Sexual violence is a general term that can include things like rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Middle Tennessee State University prohibits all forms of sexual violence.
If You are a Victim of Sexual Violence
Reporting the Assault
Alcohol, Drugs, and Rape
Reducing Your Risk of Sexual Assault
Helping a Friend Who Has Been a Victim of Sexual Violence
Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence
Institutional Disciplinary Processes
Educational Programs, Training
Immediately go to a safe place. This may be a friend's room, MTSU University Police, the Murfreesboro police station, the hospital, or another place where you feel safe and are safe from harm.
Call someone to be with you. Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you can trust to be with you. You can call MTSU University Police at 911 or 615-898-2424. You may also call the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program at 615-896-7377 (24-hour crisis line: 615-494-9262 or 615-896-2012) where volunteers are available 24 hours a day to respond.
Preserve physical evidence. Do not shower, bathe, douche, or otherwise clean yourself. If possible, do not urinate. Do not eat, drink liquids, smoke, or brush your teeth if oral contact took place. If you must change your clothes, save all clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. If you have changed your clothes, place the clothing in a paper bag (plastic may destroy important evidence). Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. Following these directions will assist in proving the offense and in obtaining orders of protection.
Get medical attention. Physical safety and medical attention are of primary importance. You could be physically injured, become pregnant, or have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Medical attention is available at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital 615-396-4100, or MTSU Student Health Services, 615-898-2988. If done promptly, a medical examination can obtain important evidence should you decide to prosecute.
Write down as much as you can remember about the assailant and the assault. If you decide to report or press charges, you will have the details to give the police.
Seek counseling. Whether or not you report the assault or prosecute, a trained counselor can help you with the emotional trauma of an assault. Confidential emergency and follow-up counseling are available through MTSU Counseling Services, 615-898-2670 and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, 615-896-7377.
The decision whether to report sexual violence to University officials and/or police is a personal and individual decision. University personnel can assist you in contacting law enforcement officials if you choose to do so. By calling law enforcement, you are reporting the crime that was committed against you and seeking police assistance.
In addition to bringing charges in criminal or civil court, you may also seek recourse through the university disciplinary process if the accused is a student by contacting the MTSU Office of Student Conduct, 615-898-2750. For more information about this process, refer to Policy 540 Student Conduct.
Sexual violence incidents can be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. This will result in an investigation being opened pursuant to Policy 27 Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment Based on Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender/identity/expression).
Reporting a sexual assault to University officials or filing a police report creates a record should you decide to sign a criminal complaint. MTSU University Police, MTSU Student Health Services, and MTSU Student Affairs must inform University administration and local law enforcement that an alleged sexual assault has occurred. Once reported, the decision to continue with criminal proceedings is determined based on the evidence collected and by the District Attorney.
The MTSU Counseling Center, and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program are not required to report sexual assault to law enforcement unless you choose to do so. Medical attention sought at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital and the MTSU Student Health Services will result in reporting to law enforcement.
Alcohol, Drugs and Rape. Alcohol is the number one drug used to facilitate sexual violence and rape. Predatory drugs, often called date rape drugs, are commonly used to facilitate rape and other forms of sexual violence. Predatory drugs are easily slipped into food and beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
The effects of alcohol and drugs may impair judgment and motor coordination, and result in disinhibition, dizziness, confusion, and extreme drowsiness. A victim may lose consciousness, may not remember details of what occurred or may have a period of time that cannot be accounted for. A victim may not have the capacity to legally give consent or say no to unwanted conduct.
Sexual assault is a serious problem that affects both men and women. It is important to remember that no one is ever at fault for being a victim of sexual violence. The perpetrator is always responsible for violent behavior. Although personal safety can never be guaranteed, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of being the victim of sexual assault. Things you can do:
- Be aware of your surroundings and think about where you can go to get help if you need it. Higher risk areas include: isolation, by location or darkness or both; limited escape routes; limited or no means to summons help.
- Be assertive about communicating what you want or don't want from another person.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable to you, there is probably a good reason.
- Set your sexual limits ahead of time and when you are sober. Know what your limits are for both alcohol and sex before going to a bar or party.
- Be aware of the effects of alcohol on your body. Alcohol interrupts the ability to make sound decisions and impairs your ability to communicate clearly.
- Remember - drunk sex jeopardizes your ability to get and give consent.
- Watch your drink – do not leave it unattended, especially at a bar or party.
- Stay with friends and watch out for each other. Never leave with someone you just met, and don't let friends leave with someone they just met.
- When on a date with someone new, make sure that you are responsible for your own transportation. It is safer to meet up with someone than to rely on an unfamiliar person for a ride. Make sure someone else knows your plans for the date.
- Don't hesitate to call 911 if you think you are in danger.
- Be available. Provide a safe environment. If possible, stay with your friend.
- Be attentive. Listen and accept what you hear. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to share some of his/her feelings.
- Assure your friend. Make sure he/she know the violence was not his/her fault, that he/she is not alone, and that help is available.
- Put your own judgment and opinions aside. Your friend needs to know that he/she will not be judged or rejected by you.
- Be your friend's advocate. Help your friend access information about medical care, reporting, and counseling.
- Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if he/she has not done so.
- Allow your friend to make his/her own decisions about the next steps and help him/her
follow through with the decisions he/she makes.
Relationship violence, sometimes called intimate partner violence, domestic violence or dating violence, is the use of abusive behavior in order to have power and control in the relationship. The violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, mental, verbal, spiritual, or any combination of these.
Signs of an abusive relationship include being with someone who:
- wants to keep you away from your friends and family
- makes all the decisions
- gets angry over small things
- wants to control how you dress
- threatens to hurt you, your children, or him/herself when angry
- criticizes and name-calls – insults and humiliates you in front of others
- hits, shoves, throws objects, or uses other physically intimidating behavior
- forces sex or other use of physical force in sexual activity
If you are in an abusive relationship, you may feel embarrassed, ashamed, afraid, or even guilty. These feelings and many other conflicting emotions are common in such relationships. Violence can happen in long-term or newly-formed relationships. Relationship violence can occur regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, color, creed, sexual orientation, or age.
MTSU Counseling Services, 615-898-2670, has trained counselors with whom you can talk about your concerns. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, 615-896-7377 (24-hour crisis line: 615-494-9262 or 615-896-2012) also provides counseling for individuals who are in violent or abusive relationships.
Stalking is generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury. Stalking often occurs within an intimate relationship. As stalking is a series of incidents, it is advisable that you maintain a log indicating the date, time, description, and location of each incident along with any witness contact information. If you believe you are a victim of a stalker, seek assistance from one or more of the resources listed below.
If the person accused of sexual violence is a faculty or staff member, that person may be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination. It is appropriate to notify the Title IX Coordinator of this matter.
If the person accused of sexual violence is a student, the student is subject to the MTSU student code of conduct and the institutional disciplinary process. These procedures insure a prompt, fair and impartial investigation and resolution which will protect the safety of victims and promote accountability. Disciplinary proceedings will be conducted by official who receive training on issues related to sexual violence and how to conduct an investigation. The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice. The accuser and accused will be simultaneously informed in writing of:
- the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding that arises from an allegation of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking;
- the institution's procedures for appealing the results of the proceeding;
- any change to the results that occur prior to the time that such results become final; and,
- when such results become final.
Sanctions possible subsequent to student disciplinary proceedings include restitution; warning; reprimand; service to institution or community; educational/counseling program; apology; fines; restriction; probation; suspension; interim suspension; expulsion; revocation of admission, degree or credential; or, any alternate sanction deemed necessary and appropriate to address the misconduct at issue.
Regardless of whether you choose to report the crime, the institution will assist with changes in academic, living, transportation and working situations if requested and if such are reasonably available. The institution may also be able to put No Contact Orders in place to prohibit contact with the accused by the accuser.
We all have a role to play in eliminating sexual violence on our campus. When you see someone becoming aggressive or demanding in a public or social setting, or notice someone who is at risk of being taken advantage of, it's your responsibility to intervene. Getting involved doesn't mean necessarily becoming confrontive or combative. Getting involved simply means noticing what is happening around you and then taking action to protect both parties so that bad behavior doesn't cross the line from socializing to sexual assault.
Crossing the line into sexual assault can ruin the lives of both the aggressor and the victim. When you observe a social interaction that appears to be headed for trouble, you will do your friends a favor by speaking up, providing a distraction, or simply leading one of the parties to another, safer location or activity. Both men and women can be effective in protecting their friends. You may need to be direct, and call it like you see it: "Hey—I'm not going to let you go home with him. It's time for us to leave." Or maybe, "Come on—you need to leave him alone." Sometimes all it takes is something simple, and humor can help break the tension. When you see can see that an interaction is getting too intense, it's ok to break into the conversation and lead your friend away as you explain that someone wants to talk with him or her, or make up some other story to interrupt before things get out of hand. Or turn on the music off and the lights on. Take some action to disrupt, distract, and redirect what's going on.
At MTSU, being True Blue means that we look out for one another. Working together, we can help both men and women make better, safer choices, and help create a campus where our choices about relationship are made thoughtfully and with full consent of both parties.
For confidential advice and support:
MTSU Counseling Services
Keathley University Center #326-S
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program
2106 E. Main Street
24-hour crisis line: 615-494-9262 or 615-896-2012
Domestic violence crisis line 615-896-2012
Sexual assault crisis line 615-494-9262
MTSU Victims Assistance Coordinator
Additional support resources:
MTSU June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students
Student Union Building #330
Sexual Assault Center - Nashville, TN
Tennessee Domestic Violence Hotline
Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
1-800-656-HOPE to be routed to a rape crisis center near you
National Center for Victims of Crime Victim Service Helpline 1-800-FYICALL
For medical assistance:
MTSU Student Health Services
St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital
StoneCrest Medical Center
To report an offense to law enforcement:
MTSU University Police
Murfreesboro Police Department
Rutherford County Sheriff's Department
To report an offense to the University:
MTSU Office of Student Conduct
MTSU Title IX Coordinator
For legal assistance:
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee
"Stepping Up to Stop Sexual Assault"
The New York Times
February 7, 2014.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH:
Each October, the June Anderson Center plans events to educate and promote awareness of domestic violence to the MTSU community. See poster here.
FREE LEGAL CLINIC:
The JAC, with the help of the Rutherford-Cannon County Bar Association, holds free legal clinic for members of the MTSU campus community. The attorneys offer non-binding consultation for a wide range of topics including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, landlord-tenant disputes, financial problems, and family issues. Appointments are necessary, as space is limited. To register or to get more information, please call 898-5989. Consultations are confidential.
RAD SELF DEFENSE
MTSU University Police is proud to provide the Rape Aggression Defense System for women at this university. The RAD program is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques. The course begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training.
The Rape Aggression Defense System is dedicated to teaching women defensive concepts and techniques against various types of assault, by utilizing easy, effective and proven self-defense/martial arts tactics. This system of realistic defense will provide a woman with knowledge to make an educated decision about resistance.
The ability to defend one's self in a stressful situation is the most often neglected part of a woman's education. Safety and survival in today's world requires a definite course of action. We provide effective options by teaching women to take an active role in their own self-defense and psychological well-being.
The RAD basic program is not a traditional martial arts class. The program consists of six, three hour sessions, stressing education as well as physical tactics. The final session allows a woman to test her self-defense skills in simulated attacks by a certified RAD instructor. The class provides accommodations for students with physical limitations.
The RAD program is taught by MTSU police officer, David Smith . Officer Smith has twenty-six years of experience in law enforcement and over thirty years of experience as a martial arts instructor. For more information please contact Officer Smith by phone at 494-8855 or visit the University Police Department website.
Rave Guardian, a service provided to you by Middle Tennessee State University through the MTSU Critical Notification (Rave Alert) System, transforms your mobile phone into a personal safety device. This service, along with practicing safety strategies such as paying attention to your surroundings, walking in well-lit areas, and utilizing the MTSU University Police Raider Escort program or walking with a friend will aid in helping you stay safe on campus. When a student, faculty, or staff member calls University Police rom their mobile phone, Rave Guardian automatically delivers a complete caller profile – to include current location, medical conditions, emergency contacts, addresses, vehicles, course schedule, photograph and other critical data that the user may choose to provide.
An optional module allows individuals to set a Rave Guardian timer. Use the Guardian timer whenever you're out alone, in an unfamiliar area or would like University Police to check on you if you cannot deactivate your timer. Just call the timer number (provided upon registration), set a realistic time frame to reach your destination, and leave a voice message containing details about yourself and your situation (e.g. your clothing, route of travel, etc.). When you reach your destination safely, simply dial the timer number, enter your PIN, and the Guardian Timer will be deactivated.
If the Rave Guardian timer is not deactivated before it expires, University Police is automatically alerted and provided with your Rave Guardian profile, allowing University Police the ability to identify and check on the individual.
How does Rave Guardian work? To use Rave Guardian, you must first fill out your Guardian profile by logging into your MTSU Critical Notification System (Rave Alert) Account. You should review your Guardian profile periodically to ensure it is up to date. Profile data is provided by the user through Rave's secure web-portal. With Rave Guardian, user profiles are shared only when a member of the MTSU community calls University Policefety, or allows a previously set Rave Guardian timer to expire. To activate Rave Guardian: Log into your MTSU Critical Notification System (Rave Alert) Account (using your PipelineMT username and password) at the following link: https://www.getrave.com/login/mtsu Click on the yellow box at the top that says, "Complete Your Guardian Profile." Click here for more information about the Rave Guardian system.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH:
A variety of events are planned each spring to educate and promote awareness of sexual assault to the MTSU community. o National Women's History Month MTSU's National Women's History Month programming recognizes, promotes, and celebrates women's contributions and causes by providing education and entertainment from a feminist perspective that emphasizes cultural transformation to achieve social justice and women's empowerment.