Responding to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence at UMBC
What is the VAV Program?
- The Voices Against Violence Program was started in 2001 by a U.S. Department of Justice Grant awarded to UHS. The grant allowed UHS to hire people to prepare reporting forms and educate the campus community about sexual assault and relationship violence.
- Since the DOJ/GOCCAP grant has ended, individuals in the Division of Student Affairs, the UMBC Police Department and the Title IX Coordinator have collaborated to continue in these efforts. In August 2014, UHS hired a VAV Program Coordinator to oversee all of the VAV Program efforts.
Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Stats
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men experience violence in their lifetime.
- 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men are stalked in the US.
- 1 in 5 college women experience attempted or completed sexual assault during college.
- 78% of sexual violence against women is perpetrated by someone known to the victim/survivor.
- Despite it’s prevalence, sexual violence remains heavily stigmatized and under-reported.
- On UMBC campus this school year, 38 reports have been filed as of today.
Why Do I Need to Know This Information?
- Every university is bound by the Jeanne Clery Act to report sexual assault and relationship violence cases.
- In April 2011, the Office of Civil Rights included additional reporting information involving the campus Title IX Coordinator to ensure that survivors of sexual assault were receiving all appropriate resources.
- Staff and Faculty are often first responders when a case is reported. UMBC Staff and Faculty are mandated reporters; the only exceptions are Counseling Center staff, campus clergy, UHS medical staff, and exceptions are made for the Women’s Center.
- First points of contact need to be adequately prepared to work with a survivor, as well as understand their reporting responsibilities.
What to report:
In more common terms
- See UMBC’s Interim Policy on Prohibited Sexual Misconduct and other related Misconduct
- Anything from unwanted touching or comments to forcible rape. THINK: CONSENT NOT GIVEN.
- Harassment, including stalking, or threats of any kind (via text, online, in-person); exploitation
- Relationship Violence (verbal/emotional, physical, sexual)￼￼
Definitions from UMBC’s Interim Policy:
Sexual Assault I: This Policy prohibits Sexual Assault I. For purposes of this Policy, Sexual Assault I is defined as any act of non-consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with another UMBC community member without consent. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration (however slight) by a penis, object, tongue, finger, or any body part; and oral copulation involving mouth to genital or genital to mouth contact.
Sexual Assault II: Sexual Assault II is defined as any act of non-consensual sexual contact (however slight) with another UMBC community member without consent. Non-consensual sexual contact means any intentional touching of the intimate body parts of another person, causing another person to touch someone’s intimate body parts, or disrobing or exposure of another person without consent. Intimate body parts may include genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, or clothing covering them, or any other body part that is touched in a sexual manner. Non-consensual sexual contact also includes attempted non-consensual sexual intercourse.
Steps to Reporting a Case
- Listen compassionately to the survivor– coming forward to report an incident is very difficult.
- Complete the following and deliver to VAV program within 24 hours of talking with survivor (all forms available at vav.umbc.edu):
- Incident Report Form
- Staff/Faculty Member checklist
- Provide resource list to survivor.
- Inform survivor that the VAV Program will be contacting her/him to arrange a meeting. The sole purpose is to explain resources in greater detail and to provide the survivor with support through any sort of judicial, medical, or other processes she/he chooses to pursue.
- If the survivor needs to speak to someone from the VAV program immediately, call or walk-in to University Health Services at 410-455- 2542 during normal business hours.
- If there is an imminent threat to a person or the campus, call campus police at 410-455-5555.
When reporting a case…
- Include as much information as you can about the incident and assailant.
- Remain calm. It is common for you to feel shock and rage, but expressing these emotions to the survivor/victim may cause more trauma.
- Encourage, but do not force, SAFE exam and medical attention.
- SAFE exams are provided at GBMC, Mercy, and Howard County Hospitals. VAV Program can arrange transportation and a support person if needed. The SAFE exam can help provide evidence should the survivor decide to prosecute.
- Medical exams are provided at UHS for free or can be sought at the emergency room or from a private physician; this is important because there may be internal injuries that are not apparent.
- If at any point you feel there is an imminent threat to the campus, immediately call campus police at 410-455-5555. You do not necessarily have to provide a survivor’s name.
- If the survivor is having suicidal ideations, arrange for them to go to the emergency room. Do not let them leave alone.
- In the event that an alleged assailant is named, and is an employee of the university, send a copy of the VAV Incident Report Form to the office of Human Relations, Attn: Bobbie Hoye.
Expectations for Faculty/Staff
- To be available for students or colleagues that want to report an incident.
- To be mindful of confidentiality to the survivor/victim,while maintaining safety of the overall campus community.
- To adequately report such incidents, as mandated by the Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX requirements.
- If you are a supervisor, to be sure to familiarize yourself with your responsibilities of keeping your area safe if these incidents are a potential threat to your work area.
Tips for Talking & Listening to Survivors/Victims
- Give the survivor control. Allow the survivor/victim to make decisions about what steps to take next.
- Maintain confidentiality when possible. Explain that information will be needed to be shared for campus safety, but you will do your best to limit that information to only those who have a true need to know.
- Let the survivor express feelings. Remember the survivor/victim is venting emotions toward the perpetrator and the situation – not you.
- Listen to the survivor. Do not add your opinions. If the person wishes to remain silent, do not force a discussion.
- Thank you for trusting me with this important conversation.
- I believe you, you did not deserve this.
- How can I help, I can refer you to someone that can help
- Avoid blaming questions and comments: ‘Why’ questions about choices
- After the survivor leaves, consider talking with the VAV program to express your own emotions about the meeting.
Related Campus Initiatives
- Voices Against Violence
- Women’s Center Projects : Relationship Violence Awareness
- Month – Clothesline Project; Sexual Assault Awareness
- Month – Take Back the Night
- Faculty and Staff training – 3 times per year
- Consent Education
- Green Dot Training
- Peer Health Education Programs and Events
- Counseling Center’s Healthy Relationships
- Student Health 101
Red Flags of violent relationship
- Intense early involvement
- Abusive individual is charming around others, but horrible to partner (Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde)
- Extreme mood swings and an explosive temper
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Possessive and controlling behaviors
- Isolation from family and friends
- Friends/family do not like the partner (and vice versa)
- Blames the victim for his/her “bad actions”
- History of physical violence and/or trouble with the law (i.e. getting into fights, breaking or destroying property, punching walls, etc.)