Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College takes acts of sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, extremely seriously and believes that one victim is too many. The following information, consistent with U.S. Department of Education Title IX guidance, provides details on the college response, resources, and remedies to sexual violence. The College hopes that you will help us in our efforts to maintain a safe and productive environment for all members of our community to live, learn and be successful by uniting as a community committed to ending sexual violence and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment and sexual violence are forms of gender discrimination that are not tolerated at NEO. The college strongly encourages victims to report all acts of gender discrimination. Additionally, this document explains the process of filing a formal complaint with Student Conduct as well as with the police. Please be aware that even if an individual chooses not to file a formal complaint, the college may take interim measures, such as changing academic schedules and housing arrangements, may be taken to provide safety for the victim in the educational setting.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, qualified disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, veterans’ status, genetic information or age in its program and activities. Therefore, the college will address all complaints of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, the same, irrespective if the complainant (person filing the complaint) or respondent (person the complaint is filed against) is of a protected class or sex.
Where it is determined that sexual misconduct is more likely than not to have occurred, college conduct sanctions can include suspension or expulsion. Even if law enforcement and criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute a particular incident, the college may still pursue the incident through the student conduct process. All student conduct processes are separate from law enforcement investigations. Instances where gender discrimination is not addressed through the student conduct system, the college still has the obligation under Title IX to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence and address its effects, irrespective of formal legal processes.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical contact or communication of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct or communication is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of educational benefits, employment, academic evaluations or other academic opportunities,
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as the basis for an employment decision or academic decision affecting such individual, or
- Such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent and objectively offensive that it has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment that negatively affects an individual’s academic or employment environment.
Sexual harassment does not include verbal expressions or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum, and this policy shall not abridge academic freedom or the College’s educational mission.
Sexual harassment can create a hostile environment. Sexual harassment should be reported even if it doesn’t reach the point of creating a hostile environment. A hostile environment is defined as subjectively and objectively offensive and sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s educational, employment or College environment.
Sexual harassment could occur off-campus and still have an effect on an individual’s educational, employment or college environment as well as create a hostile environment. A one-time non-consensual contact could also create a hostile environment.
Examples of behavior that could be sexual harassment:
- Unwelcomed sexual flirtation, advances or propositions of sexual activities.
- Asking about someone else’s personal, social or sexual life or about their sexual fantasies, preferences or history.
- Discussing your own personal sexual fantasies, preferences or history.
- Repeatedly asking for a date from a person who is not interested.
- Whistles, cat calls or insulting sounds.
- Sexually suggestive jokes, innuendoes or turning discussions into sexual topics.
- Sexually offensive or degrading language used to describe an individual or remarks of a sexual nature to describe a person’s body or clothing.
- Calling a person a “hunk,” “doll,” “babe,” “sugar,” “honey,” or similar descriptive terms.
- Displaying sexually demeaning or offensive objects and pictures.
- Making sexual gestures with hands or body movements.
- Rating a person’s sexuality.
- Unwelcomed touching of a person’s body including massaging a person.
Sexual violence is physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including sexual misconduct, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.
Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any non-consensual contact of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct may vary in severity and consists of a range of behavior or attempted behavior including, but not limited to, the following examples of prohibited conduct:
- Unwelcome sexual touching/exposure
The touch of an unwilling or non-consensual person’s intimate parts (such as genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, mouth or clothing covering same); touching an unwilling person with one’s own intimate parts; or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. This also includes indecent exposure and voyeurism.
- Non-consensual sexual assault
Unwilling or non-consensual penetration of any bodily opening with an object or body part. This includes, but is not limited to, penetration of a bodily opening without effective consent through the use of coercion.
- Forced sexual assault
Unwilling or non-consensual penetration of any bodily opening with any object or body part that is committed either by force, threat, intimidation, or through exploitation of another’s mental or physical condition (such as lack of consciousness, incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol, age, or disability) of which the assailant was aware or should have been aware.
Effective Consent is:
- freely and actively given;
- mutually understandable words or actions; and
- willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
- Initiators of sexual activity are responsible for obtaining effective consent.
- Silence or passivity is not effective consent.
- The use of intimidation, coercion, threats, force or violence negates any consent obtained.
- Consent is not considered effective if obtained from an individual who is incapable of giving consent due to the following:
- mental, developmental, or physical disability; or
- s/he is under the legal age to give consent; or
- s/he is incapacitated by alcohol, beer or under the influence of drugs.
Individuals who commit acts of sexual misconduct assume responsibility for their behavior and must understand that the use of alcohol or other drugs does not reduce accountability for their actions.
Examples of sexual misconduct violations:
- Ignoring an individual’s protest and engaging in sexual activity.
- Convincing somebody to have sex likely constitutes intimidation or coercion. If someone is coerced, the yes is not effective consent.
- Drinking and/or drug use may render an individual incapable of giving consent for sexual activity. For example, someone who is incapacitated may agree to have sex at the time, but have no memory of the consent. This person may have been functioning in a “blackout” and could not give effective consent.
- Holding a person down or preventing a person from leaving the room and forcing him or her to engage in sexual activity against his/her will.
Stalking is to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking is defined to mean two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
Substantial emotional distress would include significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of a person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested and actually causes the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened harassed or molested. Stalking also means a course of conduct composed of a series of two or more separate acts over a period of time, demonstrating a continuity of purpose or unwelcomed contact with a person that is initiated or continued without the consent of the individual or in disregard of the expressed desire of the individual that the contact be avoided or discontinued. This may include repeatedly contacting another person (through any means, such as in person, by phone, electronic means, text messaging, etc.), following another person, or having others contact another person.
Any actions that a stalker takes to contact, harass, track or frighten another that could include repeatedly:
- unsolicited visits or communication
- using online social media inappropriately
- damaging property
- showing up at places an intended victim frequents
- sending unsolicited mail, e-mail, texts and pictures
- creating a website about a target of stalking
- sending unsolicited gifts
- stealing things that belong to intended victim
- calling repeatedly.
Stalking can occur by someone that is known casually, a current boyfriend or girlfriend, someone dated in the past or a stranger.
Definition consistent with Violence Against Women Act Volume 79 CFR and Oklahoma state statute.
Dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with another person. The existence of such relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- Length of the relationship
- Type of relationship
- Frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts that meet the definition of domestic violence.
Definition consistent with Violence Against Women Act Volume 79 CFR.
Domestic violence is a crime of violence committed by a:
- current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim,
- person with whom the victim shares a child in common,
- person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse,
- person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threat of actions that influence another person.
Definition consistent with Violence Against Women Act Volume 79 CFR.
The college will not tolerate retaliation against a person who, in good faith, brings a complaint forward. Retaliation against an individual who has brought a complaint forward or against an individual who has participated in an investigation or conduct process is prohibited. See Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Universities Policy Manual, 3.11 Non-Retaliation for more information.
If you are victim of sexual violence, you are not alone and you are in no way responsible for your assault.
What to do if you are a victim of sexual violence?
- If you are not safe and need immediate help, call the police. If the incident happened on campus, call the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Department of Public Safety at 918-533-1243. If the incident occurred elsewhere in Miami, call the Miami Police Department at 918-542-5585. If the incident happened anywhere else, call the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the location where it occurred.
- Do what you need to do to feel safe. Go to a safe place or contact someone with whom you are comfortable.
- Do not shower, bathe, douche, change or destroy clothes, eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, take any medications or straighten the room or place of the incident. Preserving evidence is critical for criminal prosecution. Although you may not want to prosecute immediately after the incident, that choice will not be available without credible evidence. The evidence collected can also be useful in the campus conduct process.
- Go to the Integris Baptist Regional Health Center to receive care for any physical injuries that may have occurred. While in the emergency room, a doctor will perform a medical screen. Once the screen is complete and any medical issues are addressed, the doctor will make contact with an agency to determine where the sexual assault examination will occur.
On and Off Campus Resources
Sexual harassment and sexual violence can be emotionally disruptive, and it takes time to come to terms with such major stress. In addition to support that may be found in family and friends, the following agencies and departments can serve as resources.
It is important to be aware that different individuals who one may contact for assistance following an incident may have different responsibilities regarding confidentiality, depending on their position. Under state law, some individuals can assure the victim of confidentiality, including counselors and certified victims’ advocates. In general, however, any other college employee cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, unless specifically provided by law. Colleges must balance the needs of the individual victim with an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large. See Reporting for more information.
NEO Victim Advocate- Confidential Reporting Option
NEO’s Victim Advocate that can confidentially provide students with information about on and off campus resources available to victims.
Counseling Resources- Confidential Reporting Options
Interim Safety Measures
Click to Expand
Student Conduct and the Title IX Coordinator can put in place interim measures for student victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence as needed. A formal complaint does not need to be submitted to have interim measures put in place. The college will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible.
- Assistance in Reporting: Student Conduct can assist in filing a complaint with the college conduct process and the appropriate law enforcement agencies against the student(s) who caused harm.
- No Contact Order: Student Conduct can put in place a No Contact Order between the complainant and the respondent, which would prohibit contact between both parties through any means of communication, as well as prohibit others from making contact on their behalf.
- Emergency Protective Order: Student Conduct can assist victims in filing for an Emergency Protective Order in court with Wings of Hope. This is a court-ordered petition that prohibits contact between the complainant and respondent.
- Safety Measures: Student Conduct can coordinate any reasonable arrangements that are necessary for ongoing safety. This includes transportation arrangements or providing an escort.
- Living Arrangements: Student Conduct can assist in changing on-campus living arrangements or that of the respondent to ensure safety and a comfortable living situation.
- Academic Arrangements: Student Conduct can assist in adjusting academic schedules as well as assist in providing access to academic support services.
- Other Interim Measures: Student Conduct can coordinate reasonable arrangements to address the effects of the sexual violence, including connecting victims with counseling, health care or academic support resources.
When Student Conduct becomes aware of a student who potentially could have been a victim of sexual violence, they will contact the victim through NEO email to share these potential interim measures, reporting options and other resources available. This will be done no matter the location of the incident.
- Student Code of Conduct is available in the student handbook located on the following site: https://neo.edu/current-students/student-life/
- NEO Title IX Interim Policy (pdf)
All forms of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, should be reported, no matter the severity. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College’s primary concern is safety; therefore individuals should not be deterred from reporting even if the use of alcohol or other drugs was involved.
The college encourages victims of sexual violence to talk to someone about what happened so they can receive support and so the college can respond appropriately. The college offers both confidential and non-confidential reporting options. It is important to be aware that different individuals who victims can contact for assistance following an incident may have different responsibilities regarding confidentiality, depending on their position. Under state law, some individuals can assure a victim of confidentiality, including counselors and certified victims’ advocates. In general, however, any other college employee cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, unless specifically provided by law. Universities must balance the needs of the individual victim with an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community.
Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a victim’s request for confidentiality.
- Some are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.”
- Other employees may talk to a victim in confidence, and generally report only that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information. Disclosures to these employees will not trigger a college investigation into an incident against the victim’s wishes. This report is done through a Clery Report and does not include the victim’s name or other identifying information.
- Thirdly, some employees are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the victim and alleged perpetrator) to the Title IX Coordinator.
Confidential Reporting Options
Confidential reporting options provide students with the ability to confidentially report and discuss an instance of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, without their information being shared with others. Please note confidential reporting limits the college’s ability to respond to incidents.
Professional and licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling (including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX coordinator without the victim’s permission. These individuals are also not required by the Clery Act to report.
This would include counselors in College Counseling Center, Psychological Services Center, and Counseling Psychology Clinic.
NEO Victim Advocate
The college treats the NEO A&M College Victim Advocate as a confidential reporting option. Victims can visit with the victim advocate to learn about resources available on campus. The Victim Advocate is not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a victim’s permission. However, the victim advocate will report incidents, without personally identifiable information, to NEO Police for the purpose of the Clery Act. Additionally, the Victim Advocate will report quarterly to the Board of Regents on statistical trends of incidents.
College Health Services
College Health Service providers are confidential reporting options. They are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a victim’s permission. However, they will report incidents without any personally identifiable information to NEO Police for the purpose of the Clery Act.
While these professional, non-professional counselors, advocate, and health providers may maintain a victim’s confidentiality, they may have reporting or other obligations under state law, such as mandatory reporting to law enforcement in case of minors, imminent harm to self or others, or requirement to testify if subpoenaed in a criminal case.
If the college determines that the alleged individual(s) pose a serious and immediate threat to the campus, the college may issue a timely warning to the community. Any such warning will not include any information that identifies the victim.
Non-Confidential Reporting Options
The Board of Regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges and the Clery Act require all employees (excluding counselor, health care providers and victim advocate) who become aware of an instance of sexual harassment including sexual violence to report the instance to NEO Police. The victim’s name should not be reported to the police without the victim’s permission. The report should include the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident. This is a limited report that includes no information that would directly or indirectly identify the victim. This allows for the college to track patterns, evaluate the program, and develop appropriate campus-wide responses.
When an instance of sexual harassment including sexual violence is reported to a “responsible employee,” a student can expect the incident will be reported to the college’s Title IX Coordinator or Student Discipline Coordinator. A “responsible employee” is an employee who has the authority to redress sexual harassment including sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual harassment or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Examples include but not limited to faculty members, advisors, employees in student services offices and anyone in a supervisory role.
A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator or Student Discipline Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence shared by the victim including names, date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.
To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the college’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information about the victim to law enforcement unless a victim requests.
When a victim tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual harassment or sexual violence, the victim has the right to expect the college will investigate the alleged sexual harassment, end any sexual harassment, prevent the sexual harassment from recurring, and educate on sexual harassment.
Before a victim reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the victim understands the employee’s reporting obligations and if the victim wants to maintain confidentiality, then the victim should be directed to a confidential resource.
Requests for Confidentially from a Non-Confidential Reporter
If a victim discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation or conduct action be taken, the college must weigh that request against the obligation to provide a safe environment for all students, including the victim.
If the college honors the request for confidentiality, a victim must understand that the college’s ability to meaningfully investigate and respond to the incident may be limited.
Although rare, there are times when the college may not be able to honor a victim’s request in order to provide a safe environment for all students.
When weighing a victim’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or conduct process be pursued, the following will be considered:
- The increased risk that the alleged respondent will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:
- whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged respondent;
- whether the alleged respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
- whether the alleged respondent threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the victim or others;
- whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple respondents;
- whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the victim is a minor;
- whether the college possesses other means to obtain relevant information of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras, personnel, physical evidence); and
- whether the victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the college to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue conduct action. If none of these factors is present, the college will likely respect the victim’s request for confidentiality.
If determined that the college cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the college will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation. The college will remain ever mindful of the victim’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the victim from retaliation or harm and work with the victim to create a safety plan. The college may not require a victim to participate in any investigation or conduct process. Retaliation against the victim, whether by students or college employees, will not be tolerated.
Reporting to the Police
The College strongly encourages individuals to report sexual violence and any other criminal offenses to the police. This does not commit a victim to prosecute but will allow the gathering of information and evidence. The information and evidence preserve future options regarding criminal prosecution, College conduct actions and/or civil actions against the perpetrator.
On campus incident can be reported to the Department of Public Safety Office (Corner of 4th and I St NE) 918-540-6026 or 918-533-1243. If the incident occurred elsewhere in Miami, it can be reported to the Miami Police Department at 129 5th Ave NW, Miami, OK 74354 or 918-542-5585. If the incident happened anywhere else, it can be reported to the local law enforcement with jurisdiction in the location where it occurred.
Please know that the information reported can be helpful in supporting other reports and preventing further incidents.
Reporting to Discipline Coordinator
Anyone can report instances of sexual harassment and sexual violence to Student Discipline Coordinator in Student Center, Student Union or at 918-540-6018. A complaint should be filed as soon as possible, preferably within 180 calendar days of the incident. A complaint can be filed in person in the Office of Student Affairs in the Student Center, Student Union.
If either the victim or the respondent are students, the incident will be addressed through the Student Conduct process once a complaint is filed.
The College strongly encourages individuals to report any instance of sexual harassment and sexual violence to the police.
Student Conduct Process
Once you have filed a complaint with student conduct
We want you to be knowledgeable about the process that occurs once a complaint with Student Conduct is filed. The following describes the investigation process, the hearing and the outcome of the hearing. Student Conduct will be available to explain the process as requested. The Student Conduct process will be prompt, fair, and impartial. This means the process will be completed within a reasonable timeframe as designated below and without undue delay. The process will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the College’s policies and will be transparent to all parties. Lastly, the Student Conduct process will be conducted by officials who do not have conflict of interest or bias for the complainant or respondent.
- You will be notified of receipt of your complaint and the actions the College official will take.
- A College official will meet with you to discuss the complaint submitted, review the investigation and hearing process, and determine the outcome you desire from your complaint.
- An investigation will be conducted by a non-biased Title IX Investigator. This investigation will include:
- meeting personally with the complainant,
- meeting personally with the student(s) accused,
- meeting personally with any witnesses, and
- reviewing any documentary evidence.
- The investigation of complaints will be adequate, reliable and impartial. The Title IX Investigator will compile an investigation report.
- The investigation process can take up to 60 days. If at any point either party would like an update of the investigation process all they need to do is ask and an update will be provided.
- The College official will determine if a conduct hearing is possible based on the available information.
- If it is determined that the College will proceed with a formal conduct hearing, the complainant and the responding student(s) will be notified of the hearing date.
- Hearing notification will occur at least five days in advance and include the hearing date, time and location. Hearings will be scheduled around academic schedules.
- Allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment will be heard by the Conduct Committee Hearing Panel which is comprised a faculty member, a staff member and a student.
- The hearing includes opening statements, presentation of the investigation report, information about the incident, presentation of information by witnesses, and closing statements.
- Each party is permitted to have a person of their choosing to accompany them throughout the hearing as an advisor.
- All parties are permitted to be present during the hearing (except during deliberations of the panel). All parties can be in the same room in a pre-arranged, non-threating set-up or in separate rooms with a video conference set up.
- All parties are permitted to make statements, present witnesses and information during the hearing. Witnesses and information need to be directly related to the incident.
- The standard of proof used in all College conduct hearings is preponderance of the evidence, which means the determination to be made is whether it is more likely than not a violation occurred. This is significantly different than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required for a criminal prosecution.
- Possible outcomes include the entire range of sanctions listed in the Student Code of Conduct. When it is determined that sexual misconduct is more likely than not to have occurred, the outcome can include separation from the College.
- You have the right to be informed of the outcome. You will be notified within two business days after the hearing, at the same time the respondent is informed of the outcome.
- You have the right to appeal the decision reached through the hearing proceedings within seven business days after the hearing.
College employee’s obligations to report criminal activity extend beyond the obligation to report sexual harassment and sexual violence. Under the Clery Act, College employees are also required to report the following crimes to the NEO Department of Public Safety:
- Sex Offenses
- Motor vehicle theft
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Criminal homicide
- Aggravated assault
- Arrests and disciplinary referrals for violations of liquor, drug and weapon laws
- Hate Crimes
Definitions of these crimes are provided online at https://neo.edu/campus-police-safety/sexual-assault-information/. The reporter does not need to make a determination on the specific crime; they just need to report it.
Generally speaking, the Clery Act has exhaustive guidance regarding locations of crimes and what must be reported. In order to simplify this guidance, if you become aware of one of these crimes, on campus, or off campus but closely related to the College, err on the side of caution and report it.
Under normal circumstances when a crime is reported – the Police are called and speak to all involved parties. Once the police are called your reporting requirements are met and there is no need to call the police. But there are times when victims simply are not ready to speak to the police. This is not uncommon and we do not coerce individuals to report. You still must report the crime as best you can.
The Clery Act also includes requirements regarding reporting of missing students. Any employee who receives a report of a missing student should call NEO Department of Public Safety immediately.
The College encourages students to help in preventing harmful and negative incidents by being responsible for their own personal safety, intervening if they are a bystander of such incidents, and educating themselves through College sponsored trainings.
Awareness Education/Student Title IX Training
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College takes acts of sexual violence and sexual harassment seriously. In an effort to educate students and comply with the Violence Against Women Act and the Office for Civil Rights federal guidelines, all new students are required to complete online training on sexual violence prevention. Training should take around 40 minutes.
To complete the training follow these steps:
- Go to http://www.everfi.com/login and click Register
- Under “Student/Learner”, enter the Registration Code that has been provided through your NEO email account to create your EverFi Account
*Note: When prompted, please enter your Banner ID to receive credit for completion. Your Banner ID is available on the back of your student identification card.
To prevent sexual violence, it is important that people are approached as potential witnesses or bystanders to behaviors related to sexual violence. As a witness these behaviors, there are certain ways to step up to prevent a risky situation from escalating.
In order to intervene, someone has to:
- Notice the incident
Bystanders first must notice the incident taking place. It’s important to become attune to what situations may be risky; (e.g. if you’re at a party, and you see someone stumbling as they’re being led into a different room, this is a risky situation.)
- Interpret the incident as emergency
By “emergency,” we mean a situation wherein there is risk of sexual or domestic violence occurring in the near future.
- Assume responsibility for intervening
It has been found that often, people believe that someone else will help in a situation where there are many people around. However, it is important to realize that others may also be thinking the same thing. If you’re unsure if you should do something, ask a friend what they think — it might be the case that they’ve been thinking the same thing in the near future.
- Have the bystander intervention skills to help
There are a number of different techniques that someone can use to intervene in a risky situation, some are listed below.
The 4 Ds (Bystander Intervention Techniques)
Please remember that your safety is of the utmost importance. When there is a situation that threatens physical harm to yourself or another student, ask someone for help or contact the police.
- Direct: Step in and address the situation directly. For example, “That’s not cool. Please stop.” or “Hey, leave them alone.” This technique tends to work better when the person that you’re trying to stop is someone that knows and trusts you. It does not work well when drugs or alcohol are being used because someone’s ability to have a conversation with you about what is going on may be impaired, and they are more likely to become defensive.
- Distract: Distract either person in the situation to intervene. For example, “Hey, aren’t you in my Spanish class?” or “Who wants to go get pizza?” This technique is especially useful when people under the influence of alcohol or drugs because they are easily distracted than those that are sober.
- Delegate: Find others who can help you to intervene in the situation. This could include asking a friend to distract one person in the situation while you distract the other, asking someone to go sit with them and talk, or going and starting a dance party right in the middle of their conversation. If you don’t know either person in the situation, you could also ask around to see if someone else does and check in with them. See if they can talk to their friend, text their friend to check in, or intervene.
- Delay: For many reasons, you may not be able to do something right in the moment. For example, if you’re feeling unsafe or if you’re unsure whether or not someone in the situation is feeling unsafe, you may want to check in with the person. In this case, you can combine a distraction technique by asking the person to use the bathroom with you or go get a drink with you to separate them from the person that they are talking with. Then, you can ask them, “Are you okay?” or “How can I help you get out of this situation?”
*Information from Vassar College Bystander Intervention website, http://savp.vassar.edu/prevention/bystander-intervention.html
How to Support a Friend
If your friend is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence, the following information can offer guidance on how to help and support:
- Listen and accept what you hear. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to reflect on what has happened and to share some of her/his feelings.
- Keep what is said confidential.
- Let your friend know that she/he is not to blame. Many victims tend to blame themselves for the offender’s actions, especially if the perpetrator was an acquaintance.
- Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination.
- Allow your friend to make his/her own decision about their next steps.
- Seek emotional support for yourself.
- Accept their choices and decisions to the assault even if you disagree with what they have chosen to do. It is more important that they feel empowered to make choices and take back control than it is for you to impose what you feel you think is the correct decision.
- Encourage your friend to file a police report. Filing a report is not a commitment to prosecute, but will allow the gathering of information and evidence. The information and evidence preserve future options regarding criminal prosecution, College disciplinary actions and/or civil actions against the perpetrator. Information can be helpful in supporting other reports and/or preventing further incidents (even anonymous reports are somewhat useful).
- Remind your friend of campus resources including NEO Victim Advocate, Student Conduct and College Counseling Services.
Students at college accept new responsibilities, including taking appropriate measures to ensure their own personal safety. In combination with NEO’s efforts to maintain a safe living and learning environment, the College encourages students to protect themselves. For additional information on campus safety, contact the NEO Department of Public Safety in the Department of Public Safety Office at or 918-540-6026.