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Spring Hill College's 24/ 7 Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) responds through Lifelines Rape Crisis Center at 251473-7273, known locally as the Mobile Rape Crisis Center. Off-campus counselors, advocates, and health care providers will also generally maintain confidentiality and not share information with the College unless the victim requests the disclosure and signs a consent or waiver form.

In addition to these 24/7, confidential reporting services, campus personnel are prepared to offer students assistance and resources including: 

  • assisting the survivor in identifying her or his medical, legal, counseling, and academic assistance needs
  • identifying the appropriate campus and/or community services to provide necessary assistance
  • providing follow-up with the survivor to determine if the services have been obtained and have met the survivor's needs
  • explaining options, such as filing a report with the Department of Public Safety Police Department or Mobile Police Department, reviewing disciplinary options available through the College’s student conduct, discussing campus housing options, and acting as an educator about rape and sexual assault. 

REPORTING RESOURCES 

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING RESOURCES

Rape Crisis Center a division of Lifelines Counseling Services (24-Hour): 251-473-7273 
 
Wellness Center Counselors:  251-380-2270

OTHER CAMPUS RESOURCES (mandatory reporting staff)

 Title IX Coordinator: 251-380-3063 
 Public Safety: 251-380-4444
 Residence Life and Community Standards: 251-380-3028
 Student Affairs: 251-380-3026
 
 Talk to your Resident Assistant, Area Coordinator, Professor or Public Safety to report or learn 
 more about campus resources. 

If you are sexually assaulted...

  • Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
  • Contact someone you trust who can help you, such as a friend or family member, counselor, residence hall staff, or the Mobile County Rape Crisis Center (251-473-7273).

  • Do not shower, bathe, douche, brush your teeth, comb your hair, use the toilet, eat/drink, smoke or change clothes. This may destroy important evidence. If you do change your clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the rape in a paper, not plastic, bag.
  • Consider getting a forensic medical exam to collect evidence. This exam will take place at Women’s and Children’s Hospital by a SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner).
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not want to report to police, STD testing and emergency contraception should be considered. You may also have injuries you are not aware of that require medical attention.
  • Talk with an advocate or counselor who can assist you in making important decisions. Local resources include: the 24-hour Spring Hill College Wellness Center Counselors or the Mobile County  Rape Crisis Center (251-473-7273).
  • Consider reporting the sexual assault to the police.

Remember that the assault is NOT your fault; no one asks to be raped or sexually assaulted.

Who to tell if you're sexually assaulted?   

Services available from the Mobile Rape Crisis Center a division of Lifelines Counseling Services include: a 24-hour hotline, group and individual counseling services for rape and incest survivors and their families/ friends, and a companion program to accompany survivors to hospitals, courts and police proceedings.

https://ohl.rainn.org/online.rainn.org/

When a caller dials the RAINN Hotline, the call is then instantaneously connected to the nearest RAINN member center. Each local center is the best resource for victims in its community, not only for counseling but also for information about community resources and emergency protocols. Using a secure and anonymous instant-messaging type format, the Online Hotline allows rape and sexual assault victims to communicate directly with trained crisis support volunteers.

 


Reporting the Sexual Assault 

Reporting sexual assault can be another difficult decision survivors of sexual assault are faced with. Several reporting options are available to survivors.

Mobile Rape Crisis Center: (251)473-7273

Title IX Coordinator : 251-380-3063
SHC Public Safety: (251) 380-4444
SHC Wellness Center: (251) 380-5000
Residence Life and Community Standards:  (251) 380-3028

 

Reporting a sexual assault to the police is encouraged regardless of the availability of evidence. The sooner the sexual assault is reported, the more evidence can be gathered. Evidence can be collected regardless of whether the survivor decides to press charges. Even if the survivor has not yet decided to press charges, having the evidence available will make it easier to do so later. If a survivor contacts SHC Department of Public Safety they will immediately notify the appropriate staff who can provide the survivor with information and resources.

Reporting to SHC Department of Public Safety


You may decide to report your assault to the SHC Department of Public Safety. If you choose to report the incident, a Public Safety officer will take a statement from you regarding what happened. The officer will ask you to describe the assailant(s) and may ask questions about the scene of the crime, any witnesses, and what happened before and after the incident. You may have a support person with you during the interview. NOTE: Reporting an incident is a separate step from choosing to initiate a formal investigation. When you file a report, you are NOT obligated to continue with legal proceedings or SHC disciplinary action. Remember, you can choose whether or not to participate in proceedings at any point.


Confidential Reporting
If you are assaulted and do not want to pursue action within the SHC system or the criminal justice system, you may still want to consider making a confidential report. These reports contain the information you provide about the assault, but your name and the name of the person who assaulted you are maintained separately in a confidential supplement to the report. The college investigates these assaults and keeps your identity confidential as long as doing so does not prevent the college from responding effectively to the assault and protecting other members of the campus community.

Spring Hill College Confidential Reporters:

  • Shivani Bhakta, Wellness Center Counselor: sbhakta@shc.edu 380-2270 
  • Melinda Rader, Wellness Center Counselor mrader@shc.edu 380-2270 
  • Delores (Dodie) Ward, Wellness Center Counselor: dward@shc.edu 380-2270 
  • Any priest functioning in a role of pastoral counselor

 

Getting Medical Attention

It is important for female and male victims to seek immediate and follow up care after a sexual assault. A victim may have injuries - external and/or internal - which need to be treated.  They can also receive information about their risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or about possible pregnancy. A forensic medical exam can be performed to gather evidence of the sexual assault. Physical evidence should be collected as soon as possible.

Basic Medical Treatment

During a basic medical exam, a victim of sexual assault can be examined and treated for any injuries. They can receive information, testing, and treatment for exposure to STD's, including HIV. A survivor can also receive information and options regarding possible pregnancy, including emergency contraception. A basic medical exam can be obtained at a doctor's office, hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. A survivor has the right to refuse treatment during any part of the medical exam.

 

What is a Forensic Medical Exam?

Following a sexual assault, the victim has the option to go to the hospital to have a forensic examination by a trained professional. During a forensic medical exam, a sexual assault evidence collection kit may or may not be used. The evidence kit affords the opportunity to collect any DNA that may have been left by the suspect . The kit is filled with tools that may be used by the examiner for evidence collection during the forensic medical exam.

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or forensic examiner who has received specialized training performs the exam. Trained professionals are able to maintain chain of custody to assure that the evidence can be used in court. The exam will most likely begin with the examiner obtaining a complete and thorough medical history from the victim. The medical forensic exam also involves a head to toe physical examination, which includes the genital area. This may also include:

 

·         Collection of blood, urine, hair and other body secretion samples.

·         Photo documentation.

·         Collection of the victim’s clothing, especially undergarments.

·         Collection of any possible physical evidence that may have transferred onto the victim from the rape scene.

Once the examination is completed and all specimens are collected, they are carefully packaged and stored to assure that they are not contaminated. They are maintained under chain of custody until further action is taken.

 

Reactions to Sexual Assault

Every survivor experiences the consequences of sexual assault in their own unique way. Many survivors have reported that they experienced feelings of severe emotion and physical violation that affected many areas of their lives. Some effects may be noticed immediately, while others may appear later. It is important for survivors to know that regardless of how they react to the sexual assault that their response is normal.

Some reactions to sexual assault may include:

  • Fear/Shock - Any traumatic event or crisis can produce this response. It is often an attempt for the survivor to believe the sexual assault has not happened and some people try to regain normal life patterns after a shock. Survivors may be likely to fluctuate between degrees of hysteria and extreme control.
  • Guilt/Shame - Survivors often begin to ask themselves if they asked to be sexually assaulted and begin to blame themselves for the attack. Many survivors say things like: "I shouldn't have gone back to his room with him," thus blaming the assault on their actions. Sexual assault is never the victim's fault.
  • Fear/Suspicion - Many survivors fear being assaulted again.
  • Anger/Depression - Regardless of how hard survivors may try to keep the rape from impacting their lives, the experience influences their lives profoundly. This phase of healing is often marked by nightmares, a generalized feeling of anxiety and flashbacks to the attack. This is often the phase when survivors seek professional assistance in recovering from the rape.
  • Relief - because the sexual assault is finally over and that the assailant is gone.
  • Acceptance - When enough of the anger and depression is released and worked through, survivors may begin to accept what has happened to them. The trauma begins to play less of a major life role and they begin to feel in control of their emotions.

 

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault

While most victims of sexual assault are women, men can also be victims. Male survivors receive the same services as women. Emotional support, options counseling, and medical treatment are available to assist all those recovering from sexual assault.

Male survivors of sexual assault have many of the same reactions as do female survivors.

What you should know... about men who have been sexually assaulted 
(from Men Can Stop Rape)

Rape is a men's issue for many reasons. We don't often talk about the fact that men are sexually assaulted. We need to start recognizing the presence of male survivors and acknowledging their unique experience. The following questions and answers can help us all learn about male survivors so that we stop treating them as invisible and start helping them heal:

How often are men sexually assaulted?

While the numbers vary from study to study, most research suggests that 10-20 percent of all males will be sexually violated at some point in their lifetimes. That translates into tens of thousands of boys and men assaulted each year alongside hundreds of thousands of girls and women.

Can a woman sexually assault a man?

Yes, but it's not nearly as common as male-on-male assault. A recent study shows that more than 86% of male survivors are sexually abused by another male. That is not to say, however, that we should overlook boys or men who are victimized by females. It may be tempting to dismiss such experiences as wanted sexual initiation (especially in the case of an older female assaulting a younger male), but the reality is that the impact of female-on-male assault can be just as damaging.

Does rape affect men differently from women?

Rape affects men in many ways similar to women. Anxiety, anger, sadness, confusion, fear, numbness, self-blame, helplessness, hopelessness, suicidal feelings and shame are common reactions of both male and female survivors. In some ways, though, men react uniquely to being sexually assaulted. Immediately after an assault, men may show more hostility and aggression rather than tearfulness and fear. Over time, they may also question their sexual identity, act out in a sexually aggressive manner, and even downplay the impact of the assault.

Don't men who get raped become rapists?

NO! This is a destructive myth that often adds to the anxiety a male survivor feels after being assaulted. Because of this misinformation, it is common for a male survivor to fear that he is now destined to do to others what was done to him. While many convicted sex offenders have a history of being sexually abused, most male survivors do not become offenders. The truth is that the great majorities of male survivors have never and will never sexually assault anyone.


If a male is sexually assaulted by another male does that make him gay?

 

No! A man raped by another man says nothing about his sexual orientation before the assault, nor does it change his sexual orientation afterwards. Rape is prompted by anger or a desire to intimidate or dominate. Not by sexual attraction or a rapist’s assumption about his intended victim’s sexual preference. Because of society’s confusion about 1) the role that attraction plays in sexual assault and 2) whether victims are responsible for provoking an assault, even heterosexual male survivors may worry that they somehow gave off “gay vibes” that the rapist picked up and acted upon. This is hardly the case. Sexual assault is never the victim's fault.

If a male becomes aroused or ejaculates during a sexual assault, does that mean he liked it?


No. Any stimulation creates a biological human reaction, even if an individual does not want to react. Arousal or ejaculation is not an indication that a person liked or wanted to be assaulted. The same concept can be applied to drinking a lot of water. If you drink a lot of water, the natural reaction would be to urinate, even if you did not want to. Intense pain, fear, or anxiety can also result in spontaneous erection or ejaculation.

The most important point to remember is that the rape or assault is not your friend's fault. Sometimes the phrases "I believe you" and "It wasn't your fault" are the most powerful phrases you can say to help your friend. Other ways you can help your friend include:

  • Don't judge or blame your friend for the rape or assault.
  • Encourage action. For example, encourage your friend to seek medical attention, but do not force them to do so.
  • Do not attempt to seek revenge against the rapist.
  • Consult with those who can help you. For example, contact the SHC Wellness Center, or Lifelines Rape Crisis Center for advice, guidance, and resources.