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Abusive relationships involve a pattern of verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, and/or sexual abuse within the context of an intimate relationship where one partner uses abusive behaviors to assert power or maintain control over the other. It is also called: dating violence, relationship violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or family violence. We use the term “abusive relationships” rather than these other terms because all students can relate to it, rather than some of these other words which imply living with someone (“domestic” “family”) or a specific type of relationship (“intimate partner” “dating”). We know abusive relationships can be all of these things, and even between roommates or friends.
Advocates are specially trained volunteers and staff who answer Orange County Rape Crisis Center and The Compass Center for Women and Children (formerly Family Violence Prevention Center)‘s 24-hour crisis lines. They provide emotional support to survivors. They can provide you with information that may help you decide what your options are and advocate for you if you choose to seek medical attention or file charges. An Advocate can go with you to the hospital, to the police, or to court, so if you do not want to tell family or a friend, you can have someone with you to support you and advocate for you. Advocates are not trained therapists but can provide you support and help you decide if you want to seek professional counseling.
There are three different kinds of reporting available at UNC, which depend on your level of comfort and how much information you want to share, as well as whether you want to press charges, judicially or criminally. To report an incident of interpersonal violence anonymously (as a victim or a bystander/witness), you can fill out an Anonymous Reporting Form which is available at the Dean of Students website and in Carolina Union bathrooms. Drop boxes are also available in these locations. If you witness an incident of interpersonal violence, you may also file an anonymous report through Campus Police’s Silent Witness web form or through CrimeStoppers.
There are three different kinds of reporting available at UNC, which depend on your level of comfort and how much information you want to share, as well as whether you want to press charges, judicially or criminally. If you would like help filling out a reporting form from a staff member but do not want to share your name, you can contact any university faculty or staff member, including the Department of Public Safety, and they can fill out a Blind Reporting Form. In this instance, that person reporting the incident may know your name, but it is not on the form which is submitted to the Dean of Students Office. These reports help the University know how many incidents occur each year.
All reports are confidential and maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. Reports filed with the Department of Public Safety are maintained by their records.
Companions are specially trained volunteers and staff who answer Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour crisis line. They provide emotional support to sexual violence survivors. They can provide information that may help you decide what your options are and advocate for you if you choose to seek medical attention or file charges. A Companion can go with you to the hospital, to the police, or to court, so if you do not want to tell family or a friend, you can have someone support you and advocate for you. Companions are not trained therapists but can provide support and help you decide if you want to seek professional counseling.
An expressed agreement by all partners to engage in sexual contact of any kind. Consent is verbally expressed and is not implied if someone does not say “no.” The best way to make sure you have consent is to ask before any sexual contact occurs.
Consent cannot be given if someone:
People under the influence of date rape drugs may not be able to resist sexual advances, and may not be aware of the attack until 8-12 hours after it occurred due to memory lapses. Victims may not be aware that they ingested a drug at all because date rape drugs are invisible and odorless when dissolved in water. They drugs also metabolize quickly so there may be little physical evidence, such as through a blood sample during evidence collection. Examples are Rohypnol or “roofies,” GHB, and Ketamine.
Forensic Nurse Examiners, or FNEs, are available at UNC Hospitals as well as Campus Health Services. These providers are specially trained to offer a discussion of options of medical care and reporting, collect evidence with a physical or sexual assault evidence collection kit (see: Evidence Kit), prescribe medications for prevention of infections and pregnancy, and coordinate services within Campus Health and/or the community and state. Also called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
There are three different kinds of reporting available at UNC, which depend on your level of comfort and how much information you want to share, as well as whether you want to press charges, judicially or criminally. A Full Report can also be filed with any staff member, where you share as much information as you want, including your name and the name of the person who harmed you. When a full report is filed, staff members will investigate the incident. All reports are confidential and maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. Reports filed with the Department of Public Safety are also maintained by their records.
A 24-hour phone number staffed by specialists. Survivors or Secondary Survivors can call to talk to someone for support about their experience in a completely anonymous way. Also one way to access services and assistance. There are two hotlines in Chapel Hill, one through The Compass Center for Women and Children (formerly Family Violence Prevention Center) and one through Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
When someone may have been exposed to HIV, such as in the case of unprotected anal or vaginal sex, they may take a course of antiretroviral drugs over four weeks which is thought to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. These drugs should be taken as quickly as possible after the event and must be prescribed by a physician.
Emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy before it occurs; it does not cause an abortion. Plan B can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 89% if taken with 72 hours, but is effective up to 120 hours. Plan B is FDA approved, and there are less side-effects than in the past. For students, it is available on a walk-in, confidential basis at Campus Health Services. It is also available through Planned Parenthood.
A “No Contact Order” can prevent a student or groups of students from having any type of communication with another student. It is issued by the Dean of Students at UNC-CH. Failure to abide by the terms of a No Contact Order will result in referral to the Honor Court and possible suspension from the University. No Contact Orders can be particularly useful in situations involving stalking, abusive relationships, or sexual assault, as they can help the survivor feel safer and provide distance from the person or people who have hurt them. For more information on obtaining a No Contact Order through UNC-Chapel Hill, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students.
A particular type of sexual assault, defined as any sex act involving the penetration of any body opening by any object that is 1) against someone’s will, 2) without consent, 3) or when someone is unable to freely give consent.
The FBI’s definition of rape was changed in January 2012 to “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
In the state of North Carolina, “rape” legally refers to penile penetration of the vagina. All other forms of unwanted penetration are referred to as “sexual offenses.”
The State of North Carolina Statute defines rape as “Vaginal intercourse by force, without consent, or with a victim whom the perpetrator knows is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.” Force includes both psychological coercion and physical force
In North Carolina, criminal sex offenses include, but are not limited to, such things as rape, statutory rape, sexual offense, peeping, sexual harassment, stalking, cyber-stalking, and indecent exposure (North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2007). This definition includes anal and oral penetration as well as vaginal penetration with a finger or object.
Survivors of sexual violence can suffer a significant degree of physical and emotional trauma during, immediately after, and over a considerable time period after the rape. They can experience nightmares, fear of being alone, fear of physical contact and sex, and possibly eating, sleeping, and menstrual pattern disruption, much like veterans experience Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) after returning from a warzone. To heal, survivors should not blame themselves. They should seek support from family, friends, counselors, and/or support groups.
A restraining order or protective order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another, for a variety of reasons. In North Carolina, there are domestic violence protective orders (DVPO) and also Civil No-Contact orders. These types of restraining orders in North Carolina depend on your relationship with the person from who you want separation. Some of these variables include if you’ve lived together or if you’re married, or if you’ve had an intimate relationship. Police officers can help you fill out the restraining order and take it to a court. If you are LGBTQ-identified and would like assistance, please contact UNC’s LGBTQ Center at 919.843.5376. Any student may also receive assistance in obtaining a restraining order from the Dean of Students Office by contacting 966-4042.
If you no longer feel safe in your living situation, you have the option of moving into a (different, if applicable and available) residence hall on campus on a temporary basis. Housing and Residential Education has a “Safe Room” that you can stay in for a couple of nights. These rooms are private and confidential. Contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 966-4042 (business hours). After hours, please contact University Police at 962-8100.
A term for someone who knows a friend or family member’s story of interpersonal violence. Most of us are secondary survivors – approximately 80% of Carolina students know someone who has experienced sexual assault, abusive relationships, or stalking. Don’t blame yourself for many of the feelings you have after learning that someone close to you has been abused. Sadness, confusion, anger, helplessness, fear, guilt, disappointment, shock, anxiety, desperation, and compassion are all common reactions for survivors AND their loved ones. Being aware of these emotions will ultimately help you better understand the survivor’s experience and be more supportive.
Sexual assault is any sex act or sexual contact against someone’s will, without consent, or when someone is unable to freely give consent. In most sexual assaults, no weapon is used except for force. Force can include the use of verbal, physical or emotional pressure or manipulation, substances, threats, coercion and/or the use of alcohol or other drugs. Some lesser known examples of sexual assault are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home of someone you know or your own home.
Sexual harassment is the misuse of power, involving two people of perceived unequal authority and status, in a situation that has sexual overtones. It is manifest in a range of behaviors that bring unwanted, unwelcome attention directed toward a person’s sexuality or sexual identity. These can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Stalking is “…the willful and without legal purpose, repeated harassment of another; or course of conduct directly, indirectly or by third party…” which has four primary elements: (1) knowingly; (2) on more than one occasion; (3) at a specific person; (4) with intent either to: a) place in reasonable fear of safety or b) cause substantial emotional distress pertaining to death; bodily injury; or continued harassment.”
(see: Victim) A term used for someone who has experienced the crime and trauma of interpersonal violence. Often used instead of “victim,” particularly when someone is healing or empowered after the violence. Most people do not like to think of themselves as victims in any way, and it can be empowering for a survivor to refer to themselves as a “survivor” instead.
(see: Survivor) A term used for someone who has experienced the crime and trauma of interpersonal violence.
Ze and hir are gender neutral pronouns, that is they are not associated with a specific gender. Using ze (rather than he or she) and hir (rather than him or her) allows you to reference someone without assuming gender.