Taking action against sexual assault

Mizzou offers resources for those who have experienced sexual violence

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are some statistics to be aware of:

  • Four out of five women and nearly half of all men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime1.
  • One in three female victims of completed or attempted rape experienced it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. The same is true for one in four male victims2.
  • Almost one in four undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or misconduct at major universities3.

These statistics insist we take action.

That’s why I am working with stakeholders across campus on the Healthy Community Initiative, a plan to understand — and change — the current culture, social norms and behaviors across the Mizzou campus and work toward sexual violence prevention measures that make a lasting difference on our campus.

That’s also why the Division of Student Affairs has established the Campus Sexual Violence Working Group, a standing committee dedicated to preventing sexual violence on the Mizzou campus. Students, faculty and staff interested in serving with the working group for the 2022-2023 academic year should contact me at muvcsa@missouri.edu.

Because action is needed, the MU Police Department (MUPD) has updated crime notification letters to include a content warning and stronger language so that readers understand what victims have experienced and perpetrators face accountability for their actions.

And because we do want to empower students, a new collaboration between MUPD and MizzouRec is improving the registration process for self-defense classes, which will resume next fall.

If you or someone you know has experienced abuse, Mizzou is here to help.

  • The MU Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center provides confidential response services, basic crisis intervention, ongoing case management and advocacy. Their free, confidential services are available to all students, faculty and staff 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • True North provides 24/7 crisis services, advocacy and safe shelter for Boone County. Their confidential services are free for qualified individuals.
  • The Missouri Crisis Line is a safe, confidential place to share. They provide support 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Just call 1-888-761-4357 or text HAND to 839-863.
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.
  • The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC translates research and trends into best practices that help individuals, communities and service providers achieve real and lasting change.
  • The DoD Safe Helpline DoD Safe Helpline is the sole secure, confidential, and anonymous crisis support service specially designed for members of the Department of Defense community affected by sexual assault. Call 887-995-5247 or use their online chat service.

Please, if you witness non-consensual sexual contact, say something. Talk to the RSVP Center or one of the other resources listed above. File a Civil Rights/Title IX report or complete a student-of-concern referral form.

Or talk to me. Bring me your ideas, concerns and experiences. As always, my door is open to you.

Sources:
1. Kearl, H. (2018). The facts behind the #metoo movement: A national study on sexual harassment and assault. Stop Street Harassment.
2. Smith, S. G., Zhang, X., Basile, K. C., Merrick, M. T., Wang, J., Kresnow, M., & Chen, J. (2018). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 data brief – updated release. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. Cantor, D., Fisher, B., Chibnall, S., Harps, S., Townsend, R., Thomas, G., Lee, H., Kranz, V., Herbison, R., & Madden, K. (2019). Report on the AAU Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. Association of American Universities.