Women's Center

Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault is any physical act of a sexual nature that is without consent or when the victim is unable to give consent. If you have been assaulted in the last 72 hours, or know someone who has, please contact us immediately at 919-684-3897 during normal business hours or at 919-886-6814 after hours and on weekends.

Who to Call for Help at Duke
If you are a student at Duke University (male or female) and have been assaulted in the last 72 hours:

  • Contact the Women’s Center to talk with someone who can help you make the decisions that are right for you: M-F, 9-5,  919-684-3897 or just come in to the center--no appointment needed; after hours/weekends, call 919-886-6814. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to someone now about an assault. 

If you have been sexually assaulted within the past 72 hours, it is important to get the proper medical intervention and legal protection. Call first to talk through your options.

If you have been sexually assaulted longer than 72 hours ago, you can still benefit from talking with someone. Email WCHelp@duke.edu or call at 919-684-3897.

Things to Consider After a Recent Sexual Assault
Seek medical attention immediately to have the most options for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Even if you do not think you are injured, there may be injuries as a result of sexual assault that you cannot see. Student Health and Duke Hospital have special sexual assault nurse examiners and can test for STDs and pregnancy. Someone from the Women's Center can accompany you to the health center or hospital.

You can get evidence collected anonymously. Know that evidence is best collected within 72 hours of the assault. Do not shower or bathe, wash your hands or clothing, change your clothing or bedding, use the toilet, or eat or drink.  Even if you do not think you would like to pursue a criminal case now, you can have the evidence collected anonymously so you can decide later whether filing a report with police is right for you.

Sexual assault is a crime AS WELL as a violation of Duke Student Conduct policy. You can hold a perpetrator accountable through either or both systems. Duke University has a very clear sexual misconduct policy. Sexual assault is any physical act of a sexual nature that is without consent or when the victim is unable to give consent. There is a difference between reporting to police and reporting to the Office of Student Conduct. It is best to talk to someone at the Women's Center about the differences between the two systems since what happens next depends on the nature of the case. You can report an assault to Duke Police (919-684-2444) or to the Office of Student Conduct.

If you would like to talk to someone, confidential help is available. It is your choice to talk to someone about what happened. At Duke, the Women's Center staff, medical providers, campus clergy, and counselors at CAPS are completely confidential and are bound not to share anything without your permission unless someone's life is in danger, or ordered to by a court of law. However, if you disclose your assault to staff at Duke, including RAs, RCs, FACs and other Student Affairs staff, they are obligated to file a report with the Office of Student Conduct.

How We Can Help
If you would like to talk to someone, confidential help is available.  The Women’s Center’s Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention can:

  • Accompany you for medical treatment at the hospital or Student Health Center
  • Assist with reporting to police or the Office of Student Conduct, if you choose to do so
  • Help create a plan for your safety, both physically and emotionally
  • Provide information about resources available to you both on and off campus
  • Solution-oriented psychotherapy designed to help you manage emotional and physiological reactions to sexual assault

How Friends & Family Can Help
Unless you are a trained victim's advocate, the best things you can do are provide a place for your friend to vent their emotions, validate their feelings, and refer them to someone with experience and expertise such as the Women's Center. Refer to this handout for tips on how to be supportive. If your son or daughter is assaulted, find out what you can do as a parent.

For more information about what you can do and other resources, refer to the RAINN website.

Additional suggested resources: