Sexual Assault Information
Sexual assault is a violation of individual rights and dignity. It is a crime that will not be tolerated at St. Olaf College. Sexual assault is not only an act of violence, aggression or coercion against an individual, but it is also an attack on our college community and everyone who lives and works here. For these reasons, St. Olaf College encourages victims to report assault incidents to appropriate college and governmental authorities.
Perpetrators of sexual assault will be subject to strict disciplinary action by the college, up to and including suspension or expulsion. If criminally prosecuted and convicted, perpetrators may also be subject to fines, imprisonment and other sanctions.
Please refer to the Sexual Assault policy for more information on policy, procedure and steps taken by the college when incidents of sexual assault are reported.
The college will support a victim of sexual assault by working with the student in any capacity necessary. Students may use any of the on- or off-campus support resources available without choosing to press charges or file a formal complaint. If the name of the alleged assailant is shared with staff from the Northfield Police, St. Olaf Public Safety or Dean of Students Office, the sexual assault will be investigated for possible disciplinary action.
Sexual assaults reported to the Dean of Students Office or the Public Safety Department will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken. The college may, in certain circumstances, be obligated to take disciplinary action against the accused, regardless of the victim?s wishes.
Survivors of sexual assault are strongly encouraged to seek psychological support as well as medical attention. Even though the actual incident is over, a victim may suffer from a variety of difficulties commonly experienced after an incident of sexual violence or coercion.
WHAT CONSTITUTES SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Refer to the Sexual Assault policy for the full policy and definitions.
The state of Minnesota's criminal code classifies criminal sexual conduct into five degrees, depending on factors such as the degree of force or coercion, the nature and extent of injury to the victim and whether penetration or sexual contact occurred. Sexual conduct laws also pertain to unwanted sexual touching, not just rape or attempted rape. Often the victim's testimony need not be corroborated by testimony of other witnesses. The criminal law provides that the victim need not prove resistance and provides that medical costs arising from examining the victim for purposes of gathering evidence shall be paid by the county in which the offense was committed. With rare exception, this code also provides that evidence of the victim's prior sexual behavior is not admissible in court.
Under federal campus crime reporting guidelines, a sexual assault occurrence at St. Olaf will fall under 'forcible sex offense' and 'non-forcible sex offense' classifications. These classifications include all five degrees of criminal sexual conduct as defined under Minnesota criminal code, the only difference being the terminology used to describe the offense. St. Olaf does not report the identities of crime victims when it issues campus crime alerts to the campus community in connection with its federal obligations.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
There is no perfect way to protect yourself, but you can minimize your risk. Logic and common sense are your best defenses. Some of the ways to help reduce your risk are to:
Be alert and walk with confidence.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Not let alcohol or other drugs fog your judgment.
Be assertive. Don't let people violate your space.
Trust your instincts. Uneasy? Uncomfortable? GET OUT!
NEVER prop doors open.
ALWAYS lock your door.
Communicate your feelings.
No ALWAYS means 'no!'
Remember, both women and men can be victims of sexual assault. If you are a victim of an assault, please report it.
KNOW YOUR DEFENSES
Use your head to protect your body. Now is the time to consider your options. There is little time to think during an attack. People have different capabilities, and you must decide for yourself the best defense method for you. There are several ways to react to a sexual assault:
The goal of passive resistance is to think and talk your way out of the situation. Try to talk the attacker out of the attack by saying you are pregnant or have a sexually transmitted disease.
Active resistance is designed to distract or temporarily injure your attacker, not to incapacitate him. This may discourage the attacker, but it may cause the attacker to become more violent. Only you can decide whether to fight or not. If you choose to fight, be forceful and fight only long enough to create an opening to escape.
Submitting to the Attack
If you believe you might become seriously injured by defending yourself or if you're afraid to fight back, don't! It is still rape and still a crime, even if you do not have a single cut or bruise. Victims who do not resist should never feel guilty; it is the rapist who committed the crime.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Go immediately to the hospital - do not bathe, douche, change clothes, clean up or in any other way destroy possible evidence. A medical exam is needed to treat all injuries, sexually transmitted diseases and possible pregnancy. An evidentiary exam should also be completed. A medical exam is important for your health and will be important for criminal prosecution. Even if you cannot go to the hospital immediately, it is still important to obtain a medical exam later for the treatment of injuries, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. St. Olaf Public Safety or the Northfield police can provide transportation to the nearest medical facility.
All victims are strongly encouraged to report the incident immediately to the Northfield police and St. Olaf Public Safety or the Dean of Students Office. If the name of the alleged assailant is shared, the sexual assault will be investigated for possible disciplinary action. Filing a report may make it easier for you or someone else to press charges in the future.
The Department of Public Safety will, at the request of the victim, contact the Northfield Police Department and inform them that a sexual assault case has been reported to the college. Should the victim wish to make the initial report herself or himself, public safety officers can also assist with that process.
Assault victims are also urged to call someone for emotional support. If you do not wish to make the call yourself, you can ask St. Olaf Public Safety or the Northfield police to contact the person of your choice - a friend, family member, the Counseling Center, SARN (Sexual Assault Resource Network), R.A., J.C., hall coordinator, area coordinator, another sexual assault crisis center or the Dean of Students Office staff. Assault victims are also encouraged to seek professional counseling and/or contact a sexual assault crisis center to help them cope with the incident.
ON-CAMPUS SUPPORT SERVICES
The resources noted below marked with an asterisk are 'confidential sources'. This means that the personnel there will not file a report for investigation. Other resources are required to follow up if the identity of the alleged assailant is known, but will do so with respect for the privacy of those allegedly involved with the incident.
Dean of Students Office (x3615, x3023) - The dean or one of the associate deans can support the victim through this crisis and help him/her decide whether to contact family members, whether to take time off from school and other options available. In addition, a dean can make arrangements to provide alternative classes or housing if feasible and necessary to avoid contact with the assailant.
Area Coordinators (x3011) - Area coordinators for the residence halls have been trained in crisis intervention counseling and support services.
Public Safety Department (x3666) - The St. Olaf Public Safety Department will assist you by contacting the support person of your choice, if you so desire, providing transportation within Northfield, working with the Northfield Police Department and discussing options available to you.
*Counseling Center (x3062) - You can arrange an appointment to see a professional counselor to help you through the duration of the crisis.
*Student Health Services (x3064) - Located on the lower level of the Administration Building, health services staff can describe your health options concerning sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. A referral can also be made to a physician at the Allina Clinic.
*SARN (Sexual Assault Resource Network) (x3777 or x3062) - This student-run group of certified sexual assault advocates are on call, 8 p.m.-8 a.m. daily, to offer confidential services. SARN advocates can outline your options, accompany you through the crisis or just be there to listen.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES
*Northfield Hospital (646-1000) - The local hospital provides medical assistance and conducts physical exams. It is recommended that a physical exam be administered to a victim of a sexual assault in order to gather and preserve possible evidence in a timely fashion, as well as testing for possible sexually transmitted diseases. The staff also will direct victims to local resources and victim assistance.
Northfield Police (645-4475 or 911) - The police will interview you and gather information and evidence in an attempt to identify the person(s) responsible in the event of a stranger assault.
*Women Safe Center (1-507-332-0882 or 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-607-2330) - This is an advocacy program for victims of sexual assault and relationship violence. It offers various support groups, legal advocacy and community education programs among its many services.
Rice County Courthouse (507-332-6100 or 645-9576) - Located in Faribault. You can obtain the paperwork necessary to process a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) or Order for Protection (OFP).
REASONS FOR REPORTING
Reporting returns a feeling of personal power. You may be able to provide information that will lead to an arrest and conviction. Assailants should be held accountable.
Reporting will remind people that sexual assaults really do occur and can happen to anyone.
Reporting can prevent others from being sexually assaulted by making them aware of assaults and where they are occurring.
Report even if alcohol or drugs were involved. A common concern students have is the fear of reporting due to worry about alcohol or drug violations. Do not let this stop you, as our primary concern is your safety and the safety of others.
Reporting can result in the accused individual facing sanctions that can include disciplinary action up to suspension, expulsion or dismissal.
If you are hesitant to report for fear of retaliation, you can reduce the risk by filing a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) or Order for Protection (OFP) obtained through the Rice County Courthouse in Faribault. While this gives added protection, it is not a guarantee. Police will respond promptly, but they cannot provide 24-hour surveillance.
Reporting and cooperating with law enforcement makes you eligible for financial assistance through the Crime Victim's Reparation Fund. Out-of-pocket expenses for such things as unreimbursed medical and psychological care are covered.
ROUTE OF DOCUMENTATION AND INFORMATION CAMPUS CRIME ALERT NOTIFICATION
The St. Olaf Public Safety Department will notify the St. Olaf community when a sex offense (forcible or non-forcible) is reported to its office or the Dean of Students Office, so that the community can take the appropriate steps to prevent this type of crime in the future. The name of the victim will not be released by Public Safety in any notifications to the community members while informing them of information pertaining to the offense. Also, such notifications will not include information that would cause the victim or alleged assailant to be identified. The college will strive to balance its concern for the welfare of victims of sexual assault with its duty to warn members of the St. Olaf community when serious crimes are reported.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Victims of sexual crimes are entitled to certain rights under Minnesota law. Those rights, described in the "Crime Victims' Bill of Rights", include special provisions pertaining to court proceedings, prohibitions against employer retaliation against victims and the right to request that restitution be considered as part of the disposition of the criminal charge. In addition, victims of sexual crimes also have certain rights provided by the Crime Victims Reparations Board (1-800-247-0390 or 612-282-6256) and the Office of the Crime Victims Ombudsman (1-800-247-0390 or 612-282-6258). The Crime Victims Reparations Board provides for monetary compensation to crime victims under certain circumstances as provided by law. The Crime Victims Ombudsman receives complaints from crime victims concerning possible violations of their rights by the criminal justice system or by victim assistance programs.
ST. OLAF COLLEGE SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR'S STATEMENT
Information adapted with permission from Michigan State University Public Safety Department, Mankato State University Women's Center, as well as current St. Olaf policy.
We will meet with you privately at a place of your choice to take a complaint report.
You may file a complaint through St. Olaf Public Safety or the Dean of Students office. All options will be explained to you.
If you feel more comfortable talking with a female or male officer or staff member, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
We will treat you and your particular case with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
We will consider your case seriously, regardless of your gender or the gender of the suspect.
Our officers and other staff will not prejudge you, and you will not be blamed for what occurred.
You have the right to prompt assistance of campus authorities and, at your request, in notifying the appropriate law enforcement officials of a sexual assault incident.
You have the right to file criminal charges with local law enforcement officials in sexual assault cases.
You have the right to an investigation by campus disciplinary authorities of a sexual assault complaint. We will fully investigate your case and will help you achieve the best outcome. If you choose to criminally prosecute the matter, this may involve the arrest and full prosecution of the suspect responsible.
You have the right to be kept up to date on the progress of the investigation.
You have the right to participate in any campus disciplinary proceeding concerning a sexual assault complaint, as well as having your attorney or other support person present.
You have the right to be notified of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding concerning a sexual assault complaint.
You have the right to assistance by campus authorities in preserving materials relevant to a campus disciplinary proceeding.
You have the right to request to be shielded from, with the assistance of campus personnel in cooperation with the appropriate law enforcement authorities, unwanted contact with the alleged assailant, including transferring to alternative classes or housing, if reasonably available and feasible. You may contact any of the associate deans of students to discuss the options available for such changes.
We will assist you in arranging for any hospital treatment or other medical needs.
We will assist you in privately contacting counseling and other available resources.
You have the right to assistance from the Office of the Crime Victim Ombudsman and the Crime Victims Reparations Board. You can contact either agency directly by calling 1-800-247-0390.
Sexual Assault Policy