Sexual Harassment and Assault

You are not alone.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment can happen to anyone by anyone. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man; the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. Sexual assault and sexual harassment can come from someone you live with, work with or interact with on a frequent basis. Those committing assaults and harassment are usually not strangers. Victims are not only the person who has been harassed, but could also be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault or sexual harassment, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted. It is important to remember that while we can take steps to minimize risk, the only person to blame when sexual violence occurs is the perpetrator.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
  • Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
  • Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
  • Trust your gut instinct.  If a situation doesn’t feel right, don’t worry about offending someone, just leave.
  • Notice when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries.  Don’t be afraid to assert your right to have your boundaries respected.
  • Most perpetrators of sexual violence will look for vulnerable targets: appear to not be aware of their surroundings, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, isolated from their friends, etc.
  • Control access to your home, dorm room or car by locking your doors and closing windows if they provide easy access.
  • Travel in groups when possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help in situations where you feel unsafe: ask for an escort to your car, tell your friends you want to leave the party, ask a friend to stay with you, etc.

Bystander Intervention

  • If you hear from a fellow student that he/she has been harassed or sexually assaulted you can help them by listening and providing them with resources such as ISOS and VPR's numbers and reminding them that they can call their Program Manager. It is very important not to ignore it if they tell you they feel uncomfortable or have experienced something they feel was harassment or an assault. 


Remember that you can call ISOS 24/7 for support and assistance.


If you have been the victim of a sexual assault: 

If you are in immediate danger or in need of immediate medical care:

  1. Call ISOS (you may call collect)
  2. If recommended by your Program Manager, call the local police as

soon as possible to report the incident and get help.

MIT’s Violence Prevention and Response office is a resource for anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault. You can also call in behalf of someone if they agree. VPR’s staff can help you think about your options and decide what to do next and is confidential. You can reach VPR by calling collect 24/7 at +1-617-253-2300.

If you are comfortable doing so, contact your Program Manager so he or she can provide assistance and support and discuss next steps with you. Program Managers are considered “responsible employees” under Title IX and would need to inform the Title IX coordinator so they help with resources.