Faculty and Staff
As faculty and staff, you are uniquely positioned to assist students who have been victimized by sexual violence (sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, etc.), as you often see the warning signs:
- Absence from class or activities
- Decreased productivity
- Declining grades
- Social withdrawal
In addition, as a trusted authority figure, students may turn to you when in crisis and disclose that they have been victims of sexual violence. If you don’t know whether to be concerned about a behavior, contact the dean of students at 330.672.4050 for guidance.
You may be one of the first people a student confides in, so it is important to know how to handle a disclosure. Here are some guidelines:
If you are not already in a private space, go to your office or a conference room.
Convey care and concern in a non-judgmental way. The student may have concerns about whom to tell, and being believed, she/he/ze may be worried about being blamed and about safety. Communicate to the student you believe her/him/hir and that she/he/ze is not to blame for what happened. Let the student know you are there to help connect her/him/hir to someone who can provide ongoing resources and support.
Facial expressions and tone of voice can convey caring and concern for an individual. It is possible to be comforting to someone in the absence of physical contact. Use your best judgment, but remember that someone who has been sexually assaulted may not be comfortable being touched.
You are not expected to be an expert on sexual violence, but you can play a huge role in directing the student to experts who can provide advocacy and support.
The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS Office) can assist the student with connecting to campus and community resources. Additionally, the SRVSS Office ensures that students are aware of their rights and options for reporting and seeking support from the University community.
All Kent State University employees are REQUIRED to report any instance of sexual harassment or misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator, and in the case of sexual assault, to the police.
Along with the information outlined above, additional resources regarding students in distress are available at Step Up Speak Out.