Sexual Assault, Violence & Harassment
Interpersonal violence encompasses a variety of behaviors. The below sections will review sexual assault, stalking, and harassment.
You are not alone. There is no correct way to feel after a sexual assault. It is important to remember that whatever you feel is valid and you have your own individual way of coping. Despite individual differences in response, there are stages that almost every survivor goes through.
Some emotions you may feel include:
- Fear: It is normal to feel afraid after being sexually assaulted. You might find it very hard to be alone at night, or in a setting like the one in which you were assaulted.
- Anger: You may feel outrage at what happened. The anger may be towards the assailant, people you love, the world, or yourself.
- Loss of Control: You might feel powerless. You were in a situation where you were robbed of control over your body.
- Guilt: You may feel like it is your fault. We live in a culture that blames the survivor. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
- You may also be feeling isolated, have difficulty sleeping, find you can’t eat, have nightmares or can’t concentrate.
On-Campus Supports and Reporting Options
- Iona College Counseling Center (confidential): individual counseling on a walk-in or ongoing basis; assistance with connection to reporting resources.
- Title IX (Jennifer Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org) - Investigates and responds to incidents of sexual misconduct, assists with connection to ongoing supports. 24 hour Title IX hotline: 914-633-2167
- Campus Safety (Director Adrian Navarrete, email@example.com) and Community Standards (AVP Liz Olivieri, firstname.lastname@example.org) - work with Title IX to help ensure student safety, assist with no-contact orders and Code of Conduct violation, assist with connection to ongoing supports.
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
- MaleSurvivor: a non-profit, public benefit organization committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.
- Know Your IX: a survivor- and youth-led project of Advocates for Youth that aims to empower students to end sexual and dating violence in their schools.
- Forge Forward
- Anti-violence Project (AVP): available 24/7 for LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of hate violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and police violence.
- A Guide for Friends & Family of Sexual Violence Survivors
- Joyful Heart: a leading national organization with a mission to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.
If you are a survivor of a sexual assault, the sooner you seek help, the more options you have. However, regardless of when the assault occurred, it is never too late to reach out for support.
- If the sexual assault has occurred recently, try and get away from the person who assaulted you and to a safe place as soon as possible. If you are worried about your safety, contact Campus Safety at (914) 633-2560 or call 911.
- If the sexual assault occurred within the last five (5) days, go to a hospital with a designated Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) program. SAFE programs are open 24 hours a day and deliver medical care to sexual assault victims.
- Medical treatment can include both:
- Emergency medications to prevent you from contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or unwanted pregnancy.
- A forensic evidence collection kit (i.e., rape kit). In order to preserve evidence, do not change your clothes, shower, brush your teeth, or go to the bathroom.
- You do not need to file a police report in order to receive medical treatment.
- The closest SAFE program to Iona College is at Westchester Medical Center (WMC). For help coordinating transport to WMC, contact the Counseling Center at (914) 633-2038.
- If you are living off-campus and need additional hospitals close to home, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for more SAFE hospitals or see a list of SAFE designated hospitals in New York State.
Stalking behavior can take many forms, including:
- Making threats against someone, or that person's family or friends.
- Non-consensual communication, such as repeated phone calls, emails, text messages, and unwanted gifts.
- Repeated physical or visual closeness, like waiting for someone to arrive at certain locations, following someone, or watching someone from a distance.
- Any other behavior used to contact, harass, track, or threaten someone.
- Persistently sending unwanted communication through the internet, such as spamming someone’s email inbox or social media platform.
- Posting threatening or personal information about someone on public internet forums.
- Video-voyeurism, or installing video cameras that give the stalker access to someone’s personal life.
- Using GPS or other software tracking systems to monitor someone without their knowledge or consent.
- Using someone’s computer and/or spyware to track their computer activity
If you are being stalked, you are right to be concerned. You may feel fearful, anxious, nervous, isolated, become stressed, or develop signs of depression.
- Stalking behavior of any kind is prohibited at Iona College. Students who are concerned that they are being stalked may report this to Campus Safety at 914-633-2560, to the Title IX office at email@example.com, or to the Assistant Vice Provost for Community Standards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Residential students may also report stalking to any Residential Life professional staff member or RA.
- Try to avoid the person stalking you. This can be difficult at times, especially if the person stalking you is close to you or your family.
- If you are being stalked through communication technology, like email or text messaging, make it clear that you wish to stop contact. Once you’ve made it clear, do not respond to further communication.
- Keep any evidence received from the stalker such as text messages, voicemails, letters, packages, emails, etc., but do not respond. You can do this by taking screenshots of conversations or even printing out email exchanges.
- Inform family, friends, supervisors, and co-workers of the situation.
- If you have children, create a code word that lets them know they need to leave the house or call the police.
- Consider reporting the stalking to local law enforcement.
- Keep an accurate journal or log of all incidents connected to the stalking.
Bullying & Harassment
“Bullying is deliberate, repeated harm inflicted by one or more toward another who is unable to effectively defend him or herself” (Patechin, 2014).
Bullying becomes harassment when the inflicted harm is related to one’s protected status (i.e., race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and actual or perceived sexual orientation) (Office for Civil Rights, 2010).
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment. Bullying does not have to be of a sexual nature; can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex in general.
Most common types of bullying:
- Physical Bullying: hurting or trying to hurt someone’s body. Think: kicking, hitting, or pushing.
- Verbal Bullying: saying things to hurt a person’s feelings. This can include teasing, threats, and name-calling.
- Social Bullying: destroying someone’s reputation or relationships. For example, this could be purposefully leaving someone out or spreading rumors.
Forms of sexual harassment include:
- Making conditions of employment or advancement dependent on sexual favors, either explicitly or implicitly.
- Physical acts of sexual assault.
- Requests for sexual favors.
- Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, including jokes referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation.
- Unwanted touching or physical contact.
- Unwelcome sexual advances.
- Discussing sexual relations/stories/fantasies at work, school, or in other inappropriate places.
- Feeling pressured to engage with someone sexually.
- Exposing oneself or performing sexual acts on oneself.
- Unwanted sexually explicit photos, emails, or text messages.
Sexual harassment can have emotional, physical, and mental health effects.
- Trust your instincts. You are not to blame. There is no right way to respond to harassment.
- Reclaim your space. Set boundaries, engage bystanders, and document the situation.
- Practice Resilience by sharing your story with a trusted love one, saying an affirmation, or text a buddy.