News & Updates - Center for Changing Our Campus Culture

News & Updates

For members of the LGBTQ community—especially those who identify as transgender— the rate of victimization from interpersonal crime and intimate partner violence (IPV) is staggering and alarming. More than 24 percent of undergraduate students identifying as transgender, genderqueer, questioning, or not listed (TGQN) experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. In 2015, the Association of American Universities found that one in four transgender students have experienced sexual assault since enrolling in college. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), lesbian, gay, and bisexual people experience violence at rates much higher than straight people. For instance, among rape victims, 48 percent of bisexual women reported being raped between the ages of 11 and 17 compared to 28 percent of their heterosexual female counterparts. A 2021 study from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault. And these crimes are more prevalent in trans people ages 16 and above. This suggests college administrators, faculty, and staff should be particularly diligent in gathering resources and supporting trans victims of interpersonal crimes. In the article “College Sexual Assault and […]

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During the month of April, colleges and universities will host educational and awareness-raising events and activities to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In their 2016 article “How Prevalent is Sexual Assault on College Campuses?” authors Lisa Fedina, Jennifer Holmes, and Bethany Backes write that women; first -and-second-year students; sorority members; racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; and students with a history of sexual victimization have a higher prevalence of being sexually assaulted. For their study based on 15 years-worth of data, the authors concluded school administrations should have an understanding of the prevalence and types of sexual victimization occurring on their campuses. College administrators can’t monitor every campus activity. Maintaining a healthy, respectful, and inclusive campus environment is often predicated on the choices and maturity of students. College administrators are responsible for establishing a campus culture that values the safety of every student—and for holding students and faculty who jeopardize that safety accountable. When institutions prioritize creating a culture of sexual assault prevention and awareness for everyone, the risk for sexual assault is diminished. Fedina, Holmes, and Backes suggest that there are cultural and contextual differences between small private liberal arts schools, large public universities, community colleges, and trade schools, but […]

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Teen dating violence affects millions of young people in this country every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teen dating violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking. This form of intimate partner violence can be perpetrated in person, by technology, or online. The pernicious effects of dating violence can have a lifelong impact on the victim’s health, self-esteem, and ability to form healthy relationships.  College administrators and staff have to understand some victims of teen dating violence may bring the trauma of the experience with them to college. Attitudes on appropriate dating and interpersonal relationships are formed early. A 2009 study of sixth graders found that 25 percent believed it was acceptable for a boyfriend to hit his girlfriend. This sobering statistic suggests we must change the narrative and correct this dangerous and destructive way of thinking before young people become hard-wired to believe teen dating violence is acceptable. There are countless studies on the adolescent brain and how young people process information and social dynamics. According to Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll (2011), 70 percent of respondents who experienced teen dating violence viewed their relationships as healthy when […]

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January! A new year. Time for annual resolutions and promises to do and be better. But January is also Stalking Awareness Month. And one of those resolutions must be to support people, especially women on college campuses who are stalked and harassed. Women need to be heard and feel safe. They need access to the resources that can help them regain control of their lives. Colleges must also take allegations of stalking seriously and discipline the perpetrators of these acts and when necessary, support the criminal justice system’s prosecution of these individuals. According to Victim Connect Resource Center, “stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” https://victimconnect.org/learn/types-of-crime/stalking/ It is a pattern of behavior that can be overwhelming and leave its victims isolated, and in extreme cases, too terrified to leave their homes. In worst cases, stalking victims have been killed by their stalkers. If you have not been stalked, you might know someone who has been victimized by stalking. In the United States, 1 out of 6 women have been subjected to the fear inducing acts of a stalker. While stalking behavior is not limited to men, (1 […]

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Many communities and campuses across the country commemorate the strength and spirit of its Native Americans and their invaluable contributions to the country in November. College campuses often lead the way on celebrating the diversity, endurance, rich histories and stories of the people whose identities and sacrifices are woven into the tapestry of America’s narrative. For our collective memory and safety, it is vital that our institutions of higher learning create a climate where Indigenous traditions and cultures are not lost or diminished. When we honor the legacy of Native Americans, we ensure their resilience is not forgotten. When we honor their legacy, we ensure their safety is prioritize. And when we honor their legacy, we must also remember the role of Indigenous women in the early tribes. Native American women had an equal role beside the men in Native society before Europeans arrived on these shores over 500 years ago. These women also had agency over their own bodies and sexuality. Native American society forbade rape. For instance, the Powhatan tribe banished a man from the tribe for raping a woman. Historians believe European men judged Indigenous women they encountered by Eurocentric Christian values and mores. Native women fought […]

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About one in ten men experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Although that number is much lower than the approximately one in four women who experience domestic violence, it is nevertheless a reality we should acknowledge and address during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). We may not immediately thing of college-aged students when we discuss domestic violence. However, the definition of domestic violence shared by the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services broadens the understanding of the term to encompass intimate partner violence, which includes “physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by a current or former intimate partner.” The United Nations refers to domestic violence as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, describing it as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Thinking about domestic violence in this way makes it quite clear that many college students are at risk, including men. Of the men who are domestic violence survivors, more than half (56%) experienced violence before the age of 25—a period when many young adults are navigating life on a college campuses. How domestic violence impacts male college students […]

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From September 15 to October 15, communities and campuses around the country celebrate culture and history of Hispanic people are celebrated and honored. September is also Campus Safety Month for colleges and universities, making it a perfect time to shed light on the importance of campuses providing culturally competent resources and support to Latinx and Hispanic students. Creating a safe campus starts with affirming every students’ cultures and lived experience, and that starts with understanding what certain terms we use mean—and what terms students prefer. Though Latinx and Hispanic are often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” broadly refers to people of Spanish-speaking descent, while “Latino/a” (or the more gender-neutral term “Latinx”) refers to residents of the U.S. who trace their ancestry to Latin America. The Impact of Gender Roles Understanding these and other cultural touchstones of Hispanic, Latino, and other communities, campuses can provide effective and culturally appropriate support and resources for Hispanic survivors. A student’s country of origin and generation may have a significant influence on how they respond after experiencing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Traditional gender roles, machismo, and marianismo, strong family values called familismo, fear of shame, and law enforcement all play significant roles when […]

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Ensuring a safe return to campus for students, faculty, and staff has taken on a new meaning and challenges for college campuses as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers. Campus leaders must balance COVID-19 safety protocols with a pressing need to improve student safety in other areas, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Recent research suggests the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders significantly weakened financial and social support systems. These stay-at-home orders were particularly devastating for those who experience domestic violence and intimate partner violence at home, as one study found that of those also experiencing violence at home before the onset of the pandemic, nearly 23 percent reported that the violence had worsened. Unemployment and isolation from others have left survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence susceptible to increased violence in the home. The reopening of college campuses provides an opportunity for those individuals experiencing violence at home to escape from their abusers and for campus staff to provide resources for them to escape from abuse permanently. The reopening of campus is an opportunity to provide support for victims of violence, providing a haven from their abusers, as women 18-24 and 25-34 have the highest […]

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This Assessment Tool is intended to be used after reviewing Integrating Victim Services into Conduct Policies Guide. This case study can be used to assess how integrated victim services is in your institutions’ current domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVSAS) conduct policy. “Se pretende utilizar esta Herramienta de Evaluación tras revisar la Guía de Políticas de Conducta sobre su Integración en los Servicios a la Víctima. Este caso de estudio puede ser utilizado para evaluar el nivel de integración de su institución, los servicios a la víctima y la política de conducta existente sobre la Violencia doméstica, Violencia en la relación de pareja, acoso sexual y acecho (DVSAS).” Download Document descargar documento

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights today issued a Notice of Interpretation explaining that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance. The Department’s interpretation stems from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, issued one year ago this week, in which the Supreme Court recognized that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex. “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections. I’m proud to have directed the Office for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Today, the Department makes clear that all […]

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