Sexual Misconduct & Gender Non-Discrimination Policy (Title IX)
File Code: PRES.TITLEIX.POL
Approval Date: 11/16/2004
Revised: 9/30/14, 07/01/15, 08/01/16
Approved By: President
I. Policy Statement
Consistent with Western Illinois University's (University) Non-Discrimination Policy and in compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations, as well as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the university prohibits discrimination based on sex in its educational programs and activities. This includes the offenses of:
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Gender harassment
- Discrimination based on pregnancy and parental status
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
In addition, the University reaffirms its commitment to maintain a safe campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the university community. As a result, Western Illinois University issues this statement of policy to inform the community of our comprehensive plan to improve awareness and prevention and to address sexual misconduct when it is reported to a Responsible Employee whether the incident occurred on or off campus.
Reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated and violators will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including separation or dismissal from the University. Any action taken as a result of a violation of this policy will be in accordance with the relevant collective bargaining agreements, codes of student conduct, or University policies.
The University's Title IX Coordinator is Andrea Henderson. She can be contacted at 309-298-1977, or by visiting Sherman Hall room 203 or emailing AD-Henderson@wiu.edu.
This policy applies to University students, faculty, staff, administrators, and contractors, as well as University visitors, guests, and clients.
Western Illinois University adheres to the following definitions applicable to this policy. For the purposes of complying with the requirements of this section and section 668.41, any incident meeting a definition denoted with a * is considered a crime for the purposes of Clery Act reporting.
Dating violence* – violence committed by a person:
- Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and
- The existence of such a relationship shall be based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship
- Dating Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
- Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic violence* – felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence, physical, mental or emotional abuse committed by:
- a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim.
- a person sharing a child in common with the victim.
- a person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. 1
- any person who physically abuses, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member is also covered under this definition. 2
- Gender harassment – subjecting a person to adverse treatment based on held gender stereotypes. Adverse treatment can include verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender or held gender stereotypes, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Discrimination based on pregnancy and parental status – excluding persons from, denying them the benefit of, or discriminating against them due to their pregnancy or status as a parent.
Note: Student absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or conditions related to pregnancy must be excused for as long as the student's doctor deems the absences medically necessary*. In addition, when the student returns, she must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before her medical leave began and must be allowed to make-up missed assignments and exams.
* In situations where medical documentation is required of students with temporary conditions, the student must provide the faculty member with documentation from the healthcare provider indicating the medical necessity of the leave, as soon as practical under the circumstances. The documentation does not need to include the specifics of the limiting condition.
- Responsible Employee – All University employees, except those exempted by law and serving in their official capacity as pastoral or licensed professional counselors, health center or victim advocacy office employees or volunteers, are Responsible Employees.
Sexual Assault* – an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system. A sex offense is any act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
Rape is defined as the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
Fondling is defined as the touching of the private parts of another person for the purposes of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
Incest is defined as non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory Rape is defined as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
Sexual harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:
- submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term of an individual's employment or status in a course, program, or activity;
- submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity.
- physical assault;
- direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, compensation, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation;
- sexual advances, physical or implied, or direct propositions of a sexual nature. This activity may include inappropriate/unnecessary touching or rubbing against another, sexually suggestive or degrading jokes or comments, remarks of a sexual nature about one's clothing and/or body, preferential treatment in exchange for sexual activity, and the inappropriate display of sexually explicit pictures, text, printed materials, or objects that do not serve an academic purpose;
- a pattern of conduct, which can be subtle in nature, that has sexual overtones and is intended to create, or has the effect of creating, discomfort and/or humiliation of another;
- remarks speculating about a person's sexual activities or sexual history, or remarks about one's own sexual activities or sexual history, that do not serve a medical or academic purpose, or
- allowing third parties to view sexual acts whether in person or via video or other recording device without the knowledge and consent of the subjects; engaging in voyeurism of sexual acts without the knowledge and consent of the subjects.
Stalking* – a course of conduct directed at a specific person based on their sex. The course of conduct causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or to fear for the safety of themselves or others. For the purposes of this definition—
- "Course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person's property.
- "Reasonable person" means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
- "Substantial emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
- Dating violence* – violence committed by a person:
Sexual activity of any kind requires consent. Consent is defined as an informed, voluntary, and freely given agreement between participating individuals to the sexual conduct in question. Consent to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity is clearly communicated in words and/or actions. Consent must be acquired prior to and contemporaneously with sexual activity.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time, given that it is clearly communicated by the person withdrawing it.
Note that silence, passivity, or manner of dress does not equate to consent. Past consent does not indicate present or future consent. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
Consent cannot be given by an individual who is:
- intermittently conscious
- under threat, duress, coercion, or force
- under the age of 18, or
- otherwise legally unable to provide consent.
A person who is incapacitated as a result of drug or alcohol use, voluntarily or involuntarily, is incapable of giving effective consent. Incapacitation is defined as the inability to make informed, rational decisions because the individual lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g. to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of their sexual interaction). Individuals who know, or should have known, that another person is incapacitated must refrain from engaging in sexual activity with that person. Further, drug or alcohol use is never an excuse for violating this policy.
II. Title IX and Athletics
Western Illinois University strives to afford student athletes equitable treatment in all aspects of men's and women's athletic programs. The University appreciates the valuable benefits offered by student involvement in athletics, and as such, offers students the opportunity to participate in NCAA Division I athletics programs, as well as club and intramural sports. The Gender Equity Committee, in partnership with the Title IX Coordinator, monitors Title IX compliance in athletics.
WIU offers a diverse array of Varsity athletic participation opportunities. Students may also take advantage of the club and intramural opportunities the University offers.
Students who wish to compete in a varsity sport that is not currently offered at Western Illinois University may make a request to the Athletic Director or Title IX Coordinator. The Athletic Director and Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Gender Equity Committee, will review all such requests. Factors considered shall include gender equity, interest and ability, intercollegiate competitive opportunities, among others.
For information about starting a new sport club or intramural sport call Campus Recreation at (309) 298-1228.
III. Survivor Rights & Options
Regardless of whether a survivor elects to pursue a criminal and/or administrative complaint or whether the offense is alleged to have occurred on or off campus, the university will assist survivors of sexual misconduct and will provide each survivor with a written explanation of their options to:
- File a criminal report – Survivors may report acts they believe to be in violation of criminal law to the Office of Public Safety (on campus incidents) or the Macomb (or local) Police Department (off campus incidents) and/or
- File an administrative (Title IX) complaint – Survivors may report acts they believe to be in violation of the Sexual Misconduct & Gender Non-Discrimination policy to the Title IX Coordinator who will inform the survivor of her/his right to:
- An effective internal investigation of complaints (using the preponderance of the evidence standard) separate from law enforcement or criminal proceedings.
- The implementation of protective interim steps prior to the final outcome of the investigation (e.g.: changes to class/work schedule, living/dining/transportation arrangements, implementation of safety protocols and academic supports, etc.)
- Notification of the investigatory outcome
- Protection from retaliation
- File an appeal
- Choose not to report or file a complaint at all. However, if the Survivor chooses not to report immediately following the incident, she/he may still report at a later time. However, the period of time elapsed between the incident and reporting may negatively impact the ability to investigate.
Western Illinois University complies with Illinois law in recognizing orders of protection (emergency, interim, and plenary), no contact orders or civil no contact orders. Any person who obtains an order of protection, no contact order or civil no contact order from Illinois or any reciprocal state should provide a copy to the Office of Public Safety (OPS) and the Office of the Title IX Coordinator. A complainant may then meet with the Student Development Office and OPS to develop a Safety Action Plan, which is a plan to reduce risk of harm to the survivor while on campus or coming and going from campus. This plan may include, but is not limited to: escorts, special parking arrangements, changing classroom location or allowing a student to complete assignments from home, etc.) The University cannot apply for a legal order of protection, no contact order or civil no contact order for a survivor from the applicable jurisdiction(s). The survivor is required to apply directly for these services. Assistance with filing a protection from abuse order may be available through the local rape crisis center at the following locations: Macomb – Western Illinois Regional Council/Community Action Agency Victim Services (WIRC) and the Quad Cities – Safe Path Survivor Resources.
Victim/Survivor Resources – Campus/Community/National
University Counseling Center
Employee Assistance Program
Beu Health Center
WIU Student Hotline
Student Development Office
Counseling/Mental Health/Victim Advocacy
Safe Path Survivor Resources
Mercer County Family Crisis
McDonough District Hospital
Genesis Health Hospital
(309)779-5000 Moline/Rock Island
http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/women/dvsadir.html – Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Directories
http://www.rainn.org – Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (800) 656-4673
http://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault – Department of Justice Sexual Assault
http://www.loveisrespect.org/ – Love is Respect (866) 331-9474
http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center – Stalking Resource Center
https://www.notalone.gov/ – Not Alone – Together Against Sexual Assault
IV. Title IX Reporting
Reporting a Complaint
For purposes of this policy, all employees of Western Illinois University, except those exempted by law, are considered "responsible employees" with an obligation to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator any and all alleged sexual misconduct that is reported to them or about which they otherwise learn.
Employees should also report any alleged sexual misconduct which they experience. Students and third parties who experience or learn about an alleged violation of this policy are encouraged to immediately report the alleged violation to the Title IX Coordinator.
The Title IX Coordinator, located in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, Sherman Hall room 203, can be reached at 309-298-1977, by email address at email@example.com, or through the Title IX website.
No student, faculty, or employee should assume that an official of Western Illinois University knows about a situation or incident and should follow appropriate reporting procedures.
The University has procedures in place that serve to be sensitive to those who report sexual misconduct, including informing individuals about their right to file criminal charges. Information is readily available regarding counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other services on and/or off campus. Interim steps can also be implemented to prevent contact between a complainant and an accused party, such as housing, academic, transportation and working accommodations. The University will make such accommodations, if the complainant requests them and if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to the Office of Public Safety, local law enforcement, or be involved in an internal investigation. Students and employees should contact the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at 309-298-1977 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Students may also contact the Student Development Office at 309-298-1884 or SDO@wiu.edu.
Medical Attention and Evidence Collection/Preservation
After an incident of sexual assault and domestic violence, the survivor should consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible at the local hospital. As time passes, evidence may dissipate or become lost or unavailable, thereby making investigation, possible prosecution, disciplinary proceedings, or obtaining protection from abuse orders related to the incident more difficult. Survivors who seek medical attention will be required to provide their name and details of the incident (for example, the type of incident, the identity of the alleged assailant, if known, and when and where the incident occurred) to their attending medical personnel. Illinois law requires that medical facilities, physicians, and nurses notify law enforcement upon the application for treatment of a person who reasonably appears to have sustained injuries due to the commission of a criminal offense. 3 While law enforcement must be notified by medical personnel, the survivor has the right to decline participation in criminal proceedings. Such action must be personally communicated to law enforcement officers by the survivor.
In addition to traditional medical care, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is available in cases of sexual assault to assist the survivor in conducting a forensic examination and evidence collection. It is important that a survivor of sexual assault not bathe, douche, smoke, change clothing or clean the bed/linen/area where they were assaulted if the offense occurred within the past 96 hours so that evidence may be preserved that may assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred/or is occurring or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order. In circumstances of sexual assault, if survivors do not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers can still treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease. In Illinois, evidence may still be collected even if the survivor chooses not to participate in criminal proceedings. If the survivor decides at a later date that they would like to pursue judicial remedies, this evidence will be available. A sexual assault evidence collection kit may not be released by a hospital without the written consent of the sexual assault survivor.
Survivors of sexual misconduct are encouraged to also preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents, if they have any, that would be useful to University hearing boards/investigators or police. To reiterate, although the university strongly encourages all members of its community to report violations of this policy to law enforcement, it is the survivor's choice whether or not to make such a report and survivors have the right to decline involvement with law enforcement. Responsible employees will assist any survivor with notifying local police, if the survivor so desires. The term, "local police," includes the Office of Public Safety, which maintains jurisdiction over the campus geographic area and any property owned or controlled by Western Illinois University, the Macomb Police Department, which has a recognized jurisdiction over the city geographic area and property owned and controlled by the City of Macomb and the Moline Police Department which has a recognized jurisdiction over the city geographic area and property owned and controlled by the City of Moline. The Office of Public Safety is located in Mowbray Hall and can be reached by telephone at 309-298-1949. The Office of Public Safety provides additional information on the OPS website. The Macomb Police Department may be reached by calling 309-833-4505, or in person at 120 South McArthur Street, Macomb, IL 61455. Additional information about the Macomb Police Department may be found on the MPD website. The Moline Police Department may be reached by calling police headquarters at 309-797-0401, or in person at 1640 6th Ave., Moline, IL 61265.
Other Policing Agency Contacts: McDonough County Sheriff 309-833-2323, IL State Police 309-833-2141 (Macomb) 309-752-4915 (Moline)
V. Complaint and Resolution Procedures
The University will provide a list of on campus and off campus medical, health, and advocacy resources to persons who have been victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, and will apply appropriate disciplinary procedures to those who violate this policy. The procedures set forth below are intended to afford a prompt response to charges of sexual misconduct, to maintain confidentiality and fairness consistent with applicable legal requirements, and to impose appropriate sanctions on violators of this policy.
If a report of sexual misconduct is communicated to the University, the following procedures will be implemented. Please note that any administrative investigation or hearing will be conducted using a preponderance of the evidence standard.
Investigation and Resolution
The Director of Equal Opportunity and Access serves as the University's Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator may delegate investigative responsibilities to individuals in their supervisory chain of command.
Investigations will be conducted promptly to reach an equitable resolution. Once a reported violation of this policy is received, the following steps will occur:
- The Title IX Coordinator, or an appointed investigator, will assess the report to identify further action.
- The investigator will promptly make contact with the complainant to discuss the incident and inform them of available campus support resources and their right to file an internal complaint. If needed, the Title IX Coordinator will coordinate the implementation of immediate interim steps to protect the complainant from further misconduct and/or notify the respondent that their behavior is concerning and must stop.
- If the complainant files a formal complaint:
- The investigator will meet with the complainant to review their written complaint. The complainant may provide supplemental witnesses and evidence at this meeting and any time throughout the investigation. The complainant may also have a support person present at this meeting.
- The respondent will be notified of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond within five (5) calendar days.
- Once the response is received, the investigator will meet with the respondent to review the complaint and their response. The respondent may provide any supplemental witnesses and evidence at this meeting and any time throughout the investigation. The respondent may also have a support person present at this meeting.
Those employees covered under collective bargaining agreements have the right to utilize a union representative as a support person; however, it is the employee's responsibility to affirmatively make such a request from their union.
- The investigator will interview pertinent witnesses and gather additional documentation to assist them in their determination.
- By evaluating the totality of the record by a preponderance of the evidence standard, the investigator will compose the investigative report to determine whether a violation of University policy occurred.
- Both parties will be notified simultaneously of the outcome of the investigation.
- If the respondent to the complaint is a student, and sufficient information exists to proceed to hearing, Student Judicial Programs will be notified and the student conduct process will be engaged.
- If the respondent to the complaint is found in violation and classified as Faculty or Administrative/Professional staff, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, and other relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Vice President will determine what action is to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining contract.
- If the respondent to the complaint is found in violation and classified as Civil Service, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, the Human Resources Director, and relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Human Resources Director in consultation with the Vice President will determine the appropriate action to be taken. The Human Resources Director will inform the respondent of action to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining contract.
- Both parties will be notified of the discipline administered.
- If the complainant refuses to file a formal complaint:
- The investigator will assess whether there is a campus risk.
- If the investigator determines that the respondent poses a campus risk, the complaint will be referred to Student Judicial Programs for processing and resolution.
- If the investigator does not determine a campus risk, informal methods, such as mediation, can be utilized to resolve the concern. Please note that informal methods of resolution are not available in instances of sexual assault/rape.
- She or he nevertheless should consider speaking with the Office of Public Safety or other law enforcement offices to preserve evidence in the event that she/he changes her/his mind at a later date.
- The University's ability to respond to the complaint may be limited.
Investigations will typically be completed within 60 calendar days, excluding appeals, after receipt of a direct complaint, 3rd party complaint, or report from a responsible employee. If the investigation cannot be completed in the 60 day interval, the complainant, respondent, and other parties, as appropriate, will be notified as to the delay.
Right to Appeal
Either party of a complaint involving an employee respondent has the right to appeal the investigator's finding to the University President within 10 calendar days of receiving the finding. The appeal must be based on one or both of the following circumstances:
- Procedural error;
- New and material evidence exists that was previously unavailable to the party (despite due diligence) at the time of investigation.
Either party of a complaint involving a student respondent has the right to appeal the hearing board's finding and sanction. Such appeals must be submitted in writing and be delivered to the Office of Student Judicial Programs within five calendar days of the written decision. The Vice President for Student Services will review and act on a filed appeal. The Vice President for Student Services' decision is final.
Please note that the internal administrative investigative process is separate and may occur concurrently with any possible criminal proceedings undertaken by the legal system.
Complainants may also file complaints with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Once a complaint is filed with OCR, the University's internal investigative process ends. The University will then fully cooperate with OCR's investigative process. Any established interim steps will continue as needed.
No implication of Title IX identified
If the Title IX Coordinator, or appointed investigator, determines that Title IX is not implicated, existing grievance procedures through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, Student Judicial Programs, or Human Resources will be followed.
VI. Education and Training
The University provides comprehensive, intentional, and integrated educational programs, initiatives, strategies, and campaigns for students and employees intended to end sex discrimination, including but not limited to, discrimination based on pregnancy or parental status, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault and stalking. The education and training:
- are culturally relevant, inclusive of diverse communities and identities, sustainable, responsive to community needs, and informed by research, or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome; and
- consider environmental risk and protective factors as they occur on the individual, relationship, institutional, community and societal levels.
Educational programming consists of primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees and ongoing awareness and prevention campaigns for continuing students and employees. Participation in at least one of these programs is required.
This policy will be disseminated annually to employees and students through orientation programs, electronic outreach, and the Student Handbook. The policy and related procedural information is also available on the University's website.
Retaliation is a separate cause for complaint. Retaliating or threatening retaliation against an individual who has reported or filed a complaint alleging discrimination/ harassment or participated as a witness in such an investigation is strictly prohibited. Individuals who disregard, or delay investigation of harassment claims when responsibility for reporting and/or investigating harassment charges comprise part of their duties also violate this policy.
VIII. Confidentiality and Record Retention
Personally identifiable information about the survivor will be treated as confidential and only shared with persons with a specific need to know who are investigating/adjudicating the complaint, responding to the complaint, or delivering resources or support services to the complainant.
Further, the institution will maintain as confidential, any accommodations or protective measures provided to the survivor to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the accommodations or protective measures.
The University does not publish the name of crime victims nor house identifiable information regarding survivors in the campus police departments Daily Crime Log or online. Survivors may request that directory information on file be removed from public sources by invoking their privacy rights through the Registrar's Office located in Sherman Hall room 110.
During an investigation of a complaint, and upon the completion of an investigation, the custodian of the files shall be the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Files will remain confidential unless compelled by state or federal law.
In recommending or determining a sanction for student violators, a hearing board or judicial officer will consider all relevant factors, including the nature of the offense, the severity of any damage, injury or harm resulting from the offense, the student's current demeanor, and the student's past disciplinary record, if any.
The following are sanctions* which may be imposed for a violation of this policy:
- Disciplinary Reprimand
- Deferred Suspension
- Interim Suspension
- University Housing Removal
- Disciplinary Censure
- Withholding Degree
- Disciplinary Probation
- Revocation of Admission and/or Degree
- Other Sanctions - including, but not limited to, community service, educational or research projects, mandated counseling or therapy, relocation to another University living area, trespass from specified University premises, loss of specified University privileges, fines for alcohol or controlled substance policy violations, or loss of institutional financial aid.
*For detailed description of sanctions see Code of Student Conduct Sanctions for employee violators will be determined by the Vice President and appropriate Human Resources personnel. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, training, time off, suspension or separation or termination from the University. Any action taken will be in accordance with relevant collective bargaining agreements.
The University values the health, safety, and well-being of its students and recognizes that students who are fearful of negative repercussions may be reluctant to seek help or assist others in need of help when unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs is involved.
In order to remove barriers to reporting and to encourage students to make responsible decisions to seek help in cases of sexual violence and medical emergencies involving drug and/or alcohol consumption, the University will grant medical amnesty* to, and will not take disciplinary action against, a student for unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs in accordance with the Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan provision.
XI. Bystander Intervention/Risk Reduction
Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence. They are "individuals who observe violence or witness the conditions that perpetuate violence. They are not directly involved but have the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something about it." 3 We want to promote a culture of community accountability where bystanders are actively engaged in the prevention of violence without causing further harm. Bystanders may not always know what to do even if they want to help. Below is a list 4 of some ways to be an active bystander. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial 911. This could be when a person is yelling at or being physically abusive towards another and it is not safe for you to intervene.
- Watch out for your friends and peers. If you see someone who looks like they could be in trouble or need help, ask if they are ok.
- Confront people who seclude, hit on, and try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated.
- Speak up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person.
- Believe someone who discloses sexual assault, abusive behavior, or experience with stalking.
- Refer people to on or off campus resources listed in this document for support in health, counseling, or with legal assistance.
Survivors of sexual assault or sexual misconduct are not to blame for anything that has happened to them. Recognizing that abusers are solely responsible for the abuse, there are some ways that risk can be reduced. The following are some strategies to reduce one's risk of sexual assault or harassment (taken from Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
- 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.
- When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
- Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you've left your drink alone, just get a new one.
- Don't accept drinks from people you don't know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don't drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
- Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they've had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
- If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
- If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation here are some things that you can try:
- Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.
- Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. "I don't want to" is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don't feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
- Lie. If you don't want to hurt the person's feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
- Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
- If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.
XII. Law Enforcement Agency Information on Sex Offenders
In Illinois, convicted sex offenders must register with the Illinois State Police. You can link to this information, which appears on the Illinois State Police website, by accessing the Illinois Sex Offender Information from our Office of Public Safety website.