Rape Prevention

Contrary to popular belief, rape is not a crime of sex. Rape is a crime of violence. Although a devastating experience, it is survivable. Rape affects all people, no matter their age, race or economic status. It is one of the most rapidly growing crimes in American society. FBI projections suggest that one out of three women may be the victim of a sexual assault in her lifetime. In the United States, one forcible rape occurs every seven minutes. Each year, about 90,000 forcible rapes are reported to the police. Moreover, it is estimated that almost 90% of all rapes and attempted rapes are not reported.

Staying Safe

Because each situation is different, there is no one sure way to prevent a rape. However, you can take steps to lessen the chance of an assault:

  • Learn to protect yourself with a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course. 
  • Lock your doors, even if leaving your residence for just a moment. 
  • Always check to see who is at your door before opening it. 
  • When you go out, let a friend or roommate know where you will be and when you will return. 
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Use Transportation Service’s free shuttles. 
  • If you are out after dark, use only well-lit routes. Walk near the curb and avoid passing close to shrubs, dark doorways and other potential hiding places. 
  • Be alert and trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about someone near you, head for a populated area. 
  • Make note of the location of the EMERGENCY phones.
  • Report suspicious activity to the police. 
  • When meeting a first date or blind date, choose a public place or go with friends. Bring a cell phone and money for a cab, or bring your own car. 
  • Don't leave a social event with someone you've just met or don't know well. 
  • Never accept beverages from someone you don't know and trust. Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended. 
  • If you feel uncomfortable with a friend or date, assertively ask the person to leave, or leave yourself. 

Reporting a Rape

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault or rape, the University wants you to know of the variety of services available to assist you, and strongly encourages you to use them as soon as possible.

The University provides a number of educational programs throughout the academic year and upon request to promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape and other sex offenses. Students are encouraged to attend these workshops, seminars and presentations, which take place in the residence halls and around campus under the auspices of the UMass Lowell Police Department, the Offices of Residence Life, Student Activities, Health Services and the Counseling Services. These programs are publicized in the Connector, through the Student Information Centers and the residence halls. Students are also encouraged to participate in the R.A.D. Program provided through the Police Department.

Anyone who is a victim of a sexual assault should make getting to a place of safety their first priority. Once safety has been established, obtain necessary medical treatment. The UMass Lowell Police Department strongly advocates that a victim of sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to UMass Lowell Police Department. Filing a police report will not obligate the victim to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers. Filing a police report will:

  • ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim
  • provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later (ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet or change clothing prior to a medical/legal exam)
  • ensure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention

During the past 20 years, the University has devoted considerable time, energy and resources to the development of a comprehensive network of services for victims of sexual assault. Included in the network are staff from the Dean of Students Office, Residence Life, the UMass Lowell Police Department, Health Services, the Counseling Services, Office of Student Development and Campus Conduct, and representatives from the Middlesex District Attorney's Office. This network also includes skilled and sensitive rape crisis counselors, nurses and campus administrators, as well as local community resources such as a 24-hour rape hotline. Victims are offered medical assistance, legal information and advocacy in the criminal justice system and in the University disciplinary system, as well as ongoing support in the form of rape crisis counseling and some academic support services. These services are provided to all students and community members to help victims, both male and female, deal with the emotional and physical trauma of sexual assault, and resume progress toward their educational goals.

Medical Assistance

Lawrence General Hospital - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Certified Site
Phone: 978-794-3531
Phone: 978-683-4000 extension: 2500

Lowell General Hospital - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Certified Site
Phone: 978-937-6000

UMass Lowell Health Services (Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Phone: 978-934-6800

University EMTs
Phone: 978-934-4911

Victims/survivors of sexual assault are encouraged to go to the hospital as soon as possible, before showering. An immediate medical examination has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma and to consider the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy, and second, to obtain legally correct evidence in case you should decide to prosecute. For optimal evidence collection, exams should be performed within 72 hours of the assault, however, SANE will conduct an exam for up to five days following the assault. 

Victims of rape are asked not to bathe or douche before having the examination and are requested to bring, in a paper bag, any clothes they were wearing at the time of the assault. Depending on hospital protocol, local police and/or parents may be contacted (the Center for Hope and Healing or  the Counseling Services can provide this specific information). Victims will be encouraged to use counseling resources and the University judicial process. University EMTs are contacted through University Police.

University Police
Phone: 978-934-4911

Lowell Police
Phone: 978-937-3200

Investigation of on-campus crime is the direct responsibility of the University Police Department. The UMass Lowell Police Department is sensitive to and aware of problems of sexual assault and rape. They also recognize the vulnerability of the college age population and address this concern on many levels. All members of the Department have received training in responding to sexual assault and rape. Additionally, there are trained and certified Rape Investigators within the department.

It is important to report sexual assault as soon as possible so that a full and appropriate investigation can be conducted. A delay in investigation could result in loss of evidence and could jeopardize any later possibility of prosecution. The results of this investigation will be presented to the District Attorney to be evaluated for possible prosecution. It is unlikely that prosecution will occur without the cooperation of the victim. If you contact the University Police, you will be informed of your legal rights as a victim and the various procedures available to you. You will also be asked to undergo a medical examination and informed of, and encouraged, to use the counseling and judicial resources of the University.

Court System Assistance:

Victim / Witness Program
Phone: 781-897-8900

The Victim/Witness Program is a specialized office within the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney and is designed to help victims and witnesses of crimes throughout the legal process. Anyone can meet with them confidentially to ask questions about a particular assault and how the District Attorney and court might handle it.

Residence Life Assistance:

Contact your R.A. or R.D.

The Office of Residence Life, including levels of responsibility within Residence Life (C.D, R.D., A.R.D., R.A.), will assist you in obtaining appropriate assistance from any University resource, and will accompany you in this process, if you choose. They will also assist in taking care of new housing arrangements or other appropriate changes that you request. If you report first to a Residence Life Staff person, you will be encouraged to make a police report, seek medical attention, and use the counseling and judicial resources of the University. If the alleged perpetrator is a resident student, a Residential Life judicial hearing will ensue.

The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs Assistance
Phone: 978-934-2100

The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will assist you in making contact with any of the resources in the University. You will be encouraged to use police, medical and counseling resources. In addition they will help you with changes in classes or schedules that may be required. The Student Conduct Process is also administered through this office. You will be told of your rights under the Student Conduct Code, and the specific procedures you will need to follow in using this process.

The Student Conduct Process is detailed in the UMass Lowell Student Conduct Code. The Student Conduct Code provides, in part, that the accused and the victim will each be allowed to select a person who has no formal legal training to accompany them throughout the hearing. The adviser must be a member of the faculty, staff or student body of the University EXCEPT legal counsel may accompany a student, at the student’s discretion (and at the student’s expense), when a criminal charge arising from the matter before the Student Discipline Process is being pursued. In cases involving the allegation of violent crime, both the victim and the accused will be informed of the outcome of the judicial hearing. Compliance with this paragraph does not constitute a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For the purpose of this paragraph, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding means only the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed against the accused.

A student’s suspension or dismissal from the UMass Lowell may be imposed whenever a determination of responsibility has been made following a sex offense disciplinary hearing. Immediate interim suspension pending a hearing will occur whenever the charged student is deemed a safety threat.

Rape Counseling

Counseling Services

It is not unusual to experience feelings of helplessness, frustration, guilt, self-blame or anger after an assault. It is often helpful to talk with someone who is aware of all the issues involved and can help you deal with the experience. Counseling Services offers professional counseling services for victims of sexual assault, and can also refer you to a trained peer counselor for your continued support. This service is confidential. Seeking assistance through Counseling Services will not initiate any other action without your consent. If you use Counseling Services, you will be encouraged but not required to seek immediate medical attention and report the assault to the University Police. Information on procedures at area hospitals may be provided, and you may be accompanied to the hospital or police if you choose. You will also be informed of University policy and judicial procedures and legal procedures available to you. Counseling Services can also help with any changes or modifications of your schedule that may be necessary. 

Additional Counseling Resources

Center for Hope and Healing
Hotline: 800-542-5212
Office: 978-452-7721

Additional counseling help is available through the Center for Hope and Healing in Lowell. Trained volunteer counselors are available 24 hours a day. They will also accompany you to a hospital or police facility if you choose.