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Harassment, Stalking, Sexual Assault and Title IX

Harassment, Stalking, Sexual Assault and Title IX

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

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.

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.

Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking
If you are not on or near the McNeese 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
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.

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.


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%).

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 Order. 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 or 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.
 

Title IX - Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Title IX is federal legislation that was passed by Congress in 1972 and is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.

In addition to a criminal complaint for sexual violence which the University Police would investigate, a victim can make a separate complaint if the suspect is a student with the Office of University Services and also file a Title IX complaint with the University's Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Michael Snowden (337-475-5428 or in room 404B of the Burton Business Center). These investigations are confidential.

10 Things to Know About Title IX

1. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination  in education programs that recieve federal fudning (e.g. nearly all colleges and universities)

2. Harrassement, attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, intimate partner violence, and sexuality-based threats or abuse are examples of the types of sexual discrimination banned by Title IX. 

3. Title IX applies to male, female, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff.

4. Schools must not retaliate against someone filing a complaint and must keep complaintants safe from retailation.

5. Schools can issue "no contact" directives to prevent accused abusers from interacting with vicitms.

6. In cases of sexual violence, schools are prohibited from encouraging or allowing mediation (rather than a formal hearing) of the complaint. 

7. A student may use the school's grievance procedure (i.e. make a report to the Title IX Coordiantor on campus) to make a report.

8. Victims also have the right choose whether or NOT they want to report to the police.

9. The McNeese Counseling Center on campus provides completely confidential support services to vicitms of sexual violence. Professional counselors are not required to report any information regarding an incident of alleged sexual violence. This is also consistant with the CLERY Act. 

10. Student Health Services on campus does report aggregate data (non-identifiable), but are not required to report, without the student's consent, incidents of sexual violence to the school in a way that identifies the student.

If you think your Title IX rights have been violated, you may contact Michael Snowden, Title IX Coordinator and Chief Diversity Officer of McNeese State University at (337) 475-5428 or msnowden@mcneese.edu to learn about your options. 

For more detailed information on the above topics, visit KnowYourIX.org


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. 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.

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.
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. 


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.