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K-State Today

January 23, 2020

CARE, K-State Police Department and RCPD partner to reduce barriers of reporting sexual assault

Submitted by Kansas State University Sexual Assault Response Team

It is estimated that 3 out of 4 sexual assault crimes are never reported to law enforcement, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey.

K-State's Sexual Assault Response Team, which includes the K-State Police Department and the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education in addition to many university entities, aims to change that. The team is partnering with Riley County Police Department and other community agencies to reduce barriers for reporting sexual assault. 

The Riley County Police Department's Your Option, Your Control program provides individuals three different options for reporting and investigating a sexual assault.   

  • An "Informational Only" report includes the report of sexual assault where the victim/survivor can request that no investigative process begin beyond a victim interview. Only that information which the victim or a third party provides and entails no investigation or further contact unless initiated by the victim. 
  • A "Partial Investigation" includes the report of sexual assault where some investigative processes beyond the victim interview and inquiry into Sexual Assault is initiated by law enforcement with the victim/survivor’s permission. Only those investigative steps designated by the victim, to include follow-up with a detective. This can include interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. 
  • The third option is a "Complete Investigation" in which all investigative procedures move forward with steps necessary to develop a prosecutable case. The victim/survivor has the option and right to change their investigation reporting requests option, and any and all information received is documented and retained to preserve the victim/survivor’s investigative options. 

"With Your Option, Your Control, we want to increase the reports of sexual assault by eliminating as many reporting barriers as possible," said Riley County Police Department Victim Advocate Coordinator Melissa Mosher. 

Similar reporting options are available through K-State Police.

To speak to someone in the K-State Police Department, you may contact their non-emergency number at 785-532-6412 or visit them in 108 Edwards Hall. The Riley County Police Department has a non-emergency phone line and can be reached at 785-537-2112. In an immediate emergency or you fear for your safety, call 911.

In addition to the police departments, K-Staters may use the CARE office, which provides free, voluntary and confidential support service to K-State students, staff or faculty members who experience(d) sexual or dating violence, stalking or sexual harassment. The CARE Office is in 206 Holton Hall and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advocates can be reached at 785-532-6444.

The partners also hope to increase awareness, clear up myths and provide help to victims of these crimes.

Learn the facts.

Alcohol is the most common drug used to facilitate sexual violence — not GHB or Rohypnol, also known as "roofies." According to the University of Buffalo Research Institute, 72% of college rapes happen when one or both individuals have been drinking. Perpetrators often use alcohol as a tool to exert power and control over another person. While violence can come in many forms, sexual violence is a pattern of behavior from individuals who seek to establish and maintain control over another.

Prevent and protect.

The average person can be the difference between a close call and a crime. Every K-Stater can become a pro-social bystander — or a person at a party, bar or any local establishment who witnesses a situation and has an opportunity to intervene.

Take charge.

Recognize a situation that could potentially put someone at risk for violence, victimization or perpetration and stop it. Upon recognizing a potentially dangerous situation, pro-social bystanders have the knowledge, tools and resources necessary to safely intervene and stop the situation from escalating. If you witness harmful behavior, you can intervene by assuming personal responsibility.

Don't be a sheep.

The more individuals who witness a violent situation, the less likely anyone is to intervene. Take the responsibility upon yourself to step up and speak out.

Learn how to intervene.

You can address the behavior directly, interrupt the situation, distract from the situation, or delegate others to help you confront the situation. Examples of intervention statements include:

  • "Hey, they look drunk. That is not a very good idea."
  • "Is this person making you feel uncomfortable?"
  • "I think we should notify the bar staff/law-enforcement/others of what is going on."
  • "Are you noticing ___ behavior? Will you help me confront them?"

Creating an environment that is safe, equitable and accessible for all requires each one of us to advocate for positive social change and speak up when we see behavior that leads to interpersonal violence and other forms of oppression. Each one of us has a responsibility to abide by the Principles of Community and ensure a safe campus and community for all.

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