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Sexual & Gender Based Misconduct: Policy, Reporting Information & Resources

 

What is Sexual Assault?

Legal and institutional definitions of sexual assault vary widely but in simple terms sexual assault refers to any unwanted sexual contact, or in other words, sexual contact against your will, and without consent (womenslaw.org). Sexual violence and intimate partner violence is a problem that plagues our society and college campuses are no exception. In fact, the National Institute for Justice reported (2007) that 20% of women and 6% of men are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault while in college. This site has been developed to help educate members of the community about sexual and relationship violence and to provide resource information to help those impacted by violence.

Consent to Sexual Activity

Consent to sexual activity, known as effective consent, is words or actions indicating permission to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Effective consent must be informed, voluntary and represented clearly by actions or words.  Effective consent to sexual activity may not: be gained by force, the threat of force, coercion or intimidation; be gained when a person is incapacitated as a result of physical (i.e. substance use) or developmental conditions and that fact is known or should reasonably be known by another; or as otherwise defined under the definition of Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse.  

Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not equate consent to another form of sexual activity. 

Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, "No" always means "No," and "Yes" may not always mean "Yes." Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a "No."

How to Report Sexual / Gender Based Offenses

Students are encouraged to report sexual/gender based misconduct (rape, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and/or dating violence, domestic violence and stalking) to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services immediately either by the individual or through a University staff member for criminal investigation and/or reporting.

Students are also encouraged to report sexual/gender based misconduct (rape, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and/or dating violence, domestic violence or stalking) to the Dean of Students Office and/or the Office of Social Equity (Title IX Coordinator) for an administrative investigation.  

University employees should immediately report information regarding any sexual/gender based misconduct (rape, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and/or dating violence, domestic violence or stalking) to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services and to the Office of Social Equity (Title IX Coordinator).  

Public Safety & Police Services: Old Main, B wing (Basement Level)

Dean of Students Office: 119 Stratton Administration Center

Office of Social Equity/Title IX Coordinator: Old Main, A Wing

For information please refer to the Student/Gender Based Offenses Policy

Student Rights 

The following rights of a complainant in sexual/gender based misconduct will be afforded in all University student conduct procedures:

1.      Report the rape or sexual/gender based misconduct  to the Kutztown University Department of Public Safety and Police Services, the Dean of Students Office, Title IX Coordinator, and/or local police for adjudication in both or either jurisdiction.  A complainant is encouraged, but not required, to report allegations of sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services and/or off-campus law enforcement.  

2.     Receive consideration for amnesty for conduct violations (i.e. alcohol policy) related to the same incident in question;  

3.     Provide input on whether or not to move forward with Student Code of Conduct charges and/or participate in a hearing;  

4.     Have every effort made to respect a student's privacy;  

5.     Contact supportive agencies such as a rape crisis center;  

6.     Be free from intimidation or harassment by the alleged respondent or others;  

7.     Request a change of living arrangements,  academic schedules and/or other schedules and/or those of the  respondent, if reasonably available;

8.     Have a "no-contact" and/or "stay away" directive issued to one or both parties of a complaint by Dean of Students Office and/or Title IX Coordinator;  

9.     Select an advocate of choice who may be a member of the University community or a private attorney to accompany him/her through all University student conduct processes;  

10.  Protection against discussion of non-relevant, past sexual history during the hearing;  

11.  Have the option to remain physically present during the entire student conduct hearing  and participate fully in the hearing, including the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses;  

12.  Have the option to provide testimony from a remote on-campus location;  

13.  Be informed simultaneously, in writing, of the outcome of the hearing, the potential for appeal by either party,  the final disposition of appeal, if applicable, and when the results become final;  

14.  Have the case decided by the preponderance of evidence (i.e. it is more likely than not the sexual offense occurred);  

15.  Make up any academic work missed while participating in student conduct or criminal proceedings related to the incident in question.

Title IX & Sexual/Gender Based Misconduct 

Kutztown University is committed to creating an environment free of sexual harassment for its students. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits student-on-student sexual/gender based misconduct and requires a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.  In addition, the Campus SAVE Act or Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (amendments to the Violence Against Women Act) require the University to have policies and training about not only sexual violence, but also other crimes including dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. 

Sexual/gender based harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence (including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation) is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and includes physical sexual acts: against a person's will, where a person is incapable of giving consent as a result of his/her use of drugs or alcohol, or where an individual is unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. 

Sexual/gender based misconduct will not be tolerated. The University will actively and expeditiously investigate any allegation of sexual/gender based misconduct and if it is determined that misconduct has occurred, the University will take appropriate disciplinary action. Allegations of sexual harassment, other than allegations against a student for sexual/gender based misconduct addressed in this policy , will be investigated pursuant to the process outlined in "The University Procedure" section of the Kutztown University Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures (KU Policy DIV-007).

Title IX Coordinator

The University's Title IX Coordinator is Mr. Jesus A. Peña, Esq., Associate Vice President for Equity and Compliance, and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator is Ms. Jacqueline Fox, Esq., Equity Coordinator. The role of the Title IX Coordinator is to oversee investigations involving sexual offenses against students and to ensure University-wide compliance with Title IX. The offices of the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator are located in the Office of Social Equity,Old Main A Wing, and either may be reached by telephone at (610)683-4700 or by e-mail at socialequity@kutztown.edu.  

Sexual/Gender Based Misconduct Definitions

Sexual violence of all kinds, including intimate partner violence, will not be tolerated. The standards listed below clearly define prohibited conduct that is in violation of the Sexual Offenses Policy of the Student Code of Conduct which is published in its entirety in The Key student handbook.

1.     Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

Rape (date, acquaintance, and stranger) includes all acts of non-consensual sexual intercourse involving any penetration of a bodily cavity with a foreign object, tongue, digit, or genitalia. A rape occurs when imposed under any of the following circumstances:

a.     When the complainant is incapable of giving legal consent for mental, developmental, or physical reasons and this fact is known or reasonably should have been known by the person committing the act; or  

b.     When the act is committed without the person's explicit consent or is against the person's wishes. Rape incorporates any or all of the following: the use of force, threat, intimidation, coercion, duress, violence, or by causing a reasonable fear of harm; or  

c.      When the complainant is prevented from consenting or resisting because of incapacitation, intoxication or unconsciousness at the time of the act.  

2.     Non-Consensual Sexual Conduct:  

a.     Sexual Assault:  Sexual assault is the imposition of non-consensual sexual conduct (excluding rape). It includes, but is not limited to caressing, fondling, or touching a person's genitalia, buttocks, or breasts. It shall also be considered sexual assault when the complainant is compelled to caress, fondle, or touch the assailant's genitalia, buttocks, or breasts.  

b.     Sexual Contact: Any nonconsensual, intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.  

3.     Sexual Harassment:   

Any prohibited behavior defined under the Kutztown University Sexual Harassment Policy (KU DIV-007).  

4.     Sexual Exploitation:

Taking non-consensual sexual advantage of another:  Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to, prostituting another student, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over another person, the non-consensual recording, photographing, or transmitting of identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or intimate body parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks), knowingly allowing another person to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity, engaging in non-consensual voyeurism, knowingly transmitting or exposing another student to sexually transmitted infection or diseases without the knowledge of the student, exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals, and sexually based stalking and/or bullying.  

5.     Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking or Other Related Behaviors:    

a.     Dating Violence:  Violence by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the complainant.  Whether such a relationship exists will be gauged by the length, type, and frequency of interaction between the complainant and respondent.  

b.     Domestic Violence: Violent offenses committed by the complainant's current or former spouse, the complainant's current or former cohabitant, a person similarly situated under domestic or family violence laws, or anyone else against an individual protected under domestic or family violence laws.

c.     Stalking: The repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and safety of another person that has the effect of intimidating another person.

HEART at KU: Healing Environment Advocate Response Team

Kutztown University Sexual Assault/Relationship Violence Advocates are professionally trained staff and students willing to assist an individual who is a survivor of a sexual assault/relationship violence. HEART personnel can:

  • Offer support to the victim (if requested) during initial interviews by police on campus.
  • Accompany the victim to the hospital for testing and treatment, if needed, or decide to have Berks Women in Crisis (BWIC) meet the student at the hospital to offer support during testing.
  • Distribute resource information concerning referral services available to the victim and offer information concerning access to those services. Advocates are not permitted to transport a victim for medical treatment. Contact Public Safety and Police Services for assistance with transports as needed.

HEART at KU:  610-683-4655

HEART HOTLINE (Berks Women in Crisis): 610-372-9540

Risk Reduction Strategies

With no intention to blame the victim, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act.  

1.     If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.

2.     Tell a sexual aggressor "NO" clearly and firmly.

3.     Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.

4.     Find someone nearby and ask for help.

5.     Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.

6.     Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.  

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help reduce your risk for a complaint of sexual misconduct being made against you:  

1.     Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.

2.     Understand and respect personal boundaries.

3.     Don't make assumptions about consent; about someone's sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.

4.     Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.

5.     Don't take advantage of someone's drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.

6.     Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don't abuse that power.

7.     Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.

8.     Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language. 

Safety Tips

  • Don't think that it can't happen to you! Just being aware that you could be at risk makes you less vulnerable.
  • You have the right to set sexual limits in any situation. Make sure that you clearly communicate these limits.
  • Don't invite people into your room that you do not know.
  • Don't be afraid to be assertive. If someone is doing something you don't like or is not respecting your limits, then leave the situation.
  • Consider taking a self-defense course. Public Safety & Police Services provides the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course free each semester.
  • Trust your instincts. If you are uncomfortable in a situation,then trust your gut reaction and get out as soon as possible.
  • Stay sober. Drinking or using drugs diminishes your ability to make good decisions and makes you more vulnerable to the possibility of assault. 
  • Never leave any beverage unattended or accept a drink from someone you do not know well.
  • Don't leave any event with someone you just met or don't know well.
  • Don't walk alone at night; avoid being near secluded or wooded areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are going, look around to see who is near you, walk confidently and always be alert. Use cell phones and MP3players with caution; they can distract you from your surroundings.
  • Always keep your home and car doors locked.
  • Never buzz in, sign in or let anyone you don't know well into your residence hall or apartment. Make sure you know who is at the door before you open it.

On & Off Campus Resources

On Campus Resources:

  • Public Safety & Police Services: 610-683-4001
  • Safety Escort Services (24/7): 610-683-4002
  • Anonymous Crime Tip Line (on-campus only): x38477
  • University Counseling Services: 610-683-4072
  • Dean of Students Office: 610-683-1320
  • Health & Wellness Center: 610-683-4082
  • Women's Center/HEART at KU: 610-683-4655
  • Title IX Coordinator/Social Equity: 610-683-4700

Off Campus Resources:

  • Berks Women in Crisis (BWIC) Office: 610-372-1206, www.berkswomenincrisis.org
  • BWIC/HEART Hotline: 610-372-9540
  • Turning Point of Lehigh Valley: 610-437-3369, www.tplv.org
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape: 1-888-772-7227, www.pcar.org
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 1-800-932-4632, www.pcadv.org
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233, www.ndvh.org
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673, www.rainn.org

What to do if you think you have been sexually assaulted:

  • Call the police if you are in immediate danger: On campus emergency telephones are identified by a blue light; the emergency number is 610-683-4001. Off-campus students should call 911 immediately.
  • Get to a safe place: After an assault, you may be in a state of shock. Wrap yourself in something warm. To preserve evidence, DO NOT: Bathe/shower, eat/drink, smoke, brush your teeth or hair, urinate or wash your clothing. Put the clothes you were wearing into a paper (not plastic) bag.
  • Call someone you trust: Receiving comfort and support helps restore a sense of safety and contributes to better decision-making.
  • Seek medical attention: You may have injuries of which you're unaware; you also should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy (if applicable). A medical exam for evidence collection (by a qualified forensic nurse examiner) is strongly recommended and should be done as soon as possible.
  • Report the assault promptly: Reporting an assault does not commit you to filing charges and you can decide at any time not to pursue the case. While it is important that perpetrators be held accountable and prevented from doing this to others, you should never let anyone pressure you if you know you do not want to report.
  • Talk with a counselor: Working with a counselor can accelerate recovery and help you manage post-traumatic symptoms.
  • Take care of yourself: Rest, eat well, seek social support and engage in activities that are healing for you and your body.

The Importance of of Preserving Evidence

Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault or rape must be collected from the complainant's person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe someone has sexually assaulted you, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing. The nearest hospital to the University with a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) is Reading Hospital & Medical Center.  The HEART at KU program (Healing Environment Response Team; 610-372-9540) under the direction of Berks Women In Crisis (BWIC), is available on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Services provided by HEART at KU & BWIC are available to both men and women who have been sexually assaulted and/or who have suffered relationship violence.  Public safety, residence hall staff, or health center nurses are able to assist you in contacting these advocates.  

What to do if someone you care about has experienced sexual assault or relationship violence:

  • Listen to the victim/survivor and take what she/he says seriously
  • Reassure the person that the assault or violence was not her/his fault.
  • Ask first before you touch or hug the victim/survivor to show support.
  • Don't judge or ask questions that could be interpreted as blaming, such as "Why didn't you fight back?" "What were you wearing?" or "How can you stay in that relationship?"
  • Don't press for details. Allow the person to share information at her/his own pace in a safe environment.
  • Encourage victim/survivor to seek assistance and volunteer to go with her/him.
  • Respect the person's right to make her/his own decision about whether to report the assault/abuse.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Offer to accompany the victim/survivor to classes, meals, parking lots, social gatherings, etc.
  • Get support for yourself. Hearing about or witnessing events that are hurtful to those for whom we care also can produce post-traumatic symptoms.