Reported sexual assaults and other acts of power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) tend to spike around Homecoming and Spring Break, both of which are just around the corner.
“During those times, students are engaging socially in ways they normally wouldn’t,” said Emily Brookshire, victim services coordinator at the Women’s Center. “There are potentially more risky behaviors happening.”
PBIV includes rape, sexual assault, harassment and stalking, though other acts of partner or power-based violence qualify as well.
Title IX guarantees equity in higher education, meaning equal access to academic opportunities, events and the right to feel comfortable in campus spaces. If an act of PBIV harms or makes an individual uncomfortable, their Title IX rights have been violated.
It is important for victims to know what authorities on campus they can talk to confidentially and who is required to report the crime.
All faculty and staff on campus, including professors and CAs, are mandated reporters, meaning if they see or hear about a crime, they are required by law to report it to the proper campus authority. At GC, that authority is the Title IX coordinator.
CAs are trained to explain that they are mandated reporters well before a resident discloses sensitive personal information.
“[CAs] want to help,” said Hannah Kriner, a CA in Bell Hall. “It’s not about reports and statistics in the end, it’s about helping that person.”
Kriner said if a CA hears a victim or a friend of a victim discussing an act of violence in a public space, the CA will try to discreetly pull the person away to ask more questions and then send a report.
If a victim wishes his or her story to remain confidential, however, there are other options.
The Women’s Center and Counseling Center are both confidential resources on campus.
“We are concerned about the impact the assault is having on the student, not prosecution or other legal concerns,” said Shadisha Bennett Brodde, a counselor at GC.
At the Women’s Center, victims can talk about what has happened to them, explore legal prosecution or avenues for counseling.
As victim’s coordinator, Emily Brookshire is available to accompany victims who want to seek help off campus and will go alongside victims to the hospital after an act of violence, to the police station or to any other legal events such as a trial.
“I want people to know they’re coming [to the Women’s Center] to talk about their options,” Brookshire said. “We will help them no matter what they want to do.”