Sexual assault has been in the media a lot lately. The positive change coming from the #metoo campaign has inspired harassment and assault victims to come out of the woodwork everywhere. The ‘Burnian would like to remind students of Blackburn’s Sexual Conduct Policy. If you have been assaulted and decide to report it, Blackburn gives the party reporting the harassment multiple options. If a student who has been assaulted wants to take action against the perpetrator but also wants to remain anonymous, he or she can speak with Director of Counseling Services Tim Morenz. The student has the option to give Morenz permission to share this information with Blackburn Director of Campus Safety Morrie Fraser. From here, the reporting party can choose whether to handle the assault administratively on campus or to get law enforcement involved. If they wish to involve law enforcement, then the victim will be referred to local police and the issue is no longer handled by the college. If it is handled internally, Blackburn security investigates and the case goes before a Conduct Hearing Board. This hearing differs from the usual criminal trial because it does not require the victim to prove that the crime happened beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence says it happened more likely than not, then the perpetrator is convicted. Students can read the full policy in their student handbooks.
Unfortunately the society we live in teaches women how to avoid being assaulted, instead of teaching men not to assault. The only person responsible for committing sexual assault is the perpetrator; however, everyone has the responsibility to look out for their own safety.
Safety methods include:
- Avoid isolated areas. If you have to walk through them, it’s best to walk in groups when possible.
- Be aware of your surroundings and walk with purpose. This means no texting and walking.
- Trust your instincts. If the person following you seems creepy, then they probably are.
- If you’re frightened, call a friend and talk to them on the phone. Making sure to tell them where you’re coming from and where you’re going. If a potential attacker hears you on the phone with somebody they are less likely to try anything.
- Having pepper spray or mace on campus is illegal if used improperly, but it may be wise to invest in a self-defense keychain tool.
- Blackburn’s campus security has a walk you home service. If you need to be walked home, security officers can be reached 24 hours a day by contacting the on-call phone at 217-825-3042.