The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence



New Campus Sexual Assault Laws in Virginia

Today’s show is about the new sexual assault laws going into effect this month across Virginia.

You can listen to the show here

HB 1785. Campus police departments; sexual assault reporting. The law requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency require either the campus police force or the agency with which it has established a mutual aid agreement to notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth within 48 hours of beginning any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education. The law also requires institutions of higher education that have security departments instead of campus police forces to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a law-enforcement agency that requires similar notification to the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

HB 1930/SB 712. Institutions of higher education; reporting acts of sexual violence. The law requires any responsible employee of a public or private nonprofit institution of higher education who in the course of his employment obtains information that an act of sexual violence has been committed against a student or on campus property or other property related to the institution to report such information to the Title IX coordinator for the institution as soon as practicable, who must in turn report such information to a review committee that is required to meet within 72 hours of the receipt of such information. If the review committee determines that disclosure of the information regarding the alleged act of sexual violence is necessary to protect the health and safety of the victim or other individuals, the information, including personally identifiable information, must be reported to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged act. In addition, the law requires the governing board of each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to (i) establish a written memorandum of understanding with a local sexual assault crisis center or other victim support service and (ii) adopt policies to provide victims with information on contacting such center or service. The law requires each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to annually certify to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia that it has reviewed its sexual violence policy and requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to monitor and report on the impact of the legislation on the workload of local victim witness programs.

SB 1193. Academic transcripts; suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdrawal from institution. The law requires the registrar of certain public and private institutions of higher education, or the other employee, office, or department of the institution that is responsible for maintaining student academic records, to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts committed against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent, under the institution’s code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct. Any notation due to a student’s suspension must be removed if the student completed the term and conditions of the suspension and has been determined by the institution to be in good standing.

Need to find a local sexual assault or rape crisis center near your school?  Look at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance List of Member Agencies to find local centers.

The V Word: Shekeyah Hayes, student at VUU, talks about Domestic Violence on Campus

Shekeyah Hayes, student from Virginia Union University, talks about the prevalence and impact of domestic violence on campus.

You can listen to the show here

Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-838-8238

The V Word: Prescriptions and Rape on Campus – A Survivor’s Story

Here is today’s broadcast of The V Word.

You can listen to today’s episode here

A survivor’s story came in yesterday. She writes:
pillbottle“I have a hard time sleeping in college, I guess it’s the noise, sharing a room, and the late nights. I had started taking a sleep aid to help me sleep. My friends, of course, knew this as I did not keep it a secret. In fact I would often take it in front of them as I was winding down for the night and before everyone left my room on study or movie nights. It took a few minutes to work and I would take it as people were leaving and I started getting ready for bed. I never felt I was not safe before.
One night though I wasn’t safe. A male friend who had been over watching a movie, stayed behind the others and came back in to my room after the sleeping pill was taking effect and raped me.
I went to the school but it went no where. He stated I asked him to, the school stated it was my word against his and I had let him over to be in my room in the first place. It was implied I led him on by taking the pills.
I had to see him on campus, I had to change my classes because he was in two of them. I finally dropped out and returned home because I got too depressed to study and my grades started dropping.”

She is not alone and as listeners are aware, rape on college campuses is finally a national topic of conversation.
Findings from a report by Fisher, B.S., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2000). The Sexual Victimization of College Women. National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. include:

  • It is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career.
  • Among college women, 9 in 10 victims of rape and sexual assault knew their offender.
    Almost 12.8% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22.9% of threatened rapes happened during a date.
  • 2.8% experienced either a completed rape (1.7%) or an attempted rape (1.1%) during the six-month period in which the study was conducted. Of victims, 22.8% were victims of multiple rapes.
  • If this data is calculated for a calendar year period, nearly 5% of college women are victimized during any given calendar year.
  • It is estimated that for every 1,000 women attending a college or university, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year.
  • Off-campus sexual victimization is much more common among college women than on-campus victimization. Of victims of completed rape 33.7% were victimized on campus and 66.3% off campus.
  • Less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women were reported to law enforcement.
  • However, in 2/3rds of the incidents the victim did tell another person, usually a friend, not family or school officials.
  • Another study by Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. National Institute of Justice found:

    Many women (88%) have never consumed a drink left unattended or consumed a drink given to them by a stranger (76%).

  • One-quarter of the sample (25%) reported consuming alcohol or drugs before sex at least once a month, and slightly fewer (23%) were drunk or high during sex at least once a month.
  • Eighteen percent experienced an attempted (13%) and/or completed (13%) sexual assault since entering college.
  • Among the total sample, 5% experienced a completed physically forced sexual assault, but a much higher percentage (11%) experienced a completed incapacitated sexual assault.
  • Sexual assaults were most likely to occur in September, October and November, on Friday or Saturday nights, and between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.
    Most victims of physically forced or incapacitated sexual assault were assaulted by someone they knew (79% and 88%).
  • Freshmen and sophomores are at greater risk for victimization than juniors and seniors.

For Student Activists –

  • Know Your IX
  • Students Against for Ending Rape (SAFER). CHANGE HAPPENS anti-violence campus organizing manual. Free for students.
  • Watch PreventConnect Podcast with SAFER, Beyond Blue Lights.
  • The Center for Public Integrity. Reporter’s Toolkit: Investigating Sexual Assault Cases on Your Campus.

For Law Enforcement

  • U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services.Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series No. 17: Acquaintance Rape of College Students.

General Campus Resources

  • The Center for Public Integrity. Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice (three-part series).
  • Los Angeles College Consortium Project (LACCP). Dealing with Campus Violence Against Women Website.
  • Office on Victims of Crime Message Board: Responding to Sexual Violence on Campus.
    Sexual Assault Program Coordinators (SAPC) listserv
  • To join:
    Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) Change Happens blog
  • California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Campus Program
    (CALCASA is the technical assistance provider for grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program)
  • Campus Sexual Assault Response Teams: Program Development and Operational Management (Book)

Do you need help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been assaulted, call 911.

The Richmond area has a new regional hotline specific to the needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors: 804-612-6126

The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority has a hotline to help people who are having suicidal thoughts at 819-4100.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers, child advocacy centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Are you a family member or a bystander and want know how you can help?

  • For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 East Grace Street.
  • Get involved with your local domestic violence shelter to join a group or service that is available.
  • Donate to funds services that help women recovery and restart their lives.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3 and streamed at, read and produced by Carol Olson. Production support is provided by Jennifer Gallienne and Bryan Connolly. Music was created by The Etching Tin

Red Flag Campaign

It’s that time of year again, October and the Red Flag Campaign Awareness Events are happening at Universities and Colleges around the state. The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance are collaborating with identified schools to bring awareness to dating violence, sexual assualt, and other interpersonal violence in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses. The campaign was created using a “bystander intervention” strategy, encouraging friends and other campus community members to “say something” when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for dating violence in a friend’s relationship. The campaign posters reflect racially and ethnically diverse models, and illustrate both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

The Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and was created by college students, college personnel, and community victim advocates. The Campaign is funded by grants from the Verizon Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Macy’s Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research indicates that in 21% of college dating relationships, one of the partners is being abused. That’s 1 in 5 relationships (see citation below). Whether you are a student seeking help for yourself or a friend, or a professional seeking information about how you can help students, we hope the materials on this website will be helpful to you.

Check out the new series of Red Flag Campaign posters.

C. Sellers and M. Bromley, “Violent Behavior in College Student Dating Relationships,” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice (1996)

reposted from

Some facts and info on sexual assault

After today’s Abolish the Blame event and seeing the number of young people who attended, I decided to provide information about sexual assault of college students.

Sexual assault/rape on college campuses is more prevalent than many people realize. While colleges may report low numbers, the local rape crisis and domestic violence center will provide much higher numbers.

According to the American Association of University Women and local rape crisis centers,

20 to 25 percent of college women are raped while attending college.
65 percent of these attacks go unreported.
Alcohol is involved in 75 percent of attacks.
{Source: The American Association of University Women, 2004)

These statistics mirror statistics of sexual assaults globally, 1 in 4 women are victims of sexually violent crimes. Why is such a high percentage of assaults unreported? Many colleges and universities have protocols in place that make reporting difficult or unwelcome. The cases are handled on campus and may not be reported to law enforcement and are therefore not prosecuted. Victim-blaming is still a factor in many communities and influences survivors of violence to not report. Unfortunately, many myths still are present in society and inaccurate beliefs are still held, such as: wearing tight or revealing clothing causes rape, being out late at night, or wearing makeup. Alcohol is used frequently as a means to reduce judgement and impair the ability to provide consent.

These are myths. There is no correlation between certain clothing and rape. No rape victim is ever “asking for it.” If you are the victim of sexual violence, please understand that what happened was wrong and that it was not your fault.

What should you do if you get raped?

Get yourself to safe place, call 911. Sexual assault is an emergency. If at all possible, find a supportive person who can help you, like a close friend or a residence assistant.

Resist the urge to take a bath or a shower. Cleaning yourself is a natural impulse, but don’t. Your body is covered with physical evidence that can help catch the rapist. Preserve all evidence, such as your clothing.

Go to an emergency room and get medical attention immediately! Even if you do not plan to report the rape, it is crucial that you seek help at a local emergency room, campus health center or elsewhere. Prompt medical assistance reduces you chance of developing some STDs, and many women choose to take the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. Rape victims also sustain other physical injuries, and you may be more hurt than you realize. Yes, an intimate medical exam is the last thing you want after such a horrible experience, but it’s something you need to do for the sake of your health.

Get psychological counseling as soon as possible. Rape is a traumatic experience, and most women need help coping. Be kind to yourself and get the help you need! Most communities have rape crisis centers and may provide counseling. Colleges also have counseling centers.

Report the assault to the campus and/or city police. Many women choose not to do this, and their decisions should be respected. But if you are raped, please consider reporting it. Doing so may prevent the rapist from hurting someone else, and if enough women report rapes, rape statistics may go down because the consequences will go up. And even if the rapist never strikes again, rape is a crime and needs to be reported.

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