LTE: Addressing Sexual Violence

The following letter is in response to “BCPD chief talks Clery crime figures,” an article by Connor Farley, originally published on Oct. 9, 2014:

As national attention remains focused on the issue of sexual violence occurring on college campus across the U.S., those of us responding to incidents at Boston College are grateful for and impressed by the remarkable efforts of faculty, staff and students in working to eradicate sexual assault in our own community. We have been encouraged by the amount of dialogue taking place across campus ranging from response to prevention, and also recognize that, when there are many voices participating in conversation about any issue of health and safety, it is important to ensure that we provide accurate information about the options and resources available to students who might be directly in need.

In particular, we at the Women’s Center have noted key areas where we might bring greater clarity to students who may seek resources following an episode of sexual violence. In response to the October 9 Heights article on BCPD’s response to reports sexual assault, we would like to note that students who seek assistance or the opportunity to report a sexual assault with BCPD are not required to be transported to University Health Services or any hospital; these services are certainly available and may be encouraged, but as with any resource that a student might seek here at BC surrounding sexual violence, the University’s priority is to honor the privacy and safety of all students to the best of our ability.

Likewise, while BCPD or other resources may reach out to a survivor of sexual violence after their initial report in order to provide follow-up care or get more information, no student is required to participate in an investigation or complaint—students are ultimately free to choose their own paths in their healing journeys.

If you or someone you know would like to file a complaint with BCPD regarding a sexual assault, you can be confident that you’ll be treated with agency and respect in the process; however, if you’d like to talk to someone about other options and resources that do not require any investigation, you can call SANet anytime (24/7) to learn more about what’s available to you, including and apart from BCPD, in reporting incidents of sexual assault.

We thank every member of this community for doing its part in redressing sexual violence at the University. BC is making great strides in eliminating this intolerable form of violence, and in that process, we seek to advocate for, educate and empower every individual who has been affected.

Rachel DiBella
Assistant Director, Women’s Center
GSSW ’14

Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff

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