What to do if you are a victim
Initial Response, Options and Rights
- It may be helpful for your own personal safety to find a safe environment away from the assailant if it is possible.
- Focus on taking care of yourself and your best interests. Talking to someone in your support system for moral support may be useful to you right after the assault. For confidential support, crisis advocates are available to provide emotional support and options to you in the aftermath of an assault. Iowa’s Sexual Assault Hotline is a 24 hour support service. The toll free hotline is 1-800-284-7821.
- You also have the right to the presence of an advocate at any proceedings related to the offense, including at Drake proceedings where this individual may act as your personal representative.
- Reporting the assault to police by calling 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) and/or to Campus Security (271-2222 or 811) is encouraged. Security phones that connect directly to Campus Security are located inside buildings and in heavily traveled outdoor locations across campus. Amnesty will be provided to a victim who reports an under-aged alcohol-related assault under Drake’s Code of Student Conduct.
- Writing down all the details you can recall about the assault and the assailant may help you if you decide to report.
- Reporting the assault does not require you to file charges against your assailant. Furthermore, even if you file an initial report, you may decide not to pursue the case at any stage of an investigation. In Iowa, you have 10 years to pursue charges against your assailant.
- You have the option to request a male or female officer to assist you and you have the right to request their presence until your safety is ensured.
- You have the right to register as a victim with the county attorney and to be kept informed about the status of your case. You may ask for a no-contact order to be put in place for safety precautions if your assailant is arrested.
- Consider going to the emergency room to receive medical attention.
- You have the right to have a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) provide a free, confidential medical examination.
- The SANE can conduct a sexual assault evidence collection kit to preserve forensic evidence of the assault within 120 hours after its occurrence. Preservation of evidence from you is helpful in this collection process. Showering/bathing, brushing teeth/hair, drinking or expelling fluids can destroy evidence. However, if this has occurred, you can still proceed with an exam within this 120 hour time frame. The collection of bodily evidence may be beneficial for case proceedings. Consider having this exam done if you may want to pursue charges.
- This exam also provides free STD, HIV/AIDS and/or pregnancy prevention measures and can be done within or after the 120 hour time frame and includes free follow-up exams if needed.
What You Need to Know About Dating Violence/Stalking
Knowing What Your Options Are About Domestic/Dating Violence and Stalking
INITIAL RESPONSE, OPTIONS AND RIGHTS
- It may be helpful to share what's happening with someone you trust to build a support system. Reach out to family or friends that you know would be supportive.
- For community and campus support:
- You have the right to seek free, confidential assistance for crisis counseling, legal/medical advocacy, financial assistance through community referrals, safety planning, and/or support groups through calling the 24 hour Domestic Violence Services program at 515-243-6147 or the Iowa Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-0333.
- You can seek confidential counseling offered by the University Counseling Center by calling 515-271-3864.
- If you need academic accommodations, the Dean of Students Office at 515-271-2835 and/or The Office for Sexual Violence Response at 515-271-4141, can assist in referring you as appropriate within the university.
- For campus support to referrals and information on legal/professional services contact The Office for Sexual Violence Response and Healthy Relationship Promotion at 515-271-414.
- Consider changing your locks or moving to a different location for your safety.
- Safe, emergency shelter and other support services including transitional
housing and other resources are available through the local Polk County Domestic Violence Services program by calling 515-243-6147.
- If you live on campus, The Office of Residence Life at 515-271-3781, may be able to assist you in moving residence halls due to safety concerns.
- Some apartment complex landlords will assist in changing your locks with no tenant responsibility if a safety concern is determined.
- If a violent crime occurred in your place of residence and a police report was filed, you may be eligible to file for victim compensation for any damages and/or accrued expenses related to the incident.
- Keep/make copies of important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, student IDs, academic schedules, no contact orders/protective orders, etc.
- Consider changing your phone number(s) or removing personal information on directories for safety.
- Disable the GPS unit on mobile phone devices so your location cannot be tracked.
- You may want to remove your contact information from the campus directory for safety. This can be done through the Student Records Office in Old Main. The Office for Sexual Violence Response at 515-271-4141, can assist with this process if needed.
- You can obtain an emergency 911 cell phone through Domestic Violence Services at 515-243-6147or by using any old cell phone that still holds a charge.
- Consider options for your personal protection.
- For on- Campus incidences, The Dean of Students at 515-271-2835, and/or Campus Security at 515-271-2222 (or 811 in emergencies), can provide you with information on the process and resources available to you on obtaining a no contact order for on campus. They can discuss with you general safety guidelines and discuss options that are available depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
- In Iowa, you have the right under Chapter Code 236, to file for a civil protective order at the clerk of district court for relief of domestic abuse. An advocate from Domestic Violence Services program can assist you with this process. If issued, this order is effective one year and can be renewed.
- You have the right to register through the Iowa Protective Order Notification for Domestic Abuse at 1-888-742-8463 to know when the offender has been served the protective order & when it is near the expiration date.
- Take threats seriously; keep any evidence of harassing or stalking behaviors such as texts/IMs, calls, emails, stolen or damaged property, notes/letters, phone messages, etc. Record time, place, witnesses and dates and consider reporting these behaviors to law enforcement, Campus Security and/or the Dean of Students.
Red Flags for Abusive Relationships
- The following is a list of common warning signs, also known as “red flags” for potentially abusive relationships. No list of signs can be all inclusive or represent all abusive tactics or precursor behaviors.
- Domestic/dating abuse is defined as the use of emotional, physical and/or sexual tactics used by one partner to gain power over the other partner in an intimate relationship. It is important to know that dating violence affects both men and women and occurs in same sex and opposite sex relationships.
- Your partner abuses alcohol or other drugs and becomes violent when under the influence; has a history of trouble with the law.
- Your partner gets into fights or breaks and destroys property.
- Your partner has trouble holding down a job or demands money from you, family, and friends.
- Your partner blames you for how they treat you, or for anything bad that happens; never holds themselves accountable for their own behaviors.
- Your partner is abusive (verbally, physically) towards siblings, other family members, friends, children or pets.
- Your partner constantly puts you down or uses name-calling.
- Your partner is always angry at someone or something; they display extreme mood swings.
- Your partner tries to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go.
- Your partner refuses “no” and/or pressures you or forces you to be sexual when you do not want to be.
- Your partner cheats on you or has lots of partners; may view you as sexual property.
- Your partner is physically “rough” with you (push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain) but minimizes the behavior as serious (regardless if they leave marks).
- Your partner does not allow you to have a job or be part of any social groups or events; may make you feel guilty for wanting to have other hobbies or interests outside of your relationship.
- Your partner accuses you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuses you of cheating on them; they act possessive or do not allow you to have platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex.
- Your partner makes all of the relationship decisions and does not listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings.
- Your partner constantly ignores you, gives you the silent treatment, or hangs up on you.
- Your partner is never willing to compromise.
- Your partner constantly lies to you.
- Your partner makes vulgar comments about you in others presence or tell you how to dress or act.
- Your partner threatens self-harm or suicide if you break up with them, or they tell you that they cannot live without you.
- Your partner will compare you to former partners.
- It is important to know that what may be a red flag to you in building your relationship, may not be considered an abuse behavior to someone else; however, everyone deserves a healthy relationship filled with equal dynamics.
Information adapted from theredflagcampaign.org
Helping a Friend Who is Being Abused
Many individuals are emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by their intimate partners each year. This violence often occurs in patterns and can get worse over time with frequency and severity of types of violent behaviors. An abusive partner often uses isolation and brainwashing to get what they want, along with threats of violence to install fear as tactics of their control.
You can help your friend by being honest about your concerns through providing emotional support, and by educating them about behaviors and resources for help. The following are supportive factors to use:
Be an active listener and do not judge. Tell your friend that you care about their well-being and are willing to listen. Let your friend talk about the situation on their terms; do not force the issue. Never blame your friend for what is happening or minimize any threatening behaviors. Focus on supporting your friend’s right to make her/his own decisions. You can give positive advice based on safety but avoid telling them what to do even if they are seeking that assistance. It takes the average person seven times to leave an abuser for good.Remember that leaving is a process not a one-time event and you are providing small steps to your friend by not judging and assisting them when they need it. It is fine to follow up with your friend on a regular basis to make sure that they are safe and to tell them that you are still here to help.
Stay educated about abuse. Find out all the facts you can about dating violence. Contact the Office for Sexual Violence Response and Healthy Relationship Promotion at 515-271-4141 on campus, that addresses sexual and dating violence, or contact the local program, Domestic Violence Services at 515-243-6147, that assists victims of domestic/dating violence and stalking. These service providers can assist a secondary victim/bystander in coping and can provide resources and guidance for assisting friends who are in unhealthy relationships.
If your friend decides to end the relationship, help them by making a plan to be safe. There are greater risks for severity of the abuse when an individual tries to end their relationship then if they stay, so keep this in mind. Often the abusive partner feels that they have lost the control acquired in the relationship and can become very dangerous and/or volatile when their partner leaves. Assess this possibility of danger with your friend and encourage them to seek remedies such as a civil legal protective order or a campus-based no contact order to deter further incidences. Encourage your friend to seek community service providers and/or campus-based support service options for safety planning and other support options if they wish.
Focus on their strengths. Emotional abuse is the most prevalent type of abuse used in unhealthy relationships. An abusive partner will use name-calling, and other verbally abusive tactics to minimize their partner’s self-worth; this is part of a brainwashing process of control. It is vital that you provide encouraging words and focus on building up your friend’s self-esteem through examining strengths and skills they possess. Emphasize that they deserves a life that is free from violence.