Title IX Office Helps Assault Victims on Campus

Title IX Office Helps Assault Victims on Campus

Old North, the oldest building on the University of Central Oklahoma’s campus, is located at the far west end of UCO. Sexual assault is a serious issue on college campuses, and has been seen at UCO in the past week. UCO’s Title IX Office offers sexual assault survivors options to overcome their assault. (Cara Johnson/The Vista)

Twenty percent of female college students who are sexually assaulted report the attack to law enforcement, according to the Justice Department, and at the University of Central Oklahoma the data is rather similar.

“We receive between 10 and 20 reports of non-consensual intercourse or contact each semester,” said UCO Title IX Coordinator Adrienne Martinez. “Reports are increasing.”

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination, sexual assault and sexual harassment at federally funded schools.

“We encourage people to speak out and address the situation,” Martinez said.

The Title IX Office at UCO provides disciplinary options for the aggressor, as well as classroom arrangements to provide security, protection and comfort to the victim. Counseling is also available with an advocate to help a victim heal following an attack.

“UCO has a no tolerance policy for any kind of sexual misconduct,” Martinez said.

If the perpetrator of a rape case or sexual assault is identified and caught, they will be removed from campus, according to the UCO’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment. The aggressor could also face jail time, monetary fines and is considered a sex offender, which shows on public record.

The Title IX Office also requires all news students to complete a training regarding the university’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures.

According to the Title IX Office website, UCO is committed to an environment that is all-inclusive and free of gender-bias harassment and discrimination.

The Center for Counseling and Well-Being also helps survivors of sexual assault with programs like Project SPEAK, which stands for Supports, Promote, Educate and Advocate for Knowledge.

Project SPEAK gives survivors options for services available to them. They assist the survivors in finding a counselor and other support services, including filing police reports on- or off-campus, assisting with dorm relocation and addressing academic concerns.

The Department of Justice estimates that between 4 and 20 percent of female college students who are sexually assaulted report the attack to law enforcement. Out of those reported cases, only a fraction of them lead to arrests and a trial.

“Many individuals delay or decide never to report out of fear, feeling overwhelmed, doubting that they will be believed and various other reasons,” Martinez said. “Some may feel it is their fault or may even want to protect the person who assaulted them.”

The campus type, location and student body are factors that might affect the rate in which sexual assaults take place.

“UCO is a safe campus and people are reporting more,” Martinez said. “I think it’s because of all the tools that we provide.”

The Title IX Office is located in the Lillard Administration Building in the Office of Legal Counsel.

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