Our Creed, written by Edward H. McCune, Founder, and Fourth National President, begins with: “I believe that the true spirit of Fraternalism is a personal devotion to one’s ideals.”
Sexual misconduct is dishonorable to the Principles of the Fraternity and disregards the value and dignity of human life. Every member must take seriously their responsibility to see that sexual violence does not occur in their community.
Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent.
Consent, by definition, means permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Anyone can experience sexual violence, and the abuser is most likely to be an acquaintance, a family member, or some other trusted individual; violence at the hands of a stranger is the least common category.
Sigma Tau Gamma’s [Member Safety & Wellness Policy] explicitly prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct.
If you wish to report an incident of sexual violence or you suspect that sexual violence has occurred within your chapter, contact Sigma Tau Gamma Headquarters immediately.
Sigma Tau Gamma Headquarters will always seek to be a partner with the University Administration or Campus Police to ensure the safety and security of our members and guests.
- IF SOMEONE IS IN DANGER, CALL 9-1-1
- NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE FREE. CONFIDENTIAL. 24/7. CALL 1-800-646-HOPE (4673) TO TALK
- VISIT RAINN.ORG/GET-HELP TO CHAT
Understanding Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is a broad term and includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
Sexual violence is a social justice issue that occurs because of abuse, misuse, and exploitation of vulnerabilities. It is a violation of human rights and can impact a person’s trust and feeling of safety. Acts of sexual violence are not only about control and/or sex. Rape culture exists, in part, because of disparities in power that are often rooted in oppression.
Sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes and ethnicities.
We can stop sexual assault, harassment, and abuse before they happen. We all have the right to safety in our lives – to have our boundaries respected and make choices about what happens to our bodies — at home, school, the workplace, and in public places. That sense of wellbeing and safety can be taken away by knowing that sexual assault, harassment, and abuse are common and not always taken seriously. The good news is that we can stop sexual abuse before it happens by addressing the bigger picture in which it occurs.
The Bigger Picture
Too often, our society sends the message that sexual violence is caused by a person’s choices and failings — that of the victim or the perpetrator. We should never blame victims for what happened to them — these are actions that one person chooses to inflict on another.
We need to hold individuals who commit abuse accountable, but we can’t stop there when it comes to ending sexual assault altogether. Focusing solely on individuals and specific instances is often easier than facing the reality that this type of violence is widespread and common, and the driving forces behind it are hard to see.
Everyone’s beliefs, values, and behaviors are continually shaped by the world around them — by unwritten rules on how to behave, laws, policies, and pop culture. This means our efforts to stop sexual assault before it happens must go beyond changing individuals.
What You Can Do
- Improve skills around asking for consent and respecting the answer, challenge jokes that demean others, and maintain and model healthy relationships.
- Encourage members and guests to respect others’ boundaries and bodies, challenge unfair gender stereotypes, and treat others with respect.
- Improve policies and practices within chapters and communities to ensure everyone is treated fairly. Work with Interfraternity, Panhellenic, and other Greek Councils, as well as Student Government and Campus Administration to promote sexual violence prevention.
- Contact your local and state representatives to encourage them to create and pass legislation that supports survivors and improves equitable resources.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.” It states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
For Title IX, sexual violence falls under the definition of sexual harassment. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title IX and guides schools/agencies to assist them in complying with the law. If someone is a victim of discrimination, they may file a complaint with OCR under Title IX (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Each campus has a Title IX Coordinator. Reach out to them for more information or if you suspect sexual violence has occurred.
The Clery Act is a federal law enforced by the U.S. Department of Education that requires colleges and universities in the U.S. to disclose information about campus crime. As part of the law, schools must publish an annual security report, maintain a public crime log, release crime statistics, issue timely alerts about crime, implement an emergency response plan, and have procedures for handling missing person cases. You can find information about student safety and security under the Clery Act by visiting your university’s website.
CAMPUS SEXUAL VIOLENCE ELIMINATION (SAVE) ACT
In March 2013, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act was signed into law as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization. The SaVE Act is an amendment to the Clery Act and requires that all institutions of higher learning must educate students, faculty, and staff on the prevention of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This legislation increases standards of campus response, disciplinary proceedings, and prevention education. Talk to your campus administrators about educational opportunities and resources available to you and your chapter.
Reference: National Sexual Violence Resource Center, www.nsvrc.org.