Taking Immediate Action/How to get Help
Individuals who believe they have either witnessed or been subjected to unlawful sex discrimination may contact the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer for students at (559) 453-7154 or the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer for employees at 559-453-7104. For 24-hour assistance, contact the Department of Campus Safety at (559) 453-32298.
The Department of Campus Safety and the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer can provide immediate referral information and access to university resources.
Sexual Violence – Risk Reduction Tips
The Fresno Pacific University handbook states in relation to sexual conduct: Scripture and the Confession of Faith of the United States Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (the University’s sponsoring denomination) affirm the marital covenant as existing only between a man and a woman. Physical intimacy is reserved for individuals within a marriage covenant. Cohabitation with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or members of the opposite sex, outside of the marriage relationship is prohibited. Certain sexual behaviors are prohibited. These include but are not limited to: fornication, adultery, and same-sex romantic relations. Discretion in dating practices, public and private. Students are encouraged to build balanced, healthy, Christ-centered relationships. However, should a student choose to pursue a sexual relationship at any level with another person they should take the following guidelines into consideration:
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. Only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions. We offer tips below with no intention to victim-blame, with recognition that these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. Below, suggestions to avoid committing a non-consensual sexual act 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.
- Give thought to sharing your intimate content, pictures, images and videos with others, even those you may trust. If you do choose to share, clarify your expectations as to how or if those images may be used, shared or disseminated.
- 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 you reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:
- 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 they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physical and/or mentally able to consent. Your partner’s consent should be affirmative and continuous. 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 altered state even if they willingly consumed alcohol or substances.
- Realize that your potential partner could feel intimidated or coerced by you. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or physical presence. Don’t abuse that power.
- Do not share intimate content, pictures, images and videos that are shared with you. In many jurisdictions, the public sharing of information that was previously shared privately is now a crime.
- Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
- Silence, passivity, or non-responsiveness cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
The police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the victim within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specifically trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). A representative from the university can also accompany you to the hospital. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but he/she are 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 victim, but will not obligate him/her in any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it.
For the Victim: 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 waring 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.
If acts of violence against other individuals are observed, members of the FPU community have the option to intervene to help stop the act, only if it is safe and positive to do so without risking further harm.
Suggested options include:
- Dial 911
- Contact Campus Safety
- Yell and draw attention to a witnessed act of violence from a safe distance in order to frighten off the perpetrator
- Remain in the area to provide witness information to the authorities