Tag Archives: Title IX

Tip of the Week: Red Flags within a Relationship

Do you know the expression “love is blinding”? This is a true statement. Even when your gut is telling you that something is wrong, you often ignore it. However, your gut is never wrong. Here are some red flags to look out for when in a relationship:
• Blames others for own faults
• Drug/ Alcohol use/abuse
• Explosive temper
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Fascination with weapons
• Strong gender stereotypes
• Difficulty with authority
• Cannot express emotions verbally
• Treats partner like property/possession
• Isolates you from friends and family
• Blows up about little things
• Thinks it’s okay to resolve conflict with violence
• Checking emails, cellphones and social media without permission
• Constantly insulting or putting down partner and/or humiliating partner in public or in front of loved ones

If you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship, then remember you are not alone and that you have the option to seek help. You can always reach out by contacting NOVA Sexual Assault Services (SAS) directly at nova.sas@nvcc.edu or 703-338-0834.
https://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/sas/dating.html
If you would like to learn more about this topic, join us for our Red Flag Campaign on Monday, March 2nd from 11am to 2pm in the LC Café on the Loudoun Campus. Hope to see you there! https://www.facebook.com/events/166424331470492/

Tip of the Week: Prevention of Cyberstalking

Tip of the Week: Cyberstalking

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn: so much of our everyday life is viral! Checking and updating our accounts daily has become a normal routine, like brushing our teeth. However, we often forget the dangers that come with our social media followers. When hitting “post” we can forget the dangers of cyberstalking. Your stalker may be a stranger or someone who has an active role in your life. Along with electronic stalking and harassment, cyberstalking can also include identity theft, soliciting for sex, slander, or gathering your personal information to threaten, blackmail, or embarrass you. Cyberstalking is dangerous and can quickly escalate. Many of us have been affected or personally know someone who has. Check out the following tips to keeping yourself safe:

  1. Block any and all suspicious users
  2. Do not add or accept users that you do not know
  3. Do not respond to private messages to anyone you don’t know
  4. When posting, do not share specifics about your location.
  5. Do not share your last name, phone number, or email on online dating sites until you have met in person.

For additional resources visit:

Cyber stalking background with some smooth lines, 3D rendering, a red stop sign

https://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/resources.html

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Help us spread awareness and show support to victims and survivors by participating in The Clothesline Project. Happening at the MEC today (October 3) and tomorrow from 10am – 3pm!

 

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an annual designation observed in October. For many, home is a place of love, warmth, and comfort. It’s somewhere that you know you will be surrounded by care and support, and a nice little break from the busyness of the real world. But for millions of others, home is anything but a sanctuary. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.

Every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other.

Here’s another shocking statistic: the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 is 6,488. The number of women that were murdered by current or ex-male partners during that same time frame is 11,766, according to the Huffington Post. That’s almost double the number of people that were killed fighting in war. People who are in an abusive relationship will stay with their partner for a number of reasons:

-Their self-esteem is totally destroyed, and they are made to feel they will never be able to find another person to be with.

-The cycle of abuse, meaning the ‘honeymoon phase’ that follows physical and mental abuse, makes them believe their partner really is sorry, and does love them.

-It’s dangerous to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention program.

-They feel personally responsible for their partner, or their own behavior. They are made to feel like everything that goes wrong is their fault.

They share a life. Marriages, children, homes, pets, and finances are a big reason victims of abuse feel they can’t leave.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Use #DomesticViolenceAwareness to post on social media. Sometimes, people don’t know if they are really in an abusive relationship because they’re used to their partner calling them crazy or making them feel like all the problems are their own fault. Here are a few ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship that you need to get out of.

  1. Your partner has hit you, beat you, or strangled you in the past.
  2. Your partner is possessive. They check up on you constantly wondering where you are; they get mad at you for hanging out with certain people if you don’t do what they say.
  3. Your partner is jealous. (A small amount of jealousy is normal and healthy) however, if they accuse you of being unfaithful or isolate you from family or friends, that means the jealousy has gone too far.
  4. Your partner puts you down. They attack your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities. They blame you for all of their violent outbursts and tell you nobody else will want you if you leave.
  5. Your partner threatens you or your family.
  6. Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time.)

HISTORY

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The “Day of Unity” soon evolved into a week, and in October of 1987, the first National Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989 Congress passed Public Law 101-112, officially designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has been passed each year since.

As this month comes to an end, the important discussion it brings to the forefront about domestic violence’s horrific repercussions should not.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please click here for help. If you are in danger, call 911.

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)! Each business day in October, we send out a “DVAM: Did You Know?” highlighting interesting research findings and statistics or best practices in preventing and responding to domestic violence. Please share with your friends, family members, community groups, and colleagues.

October 1, 2015: Look Again at Domestic Violence in Fairfax County

DVAM:
Did You Know?

Did you know that every day in Fairfax County we respond to two people who are at high risk for homicide or serious physical injury at the hands of the person they love?

The Fairfax County Police Department has teamed up with the Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, Artemis House (Shelter House, Inc.), Bethany House of Northern Virginia, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and the Victim Services Section of the FCPD to better predict and, ultimately, prevent serious injury and homicide from happening.

On July 1, 2015, those agencies started the Lethality Assessment Program. In the first two months of the program, over half (54%) of all domestic violence cases screened by FCPD were high-danger.

Of those cases, victims reported serious lethality risks, such as:
1. 33% reported the presence of a firearm in the home (or easy access to one)
 The presence of a firearm makes it 5 times more like domestic violence will turn into murder.*

2. 55% reported stalking victimization (the offender following or spying on them or leaving threatening messages)
 Nationally, 76% of femicide victims were stalked prior to their murder.

3. 64% reported a history of strangulation (often referred to as ‘choking’)
 Strangulation is a serious crime that often leaves no visible injuries, even though it can create temporary or permanent brain damage in as little as 30 seconds.

 A victim of domestic violence with a history of strangulation has a 800% increased risk of homicide.

*J. C. Campbell, D; Webster, J; Koziol-McLain, C. R; et al. 2003. Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study. American Journal of Public Health. 93(7). Accessed from: http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Children_and_Families/Guns.pdf
** Judith McFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999).] More at: http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-fact-sheet_english.pdf
*** Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Daniel Webster, Jane Koziol-McLain, et al. “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multisite Case Control Study.” American Journal of Public Health, Volume 93, No. 7 (July 2003) 1089-1097. A study of 300 cases of strangulation survivors conducted by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office revealed that in 50% of the cases there were no visible markings to the neck and 35 % had only minor injuries (Strack, McClane & Hawley, 2001).
Info: http://www.janedoe.org/site/assets/docs/Learn_More/DV_Homicide/JDI_MediaGuide_Strangulation.pdf

What can we do?

 Let’s change those statistics! Educating ourselves and our community members is a good first start:

o Join us for a media event today at 1:30pm at the Historic Courthouse: https://fcpdnews.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/preventing-domestic-violence-homicide/!

o Use social media to spread the word! Post or tweet responsible media articles (like any on the LAP press release above) on the subject or simple facts about the issue. Find sample posts and tweets like these each day in the DVAM Did you Know? this month:

o DVAM: Did you know that #domesticviolence is a leading cause of homicide in Fairfax County? DV-related homicides are predictable and preventable. Please help spread the word that services and support are available. For help, call Fairfax County’s 24-hour Hotline: 703-360-7273.

o DYK #DomesticViolence is a leading cause of homicide in #FairfaxCounty? Help is available: 703-360-7273 (24 HR) #DVAM2015 #LookAgain http://bit.ly/ffxdv

o Start a conversation! Everyone can speak out against domestic violence. You may be the safest person for a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker to talk to. Check out these tips:
o What to say when you think someone is being abused
o What to say if you suspect someone is using abusive behavior

Sandy Bromley, JD
Fairfax County-Wide Domestic Violence Coordinator
Office: (703) 324-9494 Cell: (571) 215-2429
Community Events & Resources: www.fairfaxdvcommunity.org

Fairfax County Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC)
Web: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/domesticviolence/dvac/
Information & Intake Line: (703) 246-4573

Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services
Web: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofw
24-hour Hotline: (703) 360-7273

NOVA Victims’ Rights Provisions

Northern Virginia Community College

Victims’ Rights Provisions – 2014

 

Sexual misconduct is not tolerated at Northern Virginia Community College.  Reports of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking are taken seriously.  It is important to NOVA that victims (complainants) are informed, protected, and respected.  The complete Northern Virginia Community College Sexual Misconduct Policy is available online at www.nvcc.edu.  More information about the College’s responsibilities under Title IX to address complaints of sexual violence can be found online.

The following rights are afforded to any NOVA student, staff, or faculty member who experiences such an incident.  It is NOVA’s hope that these rights will provide you with adequate information from which to choose your options.

  1.  CONFIDENTIALITY. Above all, confidentiality of victims must be protected.  Identifying information of a victim will be protected as much as possible.  This means that a victim’s name will not be published or otherwise publicized without her/his permission.  When a person makes an official complaint to authorities, all possible protections will be afforded this individual, whether or not she/he participates in any investigation. When the College needs to act to protect the safety of others, absolute confidentiality may not be possible. For absolute confidentiality, contact NOVA Sexual Assault Services (see below for contact information).
  2.  TIMELY WARNINGS.  Any timely warning that is broadcast through NOVA websites or emails for the safety of our community will       not identify a victim by name.
  3.  REPORTING OPTIONS.  It is your choice whether or not you decide to report your victimization. At NOVA, there are several offices to report an incident if you choose to do so.  See list below.College Police – 703-764-5000To report the incident and begin a criminal investigation

    Local Police Department – 911

    To report the incident and begin a criminal investigation with minimal college involvement

    Campus Dean of Students – Contact the Dean Of Students at your own campus or center

    To report the incident and begin a Student Code of Conduct investigation

    Human Resources – 703-323-3110

    To report the incident and begin a staff or faculty investigation

    Sexual Assault Services – nova.sas@nvcc.edu or 703.338.0834    24 hour availability

    ***To access confidential support, advocacy and intervention for those affected by these issues

    Title IX Coordinator – Mr. Therman Coles – 703-323-3266

    To report the incident and begin an administrative Title IX investigation

  4. NO CONTACT or PROTECTIVE ORDERS.  The College will honor any protective order that you may have acquired through the local courts.  Please bring a copy of such a court order to the College Police for their information and enforcement.  In addition, a NOVA administrative no contact order may be created by the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator once the incident is reported to that office.
  5. PRESERVING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.  If you are considering a criminal prosecution, it is extremely important to preserve all evidence of an assault. If you go to a hospital as a result of a penetrating sexual assault, you are entitled to a free evidence collection examination called a SANE exam.  SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.  In Northern Virginia, the preferred hospital for such an exam is INOVA Fairfax, where they have specially trained nurses on call 24 hours a day for such purposes. INOVA Fairfax Hospital provides care to sexual assault victims no matter where in Northern Virginia the crime occurred. The nurse will collect the evidence and ask the police in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred to pick it up and store it for at least six months.  The evidence will be in a box marked only with a number, not your name.  You are not required to make an official police report for this evidence to be collected.  If you later decide to make such a report, the hospital will give your name to the police and the evidence kit will be tested for possible use in a court case.  For more information about how to preserve evidence, contact NOVA Police at 703.764.5000 or NOVA Sexual Assault Services at 703.338.0834.
  6. STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESS.  If you are a student and your perpetrator was also a student, then you may choose to report the incident (as the complainant) to your Dean of Students to begin a conduct process.  This is not a court trial; you may or may not choose to contact the police to use this process.  A hearing will be held on campus to determine whether the perpetrator is responsible for the act that you have reported.  Sanctions for this process are confined to the College only and range from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident.  For more details, see the current NOVA Code of Student Conduct within the NOVA Student Handbook, accessed online or in hardback copy.
  7. HUMAN RESOURCES PROCESS.  If you are an employee, then you may choose to report the incident to NOVA Human Resources, specifically to the Director of Human Resources, Employee Relations Specialist or the designated HR Campus Consultant.  Additionally, you may also choose to contact College Police to use this process or to begin a criminal investigation.
  8. REQUESTS FOR CHANGES.  You may request a change in academic setting (class or campus) or work assignment in order to be more clearly separated from the accused perpetrator.  Such a request will be granted to the greatest extent possible.  These requests should be made to the Campus Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator (if you are a student) or the Director of Human Resources or Title IX Coordinator (if you are an employee).  Requested changes will be made as soon as alternative arrangements can reasonably be made and regardless of whether you choose to pursue an investigation into your incident..
  9. FAIR AND IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION.  You can expect a fair and just process as your complaint is handled, either through the Dean of Students, Human Resources, or Title IX Coordinator.  You can obtain more information about these processes by accessing the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook or Classified Staff Handbook, which can all be found online at www.nvcc.edu.
  10. RETALIATION CONCERNS.  Threats, intimidation, and any form of retaliation for bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct are prohibited by the Sexual Misconduct Policy as well as Federal law and may be grounds for disciplinary action.  If any retaliation occurs, it is important to contact either the Campus Dean of Students, the College Police, the Title IX Coordinator, and/or Human Resources.
  11. COMMUNITY RESOURCES.  Since NOVA does not offer mental health counseling to students or employees, it is important to be aware of community resources that are both free and confidential. All offer 24 hour services.  It is best to choose the service listed below that is closest either to your home or your campus.  Every student or employee can use NOVA SAS, however, no matter where you live, work, or study.

NOVA CC- Sexual Assault Services  (SAS)– nova.sas@nvcc.edu or 703.338.0834

ALEXANDRIA – Sexual Assault Center – 703.683.7273

FAIRFAX COUNTY  – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) – 703.360.7273

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY – Sexual Assault Victims’ Advocacy Services (SAVAS) – 703.368.4141

LOUDOUN COUNTY – Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) – 703.777.6652

In an emergency, call 911.  Consider reporting any of these crimes to the police. 

NOVA Police can be reached at 703.764.5000.

NOVA’s First Annual “Take Back The Night” Rally and March April 22, LO

Take Back the Night Flyer 2014

NOVA’s First Annual Take Back the Night  is scheduled at the Loudoun Campus on Tuesday, April 22nd beginning at 6:30 PM.

The purpose of a Take Back The Night is to raise awareness about violence against women, specifically sexual assault and domestic violence.  There will be speakers from within the College and from the wider community.  Some students will speak out about their personal experiences.  Resources will be available from many community agencies.  The rally will be followed by a short candlelight march around LO (to invigorate the crowd and to add a special significance to the event.  And finally, Sexual Assault Services will provide an open area for those in attendance to share their experiences in a Safe Room at LO.

This entire event has been organized and is sponsored by NOVA Sexual Assault Services.  We welcome your attendance.  Please pass along the information to anyone you think might be interested.

 

Bystander Intervention/Prevention

http://pact5.org/resources/prevention-and-readiness/everyone-is-a-bystander/

Bystander Intervention/Prevention

You will be a bystander. It could be at a party, when you notice two people headed upstairs. Person A is extremely intoxicated, Person B is not. Or earlier in the night, when you saw Person B giving drink after drink after drink to Person A.

Or maybe it’s in your dorm, when your friend makes that comment about what a (insert expletive here) his (girlfriend-friend-someone else) is and he’s staring at you, waiting for a reaction.

Or maybe it’s in the classroom, when someone comments that she “just got raped by that exam.”

It can be difficult. You’re involved – but you’re not the target. These moments, which sometimes seem small or unimportant, can have an impact. You might be able to prevent sexual assault from occurring or even potentially work to change a culture that allows this type of violence to occur. But sometimes it can seem daunting, which is why it’s important to remember that big change is made through your response to those little moments. In other words, you don’t have to end sexual violence all by yourself and it isn’t going to happen all at once.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Often, people have concerns about intervening in moments where they feel something is wrong. They may think that they just don’t have all the information, that no one will support them, or that there could be a safety risk in getting involved.

Bystander intervention means taking actions that make sense to you in that moment. This means trusting your gut – acknowledging when there is a remark or situation that is a problem to you and also recognizing what you are willing to do and not do. There is no perfect response, there is only the best response you can offer in the moment. The safety of both yourself and the victim is a priority and often times there is more than one thing you can do.

So What to Do?

Consider the situation as well as all your available options. You may choose to intervene directly or indirectly and you may choose to reach out to other friends and bystanders for support.

For example, think about the first scenario above, where someone is giving another person drink after drink and then taking that person to a secluded area. Some methods of bystander intervention would be:

  • Chat them up: talk to Person A and Person B throughout the night. If you notice Person B pushing drinks, you can make a comment like, “We still have a couple of hours to go…think we all might have to slow down” or “I think she’s had plenty.”
  • If Person A looks uncomfortable, help him/her by giving them an out. You might say he/she has a friend trying to get a hold of him/her on your cell phone or ask their friends to go over with some other kind of distraction.
  • You and other friends can follow them up the stairs and let them know you’re there to help. Tell Person A or Person B that their ride is leaving without them, that a buddy is trying to find them, or something else that would get them back downstairs.

What about if a friend is being derogatory about or aggressive towards someone in their life?

  • Think about your response – even an disapproving look sends a message.
  • Call them out – “Dude, you can be mad, but don’t talk about her that way” or “You seem to be pretty angry lately and I’m worried you’re hurting yourself and other people. Do you need my help?”
  • Set the tone – continue showing respect for the people around you and modeling good behaviors.

And what about those little comments?

Something you may hear more often than you realize are comments or jokes that undermine the severity of rape and sexual assault. Most of the time, people just aren’t thinking about the impact of their words. It’s something to consider though, especially since research indicates that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males are sexually abused by age 18. That means that it’s very likely that there is someone (or multiple people) in your life that has been the victim of rape or sexual assault, even if he or she has never talked about it with you before. There are cultural implications of rape comments/jokes (which, if you want to learn more about this, you can – google “Why Shouldn’t I Use Rape Jokes” and you will find many insightful articles on the topic), but putting that aside, just keep one thing in mind – you can’t know the full story about the person sitting next to you, even if you know them well, so it’s helpful to consider the language you use before you use it and to address another person’s language if he/she is throwing around the word “rape” carelessly.

For more information on bystander intervention, visit our Resources page.

What if someone discloses to me that they were the victim of rape/sexual assault?

When you’re a proactive bystander and are informed about these issues, you may find that people in your life are more likely to disclose victimization to you. For information about how to respond, see What To Do If Someone I Know Has Been Sexually Assaulted.

You are part of the campus community, so make sure you’re connected with your own institution’s programs and resources. Look to your campus sex offense policy to understand your campus processes and options. Find out who is doing sexual assault prevention education on campus and how you can get involved. Whether you’re an athlete, part of a student group, or play another role at your college or university, remember that you’re a leader, which means that you can set an example and get others engaged in prevention, as well.

Your institution has started the conversation.

You are part of the campus community, so make sure you’re connected with your own institution’s programs and resources. Look to your campus sex offense policy to understand your campus processes and options. Find out who is doing sexual assault prevention education on campus and how you can get involved. Whether you’re an athlete, part of a student group, or play another role at your college or university, remember that you’re a leader, which means that you can set an example and get others engaged in prevention, as well.