FAQ

Sexual Health

Sexual Violence Prevention

Sexual Harassment/Assault

For Survivors

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– Sexual Health

Where can I get condoms on campus?
There are condoms in the entry-way of Tufts Health Services at 124 Professors Row.

What is emergency contraception? Where can I get it?
Emergency contraception (EC), also called Plan B, is a high dose of the hormones in regular birth control bills. EC prevents a woman from ovulating (releasing her eggs), and it decreases the likelihood of a sperm joining with an egg. It can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, but it is much more effective if taken within 72 hours. Emergency contraception is available at Health Services for $14. You can also get it at a local pharmacy for more money. If you have  written permission and the person’s student ID, you are able to pick up EC for a friend.

Do students on campus have HIV?
Tufts is no different than any other college campus, so we should assume that there are. The Center for Disease Control estimates that over 1 million people in the US are HIV positive, and 20 percent are undiagnosed. The age group of 20 – 24 years-olds had the highest estimated number of new HIV diagnoses in 2009 (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivaidsage). Please be safe! If you decide to be sexually active, you should use protection and be regularly tested for STIs.

How do I know if I’ve been exposed to an STI? Where and how can I get tested?
The only way to know for sure if you have been exposed to an STI is to get tested. Don’t guess, don’t assume and don’t wait for symptoms as many STIs are asymtomatic. Call Tufts Health Services at 617-627-3350 to make an appointment to be tested. For more information on sexual health services provided on campus, click here: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthservice/servicesSexual.htm

I feel like my girlfriend should get tested for STIs, but I don’t know how to ask her.
It can be a tricky subject to bring up, so we applaud you for thinking about STI testing. You could suggest that you get tested together – which is a great idea anyway! Many STIs lie dormant for months or do not have visible symptoms, so testing is essential. For example, three-fourths of woman and half of men with chlamydia are unaware they have it. It’s better for your health – and your peace of mind – for you and your partner to be tested.

Is there a gynecologist at health services?
While Tufts does not have a gynecologist on staff, we have physicians, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants who offer the range of women’s health services: gynecologic examinations, testing for sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception, HIV testing, consultation about contraceptive choices, prescribing of birth control pills, help with both planned and unplanned pregnancy, diaphragm fittings, IUD insertions, evaluation and treatment of vaginal infections, information about HPV immunization, and treatment for urinary tract infections, genital warts, and many other issues. For more information about women’s health at Tufts, please visit the following link: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthservice/servicesWomens.htm

I’ve never had a pelvic exam. Is it necessary?
It depends. Current guidelines suggest that the first pap smear (pelvic exam) should be done when a women is 21 years old if she is sexually active. However, all women should have a gynecologic exam every year to review other health issues, have a breast examination, get regular STI testing depending on age and risk history, and other routine health screening procedures. During your annual gynecological exam, you can discuss with the clinician if a pap smear is needed for you personally.

Is everyone having sex?
No. In fact, studies show that it is common to overestimate the sexual activity of your peers. You likely think other students are more (and more often) sexually active than they really are. Many students choose not to have sex for a variety of personal reasons. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 20 percent of college students (age 18-24) have never had sexual intercourse (defined as vaginal, anal, or oral sex). The most important thing is engage in behavior with which you and your partner are comfortable. – Sexual Violence Prevention

If I’m at a party and I see my friends talking to a guy who I’ve heard is sketchy, how do I help?
There are many strategies to intervene if you think your friend may need help. Please check out all our suggestions here. Also, If you think someone is in an unsafe situation, you don’t need to personally know them to check-up on them. Remember, JUST ASK!

I saw something sketchy at a party and I feel like I need to tell someone, but I’m not sure.
It can be hard to report events, but you have a responsibility to help other Jumbos. If you saw bad behavior from your friends, try talking to them directly about the issue. You don’t have to be confrontational, but just bringing up the issue is important to increasing awareness. If you don’t feel comfortable talking directly with them, or if they are not responsive, reach out to someone else. Find out more about whom to contact here.

– Sexual Harassment/Assault

My roommate is creeping me out saying sexual things. Can I do anything?
Yes! First, try talking to your roommate directly, explaining that you’re uncomfortable with some of the things he or she is discussing. If the problem persists, ask your RA or ORLL to help. A more comprehensive list of on- and off-campus resources is available here.

I have a professor who is always making sexual remarks. Isn’t that harassment?
If your professor is making inappropriate sexual remarks, that is harassment. We understand that it can be difficult to address harassment issues when there is an unequal power dynamic like the student/professor relationship. However, there are resources that can help. The office of equal opportunity handles issues of harrassment from staff or faculty with students. They are very experienced and discreet. Resources on this issue for (1) On campus: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthed/topicsSexualOnCampus.htm and (2) Off campus: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthed/topicsSexualOffCampus.htm).

I was groped by a female at a party. I’m a bi female, and I’d flirted with her before. Is this sexual assault?
First, we need to debunk a couple of myths: (1) Sexual assault can be perpetrated by both women and men; and (2) sexual assault includes any unwanted sexual contact – not just rape. If you did not want to be touched by the woman at the party, and she did not receive consent, then you were sexually assaulted. Flirting does not take away your right to say “no,” and saying “yes” to one thing does not mean you say yes to everything. It’s never too late to take away consent.

Someone fingered me at a party against my will, but my friends say it wasn’t rape. Was it?
You were absolutely sexually assaulted. Rape is legally defined in Massachusetts as non-consensual penetration with the threat or use of force.  That includes ‘digital penetration’ or ‘fingering.’ However, the important thing to remember is that any non-consensual sexual contact – regardless of if it meets the definition of “rape” – is sexual assault and is a serious violation and a crime. Consult resources: (rainn/tufts etc)– For Survivors

I’m a straight guy who was sexually assaulted. What resources are there for me?
All of the sexual violence resources are equally available to all students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Although sexual assault of an adult straight male is not as common as that of a same sex assault or a male to female assault, it certainly does happen. Please contact our on or off campus resources who will be sensitive to your needs.  LINK to resources (On campus: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthed/topicsSexualOnCampus.htm and off campus: http://ase.tufts.edu/healthed/topicsSexualOffCampus.htm)

I was drunk and had sex but don’t remember most of  it. Was I raped?
If you feel violated and did not provide active consent, you may have been raped. The legal definition states that if the person was ‘incapacitated with alcohol or drugs,’ rape may have occurred. One can be in a blackout and still appear reasonably sober, when if fact they are unable to give consent. Please consider reaching out to others. A variety of resources are available on- and off-campus, including many confidential ones.

I had sex with this girl who was pretty drunk. I thought we were both into it, but how do I know if it was ‘consensual’ or not?
Talk to her. It may be awkward, but you have a responsibility to be sure you both feel ok about what happened. She may be wondering the same thing. being honest and direct is the best way to go.