If you’ve experienced sexual assault recently or in the past, we want you to know that it is not your fault and you are not alone. Below is some information about your options.  Please know that OPEN’s Sexual Violence Resource Center staff members are also available to discuss resources and options with you. You can set up an appointment by completing this confidential service request form.

Immediate Steps

The first few hours or days after an assault can be a particularly confusing time.  Here are a couple of options to consider:

Seek safety. Find a space where you are safe and away from the person who hurt you – your room, a friend’s, a public place, or an office on campus.  Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) is available 24 hours a day. If you feel unsafe, call NUPD immediately at 617-373-3333.

Call someone you trust. A friend, family member, victim advocate, or counselors are good resources. Behavioral health clinicians at University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) are available for walk-in appointments (M-F, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; Tuesday & Thursday, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.). You can also speak to a licensed mental health clinician any time of day or night through Find@Northeastern (877.233.9477 [US] or +1.781.457.7777 [Intl.]).

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) has a 24/7 hotline you can access at 800.841.8371. They also have a web chat available from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. daily. If you are located outside of Boston, you can also contact the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.4673 or via web chat.

Understand your options. If you are interested in exploring options for counseling, reporting, legal services, or medical treatment, OPEN’s Sexual Violence Resource Center (SVRC) on campus might be a good place to start. We want to make sure you are not alone in navigating your rights and resources. You can set up an appointment by completing this confidential service request form. (Please note that the SVRC is not a 24/7 service, and that meetings with staff are arranged by appointment only. If you are seeking more immediate crisis support services, please contact BARCC or RAINN).


Within 5 days or 120 hours after an assault:

Medical treatment, emergency contraception, STI screening and prevention are available to you as is help with evidence collection (see below for more detailed information about services and timelines).

University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) can provide medical care or local SANE  (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) hospitals can provide evidence collection in addition to medical treatment 24 hours a day. Whether or not you feel comfortable using your insurance, both UHCS and advocates at local hospitals can help make sure your treatment is affordable or free of charge. NUPD can provide free transportation to a local hospital.  They are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at 617-373-3333. A medical advocate from Boston Area Rape Crisis Center will meet you at the hospital to help answer any questions you may have.

Type of Treatment Time Frame Where to Access Additional Information
Assessment and treatment of physical injury ASAP UHCS; Hospital; Primary Care Provider
Emergency contraceptives Up to 5 days (120 hours) depending on the type of emergency contraceptive. Plan B (or other generic brands) works best ASAP and within 3 days (72 hours). UHCS; Hospital; Primary Care Provider or Health Clinic (like Planned Parenthood); Pharmacy (Plan B costs approximately $50 at a local CVS) “Emergency Contraception after Sexual Assault: 5 Key Facts for Survivors”

How to determine what type of emergency contraceptive might be best for you + FAQs

Evaluation, treatment and prevention of STIs (including HIV) Best ASAP; start HIV prophylaxis within 3 days (72 hours) UHCS; Hospital; Primary Care Provider For HIV prophylaxis, we recommend going to a local hospital.

More about Boston-area STI testing sites.

Toxicology testing (if you suspect someone drugged you) Best ASAP; within 4 days (96 hours) Hospital Signs that alcohol or drugs have been used

More about toxicology kits

Evidence collection / “Rape Kit” Best ASAP; within 5 days (120 hours) Hospital Information and video about SANE exams

Things to know before you go to the emergency room

Victim Compensation Fund and sexual assault exam expenses


Rights and Options

Regardless of where or when an incident occurred, as a Northeastern student you have the right to:

  • To report or not report the incident to the police and/or the Title IX Coordinator: The Office for University Equity and Compliance (Title IX) is charged with investigating and responding to allegations of sex and gender-based misconduct. If you wish to file a complaint or have questions or concerns, please contact them via phone or email to arrange a meeting. Alternatively, reports can be submitted online at https://www.northeastern.edu/ouec/file-a-complaint/ (anonymous option available). You can learn more about reporting options through the Office for University Equity and Compliance, or by speaking to SVRC staff. Keep in mind that reporting to the Title IX Coordinator is not the same as filing criminal charges with the police (which is another option available to you). You can contact Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) to discuss options for pursuing criminal charges. You are able to ask both OUEC and NUPD questions about your rights and options without committing to an investigative process or pressing criminal charges.
  • To request a no-contact order: This prohibits university members from direct or indirect communication. SVRC staff, OUEC, or NUPD can help facilitate the process of getting a no-contact order issued through the Office for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
  • To discuss options for a judicial restraining order or harassment prevention order
  • To move into a temporary safe room: call NUPD, contact a member of Residential Life staff, or work with a staff member at the Office for University Equity and Compliance to access.
  • To seek housing relocation, academic support, schedule changes or remedies, and/or exploration of emergency or medical leave, if appropriate: A case manager from WeCare can help to explore these options.
  • To receive transportation to local hospitals or area courts: Call NUPD 24/7 for access at 617-373-3333.
  • To receive confidential medical care and counseling on or off-campus: UHCS can provide psychological assessment, brief therapy, and community referrals. OPEN and UHCS also offer a support group called HEAL for students who are survivors of sexual assault. The Sexual Violence Resource Center can help get you connected to on or off campus individual or group services. See our Resources page to learn more about off-campus options both in the Boston area and near Northeastern’s regional campuses.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Northeastern University Policy Prohibiting Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment defines sexual assault as sexual contact or sexual intercourse that occurs without consent.

Northeastern defines non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional touching of a sexual nature performed by a person upon another person, without the consent of all parties involved, including:

  • the intentional touching of the intimate body parts of another—such as breasts,
    buttocks, groin, genitals, or the clothing covering them.
  • forcing or coercing another person touch you or themselves with or on
    someone’s breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or the clothing covering them.


Northeastern defines non-consensual sexual intercourse as any oral, anal, or vaginal penetration,
however slight, by an inanimate object, penis, or other bodily part without the
consent of all parties involved. This definition also includes:

  • forcing or coercing another person to penetrate someone else.
  • the attempted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of an individual(s) by an
    inanimate object, penis, or other bodily part without the consent of all parties


You can also read how these behaviors are defined according to Northeastern University’s Policy on Rights and Responsibilities Under Title IX.

Sexual assault is an umbrella term that can include any of above behaviors, including “rape.” “Rape” is a legal definition that varies from state to state, but typically defined as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by an inanimate object, penis, or other bodily part without consent. To learn more about this definition where you live, you can look at RAINN’s State Law Database. 

Learn more from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) about the scope of sexual violence experienced by college-aged adults and by children and teens. To see Northeastern specific data, please see results from Northeastern’s annual Survey on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment.

Everyone copes with sexual violence a little bit differently. There is no one “right way” to feel or one standard route to healing after an experience of sexual violence. Each person will need to find what works for them. That said, many survivors find it helpful to know about some common reactions to sexual violence. These can include: fear, shame, anger, hyper alertness, numbness, loss of appetite, avoidance, dissociation, nightmares/sleep disruption, muscle aches and stiffness, fatigue, nervous habits- like nail biting and foot tapping, distrust, guilt, and mood swings.

If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, know that you are not alone. You are also not abnormal or “crazy” for having these reactions – your body is responding to a traumatic event. Individual or group counseling can help in managing these symptoms. You can read more about common reactions in OPEN’s guide, “We Believe You: Information on Trauma and Coping for Survivors of Sexual Violence”.

For information on domestic violence and other forms of sexual violence, see the following pages:

Domestic Violence

Sexual Harassment