The Women's Center

West Chester University

Alicia Hahn-Murphy
Lawrence Center 220
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2122
Fax: 610-436-3160
AHahn@wcupa.edu


Sexual Assault and Rape

The Women's Center provides informal support, information and referrals for victims, friends, and family members. This assistance is available whether the assault was recent or in the past. Pamphlets, books and useful articles are also available.

Your Health and Safety

While it is not necessary for you to report the attack, we encourage you to at least go to the hospital and get a rape kit done within 72 hours of the attack. A rape kit, firstly, preserves the evidence of the attack if you wish to press charges, but more importantly, the rape kit will ensure your vaginal health and safety. You will also be able to receive prescriptions for Plan B and sexually transmitted infection medicines, including HIV prevention medicine. It is imperative that you do not bathe yourself or get rid of or wash the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked, for that can destroy vital evidence.

You do not have to do anything with the rape kit if you do not wish to do so. You do not have to press charges with the rape kit, and nothing will be done to begin the process of pressing charges without your consent.

Brandywine Hospital and Phoenixville Hospital are the only places in the area where one can receive a rape kit procedure by a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner ("SANE") nurse. Brandywine Hospital is located on 201 Reeceville Road in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Phoenixville Hospital is located on 140 Nutt Road in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. If you are without transportation, transportation can be provided for you. A Crime Victims' Advocate can be arranged to meet you and assist you with the procedure.

Reporting the Assault

You can find a copy of West Chester University's sexual assault policy here. We are currently in the process of revising the policy to reflect more current procedures and prevention efforts.

  • If the rape or sexual assault was done on campus: If you wish to report an assault that was done on campus, you can visit us here in the Women's Center, or you can go to the Health Center or WCU Public Safety.
  • If the rape or sexual assault was done off-campus: You can still utilize us here in the Women's Center, Health Center, or Public Safety, but if you wish to formally report the assault you need to go to the police station in the town/borough of where the assault was completed.
  • A Crime Victims' Advocate can assist you in any of these situations.
  • In the state of Pennsylvania, if you were under the influence, you cannot consent to giving sex.

Support

The Women's Center on campus can provide informal support for victims of sexual assault or rape. We are open from 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday.

The Counseling Center on campus has numerous psychologists that can help you. Their psychologist appointments are free of charge; psychiatrist appointments cost $10.

The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County also provides 24-hour support for those who either:

  • Were attacked in Chester County, or
  • Reside in Chester County (this includes university students)

You can find support centers in other counties here on RAINN's website.

The Crime Victims' Center provides a variety of victims services, including:

They have two 24 hour hotlines. The one for sexual assault/rape victims is: 610-692-RAPE (7273). All calls are answered by trained advocates.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) works to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault. You can also find certified PCAR centers and information about Pennsylvania rape and sexual assault laws on this website.

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the leading rape and sexual assault awareness organization. They have a 24-hour hotline that you can call: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Or, you can connect with their online hotline.