Sex Offense Policy Statement
Educational Programs for Sexual Assault Victims:
Carnegie Mellon is committed to providing educational programs aimed at raising awareness about sexual assault. There are several groups on campus and in the city of Pittsburgh that offer a variety of educational workshops for the campus community.
- The Sexual Assault Advisors are available to provide a number of different educational programs to groups and student organizations on campus. Browse the list of available programs or contact us via email at email@example.com or at 412-268-2075. You can download the most current advisor list to contact an individual advisor.
- Resident assistants offer residence hall floor programs on safety and sexual assault awareness.
- Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, a local rape crisis center that works extensively with Carnegie Mellon, conducts educational workshops. They can be reached at 412-431-5665.
If You Are Sexually Assaulted:
If you believe you have been involved in unwanted, nonconsensual sexual activity or if you know someone who has, there are several ways to get help. You can contact many different resources for information and support. The first step would be to get to a safe place. Once there, the survivor will have many options to consider including:
- Contact a Sexual Assault Advisor - They have been trained to provide confidential resources, support and information about sexual assault. Call the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs at 412-268-2075 or University Police at 412-268-2323 to be put in touch with an advisor or download the list or advisors and contact an individual advisor directly. Sexual Assault Advisors are available 24 hours a day and services are free of charge.
- Seek medical attention - All survivors of sexual assault are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the assault to ensure their physical well being. Even if there is no external physical injury, survivors can be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy, and internal trauma. Resources for treatment include:
o Student Health Services can conduct a general examination and also offer treatment for potential exposure to STIs or to prevent unwanted pregnancy. To talk with a nurse or schedule an appointment, call 412-268-2157.
o Magee Women's Hospital or Shadyside Hospital can collect evidence for a rape kit, provide examination and testing for STIs, offer access to emergency contraception within 72 hours of the assault, provide pregnancy testing, and offer referrals for further treatment and counseling.
o Preservation of physical evidence is important to the successful prosecution of offenders. If a survivor wishes to prosecute, he or she should not shower, douche, or change clothes or bedding before seeking medical attention order to preserve such evidence. Also, if oral contact was made, survivors are asked not to brush their teeth, smoke, or eat.
- Contact someone whom you can trust - Call a friend or family member who can stay with you and support you.
- Consider contacting a counselor - Counselors are available 24 hours a day through the University's Counseling and Psychological Services at 412-268-2922 or through Pittsburgh Action Against Rape at 866-363-7273.
- Consider adjusting your living and/or academic situation - If you are concerned about the safety of your living situation and you live on campus, you can request to be moved to an alternate location. Additionally, the University can assist with any academic arrangements that may be required.
- Contact the University Police - Sexual assault is a crime and survivors have the opportunity to press charges both on and off campus. If the assault happened on or near campus, a report can be filed with the University Police who can be reached at 412-268-2323. University Police can also provide assistance with contacting local law enforcement if the assault did not happen on campus. If the assault occurred off-campus but in Pittsburgh, the survivor can contact the City of Pittsburgh Police at 412-323-7141.
- If a survivor chooses not to go through the criminal justice system, there are disciplinary and non-disciplinary options available at Carnegie Mellon. One option is to have the University Committee on Discipline (UDC) hear a survivor's case. A survivor can discuss on-campus procedures by calling the Office of Student Life at 412-268-2142.
Coming forward and taking action is not easy, and may not be an option for all survivors. It is important for the survivor to make the decisions as to how to move forward and to progress at his or her own pace. Sexual assault is a trauma that no one needs to face alone. Many members of the campus and Pittsburgh communities are trained to aid in this process and are dedicated to making Carnegie Mellon a safe place.
Personal Safety and Risk Reduction Strategies:
You should follow the advice given throughout the "Especially for Women" portion of the "Safety Tips." Here is another list from Pittsburgh Action Against Rape that provides some additional tips:
- Be alert to your surroundings.
- Walk with confidence. The more confident you look, the less vulnerable you appear.
- If you feel uncomfortable about a person or location, leave immediately.
- Be aware of date rape drugs. Don't accept drinks in open containers, and never leave your drink unattended.
- Avoid making sexual decisions with alcohol and drug use. Your ability to make smart decisions is affected when you are drunk or high.
- When going out with someone new, don't feel that you have to be alone with your date. Go out with a group or meet in a public place.
- Avoid individuals who don't listen to you, express sexist attitudes or act possessive. These are all "red flags".
- Do not prop open self-locking doors.
- Lock your doors regardless if you are home or not, even if you leave for only a few minutes to take out the trash.
- Shades or blinds should be on every window.
- Know where your keys are at all times. Don't lend them. Don't leave them. Don't lose them. And don't put your name and address on the key ring.
- Ask service workers to identify themselves. If you were not expecting the worker, call their employer to confirm the visit.
- Walk closer to the curb than to buildings and trees.
- Drive on well-traveled streets with doors locked.
- Park in well-lighted areas and lock the car, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes.
- Think about what you really want. And communicate this with your partner.
- Respect yourself. Your thoughts are important, and you have a right to verbalize those things and to have your wishes honored.
Additional strategies that are recommended include:
- Be aware of the locations of the yellow emergency phones on campus where you walk.
- Utilize the campus Shuttle or Escort services that are operated by the University. SafeWalk is another option and volunteers can be reached at 412-268-7233.
- Let friends and family know where you are going and when you plan on arriving at your destinations. That way, if you're late, you will be missed sooner and looked for.
- Have designated drivers so that you can be sure to get home and do not accept rides home from anyone whom you do not know and trust completely.
- Call the University Police for a cab voucher at 412-268-2323 if you are off-campus and you do not have cash with you. The cost of the cab fare will be charged to your student account.
- If you think your home or car has been broken into, do not enter. Go call the police immediately from another location and wait for them to come.
- Be cautious when talking to strangers; never go with strangers especially to remote or quiet places including automobiles.
- If you don't feel comfortable around someone, don't be afraid to leave. Talk louder to draw attention, or even yell for help.
- If you feel threatened, make noise to draw attention. Yells should be specific like: "Call the Police," "Rape" or "Fire!" "Fire" is the most common suggestion because people are trained from a young age to be wary of fire, so it draws the most attention.
- NEVER tell anyone you're not going to be home or that you're home alone.
- Always try to walk with a friend. If it's dark, don't go out without a friend.
- If you think you're being followed, reverse directions and head for the nearest well-lit and populated area.
- While traveling, vary your routes but stay on routes which you are familiar with.
- Always look into the front and back seats of your vehicle before you enter.
- Don't hitchhike and do not pick up hitchhikers.
- If your vehicle breaks down, stay with it; get inside and lock the door. Tell anyone who stops to go call the police, but do not go with them or let them into your vehicle.
- Don't leave your purse on any of the seats next to you. Instead, place it in the trunk or under the seat so that it is not visible.
When "No" Doesn't Work from Pittsburgh Action Against Rape:
WHEN "NO" DOESN'T WORK...
- Trust your instincts.
- Stay calm. Try to think about your options.
- You may be able to discourage your attacker by talking. Persuade him/her not to commit the assault by having them focus on you as a friend.
- Hit and kick hard if you think you can escape. There is a chance that fighting back may enrage the attacker. Self-defense training can help you improve your strength and defense skills. However, common sense and general awareness are the best tools you have.
- Do whatever you have to do to stay safe. If you feel your life is in danger, your best option may be not to fight back. This does not mean consent. The assault is not your fault.
REMEMBER...Most survivors wonder if they made the right choices and question their decisions. But there is no right or wrong way to respond to an attack. Each rapist and situation is different. Whatever action you took to save your life was the right thing to do.