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Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

Brown takes any form of sexual assault very seriously and has developed a comprehensive definition of sexual misconduct. Any type of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, is a violation of the “Principles of the Brown University Community” as described in the Student Handbook. It is considered a serious offense and will be addressed in conformity with other serious offenses under the Non-Academic Disciplinary Procedures process. Click here to read more about the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic status. If you or someone you know has been hurt in this way, click on this link for immediate steps to take.

What is sexual misconduct?
Brown University prohibits sexual misconduct, defined as non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature. It includes acts using force, threat, intimidation, or advantage gained by the offended person's mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the offending person was aware or should have been aware. A charged person’s use of any drug, including alcohol, judged to be related to an offense will be considered an exacerbating rather than mitigating circumstance.

On campus, the term sexual misconduct includes any form of sexual assault.  We use this term to distinguish the University process from a criminal proceeding which students may pursue off-campus.  For more information on the definition of sexual assault in Rhode Island law, you can go to the Health Education web site.

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
If someone has been sexually assaulted recently, there are time-sensitive decisions to make about preventing pregnancy, preventing sexually transmitted infections and collecting physical evidence. More specific information is available at the Health Education web site.

Whether an incident occurred recently or a long time ago, it’s never too late to get help and support from any of the resources below.

How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?
When someone has been sexually assaulted, chances are that they will turn to a friend for help. Knowing how to respond will be a big help in your friend's recovery. Click here to learn about ways to support someone.

Where do I go for help?
Sexual Assault Response Line
Available 24 hours a day through the Psychological Services on-call system. Confidential crisis support and information is available for any Brown student dealing with sexual assault, sexual harassment or abuse in a relationship. The on-call counselor is also available to accompany a victim to the hospital.

Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy
Bita Shooshani, 401.863-2794,, 3rd floor of Health Services
Bita is available to help students affected by sexual violence and abuse in a relationship. Confidential services include support for a survivor or the friends of a survivor, help exploring options to address the incident (such as filing a complaint, if that is the student's choice) and educational programs for the student community. When you speak to Bita, you do not have to pursue any specific course of action and no action will be taken unless it’s something you choose.

Psychological Services
Clinicians provide confidential crisis support, follow-up appointments, and 24-hour on-call services for any Brown student dealing with sexual assault. Located in J Walter Wilson Room 516.

University Health Services
Confidential medical care, testing and treatment. Emergency contraceptive pills, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests and testing for date rape drugs are available. Located at the corner of Brown and Charlesfield Streets.

Office of Student Life/Administrator-on-Call
401.863-3145 (after hours, 863-4111)
The Administrator-on-Call will provide support to any student reporting sexual assault, sexual harassment or abuse in a relationship. The student will be connected with medical, counseling and legal resources. A student can choose to file a complaint in the non-academic discipline system if the complaint is against another student.

Department of Public Safety
401.863-4111 (emergency response)
Emergency response and crime reporting available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also contact the Special Victims Unit at 863-2542 for information and support concerning University and Providence Police reporting options. Services include safety planning, victim advocacy, court accompaniment and assistance with obtaining restraining orders. Seeking help from the Special Victims Unit does not require you to file a police report.

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-494-8100 (Not affiliated with Brown)
If you or someone you know needs help because of a sexual assault or an abusive relationship, call this hotline 24 hours a day. Counselor-advocates provide confidential support and are available to accompany victims of sexual assault to the hospital and police station. Ongoing counseling and support groups are available. (This hotline is specific to Rhode Island . Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE if you need help in another state.)


Health Education
Health Education’s web site has extensive information on sexual assault, sexual harassment and dating violence, including how to help a friend, date rape drugs, the rape exam, male victims, emergency contraceptive pills and further links and resources.

The Office of Student Life, Student Handbook
This is an online version of the Student Handbook that links to the section on policies and regulations. Brown's definition of sexual misconduct is outlined here as well as the steps taken when an assault occurs.