Post Prompts Discussion Of Sexual Assault Resources
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 00:10
She stressed that all details reported to BCPD regarding a sexual assault are confidential, and would never show up in a public record such as a police blotter. BCPD does not only deal with assaults on-campus—the department also acts as a liaison with the appropriate police and judicial forces for off-campus incidents, including those that occur out of state.
If the victim chooses to pursue prosecution of the assailant after a sexual assault is reported, Spiess said, two options are available. Adjudication through the Dean of Students Office can be initiated only when both students are still registered at BC, and there are significant measures taken to protect the victim—for instance, screens can be put up in the room if the survivor does not wish to see the assailant, or an account can be taken down in writing. Prosecution through the court system can be initiated up to 15 years after the assault occurs, but that is often more stressful for the victim, as the threshold for proving that an assault happened is more stringent. The two options are not mutually exclusive, but Spiess emphasized the importance of reporting an assault as soon as possible, so that details are taken down and a record is begun in case the victim decides to pursue prosecution at a later date.
Dalton spoke specifically about the Bystander Intervention program, saying that a recent, multi-year assessment had confirmed the program’s effectiveness. The WRC is still assessing which venues are most successful and can reach the greatest number of students, but it is hoping to have an entire class go through training within the next five years.
Dalton also ran through other resources that the WRC has for those affected by sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Network (SANet), a hotline staffed by trained advocates, is housed within the WRC—a confidential support group for survivors, HEAL, is also run through the center. Members of the WRC are also available to advise and accompany survivors after an assault, if they so desire.
Mulderrig spoke last, emphasizing that members of ResLife serve as on-campus resources. “By the end of the year all faculty and staff on campus will be trained in what to do should a sexual assault be disclosed to them—that’s something that hasn’t been done in the past,” Mulderrig said. “If there’s someone working for the University in any capacity, they will know how to connect you to the resources that you need.” Members of the Dean of Students Office have been trained to handle sexual assault cases, he said, and there is an administrator from Student Affairs on-call 24/7.
“A big part of the reason why [post 7122] was so upsetting for us was because it really shattered the sense of safety that we had in our campus community,” he said. He confirmed that the student responsible had been suspended, but said that BCPD could not comment further on the investigation. “Whether it was a hoax or not, it gives us the opportunity to think about these kinds of things happening, and think about the kind of community that we want to be.”