Providing education on the prevention of sexual assault and violent acts is important to the University. Resources are available for LGBTQ, risk reduction, bystander intervention, and healthy relationships.
Students belonging to the LGBTQ+ community report higher rates of sexual victimization while enrolled in college but are statistically less likely to report an incident. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found for LGB people:
- 44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of heterosexual women
- 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29% of heterosexual men
- 46% of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 17% of heterosexual women and 13% of lesbians
- 22% of bisexual women have been raped by an intimate partner, compared to 9% of heterosexual women
- 40% of gay men and 47% of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape, compared to 21% of heterosexual men
Within the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people and bisexual women face the most alarming rates of sexual violence. Among both of these populations, sexual violence begins early, often during childhood. Transgender women respondents experienced sexual assault more often than their transgender male peers.
For LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual assault, their identities – and the discrimination they face surrounding those identities – often make them hesitant to seek help from police, hospitals, shelters, or rape crisis centers, the very resources that are supposed to help them.
Southeast Missouri State University wants all students to feel supported and understands that a person of any gender or sexual orientation can be sexually assaulted. Although violence exists within LBGTQ+ communities, it is also important to understand that Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Queer people are also targeted for sexual violence based on their sexual orientation, and all people, regardless of sexual orientation, can be targets based on their perceived gender expression. In these cases sexual violence is used as a form of control to maintain heterosexism.
- Victims are never to blame for a crime that is committed against them.
- The following suggestions are strategies students can use to decrease the risk of being a victim of a crime. However, these are not prevention strategies, they are reduction strategies. Only those refusing to commit crimes can stop sexual violence from occurring.
- Understand what resources are available to you (taxis, DPS, sober drivers) in the event you feel unsafe or need assistance.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and who you are with. Always travel with a companion or group when possible. If you are going out, know your location.
- Have multiple exit strategies: talk with your friends about your plans and intentions before going out, so if something changes from the plan, you have planned options.
- Trust your gut: if you feel as if you are in a bad situation, trust your instincts. Try to find a way to leave the situation. Consider calling or texting a trusted friend or make up an excuse to leave.
- If you are walking or staying late in a building at a time you feel vulnerable, let someone know where you are or ask someone to be with you. Do not hesitate to call the Southeast Missouri State Department of Public Safety on campus to let them know where you will be and what time you anticipate leaving, or to request an escort.
- Use the lighted safety corridors when walking through campus, especially after dark. Look for the Emergency Call Boxes with the blue lights throughout campus. These provide a direct link to the Department of Public Safety. Create a safety plan. If you are concerned for your ongoing safety, it can be worthwhile to create a safety plan. Safety planning is about finding ways to be safe in the present while planning for your future safety, as well.
Southeast Missouri State University promotes healthy choices, civility, and respect for all. The University strives to protect students, staff, and visitors from harm and assist them when they are in need. Most risky and problematic behaviors on college campuses involve bystanders (people watching or in the area). There may be times when you may need to stop being an observer (bystander) and step up or act/react in some way (intervention).
Students are expected to alert appropriate officials, including Resident Assistants (RA), Hall Directors (HD), University Police (DPS), other staff and/or faculty when they observe a health or safety emergency especially ones that includes the abuse of alcohol or drugs — even if these actions are in violation of the Southeast Missouri State University Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct (Code).
Some students may not want to report things they observe due to fear of getting in trouble (disciplinary action), so the University has adopted these guidelines to ease those concerns and promote bystander intervention even when Code violations are occurring. For example, two underage students have been consuming alcohol and one is extremely intoxicated, we want the other student to notify a University official, so they can determine if the student needs medical attention.
In a situation involving a serious threat to the health or safety of any student(s), we expect a bystander to do the following:
- Contact emergency officials by calling 911 off-campus or (573) 651-2215 on-campus or contact and member of the staff, faculty, or an RA/HD who is nearby;
- Remain with the individual(s) needing emergency treatment and cooperate with emergency officials if it is safe to do so; and
- Meet with appropriate University officials after the incident and cooperate with any University review.
The University will consider the positive impact of taking responsibility to act (bystander intervention) in the emergency situation when dealing with the incident. This means that in most circumstances, no formal University disciplinary actions or sanctions will be imposed for alcohol or drug infractions. However, the incident will be documented, and alcohol and/or drug education may be required as a condition of deferring disciplinary actions or sanctions. These guidelines do not protect against repeated, flagrant, or serious violations of the Code (including physical or sexual assault, violence, hazing, harassment, theft, or vandalism or instances where multiple individuals need medical attention), nor does it prevent action by University Police or other law enforcement agencies.
Student organizations and student groups are also expected to follow these guidelines in emergency situations as well through their officers and members. A student organization or group’s compliance with these guidelines will be considered when determining the outcome or sanction of an incident that would usually lead to disciplinary charges/action against the organization. Failure of students or student organizations to take responsible actions in an emergency situation where action is clearly warranted, however, may void all protections under these guidelines; may constitute an aggravating factor for purposes of sanctioning; and may lead to further disciplinary actions for the student or the student organization(s).
It's okay to know your boundaries and to speak up about what you want and what you don't want.
- Know your limits. How far do you want to go with a date?
- Communicate your limits clearly.
- Back up your words with a strong voice and body language.
- Respect yourself. Know that what you want counts.
A relationship is healthy if each involved is supported in being the person he or she wants to be. A relationship that limits, manipulates, or damages a person’s sense of self is unhealthy and can be harmful or abusive. Be honest when assessing your relationship on the following factors – you owe it to yourself!
- Mutual respect: Value your partner for who she or he is, not who you want them to be or become, and receiving the same from your partner. Does your partner say, do, and believe things that you can support?
- Trust: Share your thoughts and feelings with another person without fear of being hurt physically, cognitively, or emotionally. Can you be yourself without fear of criticism or judgment? Can your partner trust you in the same way?
- Honesty: Be truthful in your words. Do you tell the truth? Do you believe what your partner tells you?
- Support: Help your partner in being his or her best, and feeling you get the same in return.
- Fairness and equity: You and your partner are giving equally to the relationship. Do you feel like you almost always give, or give in? Or do you expect your partner to do it your way? Healthy relationships involve give and take, compromise, and negotiation – by all parties.
- Separate identities: Relationships are healthy when each individual shares their true self with their partner. Do you feel like you are losing yourself or your unique identity?
- Effective communication: Don’t get caught in the trap of believing your partner should know what you want, need, mean, or feel. Humans are rarely good mind-readers, especially in intimate relationships. Do you and your partner take time to communicate? Does your partner really listen and work to understand you? Do you do this for your partner?
- Harmful and abusive behaviors may come in many forms, and may include the following:
- Intimidation: Actions, gestures, or facial expressions used to make another fearful.
- Emotional Abuse: Name calling or humiliation causing the other to feel unworthy.
- Isolation: Limiting interactions and information in order to establish control.
- Minimizing, Denying, or Blaming: Making light of the abusive behaviors causing the other to doubt their own feelings or perceptions.
- Dominance: Treating another as a lesser being and controlling all decisions.
- Economic abuse: Limiting another’s access to work, money, food, or other resources to exert control.
- Coercion or Threats: Making threats to harm someone in order to control another’s behaviors.
Healthy Sexual Relationships:
- It is the responsibility of the person initiating sexual contact to ask for and clearly receive consent before acting.
- If someone is impaired by alcohol or another substance, that person is considered unable to make clear decisions about consent. Initiating sexual contact with someone under the influence is a form of abuse.
- If your partner expresses uncertainty verbally or non-verbally, or says no, it is your responsibility to STOP. Healthy sexual relationships are based on continuous communication about consent.
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701