Sexual Assault Awareness Month: A new tool, and resources at the school

Rosemary Raths
rnr002@marietta.edu

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and an important time to brush up on what to do if you or someone you know is sexually assaulted. At Marietta College, the numbers of reported forcible sex offenses are low, but still evident in the Annual Security and Fire Report. In both 2013 and 2014, two forcible sex offenses were reported on campus for the year, and in 2015 no offenses were reported. The low numbers may be due to a lack of offenses, or to a lack of reporting. If it is the latter, it is important to know the resources Marietta College makes available to survivors.

Although this article is a good resource now, there is high chance it will not be there when you need it most. That’s one of the many reasons Reach Out Editions was created, according to one of the app’s four co-founders, Jack Zandi, who reached out to the Marcolian last week in hopes of shedding some light on his new tool.

The app, available to anyone with an iPhone or Android, allows students to access a homescreen designed for their particular college and view all of the available resources for them any time they need to. Marietta College is one of about 900 schools with a completely up-to-date page in the new application.

According to Jack Zandi, anyone who downloads the app has access to contacts such as the Title IX Coordinator, the victim advocate, counseling services, and campus police. The app also explains how each of those resources can help, and what to expect when interacting with them. It also provides easy-to-understand advice for preserving evidence, making the first painful contact with an advocate, and deciding when to report the incident.

Here are some of the basics about Marietta College that you may find in the app, but can also find in the college’s Annual Security and Fire Report:

The college itself has many outlets for you to receive help. According to the most recent Annual Security and Fire Report, if the student wishes to remain confidential, the college exempts all of their licensed mental health professionals from making mandatory reports of sexual assualt, forcible sex offenses, or rape. This rule applies only if leaving the incident unreorted does not put a student at risk. Their main priority is the safety of the student.

Students wishing to keep their privacy can also fill out a confidential online report at: www.marietta.edu/report-crime-complaint. The policy for the online reports, according to the Annual Security and Fire Report, is to “take no actions in attempting to identify those that use the online crime reporting form unless there is a substantial risk of physical harm.”

Students wishing to file a non-confidential report, will make their official complaint to the Title IX Coordinator. For students unsure of what Title IX is, the Marietta College website says that the Title IX law “prohibits gender-based discrimination in all programs and activities of any educational institution receiving federal funding,” and is most commonly thought of when concerning “athletics and sexual harassment/misconduct.”

After making the complaint to the Title IX coordinator, an investigation will be launched. After a fact-finding expedition, a decision will be made by the investigators. That decision will be to dismiss or to remand the complaint. If the case is remanded, it will make its way to the Student Accountability Board. From there, decisions on punishments and severity will be made.

The college also actively works to prevent any incidents of campus sexual assault. The campus police often hold self-defense awareness programs, and provide blue light phones for emergencies. The phones are located around campus, and feature a red button that will connect anyone who pushes it to a 9-1-1 operator. The black button allows students to reach any on-campus department, including the police. Campus Police also note in their Annual Security and Fire Report, that students should “never hesitate to contact the Marietta College Police Department with any suspicion regarding your own or someone else’s safety.”

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