Tigers Reach Out

Towson University encourages you to seek support if you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence. Learn about confidential and private resources, on and off campus. 

Confidential Resources

Confidential resources can NOT share identifying information about you without your written consent (except in situations of child or elder abuse, serious threats of harm to self or others, or response to a court order).

ADVOCACY & SUPPORT 

SAFE EXAM 

A sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) exam collects and preserves DNA evidence after sexual assault. This evidence could be used if criminal charges are pursued. For more information on SAFE exams see the Frequently Asked Question “I think I want a SAFE exam, what should I do?” below.

A SAFE exam is NOT medical treatment. However, treatment can be given after an exam. If you are only interested in medical treatment, and not a SAFE exam, you can go to any local medical provider. 

Private Resources

Private resources are REQUIRED to report incidences of sexual violence to the Towson University Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity/Title IX Coordinator. This includes all university administrators, all non-confidential employees in their supervisory roles, all faculty, all athletic coaches, university law enforcement, and RAs. Among Towson University’s offices and departments, most offer privacy, NOT confidentiality, to those who report sexual violence. 

SUPPORT

Individuals who have experienced sexual violence often face challenges with work or academic obligations, regaining a sense of control over their environment, or a sense of safety. Towson can help by providing accommodations and interim measures.

Accommodations and Interim Measures

The Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity/Title IX Coordinator can help arrange for accommodations or interim measures such as:

  • Order of no contact with other individual involved (Peace or Protective Orders can be obtained through Baltimore County District Court)
  • Emergency housing
  • Permanent housing accommodations
  • Academic adjustments
  • Transportation assistance 

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

Individuals who experience trauma have unique responses and there is no one “right” way for a person to react. Some of the signs you may see could include:

  • Shock, disbelief, numbness, withdrawal
  • Preoccupation with thoughts or feelings about the incident
  • Unwanted memories, flashbacks, nightmares
  • Intense anger, fear, anxiety, or depression
  • Physical symptoms like loss of sleep, loss of appetite, headaches, stomach aches
  • Inability to concentrate, lower grades
  • Loss of focus on academics or things that used to be a focus
  • Loss of interest in sex, or increased sexual activity
  • Fears about safety
  • Feelings of guilt and shame

If you believe someone you know may be experiencing sexual violence, use your voice to let them know you care about their well-being, and that you can help.

How do you help a friend?

If someone you know shows signs that they are experiencing, or have been a victim/survivor of sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking, there are ways you can help:

  • Listen. Do not ask prying questions. Let your friend take their time. Follow their lead on what they would like to share. Focus on their story and do not share other stories of sexual violence.

  • Believe. People rarely make up stories about sexual violence. Don’t express skepticism or ask them to prove what they endured. Remember that there is a wide range of responses to sexual violence. It is normal to be confused or conflicted.

  • Do NOT Blame. Remind your friend they are not to blame. Remember that however your friend responded was exactly what they needed to do to survive.

  • Support. Ask “what do you need?” or “how can I help?” Assure your friend that you will be available to provide support throughout the process of recovery. Recovery from sexual violence trauma is slow. Let them proceed at their own pace.

  • Empower. Empower your friend to make their own choices. Help them understand and consider their medical, legal and psychological options and share campus resources. Ultimately it is their decision what action to take, if any.

  • Know Your Limits. There are times where professional help is best. A trained therapist may be essential to helping your friend work through trauma associated with sexual violence and find more effective ways of coping.

  • Get Support. As a support person, you may also have strong feelings about sexual violence. If needed, seek counseling for yourself.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I think I want a SAFE exam, what should I do? 

You can have a SAFE exam up to five days after a sexual assault, but the sooner you are able to get a SAFE exam, the more evidence can be collected. Try not to shower, clean yourself, or urinate after an attack, but even if you have, don’t let that stop you from getting to the hospital as soon as possible. A SAFE nurse will listen to you about what happened, collect evidence, and have a medical provider take care of any physical injuries. You can get medicine to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The evidence collected can be sent directly to the police or held for a later date. The amount of time evidence can be held varies by legal jurisdiction.

To preserve evidence after an assault and before a SAFE exam, place anything that may contain physical evidence such as sheets, pillows, blankets, and the clothes you were wearing (only if you have already taken them off, keep them on if possible) into a paper bag and bring it with you to the hospital. If you are able to, avoid bathing, showering, using the restroom, changing your clothes, combing your hair, putting on any makeup, or cleaning up the area of the assault until after you have completed the SAFE exam and/or finished filing a report. If you are able, you may want to bring a clean change of clothes to wear after the SAFE exam.

Once you begin a SAFE exam, you can skip any part of the exam or stop at any time. Having a SAFE exam does NOT mean you have to report to the police.

You may bring a friend or an advocate to the hospital with you, but only trained professionals are allowed in the room during the exam. TurnAround provides free medical advocates that can talk you through the process beforehand, accompany you to appointments, and assist you in any medical follow-up.  

GBMC typically sees individuals who were assaulted in Baltimore County and Mercy Medical typically sees individuals who were assaulted in Baltimore City due to police jurisdiction.

Does the Health Center on campus provide SAFE exams?

A SAFE exam is a sexual assault forensic evidence exam. They are not provided by the Health Center; however, Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) and Mercy Hospital offer SAFE exams. Students in crisis can contact the Towson University Police at 410-704-4444 to arrange for transportation, even if they do not wish to file a police report at the time. The Towson University Health Center also offers cab fare waivers to students in need of transportation to GBMC. No one is required to get a SAFE exam, but we encourage victims/survivors to be seen by a health professional.

What is a victim/survivor advocate? How can they help me?

A victim/survivor advocate is an individual trained to support victims and survivors of sexual violence through any legal, medical, or university proceedings. Advocates are confidential and can NOT disclose any information about you without your written consent. Advocates can help you decide how you would like to proceed after experiencing sexual violence by providing information and options. They can provide detailed information on university, legal, and medical procedures for victims/survivors. Advocates can also accompany victims and survivors to the police station, legal proceedings, university meetings, and/or the hospital. Although advocates will accompany a victim/survivor to SAFE exams, they are not allowed inside the room where the exam is conducted. 

Turnaround provides a 24-hour helpline and victim/survivor advocates. You can reach the hotline at 443-279-0379. They provide free advocates who can assist through all steps in university, medical, or legal proceedings.

The Towson University Counseling Center provides confidential mental health services to any Towson University student, including victim/survivors and accused students. Counselors can support students as they decisions about how to proceed through the steps of any university, medical, or legal proceedings. You can reach the Counseling Center Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm at 410-704- 2512.

I need help making sure I’m not contacted or followed. What are my options?

If you need enforced physical or other separation you have several options.

You can file a no contact order with Towson University through the Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity. No contact orders are enforceable by Towson University, and are only applicable when all parties are affiliated with Towson University. 

You can also obtain a Peace or Protective order from a judge. This is an order issued by a court of law and is enforceable by police. Protective orders apply to people in domestic relationships (i.e. current or former spouse, legal relative, share a child, had a previous sexual relationship in the recent past). Peace orders apply to individuals who have not been in a domestic relationship. Learn more about how to file for a peace or protective order in Maryland. 

TurnAround advocates can support individuals through the process of applying for a no contact, peace, or protective order.

What services does the Counseling Center offer?

Counseling Center staff are trained to support victims and survivors of sexual violence. The Counseling Center offers a range of services for our students including short-term individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatry, and referral services. The Counseling Center also offers a therapy group for victims and survivors. They also offer a wide variety of workshops, educational programming, and a meditation series to promote students’ mental health and well-being.

What university accommodations are available?

The university can consider accommodations that involve university housing, academic classes, no-contact orders, and transportation accommodation requests. These requests should be made through the Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity/Title IX Coordinator via phone at 410-704-0203 or email at titleix@towson.edu.