Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Resources
Sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking are crimes punishable by both civil and criminal legal action. The University’s Office of Title IX is responsible for responding to and adjudicating, at the request of the victim (or when circumstances warrant it), all complaints involving sexual assault or gender or sex-based discrimination in which the alleged Respondent is a University of Mary Washington student, employee, or third party. UMW also encourages victims to prosecute alleged perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law. There are several avenues for assistance if a person becomes the victim of a sex offense.
Sexual Assault are offenses as defined in the Code of Virginia sections 18.2-61 to 18.2-67. The University of Mary Washington defines sexual assault as:
Non-consensual bodily contact of a sexual nature. It includes any sexual contact when the complainant does not or is unable to consent through the use of force, fear, intimidation, threats, physical helplessness, ruse, coercion, or incapacitation;
Intentional and non-consensual touching of or coercing, forcing or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person’s genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks or breast, clothed or unclothed, and;
Non-consensual sexual intercourse, defined as anal, oral or vaginal penetration, however slight, with any body part or object.)
Consent is defined by UMW as:
Knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Silence, in and of itself, does not constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities, or a current or previous dating relationship, does not imply ongoing or future consent. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). Once consent is clearly communicated as withdrawn, that withdrawal requires that the sexual activity cease. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred.
Victims of sexual assault tend to feel a variety of conflicting emotions: rage, fear, depression, relief to have survived, numbness and exhaustion, to name just a few. Two vital points to remember are that the assault was not your fault and there is help available.
The University Police Department complements the work of the Fredericksburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Office Victim/Witness Assistance Director by aggressively training every officer in protecting the rights of victims and witnesses of crimes. Referral information is accessible at all times regarding area services available for general counseling, medical attention, emergency housing, financial assistance, living, transportation, academic (To include scheduling changes) or financial assistance. Responsiveness to the needs of crime victims is a police department priority.
When a student or employee reports to the institution that the student or employee has been a victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, whether the offense occurred on or off campus, the institution will provide the student or employee a written explanation of the student’s or employee’s rights and options.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses
VAWA offenses include, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. UMW prohibits the offenses of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
Domestic Violence means a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:
- The person’s spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person,
- The person’s former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person,
- The person’s parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person,
- The person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person,
- Any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time, or
- Any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.
Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. The UMW Police Department relies on the definition of stalking as enumerated in the Code of Virginia, § 18.2-60.3 to investigate all incidents of stalking.
Under Title IX, “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The University of Mary Washington (UMW) is committed to providing a safe and non-discriminatory learning, living, and working environment for all members of the University community. UMW does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. To that end, the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence prohibits specific forms of behavior that may violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”); relevant provisions of VAWA; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”); and the Virginia Human Rights Act.
UMW prohibits Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking, Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment, Complicity, and Retaliation against a person for the good faith reporting of any of these forms of Prohibited Conduct or participation in any investigation or process under UMW’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. These forms of Prohibited Conduct undermine the character and purpose of the University, and will not be tolerated.
UMW adopts this Policy with a commitment to: (1) eliminating, preventing, and addressing the effects of Prohibited Conduct; (2) fostering a community of trust and mutual respect in which Prohibited Conduct is not tolerated; (3) cultivating a climate where all individuals are well-informed and supported in reporting Prohibited Conduct; (4) providing a fair and impartial process for all parties; and (5) identifying the standards by which violations of this Policy will be evaluated and disciplinary action may be imposed. Employees or students who violate this Policy may face disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion. The University will take prompt and equitable action to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. The University conducts ongoing prevention, awareness, and training programs for employees and students to facilitate the goals of this Policy.
The Title IX Coordinator is charged with monitoring UMW’s compliance with Title IX; ensuring appropriate education and training; coordinating and reviewing UMW’s investigation, response, and resolution of all reports under this Policy; and ensuring appropriate actions to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. Individuals who have been sexually assaulted should call UMW Police immediately at 540-654-1025. The UMW Title IX Coordinator, Stefanie Lucas-Waverly, can be contacted at 540-654-5656. The Title IX office is in Fairfax House.
IF A SEXUAL ASSAULT OR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT HAPPENS TO YOU:
- Go to a safe location.
- Contact the police for immediate assistance and information. University Police may investigate the offense or, at the victim’s request, assist in notifying the local law enforcement agency. At the Fredericksburg campus, this would be the Fredericksburg Police Department. At the Dahlgren campus, this would be the King George County Sheriff’s Office. At the Stafford campus, this would be the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
20 U.S.C. § 1092 (8)(A) Each institution of higher education participating in any program under this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall develop and distribute as part of report described in paragraph (1) a statement of policy regarding -(v) Informing students of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the student so chooses.
- Even if a Complainant of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking is unsure whether they want to report the incident, steps can be taken to preserve evidence, which may assist in proving the alleged criminal offense occurred or help in obtaining a protective order.
Further, a forensic examination by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse) will preserve evidence, and may be done up to five (5) days after an assault. If possible, do not change your clothes, shower, or eat or drink between the rape and the trip to the emergency room. Bring a change of clothes with you because the police will need the clothes you were wearing for evidence.
- Go the Mary Washington Hospital Emergency Room. A qualified physician or nurse will examine you for injuries and collect physical evidence that could be used in criminal proceedings if you decide to prosecute. Mary Washington Hospital’s nurses have been trained and certified by the Virginia Division of Forensic Science with administering the “SANE” – Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program that aids the victim with this process.
- Having a physical exam does not mean that law enforcement must be notified, or the offender prosecuted. However, the forensic examination will help preserve evidence in case the Complainant decides at a later date to file a police report.
- The physical exam is provided at no cost to you. The Commonwealth of Virginia pays for the forensic exam.
- Even if you decline to prosecute or report the crime to law enforcement authorities, it is important that you have a physical exam after the attack. Besides bruises or other physical injuries, the perpetrator might have passed on a sexually transmitted disease that requires treatment. An HIV/AIDS test may also ease your mind, although six months must elapse after an attack to accurately detect the presence of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
- The hospital will notify the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault “RCASA”, who will supply you with a trained companion at the hospital.
- Seek counseling from the University of Mary Washington’s Psychological Services Center (The Talley Center) 540-654-1053.
- Contact the Title IX Coordinator to learn about options, resources, and support at 540-654-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As mentioned above, victims of very recent assaults should go the emergency room of Mary Washington Hospital, located on Mary Washington Hospital Blvd. off of Rt.1 (Jeff Davis Hwy) in the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The victim should receive a physical exam and the collection of evidence. All victims, past or present, should be seen by a qualified physician or nurse to check for sexually transmitted diseases, physical trauma, and possible pregnancy. Female victims may prefer to see a female physician, and should request one if that will increase their comfort, though in the emergency room that may not always be possible.
UMW Students can receive some of the above services at the University’s Health Center (654-1040) under the care of the University’s physician during normal business hours. However, the Health Center cannot collect evidence and will refer victims to the Mary Washington Hospital Emergency Room. Even if no symptoms are apparent, victims are still strongly encouraged to seek medical attention.
Students coping with a sexual assault have counseling services that are FREE of charge and are CONFIDENTIAL (540-654-1053) that are on-campus at the University’s Psychological Services Center (The Talley Center) that are staffed with licensed professionals.
Many other options exist which have some cost associated with them, such as private therapists. Counseling is often crucial to the recovery process, and victims should be encouraged to seek the assistance of qualified professionals, even if many years have elapsed since the assault. As always, the choice to seek counseling should be the victim. Two agencies that provide this counseling are:
- RCASA – Emotional support and guidance is also available from RCASA (Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault 540-371-1666). Trained assault counselors can meet with you or provide advice over the phone. This service is free
- Empowerhouse – Supports survivors of domestic and dating violence. 24/7 hotline: 540-373-9373
Legal and University Reporting Options
Sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking victims have several legal and administrative options from which to choose: filing criminal charges, obtaining a restraining order or similar lawful order, proceeding with an investigation through the Office of Title IX, and filing a civil suit for monetary damages. Victims are not limited to just one of these options, but can choose any combination or all, including pursuing criminal, civil, and administrative options. Below is a brief description of each type of judicial process.
- Criminal Charge
Filing criminal charges means going to the police. If the assault happened on campus, it falls under the jurisdiction of the UMW Police (540-654-1025). If it happened off-campus, but still in the City of Fredericksburg, it falls under the jurisdiction of the City of Fredericksburg Police (540-373-3122). If the assault occurred at the Dahlgren campus then the King George County Sheriff’s Office should be notified (540) 775-2049.) If the assault occurred in Stafford county, then the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office should be notified (540-658-4400.) If the assault occurred in another locality, then the local law enforcement agency should be contacted. The law enforcement agency that takes a report of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. will assign an officer, deputy sheriff, or investigator to speak with the victim and take a statement detailing the incident. He or she will then attempt to obtain evidence and interview witnesses and, if known, the suspect. The UMW Police Department collaborates with the local Commonwealth’s Attorney on all sexual assault incidents.
Criminal charges are prosecuted by the Commonwealth Attorney, not the individual victim. The prosecuting attorney for the Commonwealth will argue the case in the court at no cost to the victim. The victim serves at the primary witness to the crime and his or her testimony is crucial to the case. Criminal cases may take considerable time to proceed through the criminal justice system. Typically, the identity of the victim is protected by the press, although the identity of the accused perpetrator is not.
- Restraining order, orders of protection or no-contact order
The UMW Police will assist the victim with obtaining a restraining order, a protective order, or similar lawful orders through the court systems. This includes meeting with a magistrate or judge to obtain the order. All law enforcement officers in Virginia are empowered to enforce protective orders. If a victim obtains a protective order and the suspect violates it, the violation should be immediately reported to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the violation occurred. Additionally, the victim/survivor may attempt to obtain a no-contact order through UMW’s Office of Title IX, which is administrative in nature. UMW Police personnel will also assist with that process.
- University Response
The Office of Title IX is responsible for administering and conducting investigations into complaints of prohibited conduct that may violate UMW’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence (the “Policy”), including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. Title IX investigations are administrative and do not replace or substitute for criminal prosecutions, and students and employees who proceed with a Title IX investigation are also encouraged to seek redress through the criminal justice system and civil court. The Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) (540-654-5656) will provide information to the Complainant (victim/survivor) about options for proceeding with a Title IX investigation, as well as information on reporting, interim measures (accommodations), resources and support available.
If the Complainant requests an investigation or UMW proceeds with an investigation, a prompt, fair, and impartial process will be conducted. The Complainant will be asked to meet with the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Title IX Investigator or designee(s) about the incident. The Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, so long as the advisor is not also a witness throughout the investigation, appeal, and any related meeting. The Complainant, Respondent, and witness rights and responsibilities, as well as the procedure and process of an investigation are outlined in the UMW’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.
The standard used by the University is Preponderance of the Evidence, which requires that the weight of the evidence, in totality, supports a finding that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.
Those responsible for implementing and adjudicating the “Policy,” including the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Deputy for Students, Title IX Deputy for Employees, the Title IX Investigator, and the Title IX Appeal Board, receive annual training on the issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The training also includes how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.
Both parties have the right to be informed simultaneously, in writing, of the outcome of any investigation, to appeal the findings and/or sanctions, any changes to the final findings, sanctions and/or results, and when the results become final in cases involving prohibited conduct, including sexual assault, non-forcible sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. In the event of the death of the victim, the notification of the outcome is transferred to the next-of-kin.
Students shall be informed of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities; including University and local police, decline to notify such authorities, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the student so chooses;
Complainants shall be notified of available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual assault, both on campus and in the community; and
Notification to students and employees of and options for remedial and protective interim measures, including reasonable and appropriate interim measures to protect the Complainant and the University Community as a whole, as well as resources and support (Appendix A of Prohibited Conduct Policy) to facilitate the Complainant’s continued access to University employment or education programs and activities. These measures may be both remedial (designed to address a Complainant’s safety and well-being and continued access to educational opportunities) or protective (involving action against a Respondent). Remedial and protective measures, which may be temporary or permanent (within applicable federal and state laws), may include, but are not limited to, no-contact orders (which are typically mutual), residence modifications, academic modifications and support, work schedule modifications including temporary reassignment, security escort services, pre-disciplinary interim suspension, withholding of diploma, pre-disciplinary interim suspension for employees with or without pay, or a combination of interim measures. Such interim measures are reasonably available regardless of whether the Complainant chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement. The University will maintain the privacy of any remedial and protective measures provided under this Policy to the extent practicable and will promptly address any violation of the protective measures.
The University will promptly notify the Complainant of any remedial or protective measures implemented. The University will notify the Respondent of any remedial or protective measures implemented that directly impact the Respondent. Both the Complainant and Respondent have the right to discuss those remedial and protective interim measures by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) has discretion to impose or modify remedial and protective interim measures.
UMW is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report involving sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. UMW is also committed to providing assistance to help students and employees make informed choices. With respect to any report involving sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking, UMW will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. The Clery Act requires certain information to be publicly available, and this is provided for in the Daily Crime Log and the Annual Security Report. These information sources do not contain any personal identifying information of the victim. Timely Warnings may, in certain circumstances, provide suspect name and personal information but never includes the personal identifying information of the victim.
UMW provides students and employees written notification about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services available to victims both on and off campus.
- Civil Court
Sexual assault victims have the right to sue the perpetrator or other involved parties for monetary damages. This type of legal proceeding, which may be pursued alone or in conjunction with criminal and/or campus judicial charges, does require an attorney. As with campus judicial action, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. Victims considering this type of prosecution are advised to consult a private attorney for information.
Sexual assault victims who are reluctant to contact the police directly may file a “Third Party Sexual Assault” report via a third person to the UMW Police Department. These reports are not counted as actual crime offenses unless they have been fully investigated by the police. These reports are utilized as a method to provide the victim medical and psychological assistance and statistically show areas which may need additional educational programming.
A guide for UMW and community resources can be found on the UMW Title IX website: https://diversity.umw.edu/title-ix/
SANCTIONS FOR VIOLATION OF UMW’S POLICY ON SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED HARASSMENT AND OTHER FORMS OF INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE (INCLUDING SEXUAL ASSAULT, DATING/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, AND STALKING)
Possible Sanctions for Student Respondents
Sanctions will take into account the circumstances of the violation, its impact on the Complainant and on the community, risk of further victimization or risk to the University Community, any prior violations (not just those related to the Prohibited Conduct,) the Complainant’s impact statement, the Respondent’s mitigation statement and any other relevant information
The following sanctions may be recommended by the Title IX Investigator or other trained investigator, upheld or recommended by the Title IX Appeal Board, and approved and implemented by the Title IX Coordinator when the Respondent is found responsible (the Respondent’s conduct is found, by a Preponderance of Evidence, to have violated this Policy).
- Restitution— The Respondent is required to provide monetary reimbursement for repair/replacement of property or service rendered. Restitution, however, generally is not considered sufficient penalty for willful damage or destruction of property;
- Fine — The Respondent is required to pay a financial penalty for their violation;
Restitution and fines are payable in cash or check payable to “University of Mary Washington” and delivered to the Student Accounts Office, Lee Hall.
- Warning —The Respondent receives a warning for violation of University policies and regulations;
- Community restitution — A task that benefits the individual, campus, or community (such as a service-related activity) is assigned to the Respondent;
- Educational project or paper — The Respondent is required to write an essay or a paper on a given topic, or to complete a project of benefit to their community, such as creating educational flyers or bulletin boards, or organizing an educational program;
- Alcohol education — The Respondent is required to complete an alcohol education course, such as the online “AlcoholEdu” course. The Respondent may be required to pay a user’s fee;
- Assessment — The Respondent is required to complete a behavioral assessment, and to discuss it with an appropriate University official;
- Restrictions —
- No Contact Order: The Respondent is directed to have no physical, verbal, or written contact with the Complainant or another individual;
- Disciplinary Probation — During a specified period of time the Respondent is placed on probation, and may be required to complete or abide by certain conditions. If the Respondent fails to complete or violates these conditions or is found to have violated this Policy or another University Policy, the Respondent may face additional sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the University, following a review and determination by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s);
- Relocation Within Residence Halls — The Respondent must move to a different room or building (as specified), subject to the availability of appropriate alternate vacancies;
- Suspension from the Residence Halls — The Respondent loses the privilege of living in a University residence hall for a specified length of time. At the end of this time, after receiving approval from the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s), the Respondent is allowed to reapply for residence hall living. The Respondent may be admitted to a residence hall provided there is space available. During the suspension period, the Respondent may not visit or enter any residence hall at any time for any reason unless otherwise specified. Persons responsible for payment of the Respondent’s University bills will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) when a Respondent is suspended from the residence halls. When suspended from living in the residence halls, the Respondent must leave the hall according to the terms of the sanction or within 72 hours after the sanction has been imposed;
- Expulsion from the Residence Halls — The Respondent permanently loses the privilege of living in, visiting, or entering University residence halls. Persons responsible for payment of the Respondent’s University bills will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) when a Respondent is expelled from the residence halls. When expelled from the residence halls, the Respondent must leave the residence halls according to the terms of the sanction or within 72 hours after the sanction has been imposed;
- Suspension — The Respondent is separated from the University for a period of time and may be required to complete or abide by certain conditions. If the Respondent fails to complete or violates these conditions or is found to have violated this Policy or another University Policy, the Respondent may face additional sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the University, following a review and determination by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s); Individuals responsible for payment of the student’s University bills will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) to the extent allowed by FERPA. A letter will be sent to the Respondent, the person responsible for the student’s University bills (to the extent allowed by FERPA), Registrar, and Office of Business & Finance, and copies kept on file with the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s). When suspended, the Respondent must leave campus according to the terms of the sanction or within 36 hours after the sanction has been imposed. During the period of suspension, the student is banned from campus, and may only visit administration buildings for business purposes with prior clearance from the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s). As noted in the Academic Catalog: “Courses taken at other institutions while a student is on suspension (academic, disciplinary, or honor) from Mary Washington are not accepted by Mary Washington for transfer credit and will not fulfill any degree requirement;”
- Expulsion — Permanent removal of the Respondent from the University. Persons responsible for payment of the student’s University bills will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s) to the extent allowed by FERPA. A letter will be sent to the Respondent, the person responsible for the student’s University bills (to the extent allowed by FERPA), Registrar, and Office of Business & Finance, and copies kept in the permanent file with the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s). When expelled, the Respondent must leave campus according to the terms of the sanction or within 36 hours after the sanction has been imposed. The Respondent is banned from campus, and may only visit administration buildings for business purposes with prior clearance from the Title IX Coordinator or designee(s). A student expelled from the University is not eligible for readmission; and/or
- Sanctions other than those described above may be issued.
Possible Sanctions for Employee Respondents
Sanctions will take into account the circumstances of the violation, its impact on the Complainant and on the community, risk of further victimization, impact or implications on the University Community, any prior misconduct by the Respondent, including the Respondent’s relevant prior disciplinary history at the University or elsewhere and/or any criminal convictions, the Complainant’s impact statement, the Respondent’s mitigation statement, and any other relevant information.
The following sanctions may be recommended by the Title IX Deputy for Employees or other trained investigator(s), upheld or recommended by the Title IX Appeal Board, and approved and implemented by the Title IX Coordinator when the Respondent is found responsible (the Respondent’s conduct is found, by a Preponderance of Evidence, to have violated this Policy).
- A warning not to repeat the offending conduct;
- Special monitoring of teaching or research;
- Separation of the parties involved (including a no contact order);
- Required participation in an educational program (such as harassment or discrimination);
- A letter of reprimand;
- Removal from a research project (including long-term disbarment)
- Suspension of access to laboratories and/or office;
- Reassignment of duties;
- Loss of travel funds, research funds, etc.;
- Denial of pay increase;
- Reduction in rank or salary or loss of endowed chair;
- Suspension with or without pay;
University policies and programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
The University of Mary Washington policies and educational programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (and other forms of Prohibited Conduct) are described in UMW’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.
Programs vary year to year and are designed to provide comprehensive and collaborative programming among many University departments and community providers. Programming includes prevention, education, and awareness that is culturally relevant, inclusive of diverse communities and identities, sustainable, and informed by data, assessment, and effectiveness. Some of the past programs have included:
- Bystander intervention – Mandatory for all incoming and transfer students. It includes options such as:
- Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.
- Don’t be a bystander – if you see something, intervene in any way you can.
- Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation it probably is.
- Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re okay.
- Get someone to help you if you see something – enlist a friend, RA, bartender, or host to help step in.
- Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
- If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.
- Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.
- Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.
- Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.
- Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.
- Never blame the victim.
- If you are a victim or survivor, or helping someone in that situation go to www.notalone.gov to get the resources and information you need.
- You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656 HOPE
- It’s On Us: https://diversity.umw.edu/itsonus/
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month programming (October) – Numerous programs throughout October focusing on prevention and awareness surrounding dating/domestic violence including:
- Red Flag Campaign: http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/
- One Love ‘Escalation’ Workshop, One Love ‘Behind the Post’ Workshop – https://www.joinonelove.org
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming (April)
- Team for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Learning (TEAL) Peer Educator Program
- Student Success (Not Anymore Program); https://title9.studentsuccess.org – Online prevention and awareness programming for all incoming and transfer students and new employees
Prevention and Risk reduction
Prevention: How to avoid committing sexual misconduct
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, show respect to your potential partner and yourself. These suggestions may help you avoid committing and/or being accused of sexual misconduct:
- Clearly communicate your intentions and give the other person a chance to clearly communicate his/her intentions to you.
- Listen carefully. Take time to hear what the other person has to say. If you feel you are receiving unclear or conflicting messages from the other person, stop and defuse any sexual tension then discuss your intentions.
- Do not assume that you have consent to sexual activity just because someone leaves or goes to a private location with you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries. Do not pressure a potential partner. Do not fall for the cliché if they say “No,” they really mean “Yes.” If the other person says, “No” to sexual activity, believe them and stop.
- Don’t make assumptions about consent; someone’s sexual availability; whether they are attracted to you; how far you can go; or whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity, you DO NOT have consent. Stop and communicate.
- Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunken, drugged or otherwise incapacitated state.
- Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender, status or size. Don’t abuse that power.
- Understand that consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent for any other sexual activity.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read the other person carefully, paying attention to verbal and non‐verbal communication and body language. If it is not clear by the other person’s words and/or actions that he/she is a willing participant, you need to stop.
Protection Strategies: How to Mitigate Your Risk
- It is never your fault if someone takes sexual advantage of you but there are things you can do to mitigate that risk. These strategies are provided with no intention to victim‐blame and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for such conduct.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe about a person or situation, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
- Be aware of your alcohol intake and/or other drug use and understand that alcohol and/or other drugs can impair your judgment and lower your sexual inhibitions. This could make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know or trust. If you’ve left your drink alone, get a new one.
- Know your sexual limits and make them known as early as possible in a potential intimate situation.
- If you do not want to engage in a particular activity, tell the other person “No” clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor if you can do so safely. If someone is nearby, ask for help or, if it is safe to do so, text or call someone.
- Watch out for your friends and ask that they do the same for you. A real friend will step in and challenge you if they see you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Respect them when they do. If a friend seems “out of it,” is too intoxicated, or is acting out of character, get your friend to a safe place immediately.
- Don’t go somewhere with someone you don’t know well. If you leave a party with a new friend, tell the friends you came with where you are going and when you are coming back.
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
This section has attempted to offer an overview of sexual assault issues, and the available options on the campus of University of Mary Washington. No one publication can be entirely comprehensive. Sexual assault is a complex issue; no two cases will have exactly the same results or the same course of action. The University therefore offers a variety of services so that victims can get the assistance they most need. For further explanation or elaboration of the information in this section, contact the agencies whose numbers are listed here.
|UMW Counseling and Psychological Services Center (The Talley Center)||(540) 654-1053|
|UMW Office of Human Resources||(540) 654-1214|
|UMW Health Center||(540) 654-1040|
|UMW Police (non emergency – business)||(540) 654-1025|
|UMW Title IX Coordinator||(540) 654-1166 or 5656|
|Off- Campus Resources:
|Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault||(540) 371-1666|
|Fredericksburg Area Victim/Witness Assistance Program||(540) 993-1660|
|Fredericksburg Police Department||(540) 373-3122|
|Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office||(540) 372-1040|
|King George County Sheriff’s Office||(540) 775-2049|
|King George County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office||(540) 775-4442|
|Stafford County Sheriff’s Office||(540) 658-4400|
|Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office||(540) 658-8780|