Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Dating Violence, & Stalking
Faculty and staff members have a responsibility to provide resources and support for victims who disclose their experiences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, or stalking.
More detailed information can be found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The information in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, as well as other policies governed by Federal or State law, has universal application for all Macalester employees and students.
Sexual Harassment is any sexual or gender-based verbal, written, or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Sexual Assault is defined as any sexual contact made without consent. Consent needs to be given freely, with overt words or actions, and clearly communicates a person’s sexual boundaries and desires.
Sexual Exploitation is nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of a person for the advantage or benefit of someone else.
Dating/Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence refer to an ongoing pattern of controlling and abusive behaviors that individuals use against their intimate partners. These behaviors include physical, sexual, or emotional attacks and /or economic control.
Stalking is repeated behaviors directed at a specific person that cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
The role of faculty and staff in responding to student victims
Faculty and staff frequently serve as the initial contact person for victims’ disclosure of their experiences with sexual misconduct. Many people do not choose to disclose or file reports with law enforcement officers, often because they do not think the incident was serious; they are afraid of parents and friends finding out; or because they fear that they will not be believed or will be treated with hostility. If they are sharing it with you, they likely consider you a trusted advisor. All College employees who are not confidential resources are required to report information they receive about sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
Confidential resources. Confidential communications are those communications that legally cannot be disclosed to another person, without the reporter’s consent, except under very limited circumstances, such as allegations involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult or an imminent threat to the life of any person. Those who want the details of sexual misconduct to be kept confidential should speak with a confidential resource (e.g., medical professional, professional counselor, minister or other pastoral counselor, or trained victims’ advocates). These resources include:
- Macalester College Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (Contact: Kelly Stone, College Chaplain and Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life; 651-696-6298).
- Health and Wellness Center counselors, physician, registered nurse or nurse practitioner (651-696-6275).
- Sexual Offense Services (SOS) of Ramsey County Victims Advocates (651-266-1000).
Non-confidential resources. Only confidential resources can promise confidentiality. All other College employees who become aware of incidents or allegations of sexual misconduct have a responsibility to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The information given to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators must include all relevant details, including the name of the individual reporting the allegation of sexual misconduct, the name(s) of the person(s) accused of the misconduct, other people involved in the incident, and the date, time, and location of the incident. Allegations of policy violations will be considered private and will only be shared with other College employees on a need to know basis. The allegations will not be shared with law enforcement without the consent of the individual who has alleged the sexual misconduct.
If you are not a confidential resource, you are asked to make every effort to refer an individual to confidential resources as described above before the individual has disclosed an incident that requires reporting to the Title IX Coordinator.
What to do if a student discloses to you
Listen, without judgment. Listening is the single most important thing you can do. No one deserves to be the victim of violence, regardless of the circumstances. Avoid blaming the person for what occurred and asking questions that could imply fault, such as “How much were you drinking?” or “Why didn’t you call the police?” Instead say something like, “I’m sorry that this happened to you. Thank you for telling me.” Let the person know that they are not to blame for what happened. “It’s not your fault.”
Tell them that you hear them and will support them. Victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment dating/domestic violence, and stalking are often met with disbelief when they decide to tell someone. Furthermore, their trust in someone they know has been broken. Remember, you are not an investigator tasked with determining if this happened or who is responsible but a trusted advisor. Let them know that you hear them and will support them.
Refer the person to resources on campus and in the community that are specifically designed to deal with these issues. You are not expected to be an expert on these issues; however, you can direct the victim to people who are. If the incident involved bodily harm, advise them to get immediate medical attention.
Support the person’s decisions about how to proceed. Avoid giving advice or telling them what that they “should” or “must” do. You can encourage the person to report the incident, while still respecting that the final decision is for them to make. One of the most important things you can do is let victims take back the power they lost in the incident(s).
Submit a report to the Title IX Coordinator, Karla Benson Rutten. As discussed earlier, all College employees who are not confidential resources must report information they have about reported sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators, ideally within 24 hours of learning about an incident. The information given to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators must include all relevant details, including the name of the individual reporting the allegation of sexual misconduct, the name(s) of the person(s) accused of the misconduct, other people involved in the incident, the date, time, and location of the incident, and other relevant details.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with the student after the disclosure. Letting the person know that you take their disclosure seriously and that you care about their well-being can be extremely validating for a victim. For example, begin the conversation with “I was thinking about the conversation we had the other day. How are you doing?”
Be sure to obtain information and support for yourself as a helper. Being exposed to issues related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking can be difficult. It is not uncommon for first responders to experience secondary/vicarious trauma, and it can be helpful to discuss your experiences or feelings with another professional.
Title IX Coordinator & Director of Equity, 651-696-6258
Office of Student Affairs, 651-696-6220
Campus Security, 651-696-6555
Health and Wellness Center, 651-696-6275
Center for Religious & Spiritual Life, 651-696-6298
Sexual Violence Prevention And Support Website
Sexual Assault Support Team Members
Off Campus Resources
Emergency police or medical, 911
St. Paul Police Department, non-emergency, 651-291-1111
Regions Hospital Emergency Room, 651-254-5000
United Hospital Emergency Room, 651-241-8260 (24 hrs.)
SOS Sexual Offense Services of Ramsey County, 651-266-1000 (24 hour crisis line)
Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 651-209-9993
Adapted from a Resource Guide compiled by Meredith Bourne, Project Assistant 2009, University Health Service, UW-Madison