What to do if you are a victim of a sexual assault

What to do if you are a victim of a sexual assault

If you have been sexually assaulted:

1. First, get to a Safe Place

After experiencing a traumatizing event such as sexual assault, it can be important to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe from harm. This location could be:

  • Home
  • Friend’s room
  • Local hospital
  • Police station

If you are being stalked or threatened, or have immediate concerns about your personal safety, Public Safety also provides a Walking Safety Escort Service.

2. Call for Help

Call 911 for immediate police protection and assistance.

Contact TC Public Safety at (212) 678-3333 for assistance on the TC campus.  TC Public Safety can call the NYPD for you, have them respond to a private space on campus to meet you, and help you feel more comfortable in your interactions with them.  

Alternatively, you may also notify:

TC’s Office for Student Support and Advocacy 212-678-3619

Teachers College, Columbia University, Title IX Coordinator

Janice Robinson, Esq.

Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs

128 Zankel
(212) 678-3391

Columbia University Title IX Coordinator

Marjory Fisher
Associate Vice President
208 Philosophy Hall
(212) 853-1276

800 Watson Hall

612 West 115th Street, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10025


The above resources are NON-CONFIDENTIAL, i.e. they are mandated reporters.  

The following is a list of CONFIDENTIAL resources:

  • Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center Morningside: Alfred Lerner Hall, Suite 700  Helpline: 212-854-HELP (4357) (Available 24 hours a day year-round)
  • CUIMC: 60 Haven Ave, Bard Hall, Suite 206 212 -304-7026
  • TC Ombuds Office - Steve Peverly (212) 678-4169 ombuds@tc.columbia.edu
  • University Counseling and Psychological Services Morningside: Alfred Lerner Hall, 5th and 8th Floors | 212-854-2878
  • University Pastoral Counseling Office of the University Chaplain: (Ordained Clergy) W710 Lerner Hall | 212-854-1493
  • Columbia Religious Life: (Ordained Clergy) 303 Earl Hall | 212-854-2184


You may also ask for a confidential Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate from Sexual Violence Response at (212) 854-4357 (available 24/7/365). You have the option of working with a staff survivor advocate or, when available, a peer advocate. Both are confidential and certified by the New York City Department of Health to address issues of violence. They can provide crisis intervention and will discuss options for reporting and seeking medical help. They help survivors make informed decisions about their medical, legal, and disciplinary options. Advocates can accompany students to on- and off-campus resources such as hospital emergency departments, the police, the district attorney's office, and Public Safety.

To speak with non-Columbia resources, you may call any of these hotlines for assistance. These include local and national resources for survivors of sexual assault and other forms of gender- and power-based violence.

3. Seek medical attention

  • To check for injuries; you may have injuries that you can't see or feel
  • To prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and obtain prophylaxis medication
  • To prevent pregnancy
  • To collect evidence (evidence collection does not require you to place a report with the police; this process preserves evidence for the future and it may vary by state.)
  • Medical Resources
    • Columbia Health Medical Services (Morningside, Manhattanville campuses)
    • Mount Sinai Morningside Emergency Department: (212) 523-3330, West 114th and Amsterdam
    • Mount Sinai West Emergency Department: (212) 523-6800, 59th & 10th Avenue
    • Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center: Domestic and Other Violent Emergencies (DOVE): (212) 305-9060, West 168th and Broadway
    • Crime Victims Treatment Center at Mount Sinai Morningside: (212) 523-4728 – call for appointment Monday- Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • If you would like to have a confidential survivor advocate meet or accompany you to a local hospital, call (212) 854-4357 (24/7, 365 days a year).

4. Preserve Evidence

For the purposes of evidence collection, if possible, avoid:

  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Showering
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Combing your hair
  • Changing or washing your clothes

If you have done any of these things, evidence can still be collected and remains important in seeking medical attention. If you have changed your clothes, take the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault to the hospital in a paper bag (not a plastic bag). If you have not changed your clothes, it may be a good idea to bring a change of clothes to the hospital. If needed, a survivor advocate from Sexual Violence Response can provide you with needed clothing or other items from the Survivor Care Package.

5. Consider talking with a counselor

Counseling is often helpful for survivors because it provides a safe place to talk about their experiences and their feelings.

Counseling Resources:

Counseling and Psychological Services (Morningside campus)        

Crime Victims Treatment Center: call (212) 523-4728 for an appointment Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Other things to consider:

Survivors and Co-Survivors (friends, family, classmates) may choose to speak with an advocate confidentially about:

  • Legal information and options
  • Information about your rights in NY state and legal options available to you (both on- and off-campus)
  • Enlisting the aid of law enforcement
  • Filing a complaint with University Life and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
  • Court advocacy or assistance in obtaining legal representation
  • NY Crime Victims Legal Help
  • Assistance drafting a victim impact statement
  • On-campus accommodations (housing, academic, financial)
  • On- and off-campus referrals (mental health, follow-up care, healing support)
  • Understanding the sexual assault forensic examination
  • Remembering it's not your fault
  • Identifying a friend or other support person to be by your side
  • Learning how to discuss the incident with family members
  • Visit the Coping Tools webpage for local and national resources for survivors of sexual assault and other forms of gender- and power-based violence.

For more resources, visit CU Health’s Sexual Violence Response webpage and see CU’s Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.


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