At Texas Southmost College, we are committed to the prevention of all forms of sexual assault and abuse. Coercive sexual contact and unwanted comments of a sexual nature are offensive and undermine the safety, security and dignity of all members of the College community.
PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED IN THE EVENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
- Go to a safe location immediately. Find a friend to accompany you, if possible.
- Call 911 or 956-295-3700 (Campus Security) to report the crime.
- Take steps to preserve the evidence of a sexual assault.
- Do not change your clothes, shower, bathe, or wash your hands.
- Do not brush your teeth or eat/drink anything.
- If possible, do not use the toilet.
- Do not clean up the scene of the incident or remove any items.
- Save all clothing, linens, or other items that may have been touched by the assailant (do not wash) for the Police Officers who will be responsible for collecting evidence. If you remove clothing worn at the time of the assault, it should be placed in a PAPER BAG (use of a plastic bag may destroy vital physical evidence). All physical evidence, including seminal fluids, hair, blood and scrapings of flesh from the victim's fingernails may be used in court.
- You may request that the police investigation be conducted by a police officer of your gender, if available. As a survivor of sexual assault, your name will not be released to the news media.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Victims should undergo a sexual assault exam as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not they choose to report the assault to police. This will provide you with medical and nursing assistance for any injuries you may have received, and will preserve evidence if you decide later to file a report of sexual assault with the police.
- Regardless of the amount of time that has occurred following a sexual assault, medical attention is very important. Sooner is better.
- Transportation to the hospital can be provided by a city police officer.
- Although it is highly likely that medical personnel will contact law enforcement officials, it does not mean you are required to file a police report or charges.
- In the event that you do file a police report, as a survivor of sexual assault your name WILL NOT be given to the media.
- You should take a fresh set of clothes so that the hospital can save the clothes which you were wearing during the assault as evidence in case you decide to report the assault to the police.
- A hospital examination may also be necessary for insurance claims and for partial reimbursement of survivor's expenses by civic agencies.
- If you suspect you have been given any drug against your will (whether or not a sexual assault occurred), request that medical personnel test your blood and urine for drugs. Some drugs may stay in your system for days, while others will only remain detectable for a few hours.
- If you become the victim of sexual assault, be sure to utilize all resources available to you when making decisions. You may want to contact someone you trust to assist you during your recovery process. The following are resources that can provide additional information and support for both men and women who become victims of sexual assault:
Remember that this is not your fault! Recovery from sexual assault can go on long after the event. Reach out for support and don’t hesitate to ask for help from those around you.
PREVENTING SEXUAL ASSAULT
- Listen carefully
Take time to hear what your partner is saying. If you feel they are not being direct or are giving you mixed signals, ask for clarification. Be aware of your partner's body language and demeanor at all times. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Do not fall for the "No means Yes" stereotype
When a person says "No," they mean "NO."
- Date rape is a crime
It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations.
- Do not make assumptions about an individual's behavior
Do not automatically assume that they want to have sex just because they are intoxicated, dressed provocatively, “coming on to you,” or if they agree to go to home with you or to your room. Also, do not assume that because a person consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies they are willing to have sexual intercourse.
- Having sexual contact with a person who is physically or mentally unable to give consent is a crime
If you have sexual contact with a person who is drugged, unconscious, incapable of saying "no," or unaware of what is happening around them, you are guilty of sexual assault.
- Take action if you believe someone is at risk
If you see a person in trouble or an individual using force or pressuring another person, do not be afraid to intervene, as long as you can do so safely.
- You have the right to say "no" to any unwanted sexual contact. If you are uncertain about your situation, ask your partner to respect your feelings.
- Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Do not assume that your partner will "get the message" without you telling them.
- Listen to your gut feelings. If you feel uncomfortable, leave the situation or ask your partner to leave immediately. Don't hesitate to state your feelings.
- Date rape is the most common form of sexual assault. Be aware of your situation at all times!
PROTECTION AGAINST STRANGER RAPE
- Stay alert to your surroundings. Your senses are your best early warning system. Avoid the use of technology which is distracting (i.e., using your phone while walking, using headphones with high volume.)
- Walk with confidence. Hold your head up and shoulders straight.
- Avoid walking alone or in isolated areas. Avoid unfamiliar areas. At night, stick to well-lit, populated areas and walk with another person.
- Call Campus Security for an escort if you need one.
- Take special precautions in parking lots, stairwells, elevators, bathrooms, and dark areas.
- If you suspect that you are being followed, go to a place where there are other people as soon as possible. If you choose to run, run as fast as you are able and scream to attract attention or summon help.
- Follow your gut instincts. If you sense that you may be at risk or in danger, try to get out of the situation. Report your suspicions to the authorities.
- If you chose to attend a party, protect yourself against “date rape” drugs by never leaving your beverage unattended or uncovered, and avoid group beverages, such as punch. Many drugs used in the commission of sexual assaults are tasteless and odorless, and very little needs to be ingested to take effect. Possible symptoms may include, but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, and memory loss.
- If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, get to the hospital as quickly and safely as possible.
- Avoid giving out personal information. If someone asks for your number, ask for theirs instead.
If you believe that you are a victim of sexual assault while on campus, immediately call 911 or contact Campus Security by dialing 956-295-3700.