Sexual Assault & Gender Violence Support

Sexual Assault & Gender Violence Support

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Resources for Sexual Assault and Gender-Based Violence

Prior to departure, our International Safety & Security team works closely with travelers to address concerns specific to your destination’s culture, your reason for travel, and your background. When an incident occurs abroad, we work with our Harvard Travel Assist case managers to provide you with the proper support and resources.

Before You Leave

  1. Research your destination's cultural norms to understand risks and anticipate adjustments. The Harvard Travel Assist country profiles and travel briefs are a great place to start. Peruse our travel resources for more information.
  2. Talk with others who have traveled to your destination.
  3. Talk with us about any concerns related to gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender-identity. Email Elizabeth Esparza, Program Manager for Strategic Initiatives, elizabeth_esparza@harvard.edu, to set up an in-person, phone, or email consultation.

While Abroad: How We Can Help

If you experience sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based violence abroad, call Harvard Travel Assist, our 24/7 global emergency response program: +1-617-998-0000. Case managers will advise you on your situation and work with us to connect you with appropriate resources.

Safety

Your safety is our first priority. In some countries, women reporting rape to the police may be imprisoned for premarital sex.

We can:

  • Advise on whether or not it’s safe to stay
  • Explore options for relocation
  • Provide information on local laws and the capabilities of local law enforcement

Medical

Your physical needs will be addressed. Post-exposure prophylaxis and emergency contraceptives are not universally legal or available.

We can provide:

  • 24/7 access to professional medical advice
  • Referrals to local facilities for care and evidence collection
  • Coordination of transportation and payment
  • Evacuation to a regional facility, if needed

Support

Your well-being is vitally important. Linguistic and cultural differences can impede the quality of care.

We can provide:

  • Access to English-speaking mental health professionals
  • Connection to Harvard-specific (e.g. OSAPR) and U.S.-based counseling resources.

Report

Your decision to report is personal. Medical assistance cannot be received in some countries unless a police report has been filed.

We can:

Formal Complaints and Legal Action

If you're considering filing a formal complaint or pursuing legal action, there are several steps you should take immediately or soon after the incident.

  • Preserve evidence (e.g. collect clothing, linens, and bodily fluids, if present).
  • Write a complete record of the event.
  • Photograph injuries.

Additional Resources

University-wide:

College students:

HBS MBA students:

  • MBA Sexual Assault Counselors*
    24/7 hotline: +1-617-998-HELP (4357)

U.S. citizens:

*Confidential resource

In addition to conduct that occurs on Harvard property,the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policy applies off Harvard property if the conduct was in connection with a University or University-recognized program or activity. Information received is treated with the utmost discretion and sensitivity. You can also review the GSS privacy policy.

Email globalsupport@harvard.edu if you'd like to request a brochure, poster, or postcards for your office.