Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know
A Guide for Students & the Kutztown University Community
- Sexual/Gender Based Offenses Policies (Title IX)
- Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence Brochure
What is Sexual Assault?
Legal and institutional definitions of sexual assault vary widely but in simple terms, sexual assault refers to any unwanted sexual contact, or in other words, sexual contact against your will, and without consent (womenslaw.org). Sexual violence and intimate partner violence is a problem that plagues our society and college campuses are no exception. This site has been developed to help educate members of the community about sexual and relationship violence and to provide resource information to help those impacted by violence.
Consent to Sexual Activity
Consent to sexual activity, known as effective consent, is words or actions indicating permission to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Effective consent must be informed, voluntary and represented clearly by actions or words. Effective consent to sexual activity may not: be gained by force, the threat of force, coercion or intimidation; be gained when a person is incapacitated as a result of physical (i.e. substance use) or developmental conditions and that fact is known or should reasonably be known by another; or as otherwise defined under the definition of Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse.
- Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not equate consent to another form of sexual activity.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.
Coercion is an unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that he/she does not want sex, that he/she wants to stop, or does not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
A person cannot consent if he/she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the reporting party. Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “No.”
How to Report Sexual/Gender Offenses
Students are encouraged to report sexual/gender-based misconduct (non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and/or dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services immediately either by the individual or through a University staff member for criminal investigation and/or reporting.
Students are also encouraged to report sexual/gender-based misconduct to the Dean of Students Office and Title IX Coordinator for an administrative investigation.
University employees should immediately report information regarding any sexual/gender-based misconduct to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services and to the Title IX Coordinator.
While anonymous complaints are accepted, Kutztown University's ability to address misconduct reported anonymously, is significantly limited.
To file a report, use the following online form or contact one of the offices below:
Sexual Misconduct & Intimate Partner Violence Report Form:
Public Safety & Police Services: Old Main, B wing (Basement Level)
- Emergencies: 610-683-4001
- Non Emergencies: 610-683-4002
Dean of Students Office: 119 Stratton Administration Center
Title IX Coordinator: Office of Social Equity - Old Main, A Wing
How does the student conduct process work?
The process for filing charges against a student by a University community member as well as the process and rights of students responding to an allegation of student misconduct, including sexual/gender-based misconduct, is defined in the Document on Student Rights and Welfare (DSRW) as published in the student handbook, The Key (http://www.kutztown.edu/TheKey).
- Once an incident is reported to the Dean of Students Office, initial outreach will be sent within approximately 1-3 business days inviting the complainant to schedule an intake meeting to provide policy and resource information.
- At an intake meeting, the complainant will be provided a copy of this policy, advised of available support services and informed of their rights. Additionally, the following information will be reviewed:
- Any immediate safety needs of the complainant.
- Appropriate referrals to medical care, depending on when the crime was reported.
- Assist the complainant with reporting sexual or gender-based violence to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services and/or local police, if requested.
- Information regarding on and off-campus mental health and advocacy services.
- Information about advocacy and support services available through the Healing Environment and Response Team (HEART) through SafeBerks.
- Options for living, academic, transportation and/or working accommodations.
- Options for interim measures including if a “no contact” directive should be issued which would be applicable to both parties.
- The need to implement other interim measures such as facility restrictions and/or interim suspensions, as appropriate.
- Review the student conduct process, including input from the complainant regarding moving forward with student conduct charges and/or to participating in an investigation and/or student conduct hearing.
- In most instances where an investigation is required or requested by the complainant, a notice of investigation will be sent to the respondent with 1-5 business days from when the formal complaint was filed.
- Upon completion of the investigation, a report will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator in approximately 15-20 business days for review and approval of charges.
- Upon Title IX Coordinator review, both parties to the complaint will be notified of next steps. If charges are warranted, both parties will meet separately with a case officer at a preliminary briefing within 2-7 business days.
- At separate preliminary briefings, the respondent and complainant will be provided an opportunity to review the investigation report. The respondent will have the opportunity to accept or deny the allegations; the complainant will be informed of the respondent’s response to the charges.
- If the respondent accepts responsibility for the alleged student conduct violations at the preliminary briefing, the student will be issued sanctions and both parties will be simultaneously notified of the outcome, in writing, within approximately 2-5 business days.
- If the respondent denies responsibility for any or all of the alleged student conduct violations at the preliminary briefing, a hearing will be scheduled and all parties will be notified of a hearing date in writing in approximately 2-5 business days.
- Absent unusual circumstances, a hearing will occur in approximately 10-15 business days from the date of scheduling. At the hearing, both parties to the complaint will have equal opportunity to present information, question witnesses and have an advocate of choice attend the hearing. With respect to questioning, “Direct questioning of complainant and respondent by either party will not be permitted.” In such cases, questioning is permitted but will be directed to and facilitated by the conduct board. The university also retains the discretion to provide accommodations of its own hearing procedures when it concludes that the accommodation is warranted by the situation.
- Following the hearing, the university will simultaneously inform the complainant and respondent, in writing, of the outcome of the hearing within approximately 5-10 business days from the hearing date.
- Both the respondent and complainant will be provided information regarding their right to appeal within 5 business days from the date of notification. If an appeal is submitted by one party, the other party will be notified and provided an opportunity to review the appeal and submit a response as part of the appeal process.
- Regardless of the outcome, the university will enforce the retaliation policy of the Sexual/Gender-Based Offenses Policy and Student Code of Conduct as well as any on-going interim measures (e.g. no contact orders) that remain in place.
Rights of Complainants (Reporting Party)
The following rights of a complainant in sexual/gender-based misconduct will be afforded in all University student conduct procedures:
Report sexual/gender-based misconduct to the Kutztown University Department of Public Safety and Police Services, the Dean of Students Office, Title IX Coordinator, and/or local police for adjudication in both or either jurisdiction. A complainant is encouraged, but not required, to report allegations of sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services and/or off-campus law enforcement.
Receive consideration for amnesty for conduct violations (i.e. alcohol policy) related to the same incident in question.
Provide input on whether or not to move forward with Student Code of Conduct charges and/or participate in a student conduct hearing.
Have every effort made to respect a student's privacy.
Contact supportive agencies such as a rape crisis center.
Be free from intimidation or harassment by the alleged respondent or others.
Request a change of on-campus living, working and/or transportation arrangements, academic schedules and/or other schedules and/or those of the respondent, if reasonably available by the Dean of Students Office and/or Title IX Coordinator.
Have a "no-contact" and/or "stay away" directive issued to one or both parties of a complaint by Dean of Students Office and/or Title IX Coordinator.
Select an advocate of choice to accompany the student through all University student conduct processes.
Protection against discussion of non-relevant, past sexual history during the hearing.
Have the option to remain physically present during the entire student conduct hearing and participate fully in the hearing, including the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.
Be informed simultaneously, in writing, of the outcome of the hearing, the potential for appeal by either party, the final disposition of appeal, if applicable, and when the results become final.
Have the case decided by the preponderance of evidence (i.e. it is more likely than not the sexual offense occurred).
Make up any academic work missed while participating in student conduct or criminal proceedings related to the incident in question.
Rights of Respondents (Accused Party)
Consistent with the rights of students charged with student misconduct as defined and enumerated in Article IV of the Document on Student Rights & Welfare, the respondent is also entitled to select an advocate of choice to accompany him/her through all University student conduct processes. Respondents have the right to participate fully in the hearing, present evidence and witnesses during the hearing, and be informed of the outcome of the hearing, the potential for appeal by either party, the final disposition of appeal, if applicable, and when the results are final.
Title IX & Sexual/Gender Based Misconduct
Kutztown University is committed to creating an environment free of sexual harassment for its students. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits student-on-student sexual/gender based misconduct and requires a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. In addition, the Campus SAVE Act or Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (amendments to the Violence Against Women Act) require the University to have policies and training about not only sexual violence, but also other crimes including dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Sexual/gender based harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence (including, but not limited to, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation) is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and includes physical sexual acts: against a person's will, where a person is incapable of giving consent as a result of his/her use of drugs or alcohol use, or where an individual is unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.
Sexual/gender based misconduct will not be tolerated. The University will actively and expeditiously investigate any allegation of sexual/gender based misconduct and if it is determined that misconduct has occurred, the University will take appropriate disciplinary action. Allegations of sexual harassment, other than allegations against a student for sexual/gender based misconduct addressed in this policy, will be investigated pursuant to the process outlined in "The University Procedure" section of the Kutztown University Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures (KU Policy DIV-007).
Title IX Coordinator
The University's Title IX Coordinator is Mr. Jesus A. Peña, Esq., and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator is Ms. Jacqueline Fox, Esq. The role of the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator is to oversee investigations involving sexual/gender based offenses against students and to ensure University-wide compliance with Title IX. The offices of the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator are located in the Office of Social Equity, Old Main A Wing, and either may be reached by telephone at 610-683-4700 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual/Gender Based Misconduct Definitions
Sexual violence of all kinds, including intimate partner violence, will not be tolerated. The standards listed below clearly define prohibited conduct that is in violation of the Sexual/Gender Based Offenses Policy of the Student Code of Conduct which is published in its entirety in The Key student handbook.
1. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit the same) includes all acts involving any penetration of a bodily cavity with a foreign object, tongue, digit, or genitalia, however slight, by a person upon another person, without consent and/or by physical force. Non-consensual sexual intercourse occurs when imposed under any of the following circumstances:
- a. When the complainant is incapable of giving legal consent for mental, developmental, or physical reasons and this fact is known or reasonably should have been known by the person committing the act; or
- b. When the act is committed without the person's explicit consent or is against the person's wishes. Non-consensual sexual intercourse incorporates any or all of the following: the use of force, threat, intimidation, coercion, duress, violence, or by causing a reasonable fear of harm; or
- c. When the complainant is incapable of consenting or resisting because of incapacitation, as a result of alcohol and/or drug consumption or unconsciousness at the time of the act, and this fact is known or reasonably should have been known by the person committing the act.
2. Non-Consensual Sexual Conduct:
- a. Sexual Assault: Sexual assault (or attempts to commit the same) is the imposition of non-consensual sexual conduct (excluding non-consensual sexual intercourse) however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, without consent and/or by physical force. It includes, but is not limited to caressing, fondling, or touching a person's genitalia, buttocks, or breasts. It shall also be considered sexual assault when the complainant is compelled to caress, fondle, or touch the respondent's or another person's genitalia, buttocks, or breasts.
- b. Sexual Contact: Any non-consensual, intentional bodily contact (or attempts to commit the same) in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, without consent and/or by physical force.
3. Sexual Harassment:
Any prohibited behavior defined under the Kutztown University Sexual Harassment Policy (KU DIV-007):
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct that is pervasive or severe and objectively offensive may constitute sexual harassment when:
- a. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement; or
- b. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such an individual; or
- c. such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
4. Sexual Exploitation:
Taking non-consensual sexual advantage of another. Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to, prostituting another student, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over another person, the non-consensual recording, photographing, or transmitting of identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or intimate body parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks), knowingly allowing another person to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity, engaging in non-consensual voyeurism, knowingly transmitting or exposing another student to sexually transmitted infection or diseases without the knowledge of the student, exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals, and sexually based stalking and/or bullying.
5. Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, or Other Related Behaviors:
- a. Dating Violence: Violence by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the complainant. Whether such a relationship exists will be gauged by the length, type, and frequency of interaction between the complainant and respondent.
- b. Domestic Violence: Violent offenses committed by the complainant's current or former spouse, the complainant's current or former cohabitant, a person similarly situated under domestic or family violence laws, or anyone else against an individual protected under domestic or family violence laws.
- c. Stalking: The repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment, and/or interference with the peace and safety of another person that has the effect of intimidating another person.
Other related behaviors, such as harassment, physical abuse, threats, intimidation, or bullying that fall under the Harm to Other standard or other standards of the Student Code of Conduct may be applied in addition to any of the above sexual misconduct offenses.
Heart @ KU
The HEART at KU program under the direction of SafeBerks, is available on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services provided by HEART at KU & SafeBerks are available to all people who have been sexually assaulted and/or ho have suffered relationship violence. HEART advocates can:
- Offer support to the victim (if requested) during initial interviews by police on campus.
- Accompany the victim to the hospital for testing and treatment, if needed, or decide to have SafeBerks meet the student at the hospital to offer support during testing.
- Distribute resource information concerning referral services available to the victim and offer information concerning access to those services.
HEART at KU Hotline (SafeBerks): Call 844-789-SAFE or Text: “SAFE BERKS” to 20121
Risk Reduction Strategies
With no intention to blame the complainant, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. Below, suggestions to avoid a non-consensual sexual act being committed against you are also offered:
- If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
- Tell a sexual aggressor "NO" clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
- Find someone nearby and ask for help.
- Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
- Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help reduce your risk for a complaint of sexual misconduct being made against you:
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries.
- Don't make assumptions about consent; about someone's sexual availability; about whether a person is attracted to you; about how far you can go or about the person's physical and/or mental ability to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
- Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
- Don't take advantage of someone's drunkenness or drugged state, even if the state is self-inflicted.
- Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don't abuse that power.
- Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
- Don't think that it can't happen to you! Just being aware that you could be at risk makes you less vulnerable.
- You have the right to set sexual limits in any situation. Make sure that you clearly communicate these limits.
- Don't invite people into your room that you do not know.
- Don't be afraid to be assertive. If someone is doing something you don't like or is not respecting your limits, then leave the situation.
- Consider taking a self-defense course. KU offers courses such as RAD (Rape Aggression Defense).
- Trust your instincts. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, then trust your gut reaction and get out as soon as possible.
- Stay sober. Drinking or using drugs diminishes your ability to make good decisions and makes you more vulnerable to the possibility of assault.
- Never leave any beverage unattended or accept a drink from someone you do not know well.
- Don't leave any event with someone you just met or don't know well.
- Don't walk alone at night; avoid being near secluded or wooded areas.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are going, look around to see who is near you, walk confidently and always be alert. Use cell phones with caution; they can distract you from your surroundings.
- Always keep your home and car doors locked.
- Never buzz in, sign in or let anyone you don't know well into your residence hall or apartment. Make sure you know who is at the door before you open it.
On & Off-Campus Resources
- Public Safety & Police Services: 610-683-4001
- Safety Escort Services (24/7): 610-683-4002
- Anonymous Crime Tip Line (on-campus only): x38477
- Counseling & Psychological Services: 610-683-4072
- Dean of Students Office: 610-683-1320
- KU Behavioral Intervention Team (KUBIT): 610-683-1396
- Health & Wellness Center: 610-683-4082
- Women's Center/HEART at KU: 610-683-4655
- Title IX Coordinator: 610-683-4700
- International Admissions & Services (Immigration & Visa Services): 484-646-4256
- SafeBerks: 610-373-1206, www.safeberks.org
- SafeBerks/HEART Hotline: 610-372-9540
- Turning Point of Lehigh Valley: 610-437-3369, www.turningpointlv.org
- Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape: 1-888-772-7227, www.pcar.org
- Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 1-800-932-4632, www.pcadv.org
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233, www.ndvh.org
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673, www.rainn.org
- National Dating Violence Hotline: 1-866-331-9474, www.loveisrespect.org
What to do if you think you have been sexually assaulted:
- Call the police if you are in immediate danger: On-campus emergency telephones are identified by a blue light; the emergency number is 610-683-4001. Off-campus students should call 911 immediately.
- Get to a safe place: After an assault, you may be in a state of shock. Wrap yourself in something warm. To preserve evidence, DO NOT: Bathe/shower, eat/drink, smoke, brush your teeth or hair, urinate, or wash your clothing. Put the clothes you were wearing into a paper (not plastic) bag.
- Call someone you trust: Receiving comfort and support helps restore a sense of safety and contributes to better decision-making.
- Seek medical attention: You may have injuries of which you're unaware; you also should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy (if applicable). A medical exam for evidence collection (by a qualified forensic nurse examiner) is strongly recommended and should be done as soon as possible.
- Report the assault promptly: Reporting an assault does not commit you to filing charges and you can decide at any time not to pursue the case. While it is important that perpetrators be held accountable and prevented from doing this to others, you should never let anyone pressure you if you know you do not want to report.
- Talk with a counselor: Working with a counselor can accelerate recovery and help you manage post-traumatic symptoms.
- Take care of yourself: Rest, eat well, seek social support and engage in activities that are healing for you and your body.
What to do if someone you care about has experienced sexual assault or relationship violence:
- Listen to the victim/survivor and take what she/he says seriously.
- Reassure the person that the assault or violence was not her/his fault.
- Ask first before you touch or hug the victim/survivor to show support.
- Don't judge or ask questions that could be interpreted as blaming, such as "Why didn't you fight back?" "What were you wearing?" or "How can you stay in that relationship?"
- Don't press for details. Allow the person to share information at her/his own pace in a safe environment.
- Encourage victim/survivor to seek assistance and volunteer to go with her/him.
- Respect the person's right to make her/his own decision about whether to report the assault/abuse.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Offer to accompany the victim/survivor to classes, meals, parking lots, social gatherings, etc.
- Get support for yourself. Hearing about or witnessing events that are hurtful to those for whom we care also can produce post-traumatic symptoms.
The Importance of Preserving Evidence
If a complainant goes to the hospital, local or campus police may be called, but s/he is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a complainant but will not obligate him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the complainant decide later to exercise it.
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault or rape must be collected from the complainant's person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe someone has sexually assaulted you, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing. The nearest hospital to the University with a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) is Reading Hospital & Medical Center. The hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene-leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.