will not pressure you to make a full report if you are not ready to do so.

All Rider University employees (faculty, administrators and staff) are considered responsible employees EXCEPT for those listed below. Responsible employees also include students who are employed by Residential Programs as Resident Advisors, House Managers, Resident Directors and House Directors.

  • Counseling Center, Chaplain Center and Student Health Services professional and non-professional staff (to whom a complainant can report confidentially).

  • Facilities (non-management staff)

  • Aramark (food services), DTZ (custodial) and Follett (bookstore) staff are NOT Rider employees and are therefore NOT considered responsible employees.

Requesting Confidentiality from the University

If you disclose an incident to the Title IX Coordinator, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, the Department of Public Safety or a responsible employee but you also want to maintain confidentiality or request that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action be taken, the University will weigh that request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, faculty and staff, including the complainant.  The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) is responsible for evaluating requests for confidentiality.

If the University honors the request for confidentiality, you must understand that the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the allegation and pursue disciplinary action against the respondent may be limited.  Additionally, the level of appropriate action the University can take in response to the allegation depends on your participation in the process.  

There may be times, however, when the University may not be able to honor your request for confidentiality in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, faculty and staff.  Factors that will be considered when weighing such requests include, but are not limited to, the following: the increased risk that the respondent (suspect) will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence; whether a weapon is involved; whether the victim is a minor; whether the victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration by the respondent (suspect); and whether the University has other means to obtain relevant evidence (security cameras, physical evidence, etc.).  The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action.  

If the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) determines that your request for confidentiality cannot be maintained, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will inform you prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, share information only with people responsible for handling the University’s response.

Additionally, if the University determines that the respondent (suspect) poses a serious and immediate threat to the University community, it will issue a timely warning.  A timely warning, communicated via email, RiderAlert, website, and/or building signage, is used to notify the University community of crimes committed on campus or in the surrounding area.  Any such warning will not include any information that identifies you. 

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VICTIM ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT

If You Are a Victim of Sexual Violence: Getting Help as Soon as Possible

The University encourages victims of sexual violence to talk to someone about what happened so that victims can get the support they need and the University can respond appropriately. Students have the right to simultaneously file a criminal complaint and a complaint to the University under this Policy.

University Assistance

You can expect the following assistance from the University when an allegation of a policy violation is made, whether the alleged violation occurred on or off campus.  The University will:

  • Provide a written explanation regarding your rights and options as outlined in the Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy and related procedures.
  • Provide or assist in obtaining University and/or community-based services for health, mental health, legal and emotional support.
  • Provide notification about and assistance with protective measures  and/or options for accommodations/changes to academic, living, transportation or work situations (see “Interim Measures and Accommodations” section that follows), provided that reasonable alternatives are available, regardless of whether you choose to report the alleged incident to the University or law enforcement authorities.
  • Provide information about options regarding reporting the incident to law enforcement and/or University authorities, including that you can decline to notify such authorities, but that the University will support a victim, if the victim chooses, to proceed through the University disciplinary proceedings and/or with filing a complaint with law enforcement authorities. 
  • Provide information about how the University will protect your confidentiality, to the extent permissible by law, including how the University will meet its public record-keeping obligation regarding the incident without disclosing personally identifying information about you.

The ultimate decision regarding whether you want to proceed with health, mental health, legal and/or counseling services belongs to you.  Victims are free from any pressure from University personnel to report an incident to law enforcement authorities if they do not wish to do so, report an incident as a lesser offense than you perceive the crime to be, refrain from reporting an incident, and/or refrain from reporting an incident to avoid unwanted personal publicity.  

Interim Protective Measures and Accommodations

The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) has the authority to take all reasonable and prudent interim measures to protect the victim, the respondent (suspect), and all third party witnesses pending completion of any of the procedures outlined in Rider’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy.  Interim measures may include, where reasonably available, administrative directives; interim suspensions; changes to housing, dining facilities, work schedules, academic schedules; withdrawal or retaking of a class without penalty; access to academic support such as tutoring; and a delay/suspension in the awarding of a degree and/or certifying graduation.   The University will maintain as confidential any protective measures or accommodations provided to the victim, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the protective measures or accommodations.

In incidents involving students, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may issue an administrative directive in the form of a no-contact order if deemed appropriate.  The no-contact order may include a directive that the victim and respondent (suspect) refrain from contacting each other through direct, indirect, electronic or other means or engage in any disruptive conduct pending resolution of the complaint.  The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may also take any further protective action he deems appropriate, in his sole discretion, concerning the interaction of the victim and respondent (suspect) pending resolution of the complaint. Violation(s) of the orders, directives, and/or protective actions of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) shall constitute related offenses as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. 

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS, THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS

Womanspace – 24-hour crisis center and information hotline
1860 Brunswick Ave., Lawrenceville NJ 08648
(609) 394-9000

Trained and sensitive counselors and advocates are available on the phone and in person to help the victim through the process and, at the victim’s request, will accompany her or him to the hospital, police station, or Public Safety office. All contact with Womanspace is confidential.

NJCASA (NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
3150 Brunswick Pike, Suite 230, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
609-631-4450; info@njcasa.org; 24-hour statewide hotline: 800-601-7200

Lawrence Township Police Department
2207 Lawrenceville Rd., Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 896-1111 or 911 in an emergency

Princeton Police Department
1 Valley Rd., Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-2100 or 911 in an emergency

National Dating Abuse Hotline
www.loveisrespect.org; 1-866-331-9474; 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

National Domestic Violence Hotline 
www.ndvh.org; 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline
www.rainn.org; 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
RAINN offers confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days/week.  

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HOW TO HELP A FRIEND WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED

  1. BELIEVE the survivor.

  2. If they choose to talk, then listen.

  3. Be open with your comfort level. You do not want your discomfort with the situation to be misinterpreted as a lack of concern.

  4. Offer options instead of unsolicited advice. It is important that the survivor continue to see you as a resource. If the survivor feels uncomfortable with your advice, she or he may not follow-up, may worry about disappointing you, and may not get any help at all.

  5. Encourage the survivor to speak with a trained professional, but remember that the final decision needs to be made by the survivor.

  6. Talk to a trained professional to clarify your own feelings and/or gather insight into what the survivor is experiencing.

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MALE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Men and boys are also the victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape.  In fact, in the U.S., over 10% of all victims are male.  Male survivors of rape and sexual assault are less likely to report the crime and seek help largely because of society's emphasis on the role of men and boys.  Male victims of sexual assault may feel ashamed because they were overpowered or dominated, and shame may contribute to feelings of isolation and a hesitation to seek professional help.

Male rape survivors should always be reminded that the assault was an act of violence and not one of a sexual nature.

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RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME

Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that often affects rape survivors. RTS describes a process that rape survivors go through in response to the fear experienced during a sexual assault. Although each survivor has their own experience, there are common characteristics some survivors possess.

The rape survivor may experience symptoms of physically reliving the rape, fear of seeing the assailant, fear of another attack, sleep disturbances, nightmares, fear, suspiciousness, anxiety, major depression, and impairment in social functions.

It is important to note that there is no "wrong" way to cope with the immediate after effects of sexual.

For more information on Rape Trauma Syndrome, please visit the website: Gift from Within, An International Nonprofit Organization for Survivors of Trauma and Victimization.

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SAFE DATING

Dating violence, rape and sexual assault can happen on college campuses. To help keep dating a safe, positive experience, the following information may be helpful.

  • Be assertive. You have the right to set limits, including sexual limits.

  • Communicate. Talking about your desires and limits clearly and firmly is extremely important. 

  • Negotiate with your partner if your desires differ. Neither party should feel their desires are disregarded. 

  • Avoid using alcohol or other drugs that may dull your senses and impair your judgment.

  • Trust your instincts. If a situation feels pressured, uncomfortable and/or unsafe, it probably is. 

  • Pay attention to what is happening around you. Do not allow yourself to become isolated or put in a vulnerable situation. 

  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended; don’t trust someone else to watch your drink, even a friend. 

  • Talk before you act. Never assume any manner of dress or non-verbal behavior means a person is available for sex; only a verbal “yes” means consent.

  • Consent needs to be given. Sex may have been consented to in the past but it does not mean you can assume it applies to the current situation.  See Rider’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy at www.rider.edu/thesource for the definition of consent.

  • Stay with the group. If you go out with a group of friends, make sure you leave with everyone, no one stays behind for any reason.