Boise State has had multiple sexual assault reports filed on or near campus in the first few weeks of classes, including the most recent assault reported on Sunday night that occurred in off-campus housing at River Edge Apartments.
While the start of a new semester brings about new experiences, involvement and friends on campus, it is also a time students are succeptible to sexual assault on college campuses.
In an email sent to all students, Danielle Charters, Boise State’s Title IX coordinator, affirmed that any type of sexual assault or gender-based violence will be adressed and investigated on campus.
“The safety and well-being of our campus community is always our highest priority. As most people who care about and study these issues know, the first weeks of school are often when we see the highest rates of sexual violence,” Charters said.
Charters is referring to what is known as the “Red Zone,” the first six to ten weeks of school where high numbers of sexual assault cases tend to happen on college campuses around the country.
Kim Camacho, violence prevention support coordinator at Boise State, believes there are many different reasons as to why this happens.
“There are multiple factors that likely contribute to [the “Red Zone”]. Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim, the following factors are things that people who perpetrate sexual violence often recognize and use to facilitate an assault,” Camacho wrote.
For students, being on their own for the first time or being away from home can put them in a vulnerable situation to be a victim of sexual assault.
“For incoming first-year students, this is likely the first time they are living on their own and some may be living far from their support systems such as family and friends, which can create opportunities for students to be more isolated and less supported,” Camacho wrote.
Camacho adds that it’s important to educate students on bystander intervention education.
“New students may not be familiar with recognizing concerning situations and may not have the tools to intervene to help keep others in our community safe,” Camacho wrote. “We find that providing bystander intervention education is an effective way to engage campus members in conversations about gender-based violence and empowering those in our community to help prevent sexual violence.”
Camacho emphasizes how alcohol consumption can also play a big role in the timing of sexual assault cases.
“This time of year is also typically accompanied by higher rates of alcohol consumption. Approximately, 90% of campus sexual assaults are facilitated by alcohol, which is often used as a tool to perpetrate a sexual assault,” Camacho wrote.
The three basic aspects of prevention for sexual or gender-based assaults that Camacho outlined were primary prevention, risk reduction and the following response.
Primary prevention focuses on strategies that help prevent assaults from occurring, risk reduction helps reduce the risk of experiencing violence and the response is the action that is taken after an assault happens. The response includes advocacy, reporting options and supportive resources.
Director of Security, Police and Event OperationsTana Monroe discusses how students have different options and resoures when it comes to filing a sexual assault report.
“In sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking cases, we recommend that you report these cases to the Department of Public Safety, although we recognize reporting can be difficult for survivors,” Monroe wrote.
Other ways students can report a crime include, a silent witness form, the exterior blue emergency telephones located throughout campus and a mobile app called Rave Guardian that allows students to send anonymous texts or tips to Boise State’s Department of Public Safety. Lastly, in the event of an emergency students are encouraged to dial 9-1-1.
Camacho believes the way we can put an end to sexual violence on campuses is through education.
“Ideally, students would receive education about consent, bystander intervention, and healthy relationships in K-12, long before they ever set foot on campus. For some students, these are brand new concepts when they arrive at college and, unfortunately, our educational programming does not reach every student,” Camacho wrote.
According to Camacho, education on aftercare and reporting resources is just as important as preventative information.
“It’s not uncommon that students will share with us that they were unfamiliar with the available resources [on campus] such as the Gender Equity Center, Office of the Dean of Students, Title IX coordinator,” Camacho wrote. “This information helps us to understand what gaps exist and identify strategies to ensure students are familiar with available resources on campus.”
The Timely Warning Notice emails reinforced the following: The only person responsible for sexual misconduct is the perpetrator. It is a violation of University policy to engage in sexual activity without consent from the other person, non-consensual groping, recording sexual activity without consent, stalking, or exposing oneself in non-consensual circumstances. This is reflected in University POLICY 1065, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, DATING VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND STALKING. A University student or employee in violation of this policy faces sanctions up to and including expulsion or termination.
Options for reporting sexual misconduct include:
- Reports of sexual misconduct, as well as questions related to sexual misconduct, including information about University support services, should be directed to Danielle Berish Charters, Title IX Coordinator, at (208) 426-1750 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students seeking confidential counseling services should contact University Counseling Services by phone at (208) 426-1459, or in person at 1529 Belmont St, Boise, ID (located directly behind the Student Recreation Center, in the Norco Building).
- All students can receive confidential support services, including assistance filing a complaint with the University and/or with law enforcement, as well as learn how to help make our campus safer through bystander intervention, by contacting the Gender Equity Center in person on the second floor of the Student Union Building, above the Info Desk at 1700 University Drive, Boise, ID 83706, by phone at (208) 426-4259, or by sending an email to email@example.com.