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S.H.A.R.P.

Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention

If you or someone you know has experienced interpersonal violence including sexual assault, rape, harassment, relationship violence, or stalking, call 911

Sexual assault is a traumatic event. We believe that gender-based violence is a community problem that will only be solved through community effort. Our vision is to help create an environment where sexual and interpersonal violence are not tolerated, and we strive to prevent incidents and consequences of sexual misconduct on the TAMUCT campus through education, outreach, dialogue, and supportive services.  

The University is committed to responding to incidents of sexual misconduct in order to eliminate any hostile environment, prevent recurrence of sexual misconduct and address its effects.  Individuals with questions about the campus Anti-Discrimination Policy and/or the Sexual Misconduct Policy can also contact the TAMUCT Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinator:

Ms. Deserie Mensch

Mr. Paul York

Did you know...

  • One in four women will have experienced sexual violence by the time they graduate from college.
  • One in eight men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • In 94% of incidents of sexual assault of college students, the victim knows the offender
  • Fewer than 5% of sexual assaults of college students are reported to law enforcement officials. However, two-thirds of survivors tell another person (most often a friend) about the incident.

For Men

It's possible that you have never thought that sexual violence could happen to you, probably because we are socialized to see sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking as crimes against women, not men. These crimes are devastating to all victims, regardless of gender, and men and women can have the same reactions to these experiences. You may feel rage, a lack of power, helplessness, guilt, shame, concern for your safety, and/or symptoms of physical illness.

However, for men, there are issues that may be different for you such as doubts about your sexuality or masculinity or a reluctance to be examined for medical procedures. You may hesitate reporting your assault to law enforcement or the University for fear of ridicule or for fear of not being believed. Those same feelings apply to telling others your know and to finding help. You need to know that strong or weak; outgoing or withdrawn; gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual; old or young; whatever your physical appearance, this is not your fault and nothing justifies what has happened to you. No one ever has the right to violate or control another person. Sexually violent crimes are crimes of violence and power.

You may need special support: you may call a crisis line anonymously and request a male counselor; you may request an older or male nurse to assist in treatment at the hospital; and you can find a support group of male survivors to help you in your healing process.

As a man, many factors or fears may influence your decision to report or not report to law enforcement. The advantages of reporting include:

There are some disadvantages as well:

  • You may be treated in an insensitive manner;
  • You may not be believed;
  • Prosecution is often unsuccessful.

If you are gay or bisexual, you may feel that somehow you "brought this on" yourself. You may fear disclosure of your sexual orientation. You may fear for your safety or feel "survivor's guilt" if you survived a hate crime. And you may know your assailant; he could be an acquaintance, a friend, a colleague, a date, a partner.

Feeling responsible is a normal reaction to sexual violence. However, sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor; you did nothing to deserve this. We encourage you to come forward and obtain the resources and support that you need.

Get Help Now

Your Rights

  • You have a right to compassionate and confidential support and assistance.
  • You have a right to seek academic accommodation from the university.
  • You have a right to obtain a no contact order.
  • You have a right to file a report when you are ready, if you ever want to.
    • You can file a report with the University Police.
    • You can file a report with local law enforcement. If you wish, TAMUCT will assist you in making this report.
    • You can choose to pursue disciplinary action with the university if you change your mind.
    • See below for some quick notes on timing.

Our Promises

  • We will hold your information with the utmost concern for safety and privacy. We will not share your information with anyone who does not need to know. In some cases, there are individuals will may need to know general information about your case. We will ensure that you know who will be informed and when.
  • We will not direct you to or discourage you from any course of action, but will provide a safe space to discuss your options and support you in your choices.
  • Should you request it, we will assist you in making reasonable needed changes in the academic setting.
  • We will assist you in identifying appropriate and reasonable interim protective measures that may be taken. These measures may include institutional no-contact/stay away order and/or interim removal from campus of the alleged respondent.
  • All investigations by the University will be conducted by university officials who receive annual training on topics related to dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims, promotes accountability, and is trauma informed.
  • All investigations by the University will be conducted in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner.
  • We will assist you in identifying resources, institutional and community, that may assist you.

Timeline

Students often ask if there is any urgency in reporting. The most important thing is to ensure that you are taken care of and that you seek care when you are ready. That being said, here are some important time limitations to keep in mind.

Immediately: If you believe you have been drugged, seek medical assistance immediately. Many drugs leave your body quickly.

Within 5 days: You have 5 days after the assault to have forensic evidence collected. If you are interested in evidence collection, you can go to a local hospital, where a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can collect evidence. There is also a 5 day window in which you can receive emergency contraception and there is similar time sensitivity regarding some sexually transmitted infection prevention.

Within 10 years: If you are interested in pursuing a criminal case, there is a 10 year statute of limitations on rape in Texas. The period is longer, however, in certain situations, e.g. if you were a minor when the assault occurred. If you have questions, we can assist you in working with the Texas Attorney General's Crime Victims' Compensation Program

Collecting Medical Evidence

If you wish to have medical evidence collected, you can go directly to the emergency room. When you arrive at the emergency room, tell the intake assistant that you need to be seen for a sexual assault. They will escort you immediately to a private room and you will be met by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner , a nurse who is specially trained to perform the evidence collection. The Nurse will ask you if you want to report the assault to the police-the choice is yours. The evidence can also be collected anonymously while you take some time to decide.

Why is evidence collection important?

  • It is important to preserve any physical evidence that will assist in prosecuting a rape or sexual assault. You have time to decide if you wish to prosecute the assault, but having medical evidence may improve the strength of your case.
  • You should not bathe, douche, change clothes, or remove anything from the area in which the incident occurred (bed linens, etc.). This will help preserve evidence in the event that you decide to prosecute. If possible, you should wear or bring the clothes with you to the hospital that you were wearing at the time of (or immediately after) the assault.

As soon as possible, you should write down everything that can be recalled about the assault, including a physical description and/or name of the offender, specifics about the use of force or threats, the location, time and date and the assault, and any witnesses or others who may have seen you immediately before or after the assault. This written account should be kept in a safe place and may be helpful to you later if you decide to bring charges against the offender.

How To Help

How to Help as a Friend

Survivors of sexual assault are more likely to tell a friend about the assault than anyone else. While fewer than five percent of sexual assaults of college students are reported, two-thirds of survivors tell a friend about the incident. When a friend confides in you, you may want to help but not know what to do. You may not know how to react or what to say. You are likely to find yourself struggling with your own feelings of anger and helplessness.

Each survivor's experience is unique and there are no set guidelines for how to help. There are some important points to keep in mind when offering support. First and foremost, sexual assault is not about sex — it is about power and control. The perpetrator of sexual assault is exerting power and control over another human being. The survivor is in no way responsible for the assault. Implying that your friend bears some responsibility for the assault will lead to distrust in your relationship.

It is very difficult for survivors to come forward and share their story, and your reaction may impact whether or not your friend chooses to continue to share this information with others and seek further help.

Guidelines for Supporting Your Friend

Here are some guidelines for supporting your friend.

  • Believe your friend. Tell your friend that you believe them and you want to support them in any way that you can. Do not judge your friend, regardless of the circumstances.
  • Be a good listener. If you hear your own voice more than your friend's, you're talking too much and not listening enough. Listen non-judgmentally to what your friend is saying and accept the experience as your friend describes it. You may want to ask questions and get details about what happened, but remember that your role is to support your friend, and it is best to allow the survivor to decide what and how much they would like to tell you about the incident.
  • Validate your friend's feelings. Be sympathetic, but do not let your own emotions get in the way of supporting your friend. It is not uncommon to feel intense anger toward the person who did this but what your friend needs right now is calm and caring support. Expressing your own emotions only adds to the emotional burden your friend is already carrying. Keep the focus off your own anger and on your friend's emotional and physical well-being.
  • Know that each experience is unique. If you've had other friends who experienced a sexual assault, avoid making comparisons.
  • Assure your friend that it is not their fault. Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence. It is important that, as their friend, you help the survivor understand that no matter what happened—it was not their fault.
  • Do not make judgmental comments. Do not comment on what could have been done differently or make statements that imply that your friend could have avoided the assault.
  • Discuss their options with them. Show them the sexual harassment and sexual misconduct policy. Don't feel as though you have to have all the answers. That is not your role. Instead, help your friend to find out the answers by reaching out to university resource personnel.
  • Give your friend control. Let them choose the next steps. You may provide advice, guidance, and information about their options, but allow your friend to decide if, when, and how they will pursue these resources.
  • Offer continued support. If your friend is hesitant to get help, offer to accompany them in seeking medical attention, counseling, going to the police or to university resource personnel. Sometimes that's all it takes to help a friend begin to take action. Recognize that your friend's needs may change over time, so keep "checking in" to renew your offer of help and support.
  • Respect privacy and confidentiality. Do not share your friend's story with other people unless you have their permission to do so. At the same time, never hesitate to seek advice from individuals who are in a position to help you. It is not necessary to give names or provide details to get initial support and to learn more about options.
  • Do not forget to support yourself. Supporting a friend through a trauma can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience for those in the support role as well. Recognize this and don't hesitate to seek help and support for yourself when you need it.

How to Help as Faculty or Staff

As a faculty or staff member, you frequently encounter students who are under stress or going through a difficult time. Because students look up to you as mentors and trust your opinions and guidance, you can serve as a reliable and confidential source of information about the resources available to them.

Faculty and staff are not expected to take on the role of counselor, and the following information can help you provide appropriate assistance to students who reach out to you.

First and foremost, it is important for you to know and to share with students that you are not a confidential resource. Tell them that you may have to share information with others on a need-to-know basis.

If the student wishes to speak with someone confidentially about their concerns, then you can facilitate that connection by offering to call or to walk them over to one of the confidential resources on campus.

Listen — Support — Consult — Refer — Report

If a student chooses to share information about sexual harassment or sexual assault, here are some guidelines for supporting your student.

  • Listen non-judgmentally. Accept the experience as the student describes it. Articulate clearly that you believe the student and you want to provide support in any way that you can.
  • Validate the student's feelings.
  • Assure the student that it is not their fault. Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence.
  • Do not make judgmental comments. Do not comment on what could have been done differently or make statements that imply that the student could have avoided the harassment or assault.
  • Be sympathetic. However, do not let your own emotions get in the way of supporting the student.
  • Discuss options. Show them the sexual harassment policy.
  • Offer support, not justice. You may provide advice, guidance and information about your student's options for additional support, but do not take matters into your own hands, offer to confront the perpetrator, or investigate the incident on your own.
  • Offer company. If your student is hesitant to get help, even from those who you know are supportive and helpful, offer to accompany them to those who can help. Sometimes that is all it takes to help a student begin to take action.
  • Contact the associate provost for equity and diversity. It is expected that faculty and staff who receive credible reports of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct forward that information to Title IX Coordinator. Every effort will be made to allow the student to decide the course of action to be taken.
  • Get support for yourself. Do not hesitate to seek advice from individuals who are in a position to help. It is not necessary to give names or details of the incident to get initial support and to learn more about options.

-Adapted from: The Path Toward Recovery for Survivors of Sexual Violence, Syracuse University Sexual Violence Education & Resources, University of Virginia

Myths About Sexual Assault

Myth: Rape happens only to certain types of women.
Any person of any age, race, class, religion, occupation, physical ability, sexual identity, or appearance can be raped.

Myth: Sexual assault is a crime of uncontrollable sexual passion or urge
Sexual assault is about control and aggression. It is about one person's control over another.

Myth: Most assault occur as spontaneous acts in dark alleys
Close to 80% of all sexual assault are committed by someone the victim knows. The stranger in the bushes scenario is a dangerous falsehood. Even adolescent or adult male survivors are primarily assaulted by acquaintances – men and women.

Myth: Women give mixed messages because they don't want to admit that they really want to have sex. They just need to be convinced, to relax and enjoy themselves.
Rape is a crime for which the perpetrator has responsibility. Rape is rape, regardless of the relationship or the behavior of the survivor.

Myth: A rapist is easy to spot in a crowd
There is nothing about rapists' appearances that distinguishes them from others. Rapists come from all races, ethnicities, or socioeconomic groups.

Myth: Men can't be sexually assaulted
Somewhere between one in six and one in ten males are sexually assaulted. The best way to support survivors is to talk about the issue in an inclusive way that avoids the assumption that all survivors are female and all male victims are gay.

Myth: Only gay men sexually assault other men
Most men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as heterosexual. This fact helps to highlight the reality that sexual assault is only about violence, anger, and control – and not sex.

Myth: A rape survivor will be battered, bruised, and hysterical
Many rape survivors are not visibly injured. The threat of violence alone is often sufficient to cause a woman to submit to the rapist, to protect herself from physical harm. People react to crisis in different ways. The reaction may range from composure to anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and suicidal feelings.

Reporting

Report an Incident

Texas A&M University-Central Texas encourages students to report sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and other forms of sexual misconduct. Faculty and Staff at TAMUCT have a duty to report Under our campus rules, students have three paths or options to pursue. You can speak confidentially to a licensed counselor in the TAMUCT Counseling Center about all of these options, which include:

Informal Support Systems and Confidential Advisors: a certified counselor in the TAMUCT Counseling Center. This resource can also assist students in managing the impact of misconduct on their academic and social functioning. They can also connect students with non-TAMUCT resources.

Formal College Discipline Systems: an internal administrative process determines whether violations of the TAMUCT Code of Student Conduct have occurred. Complainants and respondents are provided with support to assist them in preparing the formal complaint and/or responding to such a complaint.

Formal Legal System: TAMUCT encourages students to report sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking to the University Police or other law enforcement. The Associate Director for Student Conduct or Title IX Coordinator can arrange a meeting place for your initial contact with the police. Students can request that a representative of the university accompany them in making a police report.

TAMUCT is committed to responding to incidents of sexual misconduct, harassment and gender or sexuality bias incidents in order to eliminate any hostile environment, prevent recurrence of sexual misconduct and address its effects. If students feel dissatisfied with the university's efforts in this regard, they can contact the university's Title IX Coordinator at the link to the right.

Choosing Not To Report

Some survivors choose not to formally report what happened to them. We want you to get all the help that you deserve and encourage you to talk to someone who can support you. But we respect your wish not to report formally and want you to know your rights and our promises to you if you do not report.

Ms. Deserie Mensch

Mr. Paul York

University Police:

Anonymous Report Form
or
(254) 501-5800

Resources

If you or someone you know has experienced interpersonal violence including sexual assault, rape, harassment, relationship violence, or stalking, Call 911

Websites

The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is a free, confidential, secure service that provides live help over the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website .

LGBT Specific

Male Specific

Phone Numbers

Killeen Families In Crisis: 24 hour hotline 1-888-799 (7233)

The Rape, Abuse, Incest Nation Network (RAINN) hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

SHARP Training

Sexual assault is a traumatic event. We believe that gender-based violence is a community problem that will only be solved through community effort.  Our vision is to help create an environment where sexual and interpersonal violence are not tolerated, and we strive to prevent incidents and consequences of sexual misconduct on the TAMUCT campus through education, outreach, dialogue, and supportive services.  

What is SHARP?

Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) Program emphasizes our commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault through awareness and prevention, training, victim advocacy, reporting, and accountability.

SHARP classes are specially designed self-defense classes for women 17 years old and older teaching easy to learn techniques for a variety of situations. Each class is broken up into two parts. Part One is lecture based and teaches participants how the body reacts in high stress situations and techniques to deal with sexual harassment. Part Two teaches participants pressure points, how to break a variety of holds, and concludes with the opportunity to try out the skills learned in the class using actual force.

Participants receive effective and realistic training to counter sexual harassment and assault from instructors certified by PPCT Management Systems, an international training organization specializing in teaching military, law enforcement and civilians in tactical and self-defense practices. SHARP was developed by PPCT and is internationally recognized as one of the most effective foundations for self-defense training.

Each Workshop is taught by certified SHARP instructors from the Texas A&M University - Central Texas Police Department and staff.

Classes

SHARP classes are presented for the campus community at various times throughout the year. To request SHARP training for your particular campus group, please contact:

Sergeant Andrew Flores

What Is?

What is sexual assault or rape?

Sexual assault can be any form of forced sexual contact. Force can be physical or emotional, through threat, intimidation, pressure, or coercion. Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent.

Any person, regardless of sex or gender, can commit sexual assault against any other person regardless of their sex or gender.

The University uses the terms "Non-Consensual sexual contact" and "Non-Consensual sexual intercourse" within our rules and procedures for student sexual misconduct complaints to describe incidents under the umbrella term of sexual assault.

Here are some definitions that will help you understand our practices:

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is sexual penetration or contact with any object or body part without consent and/or by force or threat. Penetration includes anal, vaginal, and oral penetration.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching without consent and/or by force or threat.

Active Consent is only given when each person expressly agrees to the activity freely, willingly, and knowingly. Active consent is not achieved when a person is threatened, intimidated, impaired by drugs or alcohol, or any other physical or mental impairment. Silence should never be interpreted as consent. Consent may be revoked at any time.

Incapacitation means physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, but are not limited to, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks. Where alcohol is involved, one does not have to be intoxicated or drunk to be considered incapacitated. Rather, incapacitation is determined by how the alcohol consumed impacts a person's decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. The question is whether the accused student(s) knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the accused student should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated. Because incapacitation may be difficult to discern, students are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; i.e., when in doubt, assume that another person is incapacitated and therefore unable to give Active Consent. Being intoxicated or drunk is never a defense to a complaint of Sexual Misconduct.

These definitions differ from those used by The State of Texas to define sexual assault for the criminal justice system. In some cases, the University's definitions include behaviors that, while not codified as criminal under Texas statutes, still violate the Standards of Conduct to which all TAMUCT students are held. Conduct may be prohibited under criminal statutes and University policy. These processes are separate and distinct from one another, however, may run concurrently. Texas statutes on sexual assault can be located in Texas Code Title 5, Chapters 21-22 and can be accessed at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us

What is intimate partner violence?

Intimate partner violence, also known as dating or domestic violence, is a pattern of physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive behaviors, used by one individual to maintain power over or control a partner in the context of an intimate relationship.

Abuse in relationships affects at least 25% of all relationships: between men and women and same-sex couples alike. However, in heterosexual relationships, men do comprise the overwhelming majority of perpetrators. Students will see the use of "he" throughout this section and that is done for the mere fact that men do comprise the majority of offenders of this type of violence. This is not done to "gender-bash."

As shared above, intimate partner violence is about one partner holding power or control over another partner. If you look at the wheel below, you can see how most aspects of abuse are not actually physical, but are emotional, sexual, and economic. Physical violence, which is in the rim of the wheel, is force used to keep someone under control when behaviors inside the spokes do not work.

These behaviors may vary for our married students with children, dating couples, or same-sex couples. As you may see, there are many ways a person can exert power and control over their partner. Victims of abuse are constantly in a state of tension trying to anticipate what may make the abuser angry. They often talk about "walking on eggshells" around their partner in fear that something may trigger an instance of violence. Many survivors of intimate partner violence say that the worst part of the cycle is the emotional aspect because they feel like they are going "crazy" and because isolation tends to be part of the pattern, often times the only "reality check" survivors get is the abuser. For this reason it is incredibly important to stay connected with anyone you may know is in an abusive relationship. The more isolated they are, the more dangerous the situation.

Intimate partner violence follows a specific pattern, which is described as a cycle of violence. The first phase is "tension building" where an abused partner may feel as though they are "walking on eggshells." This tension finally explodes in violence in the "serious battering incident" phase. The violence ends with what is called the "honeymoon" phase when the batterer is remorseful and loving. This "honeymoon" phase traps the victim even more because she truly believes her partner intends to change. The cycle continues and the "honeymoon" phase will continue to grow shorter and may disappear completely.

What is stalking?

Stalking is behavior in which an individual willfully engages 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.

Initially, stalking will usually take the form of annoying, threatening, or obscene telephone calls, emails or letters. The calls may start with one or two a day but can quickly increase in frequency. Stalkers may conduct covert surveillance of the victim, following every move his/her target makes. Even the victim's home may be staked out. Stalking can happen to anyone, male or female, and may also include your family members, friends, or co-workers. Stalkers may target casual acquaintances or random victims, and can stalk their victims for days, weeks, or even years. The target can become a prisoner in her or his own home.

Most stalking takes place between people who have known each other intimately. Intimate partner violence stalkers, as a category, constitute the most dangerous and potentially lethal group of stalkers. Abusers often feel that their victims belong to them, are theirs to control or to punish for trying to leave, and rationalize their inappropriate behavior by blaming the victim of their obsession. Leaving an abusive relationship takes careful planning and implementation. A local domestic violence shelter can assist in developing a safety plan.