Title IX protects more than sports
7 years ago Triangle 1
By Meredith Sexton
In case students experience sexual assault or harassment, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides educational institutions with the tools to address it.
The primary definition of sexual harassment requires that the assailant must be someone in a superior position who has some sort of power over the target (generally hiring or firing power), and that person issues some sort of ultimatum based on sexual conduct, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
However, harassment also comes in non-workplace forms such as inappropriate comments, looks or touching, graffiti or intrusion into personal space.
The definitions for sexual assault vary among different states, according to RAINN. In general, assault is anything that includes “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape.”
Investigator Rocky Potter, who supervises the family violence and sex offender registry at the Rhea County Sheriff Department, said a student who wishes to report an incident should go to the administration first. It is not required that they talk to the Title IX coordinator, but someone in the administration needs to log the incident.
Bethany Smith, Bryan’s Title IX coordinator, said she would open an investigation to look into every incident, even ones that the victim thinks may have been innocuous.
Smith said her main role is as an advocate for the students. She said she investigates any case that is reported as having an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. After investigation, she reports her findings to the respective department, whether that is Academics, Student Life, Athletics, etc. based on the specific circumstances.
She said it is completely up to the victim to involve the police or not. If a student comes to her and reports an incident, she is under no obligation to report it to the police against the student’s wishes. Instead, her goal is to help that student move forward as safely as they can.
Beyond administrative intervention, if the student does want to report an on-campus case to the police, they can go to Campus Officer Josh Jordan, who will report it to the Dayton City Police Department. If it happened off-campus, he encouraged students to go straight to the police. Students can just walk in or call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency or if they are still at the location where it happened.
If they are in the same location, Potter gave some advice, especially in the case of rape.
“Lots of victims’ first impulse is to shower or change their clothes. That’s understandable, but don’t do that. Keep the scene as close to the same as it was,” he said.
Jordan and Smith both recommended going to a Resident Director. Often, students feel safer talking to an RD than they would to a stranger, they said.
Jordan’s main suggestion was to keep the scene of the incident as uncontaminated as possible.
“Sometimes, people want to be comforted by their friends and they might end up with a whole bunch of people at the scene, moving things around and touching important evidence,” he said.
If the victim wishes to, s/he can go to the hospital and have a medical examination, during which a rape kit may be used. Rape kits attempt to gather important DNA and involves a complete physical examination. It is always conducted by a professional who has received specific training.
This evidence is crucial and can be submitted if the individual wants to prosecute, Jordan said.
In case of emergency, call 9-1-1