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Harassment, Stalking & Sexual Assault

Harassment, Stalking & Sexual Assault

Speaker's Bureau

The University Police are available to make presentations to your class, student organization, or in cooperation with the Student Government Organization (SGA) as well as to educate University employees during in-service training, Department level meetings or to address specific workplace risks. You can schedule a presentation on Personal Safety, Sexual Assault Prevention, Personal Safety (stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assaults), or a host of other crime prevention topics by calling your University Police at 337-475-5711 or by emailing Alicia Marcantel at amarcantel@mcneese.edu or by phoning 337-475-5708 during the day.


Introduction

Harassment, stalking, dating violence, and hate crimes have received additional attention in recent years. As social media has grown, cell phone, email and other communications have exploded there has been greater opportunity for incidents of harassment, cyber-stalking, bullying and other incidents to become criminal violations of the law. While some of these incidents and crimes can involve students, these same incidents can also involve non-university community members fixating on students, staff or faculty too. It is critical in this day and age to self monitor your use of social media and to protect your privacy on the Internet by using security options to restrict the general public from accessing personal data through Facebook and other social media platforms.


Harassment

Incidents of harassment often first come to the attention of the McNeese Police Department even though there are various avenues of addressing these types of issues. The information on this page is provided to assist members of the community in understanding the different types of harassment and how and to whom to report such incidents.

There are two kinds of harassment recognized by civil law: harassment by creation of a hostile environment and sexual harassment which amounts to coercion of an individual. Harassment by creation of a hostile environment is typically not predicated by a single incident unless it is unusually severe. There generally needs to be several incidents, properly documented to include time, place, specific actions and the reactions of the victim. Although these incidents may not be criminal in nature, the McNeese Police Department can take the necessary information and make sure that the proper referrals are made to appropriate University administrators including the McNeese Office of Human Relations and Social Equity

Some kinds of harassment which are often passed over as just something you have to put up with may actually involve violations of criminal laws and McNeese University administrative policies.

Examples might be:

  • epithets shouted on campus

  • damage to property or graffiti

  • epithets or threats written on dorm property

  • threats or epithets made by phone or left as voice mail or e-mail messages

  • threats made against individuals or their property

  • assaults and/or batteries against a person whether or not there is a serious injury

Any incident that is in progress or that involves danger or threats to a person should be reported immediately. Use any campus emergency phone or dial 111. The dispatcher will ask for your name and where the incident is occurring. Stay on the line with the dispatcher until the police arrive or the dispatcher terminates the call. Incidents such as larceny or vandalism should be reported as soon as it comes to your attention. You may use an emergency phone, 111, or call 475-5711 and ask for an officer to take a report.

All information in reports concerning victims or witnesses is kept confidential. That information will not be given to the press or to the suspects unless required by a court proceeding or with the victim/witness' permission. However, this information is made known to certain University administrators with a legitimate need to know (i.e. Student Affairs personnel for matters involving student judicial proceedings) and to other Police personnel, as necessary. If you are especially concerned about your identity being known, you can provide McNeese Police with as much information as you are comfortable. You don't have to provide your name unless you wish.

The McNeese Office of Human Relations and Social Equity has the primary responsibility for investigating harassment. Phone (337) 475-5428.


Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking

If you are not on or near the McNeese State University campus, you may call one of these 24-hour hotlines to be connected to resources in your area:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

National Sexual Assault / RAINN Hotline:  1-800-656-HOPE (4673).


Dating and Domestic Violence Information

Dating or domestic violence, also known as initimate partner violence, is a pattern of ongoing power and control by one dating partner over another. Examples of dating or domestic violence include threatening a partner or their family, coercing them into doing something the don't want to do, constantly belittling them, isolating them from friends and family, controlling their finances and access to resources, or physically hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, or scratching. Dating and domestic violence can also include sexual violence or stalking.

Domestic violence can happen to people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and religions. It occurs in both heterosexual and LGBTQ relationships. While it is important to remember that we all have different cultural practices, beliefs, and experiences that shape our view of what initimate relationships look like, everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.

No one deserves to be abused. Abuse is never the victims fault. If you have been the victim of dating or domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is available.


Stalking

Who is affected by staling?
Anyone can stalk or be stalked, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, age, or income level. Stalking may involve family members, friends, initimate partners, classmates, co-workers, casual acquaintances, or even total strangers. Most often, stalkers know their victims. Most female victims and many male victims are stalked by initimate partners. Stalking is most dangerous when it occurs as part of an abusive relationship. An attempt to end an abusive relationship often causes the abuser to become more possessive. Sometimes this leads to stalking.

What is stalking?
Stalking is the repeated harassment that terrorizes the victim. Stalkers often are trying to initimidate, harass, and control their victims. They may do this in a number of ways. The behavior may start slowly and escalate. For instance, a stalker may begin by calling once or twice a day and progress to calling several times a day, following you, and waiting for you outside of classes or work.

According to the National College Women Sexual Victimization Study (1997) of stalking on college campuses, the most common stalking behaviors cited by college students are:

1. Making unwanted telephone calls (78%).
2. Waiting inside or outside of a building (48%).
3. Watching from afar (44%).
4. Following (42%).
5. Sending unwanted letters (31%).
6. Sending unwanted e-mails (25%).
7. Making unwanted visits (5%).
8. Giving unwanted gifts (3%)

The study also asked victims/survivors about the staker's relationship to them:

1. Current or ex-boyfriend (42%).
2. Classmate (24%).
3. Acquaintance (10%).
4. Friend (9%).
5. Coworker (6%).

Who is affected by stalking?
In the U.S., 6.6 million people are stalked every year. Persons aged 18 to 24 years of age experience the highest rate of stalking. 1 in 4 victims report being stalked through the use of some form of technology (such as email or instant messaging).

What can you do if someone is stalking you?

Documentation: Keep a detailed log of the stalking behaviors including the location, date and time. Keep all voicemails, texts, emails, online messages and gifts from a stalker. Take photos of personal injuries and/or damaged property. Save all police reports and legal documents. Make copies of all of your documentation and give it to someone you trust for safe keeping.

Privacy: Use a P.O. Box address for privacy, to limit anyone having access to your physical address. Police reports could become a public record.

Protection orders: In Louisiana you can get a Protection Order (PO) or Restraining Orders. The intention of such orders is to prevent abuse and enhance safety for the person who is seeking the court's protection.

Communication: Do NOT communicate with the stalker (phone, email, txt, etc.). Tell them "no" once, document it in your Stalking Incident Log and never speak with that person again. Do NOT try to reason with them, as stalkers usually view this as encouragement and they don't really hear what you are saying.

Online: Do NOT "check in" to places like on Facebook because it may compromise your safety by giving away your location. Make sure that your anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall are installed and are up-to-date. Do not accept friend requests on social media from people you do not know and block any messages from people you do not know and block any messages from people you do not recognize.

Sexual Assault Policy

On college campuses, acquaintance and date rape are more apt to occur than rape by strangers. Research on college women indicates as many as 20 percent of the female population may at some point be sexually coerced by acquaintances. 

While some students may not think of forced sexual relations as rape, such action constitutes a serious crime and is a felony under Section 14:42 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. 

If You Are the Victim of Sexual Assault 

Contact a friend to help you collect your thoughts and focus on your needs. If the assault occurred on campus, call the MSU Police Department at 475-5711 or at 911. If the assault occurred off campus, call the Lake Charles Police Department or the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office (911) or the Rape Crisis Center at 494-7273. 

Obtain Medical Care

Quickly obtain medical care from a hospital emergency room. Do not bath, shower, douche, or change clothes before seeking medical attention. The treatment for rape may require an examination at a designated hospital, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, medication to prevent pregnancy and documenting evidence so you can decide whether to pursue prosecution. 


Assist in the Investigation

It is a personal decision whether to report a rape or sexual assault to police, but you are strongly encouraged to do so. The primary concern of the police is your safety and well-being; the second and third concerns are apprehending the assailant and preserving the evidence of the crime.


Seek Counseling 

Whether or not you report the assault or pursue prosecution, you should consult a trained counselor for help in dealing with the emotional aftermath of a rape. Trained counselors are available at the MSU Counseling Center and the Rape Crisis Center. Talking with a counselor or psychologist in no way compels a victim to take further action.

A victim may choose to pursue action through the campus judicial system if the offense was committed by another student. The Office of Student Services (475-5706) is available to advise victims of their rights under the Code of Student Conduct. Even if you choose not to pursue disciplinary action, you are encouraged to report your experience to the Office of Student Services.