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 International SOS case managers to provide you with the proper support and resources.
Before You Leave
- Research your destination's cultural norms to understand risks and anticipate adjustments. The International SOS country guides are a great place to start. Peruse our travel resources for more information.
- Talk with others who have traveled to your destination.
- Talk with us about any concerns related to gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender-identity. Email Elizabeth Esparza, senior program manager for strategic initiatives, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, contact International SOS, our 24/7 global emergency response program by phone at +1-617-998-0000, or start a chat or call through the Assistance App. Case managers will advise you on your situation and work with us to connect you with appropriate resources.
Your safety is our first priority. In some countries, women reporting rape to the police may be imprisoned for premarital sex.
- 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
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
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.
Your decision to report is personal. Medical assistance cannot be received in some countries unless a police report has been filed.
- Advise on filing a local police report
- Provide a list of local lawyers
- Contact your local diplomatic representation, if available
- Coordinate with Harvard’s Title IX Office or Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution
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.
- Harvard Chaplains*
- Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (OSAPR)*
24/7 hotline: +1-617-495-9100
- Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (ODR)
- Title IX Coordinators
- Title IX Resource Guide
- Office of BGLTQ Student Life*
HBS MBA students:
- MBA Sexual Assault Counselors*
24/7 hotline: +1-617-998-HELP (4357)
- U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs*
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 disclosures.