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Reporting about an experience of sexual assault can be an uncomfortable experience, and our office understands that. Reporting about the incident is important because it ensures that those involved will receive information about supportive resources and options for moving forward that can help lead to recovery and healing. 

Who Should Report?

Responsible Employees

According to JMU Policy 1340, all University faculty, staff, and student employees are responsible employees and are required to report all disclosures of sexual misconduct to Title IX. Our Guidance for Faculty and Staff web page provides reminders on how to meet the obligations of being a responsible employee as well as tips on how to appropriately respond to disclosures of sexual misconduct. 

Confidential resources are exempt from reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to Title IX. University employees who provide or support the provision of counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual assault-related services to members of the University community who have experienced sexual misconduct fall in line under confidential resources. These include campus mental-health counselors, social workers, psychologists, health-center employees, and any other person with a professional license requiring confidentiality, or an employee in the office who is supervised by such a person. Confidential resources also include affiliates who are pastoral or religious counselors.   

Bystander

An active bystander is anyone who is present and witnesses an incident of sexual misconduct or learns about an act of sexual misconduct and chooses to respond. There are multiple ways to do so, please see some of the tips below:   

  • Take care of each other.
  • Have a plan with your friends before going out.
  • Recognize when there is a problem and be the solution to help.
  • Make up an excuse to get the person out of a potentially dangerous situation:  "I'm starving! Do you want to grab some food?" or "I need to run to the restroom. Will you come with me?"
  • Never leave the person's side, despite the efforts of someone to get the person alone or away from you.
  • Make sure the person gets home safely.
  • Use a group of friends to remind someone who is behaving inappropriately that their behavior should be respectful. (This may be safer than confronting someone one-on-one when attempting to de-escalate the situation.)
  • Take steps to curb someone's alcohol and/or drugs before problems occur.
  • Call the authorities when the situation warrants.
  • Recognize the signs of domestic, relational, or sexual abuse and safely intervene. Some signs include:  avoidance of certain individuals, loss of appetite, depression, self-harm, anxiety, failing grades, withdrawing from classes, increase in drugs and alcohol, and/or physical signs such as bruising and/or scratches.

If you personally need to seek professional help or know someone who is in need of professional help, please tell someone. You can make a difference in someone’s life by noticing the signs of abuse and reporting acts of sexual violence and connecting those who need help with resources!

Bystander Campus Support

JMU supports DUKES Step Up! intervention program run by the Health Center that educates students about safe, early, and effective ways to be proactive in helping others. We believe that just one Duke can make a difference! DUKES Step Up! has a Five Step Decision-Making Model to go by when to act. 

Why Reporting Is Important

Reasons For Not Reporting

Did you know that 68 percent of sexual assault on college campuses are not reported? Reasons for not telling someone include some of the following:
  • Shame
  • Lack of knowledge for who to talk to or where to go
  • Lack of trust for the school system
  • Don’t want an investigation or the police involved
  • Fear of retaliation
  • May think their case is not serious enough
  • Don’t want family and/or friends to know
  • Not sure about intent of assault since the perpetrator was an acquaintance or friend
  • Embarrassment
  • Confusion

Reasons Why You Should Report

We encourage you to come forward to our office or to a trusted friend because:
  • You have a voice
  • You can tell someone without pressing charges and going through a university investigation
  • You can receive interim measures such as no contact orders and/or academic assistance
  • You have nothing to be ashamed about because it isn’t your fault
  • You will get connected with counseling resources that will aid in recovery and healing
  • You can regain your sense of personal empowerment
  • You can protect others and yourself from your perpetrator
  • You have rights and options for moving forward

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For those who have experienced gender-based discrimination that does not deal with sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, reports can be made through the Office of Equal Opportunity or by filling out the JMU Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form.

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