Sexual Assault and Misconduct: Getting Help
UHD is committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational and working environment where students, faculty, staff and visitors are free from sex discrimination of any kind. Sexual misconduct, a form of sex discrimination, is antithetical to the standards and ideals of the University. The University will take appropriate action in an effort to eliminate sexual misconduct from happening, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. Consistent with its commitment to addressing sex discrimination and harassment, UHD complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), which prohibits sex discrimination in employment. Sexual misconduct constitutes a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and Title VII.
What is Sexual Misconduct?
In accordance with the University of Houston System's Sexual Misconduct Policy (SAM 01.D.08), Sexual Misconduct is a broad term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. The term includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or women, strangers or acquaintances and can occur between people of the same or opposite sex.
The Sexual Misconduct Policy defines and describes prohibited sexual conduct and establishes a procedural mechanism for processing complaints of sexual misconduct. Harassment based on sex is a violation of University policy and the law. Sexual harassment by a public official may also be a criminal offense.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault represents a continuum of conduct from forcible rape to non-physical forms of pressure that compel individuals to engage in sexual activity against their will. To view the legal definition of sexual assault in Texas, please refer to the Texas Penal Code.
For information or to file a sexual misconduct complaint, please contact Lauri S. Ruiz, Interim Title IX/Equa Opportunity Officer at email@example.com or via phone at 713-221-5771.
What Should You Do if you are Sexually Assaulted/Raped?
- Get to a safe place
- Report the crime by notifying the police immediately by calling 911. It can help you regain a sense of control.
- Call a friend, family member or someone else you can trust to give you support.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Resist the urge to shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink or brush your teeth until you have had a medical exam. Even if you are unsure about making a police report or about whether you want the assailant prosecuted you should collect the evidence now and decide later. Physical evidence may deteriorate as time passes and may be lost forever.
- Keep all the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Put each item into a paper bag. Do not disturb the area where the assault occurred.
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital emergency room or a specialized forensic clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. Many physical injuries may not be apparent immediately.
- Get a medical examination and discuss the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. Having a medical examination is one way to preserve physical evidence of a sexual assault.
- If you suspect you were given a date rape drug, ask the hospital or clinic to take a urine sample. Some date rape drugs are more readily detected in urine than blood.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the assault, including a description of the assailant.
- Consider calling the Houston Area Women's Center at its 24 Hour Sexual Assault Hotline at 713-528-7273 or the Fort Bend County Women's Center at its crisis hotline at 281-342-HELP to seek the services of a victim's advocate.
- Talk with a counselor who is trained to deal with rape victims. You can contact UHD's Student Counseling Services at 713-221-8121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You may also wish to find a counselor by contacting a local rape crisis center, a hotline, a counseling service, or RAINN, a national victim assistance organization at 1-800-656-HOPE.
- Call Equal Opportunity Services at the University of Houston System at 713-743-8835 or Lauri S. Ruiz, UHD's Interim Title IX/Equal Opportunity Officer, at 713-221-5771 if you need any academic arrangements.
- Do not blame yourself. The rape was not your fault.
Some Notes on Medical Care
- It is very important to have a thorough medical examination immediately after a sexual assault, even if you do not have any apparent physical injuries.
- You may have injuries of which you are not aware. Most sexual assault victims do not have serious or life-threatening injuries. Many victims do not even have visible minor injuries. However, you should still be examined by a doctor or a nurse. You may be in shock, and you may have internal injuries of which you are not aware. You may also have minor injuries, such as scratches or bruises. A doctor or nurse can treat these injuries. The doctor or nurse can also document any injuries you have sustained so that if you decide to take any kind of legal action, such as participating in the prosecution of your assailant, you will have a record of what happened to you.
- A medical examination enables you to identify and preserve physical evidence of the assault. During a medical examination, the doctor or nurse can look for and collect physical evidence of a sexual assault, such as semen, sperm, saliva samples and stains on your body or clothing. This evidence may be present immediately after the assault but will deteriorate as time passes.
- You can receive treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A sexual assault can place you at risk for getting STIs. A doctor or nurse can help you evaluate your risk of contracting various STIs and advise you about ways to protect yourself against these risks. One of the benefits of obtaining medical care very soon after a sexual assault is that immediate evaluation and medication can prevent some STIs.
What To Expect During The Exam
- The doctor or nurse will ask about your general health and medical history. If you are a female you will be asked about your menstrual pattern and whether you use contraception. You will also be asked about the sexual assault. The information you give helps the examiner to conduct a thorough physical evaluation.
- The doctor will look for injuries and other signs of force. You may be asked to provide consent for photos if you have visible injuries. It is important if you do have physical injuries to take photos of those injuries because they may have healed by the time the assailant is prosecuted.
- The doctor may also take samples from your vagina, mouth, or rectum. Other evidence may also be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, or from the clothes you were wearing at the time of your assault.
- You may also be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
About Making A Report
If you want to make a police report call the police. If you are off-campus, call 911. If you are on campus and wish to call UHD Police, please call 713-221-8911 if it is an emergency or 713-221-8065 for non-emergencies. The sooner you make a report, the more likely the police will be able to collect important evidence. A prompt call can also strengthen the case for prosecution. However, even if some time has passed since you were sexually assaulted, it is never too late to make a police report or to seek help from victim assistance agencies. Sometimes advocates can accompany you when you make a police report.
Some reasons to make a police report include:
- To regain your personal sense of control and power
- To document the crime that was committed against you
- To preserve evidence of the assault
- To protect others from being sexually assaulted most rapists are repeat offenders. If you report your crime it may help police identify a pattern or an assailant who has attacked others.
Making a Report to Campus Officials
- You may report the assault to the Interim UHD Title IX/Equal Opportunity Officer, Lauri S. Ruiz at 713-221-5771.
- You may report the assault to the UHS Office of Equal Opportunity Services at 713-743-8835. In certain circumstances, and in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the University must conduct its own investigation.
- If the assailant was a student, an investigation will be conducted. At the conclusion of the investigation, the University will take appropriate action against the offender. Disciplinary actions imposed by UHD may include suspension or expulsion.
Campus Anonymous and Confidential Resources
- If you are concerned about making a report because you want to stay anonymous, you may report the incident anonymously online through the Fraud & Non-Compliance Hotline. Using this system, you can report the incident and your identity will not be revealed unless you reveal it.