All students have the right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence. Sadly, statistics show us that 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.9
Working with a young adult to find a school that respects everyone’s bodies may seem overwhelming. One way to be proactive about preventing sexual violence and ensuring a young adult attends a school where everyone shares responsibility for ending sexual violence is by scheduling a campus visit. Asking about sexual violence awareness and prevention on campus gives you helpful information. This is useful even if the young adult will not live at school. This is useful even when attending a professional/technical school.
Qualities of effective prevention and awareness work on college campuses:
Prevention and awareness materials talk about the responsibility to not rape or sexually violate others, and do not blame the survivor.
Bystanders are given resources and training to intervene when they see a situation that may lead to a sexual assault.
Sexual violence survivors are given many options for getting support.
Sexual violence survivors are not forced to report their assault to law enforcement in order to access resources for healing.
Schools have easy-to-understand, easy-to-find information about how to report a sexual assault, and what the process can look like after reporting.
Materials addressing sexual violence use gender-inclusive language to ensure relevance for male survivors.
Below are some questions you can ask students, faculty, or administrators. In general, the easier it is for students and administrators to answer your questions, the better they are doing at creating a culture where sexual violence is openly talked about and addressed.
Questions to ask current students:
What does sexual assault awareness or prevention look like at this school?
What can you tell me about the process for reporting sexual assault at this school?
Where is the Title IX office on campus? Who would I talk to at that office to get more information?
Questions to ask faculty and administrators:
Who handles reports of sexual assault at this school?
What happens when sexual assault is reported?
Are students required to report their assault to law enforcement in order to access support services?
Does the school have Title IX policies? How is information about the school's Title IX policies communicated to students?
How are penalties for sexual assault or misconduct determined? Is the process different if the assault is perpetrated by a fellow student? Administrator? Non-student?
To find out more about schools’ responsibility to create education free from sexual violence, check out the resources at: KnowYourIX.org
As always, trust your gut. If something doesn't sound right, ask more questions.