Scope of Grief Response

The following list mentions the wide range of normal responses you may have after a loss or change in your life. Some responses may be immediate and of short duration, while others may only appear after weeks and months. It is helpful to learn about your personal response to loss and change and to recognize that each person responds differently to each loss and change they experience.

Mental
Overwhelmed
Hostility
Hallucinations
Absent-minded
Denial of loss
Confusion
Depression
Preoccupation
Self-destructive thoughts
Avoidance
Question values
Bargaining
Inability to focus
Shock
Disbelief
Sensing the deceased
Problems making decisions
Relief
Think you are going crazy

Physical
Exhaustion
Nausea
Sleep disturbances
Numbness
Dry mouth
Chest Pains
TMJ
Appetite changes
Headaches
Dizziness
Agitation
Digestive difficulties
Hyperactivity
Nervous energy
Heart pounding
Noise sensitivity
Increase in physical illness
Skin sensitivity
Shortness of breath

Emotional
Courage
Resilience
Helplessness
Irritable/resentment
Intense sadness
Fear
Joy
Overwhelmed
Shock
Low self-esteem
Peace
Numbness
Gratitude/relief
Mood swings
Anxiety
Vulnerability
Increase/decrease in all feelings
Anger
Guilt
Love
Fragility
All cried out

Behavioral
Restlessness
Avoid Reminders
Overactive
Cling to Reminders
Changes in Sexual Activity
Crying
Dreams
Visit Places
Disposal of Belongings
Increased Sensitivity
Need for Touch
Searching
Adventuring
Use Transitional Objects
Pick up deceased's mannerisms
Addictions

Social
Need for support of friends and family
Withdrawal from friends and family
Isolation
Increased dependency
Need to act normal
Need for normalcy
Relationship difficulties: romantic, friendship, family
Hypersensitivity to topics of loss
Need for rituals/routines
Changes in social status
Role change
Role reversals

Spiritual
Dreams
Visions
Visitations
Despair
Abandonment
Increase/decrease in faith/questions
Forgiveness
Belief in miracles
Curiosity about meaning/purpose of life/death
Question long held beliefs and values
Question meaning of pain and suffering
Anger at God or faith
Spiritual rituals no longer have meaning
Illness/death seen as punishment

This information came from HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield County. Phone: 303-449-7740, info@hospicecareonline.orgwww.hospicecareonline.org.

To return to Office of Victim Assistance's Grief and Loss/Death Overview page click here.

Supporting a colleague in the workplace

When illness, dying or grief occur in the workplace, it is important to understand:

  • How this will impact the work place
  • How to respond meaningfully and in a supportive way
  • The importance of creating a supportive and safe environment
  • How to shared grief can strengthen the work environment

How Illness, Death, and Grief impact the work place

Practical Repercussions

  • Work time spent on care giving & practical tasks
  • Financial concerns/impacts
  • Employee errors
  • On-the-job accidents
  • Time off needed/absenteeism
  • Consequences to management and team

Emotional Repercussions

  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Inability to focus on work
  • Anxiety about performance & job security
  • Alienation due to lack of understanding

How to respond meaningfully and supportively

  • Understand loss and grief
  • Lead and model
  • Open the conversation
  • Provide appropriate information
  • Recognize ALL affected parties
  • Identify appropriate resources and provide appropriate supports:

Office of Victim Assistance provides free, confidential counseling and group/staff debriefs

Issues specific to creating a supportive and safe workplace environment

  • There are differences in staff responses
  • There are differences in the kinds of support needed
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Resource management and allocation
  • Immediate attention vs. long-term follow-up

Shared grief can strengthen the work environment

  • Caregivers/grievers need acceptance
  • Caregivers/grievers need job security
  • Teamwork productivity can be enhanced
  • Organizational management of crisis sends message to entire staff
  • Grief is inherently a growth experience, individually and as a group

Build your support and information systems BEFORE they are needed

This information came from HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield County. Phone: 303-449-7740, info@hospicecareonline.orgwww.hospicecareonline.org.

To return to Office of Victim Assistance’s Grief and Loss/Death Overview page click here

Responding to People in Grief

People often try to confront grieving people with inappropriate comments coming from one owns discomfort, awkwardness, and fear. These are things NOT TO SAY:

  • I know just how you are feeling.
  • You have to be strong.
  • You are lucky you had children.
  • At least he/she went fast.
  • Do not cry — it will be over soon.
  • It must be a terrible blow.
  • It must be a relief not to have to get up every hour at night anymore.
  • Time will make it better.
  • You are doing so well.
  • It was God’s will.
  • Keep busy-you will forget.
  • This happened for the best.
  • Are you over the worst of it?

  • Boy, that was really fast.
  • Smile.  It could be worse.
  • It is time to get on with your life.
  • She/He was so sick-it is good it is over.
  • Oh, but you have such good memories.
  • I know how you feel; when I went through ...
  • You are too young to be a widow.

To a partner:

 

To a parent:

 

Pregnancy/infant loss:

  • At least you had twenty good years with them.
  • Aren’t you glad you did not marry them?
  • You will marry again.

  • You still have one child. Be thankful for what you have.
  • Now you have an angel in heaven.
  • You can have another child.

  • You are lucky; it might not have been normal.
  • Do not be so down, it is not as though you lost a child.
  • At least you did not have to bring it home or get to know the baby.

There are simple ways to respond that show the person you care and will be there to support them. These are things TO SAY:

  • I am sorry for your loss.
  • Is there any specific way I can help you right now?
  • I cannot even imagine how much you are hurting.
  • Can I call you and check in with you every so often? (Do not expect them to remember to call you.)
  • I promise I will be here for you. (Only say if you can be there.)
  • Would you like to talk about it? I want to hear what you have to say.
  • It is OK with me if you cry. (Show emotion.)
  • If a grieving person asks, “Why did this happen?” It is best to answer, “I do not know.”

  • Just reaching out a hand, being there in silence, and letting them have their feelings is helpful.
  • Sometimes just sitting with someone without having to say anything is the greatest gift you can give a grieving person.
  • Do not stop trying to make contact over the months, unless they CLEARLY ask you to, they will appreciate your care even if they cannot take you up on it yet.
  • Sometimes it takes weeks or months before a grieving person is able to reach out for help.

This information came from HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield County. Phone: 303-449-7740, info@hospicecareonline.orgwww.hospicecareonline.org.

To return to Office of Victim Assistance's Grief and Loss/Death Overview page click here

A Season of Nonviolence

64 Ways in 64 Days -- Daily Commitments to Live By These principles for nonviolence were adapted by the Denver Area Task Force for: A Season for Nonviolence - January 30-April 4, 1998

Inspired by the 50th & 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  1. Today, I will reflect on what peace means to me.
  2. Today, I will look at opportunities to be a peacemaker.
  3. Today, I will practice nonviolence and respect for Mother Earth by making good use of her resources.
  4. Today, I will take time to admire and appreciate nature.
  5. Today, I will plant seeds--plants or constructive ideas.
  6. Today, I will hold a vision of plenty for all the world's hungry and be open to guidance as to how I can help alleviate some of that hunger.
  7. Today, I will acknowledge every human being's fundamental right to justice, equity, and equality.
  8. Today, I will appreciate the earth's bounty and all of those who work to make my food available (i.e., grower, trucker, grocery clerk, cook, waitress, etc.).
  9. Today, I will work to understand and respect another culture.
  10. Today, I will oppose injustice, not people.
  11. Today, I will look beyond stereotypes and prejudices.
  12. Today, I will choose to be aware of what I talk about and I will refuse to gossip.
  13. Today, I will live in the present moment and release the past.
  14. Today, I will silently acknowledge all the leaders throughout the world.
  15. Today, I will speak with kindness, respect, and patience to every person that I talk with on the telephone.
  16. Today, I will affirm my value and worth with positive "self talk" and refuse to put myself down.
  17. Today, I will tell the truth and speak honestly from the heart.
  18. Today, I will cause a ripple effect of good by an act of kindness toward another.
  19. Today, I will choose to use my talents to serve others by volunteering a portion of my time.
  20. Today, I will say a blessing for greater understanding whenever I see evidence of crime, vandalism, or graffiti.
  21. Today, I will say "No" to ideas or actions that violate me or others.
  22. Today, I will turn off anything that portrays or supports violence whether on television, in the movies, or on the Internet.
  23. Today, I will greet this day--everyone and everything--with openness and acceptance as if I were encountering them for the first time.
  24. Today, I will drive with tolerance and patience.
  25. Today, I will constructively channel my anger, frustration, or jealousy into healthy physical activities (i.e., doing sit-ups, picking up trash, taking a walk, etc).
  26. Today, I will take time to appreciate the people who provide me with challenges in my life, especially those who make me angry or frustrated.
  27. Today, I will talk less and listen more.
  28. Today, I will notice the peacefulness in the world around me.
  29. Today, I will recognize that my actions directly affect others.
  30. Today, I will take time to tell a family member or friend how much they mean to me.
  31. Today, I will acknowledge and thank someone for acting kindly.
  32. Today, I will send a kind, anonymous message to someone.
  33. Today, I will identify something special in everyone I meet.
  34. Today, I will discuss ideas about nonviolence with a friend to gain new perspectives.
  35. Today, I will practice praise rather than criticism.
  36. Today, I will strive to learn from my mistakes.
  37. Today, I will tell at least one person they are special and important.
  38. Today, I will hold children tenderly in thought and/or action.
  39. Today, I will listen without defending and speak without judgment.
  40. Today, I will help someone in trouble.
  41. Today, I will listen with an open heart to at least one person.
  42. Today, I will treat the elderly I encounter with respect and dignity.
  43. Today, I will treat the children I encounter with respect and care, knowing that I serve as a model to them.
  44. Today, I will see my co-workers in a new light--with understanding and compassion.
  45. Today, I will be open to other ways of thinking and acting that are different from my own.
  46. Today, I will think of at least three alternate ways I can handle a situation when confronted with conflict.
  47. Today, I will work to help others resolve differences.
  48. Today, I will express my feeling honestly and nonviolently with respect for myself and others.
  49. Today, I will sit down with my family for one meal.
  50. Today, I will set an example of a peacemaker by promoting nonviolent responses.
  51. Today, I will use no violent language.
  52. Today, I will pause for reflection.
  53. Today, I will hold no one hostage to the past, seeing each-as I see myself-as a work in process.
  54. Today, I will make a conscious effort to smile at someone whom I have held a grudge against in the past.
  55. Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness by apologizing to someone whom I have hurt in the past.
  56. Today, I will reflect on whom I need to forgive and take at least one step in that direction.
  57. Today, I will forgive myself.
  58. Today, I will embrace the spiritual belief of my heart in my own personal and reflective way.
  59. Today, I will enlarge my capacity to embrace differences and appreciate the value of every human being.
  60. Today, I will be compassionate in my thoughts, words, and actions.
  61. Today, I will cultivate my moral strength and courage through education and creative nonviolent action.
  62. Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness for myself and others.
  63. Today, I will use my talents to serve others as well as myself.
  64. Today, I will serve humanity by dedicating myself to a vision greater than myself.

Continuum of Stalking Behavior

* It is important not to wait too long before talking with someone about behavior that is unwanted and repetitive.If you see this happening to a friend, talk to them. Please call the Office of Victim Assistance for support.

Office of Victim Assistance -- University of Colorado -- 303-492-8855


Sexual Assault Response Tips for RA's, HD's, & Other CU Staff/Faculty

As a member of University of Colorado staff/faculty, you are a visible and trusted person in your community.As a Resident Adviser and Hall Director, students will look up to you for advise and seek you as a resource. This goes for other staff too. Students may come to you in times of a crisis. One such crisis is sexual assault. This handout will provide some basic tips and information about how to help a survivor of sexual assault. However, it cannot and does not address every aspect of every situation. If you have further questions, please contact the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) (303-492-8855) or click here.

1. Safety. If the student feels in immediate danger, call CU Police (303-492-6666) or 911.

2. Medical. Forensic evidence can be collected and saved by seeing a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) for a medical forensic exam.  SANE exams are usually done within 72 hours of the assault, but sometimes evidence can still be collected up to a week after the assault, but the sooner you go the better. For those survivors who do not choose to have the forensic exam, medical exams, consultation, and follow-up care (including testing/treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, if applicable) is available.  Contact OVA or click here for more information

3. Confidentiality/Reporting: You cannot promise confidentiality! Explain to the student that you must notify the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, as supervisors, advisors, faculty, are required to report.  The idea of reporting to others may be upsetting for some survivors.  It is important to let the student know that even though a report must be made, there is NO requirement for the survivor to move forward or talk to the people who may be in contact. Assure the resident that you will not disclose the information to anyone who does not need to know (such as friends, other residents, students, etc.). OVA is here to help survivors know all of their options (medical, emotional, legal, campus, academic, etc.).

Here are some CONFIDENTIAL resources to offer:

4. Listen. One of the most important ways to support a survivor is to listen to without judging or blaming. Remember that no matter what the circumstances, no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.

5. Defining. Allow the survivor to talk about the experience in their own way and words. Do not define the experience for the survivors. Sometimes survivors do not know what to call what happened and you do not need to label the experience for them, for example do not say, “That is rape,” if that is not what the survivor is saying.

6. Follow the survivor’s lead. DO NOT take control of the situation.  Being a survivor of sexual assault can cause survivors to feel a loss of control. Let the survivor make their own decisions and support their decisions. You can encourage them to reach out for professional support to help them explore their rights and options, like through CU OVA or MESA.

7. Individuality. Understand that each survivor of sexual assault responds uniquely to an assault. Some common reactions may include shock, fear, embarrassment, guilt, anger, depression, and/or feeling overwhelmed. Survivors go through a process after these events and feel differently at different times, their identity, support and access to resources can also impact this. Sometimes survivors want to talk, want to do other things, want to pursue various options, let them know you are available and have resources to offer.

8. Support. Be a support person and help them find support.

9.T ake care of yourself. Resources that are available to survivors are also available to you. Consider talking with someone too, like an advocate or a counselor, to process your feelings and help you support survivors more effectively.

Return to Sexual Assault main page

 

Sexual Intimacy after Sexual Assault

After a sexual assault, many people find that their sexual attitudes and reactions seem different. While these effects do not have to be permanent, they can be worrisome and prevent the enjoyment of sexual life and intimacy. Experiencing sexual effects after sexual assault is not only very common, but it is also understandable.  Some find that sex has different meaning than before the assault. Some people may react by avoiding sexual activity and isolating their sexual selves. Some may find that they no longer enjoy certain sexual acts that they previously enjoyed.  Others may react by having more sexual activity than they had before this experience or rushing into sexuality due to a sense that it is all people want from them. It can be hard for people to understand why they are responding the way they are and this can feel odd or confusing.

Sexual effects may be present immediately after the experience(s), or they may appear long afterward. The ten most common sexual effects after sexual assault include:

  1. Avoiding or being afraid of sex
  2. Approaching sex as an obligation
  3. Experiencing negative feelings such as anger, disgust, or guilt with touch
  4. Having difficulty becoming aroused or feeling sensation
  5. Feeling emotionally distant or not present during sex
  6. Experiencing intrusive or disturbing sexual thoughts and images
  7. Engaging in compulsive sexual behaviors
  8. Experiencing difficulty establishing or maintaining an intimate relationship
  9. Experiencing erectile or ejaculatory difficulties
  10. Experiencing vaginal pain or orgasmic difficulties

Noting your specific sexual feelings can be an important part of beginning to heal.  Once you become aware of what you are experiencing and how it is impacting your sex life, it may help you begin to integrate your experience of sex assault and move into a realm of sexuality that feels comfortable for you.

Moving towards new sexual attitudes and reactions

Sex assault can change people’s attitudes about sex in a variety of ways.  Many survivors of sex assault describe feeling at odds with themselves internally.  A person who previously felt that sex was a positive and exciting act may feel uninterested or frightened at the prospect of being sexual after an assault. At the same time, if a person previously had negative beliefs about sex, such as “sex is all people want from me” or “sex is shameful or harmful” sexual assault may strengthen those beliefs.  Ultimately, what can be most difficult is that survivors might not feel like “themselves” anymore when it comes to the topic of sex.

After an assault, it can be hard to tease apart what is harmful sexuality and what is more healthy sexuality.  When someone uses sex to hurt you, it can be hard to find the confidence that sexuality can be a fun, free, connecting experience. The passing of time and positive sexual experiences by yourself or with a partner may naturally move you towards new sexual attitudes and reactions. You can also actively begin the process of shifting your ideas by trying some of the following:

For Yourself

  1. Consider the language you use about bodies (yours or others) and sexuality.  Some common language about these topics can have violent connotations and might feel degrading. Routinely using this language can reinforce the belief that sex is dangerous and hurtful.  Alternatives might be:
    • If you don’t know language that suggests that sex can be positive, tender, passionate, exciting or funny it is okay to make up your own.
    • If you haven’t thought about this since health class the latest thinking about the variety of different bodies and how they really work is quite fascinating. You can look at books or relevant internet articles to get information. This can give a new appreciation and respect for ourselves and our sexuality.
  2. Discover more about your current sexual attitudes and what you like or don’t like, want to change or keep the same. This experience may have changed you but that doesn’t mean you are damaged.  Note where you are now and consider how you want to think and feel about sex in the future.
  3. Discuss ideas about healthy sexuality and sex with others such as with your friends, partner, therapist, or support group members.  You may not always agree with what you find but hearing about other people’s ideas can help you hone in on your own beliefs.
  4. Educate yourself about healthy sex. Read books, take workshops, or talk with a counselor.

In Dating and New Relationships:

  1. Take control of planning the time you spend with someone.  Think about what helps you feel comfortable.  Make sure every date includes those elements.  For example you might want to arrange double dates with a good friend to accompany you or do things in a group.  Consider going out during the day for awhile or make plans to be in public places.  Don’t feel you have to be alone or in an uncomfortable environment with someone unless you absolutely want to.
  2. Trust your feelings to help you in setting limits.  Limits might include deciding beforehand what time to be home, how much physical intimacy, if any, to allow; whether or not to use drugs or alcohol.
  3. You can offer alternatives as your way of showing interest but maintaining your comfort level.  For instance, if your date suggests an activity you are not comfortable with, you can suggest an alternative:  “No, I don’t want to go have a beer but I’d love to go out for a cup of coffee.”
  4. If you don’t want any physical contact it is okay to tell your partner. You can suggest other ways to spend time together (go for a bike ride, go rock climbing, take a hike, go to dinner, go to the movies, etc.)
  5. Consider all the forms of physical contact and decide which of those you are interested in sharing: kissing, holding hands, hugging, etc. Let your partner know. When being sexual, experiment at your own pace with what feels comfortable.  In the beginning you may start to feel anxious or have flashbacks, this is not uncommon. Take a deep breath and remind yourself where you are right now.  You may want to talk about this with your partner before beginning sexual contact.  Let the other person know that you may need to stop and try something different or just take a break.

return to sexual assault main page

What is Consent? What is Not Consent?

CU-Boulder Definition of Consent

  • In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t.
  • Consent must be active; silence by itself cannot be interpreted as consent.
  • Consent is not effectively given if it results from the use of force, including threats, intimidation or coercion.

Guidance Regarding Consent

  • When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”
  • Giving incapacitating alcohol or drugs such as Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, and Burundanga or any other similar substance to another person is a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
  • A person who does not want to consent to sex is not required to resist.
  • Consent to some forms of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Silence, previous sexual relationships, or the existence of a current relationship do not imply consent. Consent cannot be implied by attire or inferred from the giving or acceptance of gifts, money or other items.
  • Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly. Withdrawal of consent can be done in numerous ways and need not be a verbal withdrawal of consent.
  • A respondent’s intentional use of alcohol/drugs will not function as a defense to a possible violation of this policy.

After experiencing unwanted sexual contact it is common that one may  have questions about the experience, what to call it, and questions about consent. If you have had an unwanted sexual encounter, the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) is a free and confidential resource to talk with you. OVA will not label your experience for you but will assist in exploring your questions, thoughts, and feelings with you as well as discussing your rights and options.   

Want to learn more about consent?

Call Community Health at 303-492-2937 or e-mail us at Healthbuffs@colorado.edu

or contact the Gender Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator at 303-492-5951.

return to sexual assault main page

 

Healthy, Unhealthy, & Abusive

What is the Difference between Healthy, Unhealthy and Abusive Relationships? Healthy is when you have some skills and capability to talk about how you feel, speak from your experience and empathize with your partner’s experience, too.

Unhealthy is feeling awkward about saying how you feel and may come from a lack of opportunity to learn how you feel and develop communication skills.

Abusive is about the need to control others’ thoughts and feelings because you are too afraid to take responsibility for your own.


Healthy is when you are listened to and respected especially when there are differences.

Unhealthy is when you are ignored and not respected.

Abusive is when you are actively disrespected, ignored and your ideas and feelings are treated with contempt.


Healthy is when you can have disagreements and still talk respectfully to each other.

Unhealthy is when your disagreements turn to fights too often.

Abusive is when you are afraid to disagree because you don't want to run the risk of your partner’s violence and anger.


Healthy is when you take time to become intimate and when both parties can be honest concerning their feelings about physical affection and sex.

Unhealthy is when you are embarrassed to say how you feel because you think they may not listen or care.

Abusive is when your needs and wants are ignored and when you are pushed into situations that frighten and degrade you.


Healthy is when you trust each other and are comfortable with your dating partner spending time with another person.

Unhealthy is when you feel jealous every time your dating partner talks to another person.

Abusive is when you are accused of flirting all the time and ORDERED not to talk to another person.

return to intimate partner abuse main page

Dating Bill of Rights

I have the right to:

  1. trust my own experience.
  2. refuse to date anyone without explaining myself.
  3. pay my own way on a date.
  4. not pay my own way on a date and still not be sexual.
  5. express my opinions, beliefs and preferences.
  6. have mutually consenting and good sex if I choose.
  7. refuse to have sex.
  8. be respected as a person.
  9. disagree with my date.
  10. say no.
  11. be happy, sad, scared or angry.
  12. use my own transportation on a date.
  13. leave any dating situation my instincts tell me to.
  14. receive emotional support and understanding.
  15. be loved.
  16. be cared about.
  17. experience intimacy.

return to Intimate Partner Abuse main page

Mandatory Reporting

How to Handle Mandatory Reporting

As a staff or faculty member of the CU community, you play many different roles. Sometimes, however, those roles can come into conflict. For instance, because you are a visible and trusted person in the community students are likely to come to you for advice, assistance or support. However, if a student discloses that they have been the victim of a crime, you may have a duty to report. Below you will findinformation on the CU mandatory reporting policy, who is a mandatory reporter, and some basic tips and information on how to handle mandatory reporting situations in a trauma informed way. If you have further questions, please contact the Office of Victim Assistance (303-492-8855) or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance,  303-492-2127 or click here.

Why do you have to report?

It is the policy of the University of Colorado Boulder, that all "responsible employees" who become aware of protected class discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, and stalking) or related retaliation, to promptly report it to the Office of Institutional equity and Compliance (OIEC).  Staff in offices that hold legal confidentiality privileges (such as Office of Victim Assistance) are exempted from this reporting policy.

Who is a "responsible employee"?  Any employee who: (1) has the authority to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, grade, formally advise or direct faculty, staff or students; (2) has the authority to take action to redress discrimination or harassment; and/or (3) has been given the duty of reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment to the OIEC. This definition does not include any medical, mental health, counseling or Ombuds Office personnel, in addition to any other offices covered by a statutory privilege or designated in campus procedures as not subject to mandatory reporting to the university.

How do I tell a student that I have to report?

  1. Support FirstIf a student discloses something you believe may be a crime, offer support first. Let the student know that you are there to help them.  Acknowledge the experience and inform them of resources they can access for support. Please click here for tips on providing support.
  2. Explain your obligation to report: Explain to the student that while you recognize they are dealing with a difficult situation, you have an obligation to report the information the Office on Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). Inform them that they may be contacted by an OIEC investigator and it is their choice if they would like to talk to them or not. In addition please let them know that they may receive outreach from OVA, which is a separate office from OIEC. It is important to highlight that OVA is confidential.

What do I do if the student gets upset?

The idea of this situation being shared with others may be upsetting or unexpected to some. Some may fear that the situation will get out of control or that other people will find out. Assure the student that:

  1. They won’t lose all control:The student can choose who they do and do not want to meet or talk with. Just because a report has been made the student still has a choice on if they want to engage in the process.
  2. They can choose to have accompaniment when meeting with OIEC or police: Victim Advocates who are experienced with legal, judicial and medical systems can be called to accompany victims and victim-witnesses in all meetings.
  3. Tell them you will not be telling everyone what they have disclosed:Let the student know that you will not disclose their information to anyone who does not need to know (such as friends, other classmates, RA’s etc.)
  4. There are confidential resources to help: provide the student with information for the confidential offices on campus. Please click here on more information on how to connect a student with the Office of Victim Assistance.

Other Options:

“I think I know where you are going with this…”

If you suspect that a student might be getting ready to tell you that they have been the victim of a crime you might consider doing the following:

  1. Say to the student: “I think I know where you are going with this.While I absolutely want to support and listen to you, I need to let you know that I may not be able to keep your information confidential.If this is something that you don’t want anyone else to know about we can call somebody right now who is confidential.” Make sure you let the student know that you want them to be heard!
  2. If the student agrees you can contact the Office of Victim Assistance, 303-492-8855, an advocate can meet with the student in our offices, or come to you.

"Don’t use names…"

If a student feels they cannot wait to talk to a confidential staff person you might consider doing the following:

  1. Ask the student to talk generally to you about the situation and encourage them to not give the names of the people involved.You will still be required to report but she/he will maintain a greater level of control over the situation.
  2. Encourage the student to make contact with a confidential office for support and resources.

 

Basic Reporting

If you, a friend, or loved one have experienced an assault, bias motivated incidents, crime, harassment, intimate partner abuse, sexual assault or stalking, the survivor has rights and options. Below is some basic reporting information. OVA recognizes that making the choice to report should be the choice of the survivor and OVA will support survivors of trauma in whatever decision they decide is best for them. It is common to have questions about reporting processes. OVA can discuss reporting options and what to expect in a process to assist the survivor in making an informed  decision that they decide is best for them. In addition to offering counseling,  if the survivor decides to report OVA can be an advocate throughout the process. Contact OVA to learn more about advocacy services. 

Reporting Options:

Reporting to the University of Colorado Boulder

If the person who harmed you is or was a student at the time of the incident they could be sanctioned under the Student Code of Conduct or Discrimination and Harassment policy. Title IX ( Sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner abuse) , discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment cases are investigated by investigators in the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). All other cases are investigated through the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSC). In cases in which there is a responsible finding of a policy violation there will be sanctions through the university.  The survivor can have an advocate from the Office of Victim Assistance or another accompanying support person during meetings with OIEC or OSC.  While you are not required to have a lawyer, some participants do choose to have a lawyer involved, especially if there is another (criminal or civil) process involved.  OVA advocates can talk with you about your options and what to expect in the reporting process.

For information on filing guidelines please go to : 

http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint 303-492-2127

If the person who harmed you was a staff or faculty member at the time of the incident, the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, formally the Office of Discrimination and Harassment, (303-492-2127)  can investigate under the Discrimination and Sexual Harassment policy. Employee relations (303-492-0956) can inform you of the variety of system wide policies and job related standards that may apply to your situation.  If, after an investigation, the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance or Employee Relations find that a violation of policy has occurred, they will pass on the finding to the supervisor, who will decide on a sanction.  Informal processes may be recommended if the behavior does not reach the level of a policy violation.

For more information on filing guidelines please go to : 

http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint 303-492-2127

Reporting to the police:

What happened to you might be a crime.  Reporting to the police would begin by calling 911 or calling the police department where the crime was committed. The first step will include talking to a police officer. Depending on what you are reporting the case may then be assigned to a detective for further interviews and investigation.  If there is enough evidence that a crime has been committed, the District Attorney’s office takes the case on your behalf and the district attorney will press charges.  You can have an advocate, and there are certain standards (Victims Rights) about how you are to be informed and included in this process.  Consult the police in your jurisdiction or the Office of Victim Assistance for more information.  Boulder County DA (303-441-3700) and CU police department (303-492-6666).

Civil Law:

Much of the policy that governs behavior inside the university derives from various Federal and State laws and so you may decide to seek recourse against an individual or organization under those laws. In the case of Federal law, the Department of Education (http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml) the Office for Civil Rights (http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (http://www.eeoc.gov/) are among the Federal agencies responsible for enforcing these laws.

In bringing a civil case, you will  need your own lawyer with expertise in that area of law.

Confidential Reporting: 

Click here to make a confidential report to the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA). This report will only be seen by a confidential advocate counselor at OVA. If you would  like an OVA advocate counselor to contact you  please  include your contact information. This report does notify the university and no investigative action will be taken.  

Other:

There are other entities active on and around campus that have their own standards of behavior and sanctioning processes, like ROTC, and fraternities or sororities.  The Office of Victim Assistance can assist you in assessing and interacting with these systems as well.

Frequently asked questions: 

I want to report, what do I do now? Contact OVA if you would like an OVA advocate to be present with you for the reporting process. If you want to make a report without the involvement of OVA, you can contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, or the police department directly. If you are unsure which office to contact to make a report to, contact OVA for assistance. 

I am unsure if I want to report, what should I do now? It is common for people to be unsure if they want to report after experiencing a traumatic incident. Contact OVA for a confidential place to talk, ask questions, get information, and explore options. OVA will support you in whatever you decide is the best decision for you. 

I do not want to report, what are my options? Regardless if you decide to report or not you have rights and options. Please contact OVA to discuss advocacy services which can include academics, employment, housing, and other forms of advocacy including safety planning. 

Trauma

A potentially traumatic event (PTE) is a serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or a serious accident.  A PTE can also be an event that causes terror or fear of bodily injury or death that can lead to great distress and disruption.

After a PTE, people may go through a wide range of normal responses, which may include trauma responses.

Reactions may happen to people who experienced the event first-hand, to those who have witnessed or heard about the event, or to those who have been involved in some way. Persons, places, or things associated with the PTE may trigger reactions.  Sometimes people experience reactions which initially seem hard to trace to the original PTE.

Here is a list of common physical and emotional reactions to potentially traumatic events, as well as a list of helpful coping strategies. These are common reactions to overwhelming events.

Physical Reactions

Because a traumatic event causes intense biochemical responses in the body, trauma reactions are often physical:

  • aches and pains like headaches, backaches, stomach aches
  • sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations (fluttering)
  • changes in sleep patterns, appetite, interest in sex
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • easily startled by noises or unexpected touch
  • impact to immune system, susceptibility to colds and illnesses

Emotional Reactions

Emotional reactions usually fall into two groups: emotional numbing and over-activation.  People sometimes have a predominant reaction, but often oscillate between numbing or over-stimulated responses.

Numbing symptoms:

  • disorientation
  • denial, shock and disbelief
  • feelings of detachment
  • losing oneself in dreams or fantasy, a sense of not being present, “spacing out”
  • feelings of helplessness
  • increased need to control everyday experiences
  • loss of a sense of order or fairness in the world
  • expectation of doom and fear of the future
  • diminished interest in everyday activities
  • shame
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • difficulty trusting and/or feelings of betrayal
  • emotional numbing or restricted range of feelings
  • concern over burdening others with problems
  • impulses to use drugs, alcohol, food or shopping to distract or soothe oneself, or as a means to feel something
  • attempts to avoid anything associated with the trauma or aspects of the trauma
  • minimizing the experience (“It wasn’t that bad”) or repression ( “forgetting”)

Over-stimulation symptoms:

  • irritability, restlessness, outbursts of anger or rage
  • worrying or ruminating -- intrusive thoughts of the traumatic event
  • flashbacks -- feeling like the trauma is happening now
  • panic, feeling out of control
  • fear and/or anxiety
  • feelings of self-blame and/or survivor's guilt
  • hyper-alertness or hyper-vigilance
  • nightmares
  • unpleasant past memories resurfacing
  • emotional swings -- like crying and then laughing

All these reactions can be disturbing, but they can also be a barometer of our needs, letting us know that we may need to care for ourselves or make adjustments in our lives.

Helpful Coping Strategies

  • mobilize a support system – reach out and connect with people who may be able to help
  • talk about the traumatic experience with empathic listeners
  • choose who you confide in; some people will be helpful, others may not be
  • cry
  • exercise that requires exertion
  • activities that are physically relaxing, like massage
  • humor
  • prayer and/or meditation; listening to relaxing guided imagery; progressive deep muscle relaxation
  • hot baths
  • music and art
  • maintain balanced diet and sleep cycle as much as possible
  • avoid over-using substances like caffeine, sugar,  nicotine, alcohol or other drugs
  • commitment to something personally meaningful and important every day
  • engage in positive touch with those you love (only if this feels good to you), such as hugging those you love, pets included.
  • proactive responses toward personal and community safety – organize or do something socially active
  • write about your experience – in detail, just for yourself or to share with others

If items on this list seem difficult, boring, silly or unpleasant, take note. Keep experimenting until you find coping strategies that fit for you.

Duration and Relationships

People can be surprised that reactions to trauma reactions can last longer than they expected. People can move in and out of feeling impacted by the traumatic event, and doing this helps them integrate the experience into their sense of who they are.  Many people will get through this period with the help and support of family and friends. But sometimes friends and family may push people to "get over it" before they're ready, and some may have a fixed idea of how a “trauma survivor” should react.  If something isn’t fitting, you can let them know that such responses are not helpful for you right now, though you appreciate that they are trying to help. Many people find individual, group, or family counseling to be helpful.  Either way, the key word is connection – ask for help, support, understanding, and opportunities to talk.

Office of Victim Assistance, CU Boulder, 303-492-8855/ withcredit to Patti Levin, LICSW, PsyD

For information on how to help a person impacted by trauma please click here. Other helpful links:

 

Examples of Hazing

The following are some examples of hazing divided into three categories: subtle, harassment, and violent. It is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviors because many are context-specific. While this is not an all-inclusive list, it provides some common examples of hazing traditions.More Examples.

A. SUBTLE HAZING

Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team. They are termed “subtle hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken-for-granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members/rookies on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members/rookies often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. (Some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing).

Some Examples:

  • Deception
  • Assigning demerits
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation
  • Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
  • Requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members
  • Socially isolating new members/rookies
  • Line-ups and Drills/Tests on meaningless information
  • Name calling
  • Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members with titles (e.g. “Mr.,” “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning terms
  • Expecting certain items to always be in one's possession

B. HARASSMENT HAZING

Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members/rookies. (Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing).

Some Examples:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats or implied threats
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
  • Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
  • Expecting new members/rookies to perform personal service to other members such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning etc
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sexual simulations
  • Expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness.
  • Be expected to harass others

C. VIOLENT HAZING

Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional, or psychological harm.

Some Examples:

  • Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
  • Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
  • Branding
  • Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
  • Burning
  • Water intoxication
  • Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
  • Public nudity
  • Expecting illegal activity
  • Bondage
  • Abductions/kidnaps
  • Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection

Hazing Defined

"Hazing” refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.  In years past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in college.

Today we know that hazing extends far beyond college fraternities and is experienced by boys/men and girls/women in school groups, university organizations, athletic teams, the military, and other social and professional organizations. Hazing is a complex social problem that is shaped by power dynamics operating in a group and/or organization and within a particular cultural context.

Hazing activities are generally considered to be:  physically abusive, hazardous, and/or sexually violating.  The specific behaviors or activities within these categories vary widely among participants, groups and settings.  While alcohol use is common in many types of hazing, other examples of typical hazing practices include: personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one's skin; brandings; physical beatings; coerced binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault.

Some common definitions and examples of hazing are below.  In the Alfred/NCAA survey of college athletes, hazing was defined as:

"...any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. This does not include activities such as rookies carrying the balls, team parties with community games, or going out with your teammates, unless an atmosphere of humiliation, degradation, abuse or danger arises."

“Hazing is an activity that a high-status member orders other members to engage in or suggests that they engage in that in some way humbles a newcomer who lacks the power to resist, because he or she want to gain admission to a group. Hazing can be noncriminal, but it is nearly always against the rules of an institution, team, or Greek group. It can be criminal, which means that a state statute has been violated. This usually occurs when a pledging-related activity results in gross physical injury or death” (from Hank Nuwer's book Wrongs of Passage , 1999, p. xxv).

Hazing is defined by the FIPG (Fraternal Information Programming Group) as:

"Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution."

For examples of hazing click here

Return to main page of physical assault and hazing

Stalking

"Someone is following me, showing up places, seems to know a lot about me."

General Information

Stalking or “persistent unwanted behavior” describes repeated harassment or intrusive behavior. Stalking may cause fear, annoyance or anger in the person who is being targeted. Sometimes the targeted person may minimize the situation, but bystanders may see it as dangerous or concerning. Stalking can occur in and out of relationships, between acquaintances or complete strangers.

Some behaviors include:

  • information gathering from friends, internet, professors.
  • repeated non-threatening mail, email, pages and phone calls.
  • notes or flowers left on a car.
  • observing/following and “coincidentally” showing up wherever the target goes.
  • waiting outside class, or next to the target’s car.
  • false reports to authorities, spreading rumors, giving misinformation or secrets to friends, family, professors, or supervisors.
  • disparaging messages or images on the web, discussion groups.
  • vandalism or destruction of property, sabotage of schoolwork.
  • threatening mail, email, notes, text messages, phone calls and or pages (threats direct, implied or symbolic).
  • breaking into home, car, email, etc. and leaving evidence.

Each stalking behavior by itself may or may not be illegal. What matters is that there is a set of behaviors which can have an impact on an individual or a group of people. The person who is following, watching, or harassing may have various different motives, but the impact on the target or the community is the most important aspect of assessing the situation.

A Practical Example-- breaking up:

A lot of adults have trouble dealing with an ex-partner who just won't let go of the relationship. Often, when people try to break up with a partner they have a hard time getting the other person to accept the breakup and leave them alone. The ex-partner may do things like call repeatedly or call late at night, leave notes at an apartment or dorm room, send unwanted e-mails or make physical threats. Some will do these things because they hope that maintaining contact will help get the relationship back together; others are expressing their anger and frustration. Sometimes the ex-partner is simply annoying, but other times can be frightening or dangerous. However, intrusive behaviors may also begin suddenly and unexpectedly from a complete stranger or an acquaintance.

The important thing is to consider the impact—are you or a friend changing your life to avoid or contend with harassment, being followed, or unwanted emails? Regardless of how it happens support and resources are available.

What to Do

Support If you are concerned that you are being stalked, it may be useful to talk with someone who is knowledgeable about the issue. People who are experiencing unwanted attention may feel a wide variety of emotions regarding their situation, from annoyance to fear to anger to complete overwhelm. Sometimes they feel numb, but friends or family may express concern. OVA may be helpful in working with these experiences and providing practical information about what to do and how to connect to other campus resources.

Being the target of unwanted behavior can create a host of practical and emotional consequences. Seeking support takes many different forms. Discussing the situation with someone may help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. While you may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, family member, or spiritual adviser, there are also confidential resources available on campus. Some people seek out a supervisor or individual in a position of power to help remedy the situation but keep in mind that if you tell a university employee they may have a supervisory duty to report.

When you seek help from professionals, first ask what their confidentiality is. Because some stalking behavior between former intimate partners may be considered intimate partner violence the person you disclose to may have an obligation to report. Asking about confidentiality first means you can make an informed decision. OVA can provide you with information that may be helpful in dealing with your situation and has no duty to report.

Some things you might discuss:

  • figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
  • getting information that will help you assess the situation, and figure out what you want.
  • talking about how to manage your academics, or work given your relationship.
  • talking about making a safety plan. There are many strategies available.  You can make a safety plan log.
  • getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
  • changing where you live to get some space, or safety. There is community help with this.
  • reporting to the police or the CU Office of Student Conduct or Office of Discrimination and Harassment if appropriate.
  • Keep track of/log what is happening.  Stalking Incident Log.

If you are not ready to talk to somebody but want to get more information about your situation, the web is a great place to do that. If you are concerned that someone may be monitoring your computer, you should know that most computers keep track of websites you visit. There is a lot of useful information on the web, and it might be best to seek these resources on a public computer such as at a lab on campus, a public library or at a friend’s house.  See some of these resources below.

Normalize how the person is feeling and know what resources are out there.  Click here to see how they may react.

Housing

If you feel that your current housing situation is no longer safe or comfortable, OVA can discuss options for temporary housing.

Academics

If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. For instance, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate in class if you’re worried that your stalker will be waiting outside when you leave or worse, is sitting in class with you. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

There are several levels of intervention that can help in dealing with persistent unwanted behavior and for some, reporting to the police is one option. Reporting to the police can take many forms and doesn’t have to lead to the filing of criminal charges. Some victims simply want to file an “informational” report with the intention of making the police aware of their situation, but without pursuing charges. Other people are interested in having the police contact the person and give a verbal warning. At the same time, many people choose to file criminal charges. You should know that if you have had a previous relationship with the person who is harassing you the police may classify it as intimate partner violence and if so would need to make an arrest. OVA can talk with you about reporting issues, as well as help you make connections with the police if you want help in assessing the situation.

Reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

If you have experienced stalking by a CU student: Stalking is a violation of the student code of conduct. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance investigates reported instances of stalking under the Discrimination and Harassment policy and Student Code of Conduct. If the CU student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct they will be sanctioned through the Office of Student Conduct. If you would like to know more about the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance process, you can contact OVA or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, or look at their website.

If you experienced stalking by faculty or staff member, you can report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation. You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/

The Office of Institutional equity and Compliance can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able assist with an informal solution. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance process is different from criminal or civil processes. You can choose one or both (unless this is an intimate partner violence situation). You can contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

To learn more about the filing guidelines and process go to:

http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint

Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you. If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court.

If you have questions about obtaining a protective order you can talk to an advocate in the OVA or call the District Attorney’s information line at 303-441-3775. You can also learn more online at http://www.bouldercounty.org/cs/cb/dapp/protectorder.htm.

Depending on the situation, campus authorities may be able to offer an exclusion of individuals responsible for certain kinds of incidents. To learn more, consult OVA or UCPD.

Confidential Reporting

If you do not want to or have not yet decided whether to report officially, you can still inform a confidential resource that you have been the target of stalking.

Completing this form does not constitute a report to the University and will not initiate any law enforcement, judicial or administrative action.

This information goes to a confidential office, the Office of Victim Assistance and will not be shared except in aggregate, non identifiable form. OVA can help you with support, information and referrals.

For Confidential Reporting, click here.

How to Help

If you know someone who is being stalked there are ways to support them. Targets of stalking may feel angry, irritated, fearful, shameful or hopeless about their situation. They may attempt to minimize (“it’s no big deal”), even though you may notice them making behavioral changes (changing their routine, avoiding certain locations, asking for friends to accompany them places) because of the stalking. You might also notice them taking responsibility for the situation or feeling protective of the stalker.

  • Don’t minimize the situation.
  • If your friend is showing signs of strain, let the person know what you notice about their behavior, and express your concern.
  • Encourage them to keep a record of what has been happening.
  • Don’t take on the job of investigating the situation. If a formal investigation needs to happen, you may inadvertently compromise that investigation.
  • Help your friend preserve evidence and keep records.
  • Be aware if you start to feel that you must become the person’s bodyguard. Consider consulting with OVA yourself if this is happening.
  • Do not confront the stalker-- this can backfire and escalate the situation, putting the target or yourself at risk. Do not make this about you.
  • If you have been the target of a similar situation your experience may help. Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • Do the research to find out the resources and options, if your friend wants help.
  • If you haven’t been the target of a similar situation, you can listen, and then learn more.
  • Consider referring them to a confidential and supportive resource like OVA.

Remember to take care of yourself; a person who is being stalked may be in the situation for a long time.  Getting support for yourself will allow you to be more available for your friend. To learn more about how to help please click here.

If you are a CU employee, you may have a reporting obligation. Click here to learn more.

Resources

  1. Stalking Continuum
  2. Community Health - 303-492-2937
  3. http://www.trynova.org/
  4. National Stalking Center
  5. GLBT Anti-Violence Program
  6. Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
  7. LGBT Violence Prevention Project
  8. Victim Compensation
  9. DA Victim Witness
  10. Healthy, Unhealthy, Abusive
  11. Dating Bill of Rights

 

Serious Accidents

"I was in a bad accident."

General Information

The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) is a resource for people who have been in serious accidents which are incapacitating and seriously disrupt your ability to function in the academic environment. OVA primarily offers a consultative role.

What to Do

You may have questions about what your options are. Depending on the nature of the incident you may have specific needs such as reporting, support, housing or academic concerns. OVA can offer free, confidential consultation on your options.

Support

Being seriously incapacitated can create a host of practical and emotional consequences. Seeking support takes many different forms. Discussing the situation with someone may help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. While you may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, family member, or spiritual advisor, there are also confidential resources available on campus. OVA can provide you with information that may be helpful in dealing with your situation.

For some people a serious accident is a traumatic experience. To learn more about the effects of trauma click here.

Housing

If the aftermath of the accident is affecting your living environment, OVA may be able to consult with you about how you can arrange housing.

Academics

If you are worried about how the impact of this accident is affecting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. For instance, it can be difficult to concentrate in class or to know how to rearrange your academic work if you are incapacitated. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues. If you have had a disability or think you may now have a disability you may qualify for an accommodation. Disability Services will be able to let you know more about what this involves.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

You may already be involved with the police. If you are not, but would like to be, try to preserve any evidence of the incident. This might include getting names of witnesses, saving emails, text messages or voice messages related to the accident as well as taking pictures of injuries, damage, or supporting materials. You can also get copies of relevant medical records. OVA can talk with you about how to engage effectively with the criminal justice system, as well as help you make connections with the police if you want help in assessing the situation.

Reporting to the Office of Student Conduct or Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) adjudicates the student code of conduct. If your accident was caused by a student at CU, they may be in violation of the code. If you would like to know more about what the Office of Student Conduct process is like, you can contact OVA or the Office of Student Conduct directly, or look at their website.

If your accident was caused by a faculty or staff member, you may want to consider reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). OIEC investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation. You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/

OSC and OIEC can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able to sanction the offending party or help with an informal solution. The OSC or OIEC processes are different from criminal or civil processes. You can choose one or both (unless this is an intimate partner violence situation). You can contact OSC or OIEC anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

How to Help

If someone you know was in an accident, there are ways you may be able to help.

  • First, take the situation seriously.
  • If you have had a similar situation your experience may help. Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • If you haven’t had a similar situation, you can listen and then learn more about how accidents impact people.
  • Ask the person what is the most important way the situation is impacting their life. Are they worried about school work or their job? Do they need to figure out how to get to class? Do they need to move?
  • If the person would like, you can do some groundwork to learn about issues and options by calling OVA, academic advising, housing resources, legal resources, or others.
  • Don’t overreact. It is important that the person who experienced the accident have the time to make sense of this experience. If they are completely ignoring major issues, gently broaching them may help.

For more information on how to help please click here.

 

Intimate Partner Abuse

"My partner is hurting me."

General Information

Intimate partner violence occurs in a relationship that is or has been intimate. There is a pattern of one person inflicting emotional or physical pain on another in order to control them.

The people involved could be involved romantically, boyfriend, girlfriend, past or present, partners, spouses, or co-parents of a child. People of any gender or sexual orientation can end up in a destructive relationship.

It can be hard to look at relationships and ask, “What crosses the line?”

One person feels

  • constantly put down or criticized by their partner.
  • sad, worried and stressed out about their relationship.
  • that they are giving up things that are important to them like school, family or friendships because of their relationship.
  • often worried about their partner’s anger.
  • scared of their partner’s unpredictability.
  • that they are scanning for when the next eruption of anger will come.
  • embarrassed for people to know how their partner treats them.

Their partner

  • wants to make all the decisions.
  • tries to control what their partner does, how they look, who they see and talk with.
  • reads their partner’s email,calls their partner frequently, checks up on their partner.
  • manipulates with threats, insults, guilt.
  • prevents their partner from working, studying or socializing.
  • uses money to control their partner.
  • threatens to hurt their partner, loved ones or themselves.
  • keeps close track of where their partner is at all times.
  • forces their partner into sexual activity the partner doesn’t want.
  • destroys personal property, threatens pets.
  • pushes, shoves, slaps, hits their partner.

What to Do

Practical Information

If you feel that you are in an unsafe situation there are some things you can do. If you have a feeling that you are about to be harmed change your location and give yourself some space to consult with friends or community resources or call 911. During business hours you can contact the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) at 303-492-8855. You can also speak with a person 24 hours a day by calling the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence hotline at 303-444-2424.

You may need help thinking through safety, medical, support, academic and reporting issues. You might also need a place to talk about what you feel and think about what is going on as well as to get information about how to assess the situation.

Medical Concerns

Your health is important. If you have injuries from physical assaults or unwanted sexual activity, please consider getting medical attention. Be aware that if medical providers believe that your injuries are related to intimate partner violence they are obligated to report to the police. OVA or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence can discuss these issues with you confidentially.

Support

If you are concerned about your relationship, it may be helpful to talk with someone outside the situation. OVA or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 24-hour hotline may be helpful.

Friends and family may have useful perspectives on your relationship; sometimes when relationships become damaging it’s hard for the person in the situation to see. If people tell you that you seem sad, angry or scared, you are doing less, you have lost touch with friends, family, or community, it might be worth considering whether your relationship is a factor. However, nobody can tell you what your experience is, and it often takes time for people to decide what to do in a complicated situation.

Sometimes people in an emotionally or physically violent relationship hide the violence from people who care about them. If you’ve been hiding some aspect of your relationship, ask yourself why.

If you think your relationship may have some of these significant problems, you may be confused about where to find information and support. You may be worried that if you talk to someone, you’ll be judged, told what to do or labeled. If you start a conversation with someone and find these things are happening it is okay to seek out another source of support and information. If you would like free, confidential help sorting out your options, you can call the Office of Victim Assistance at CU 303-492-8855, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence at 303-444-2424 or Survivors Organizing for Liberation 303-852-5094 or 1-888-557-4441.

When you seek help from professionals, first ask what their confidentiality is, and who they are required to tell if you were to disclose intimate partner violence. That way, you can make an informed decision.

Some things you might discuss:

  • figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
  • getting information that will help you assesses the situation, and figure out what you want.
  • talking about how to manage your academics, or work given your relationship.
  • talking about making a safety plan. There are many strategies available.
  • getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
  • changing where you live to get some space, or safety. There is community help with this.
  • reporting to the police or the CU Office of Student Conduct or Office of Discrimination and Harassment if appropriate.

If you are not ready to talk to somebody but want to get more information about your situation, the web is a great place to do that. If you are concerned your partner may be monitoring your computer, you should know that most computers keep track of websites you visit. There is a lot of useful information on the web, and it might be best to seek these resources on a public computer such as at a lab on campus, a public library or at a friend’s house.

If you’d like to know more about how people sometimes react to these kinds of events, click here.

Housing

If you your current housing situation is no longer safe or comfortable, for whatever reason, OVA can discuss options for a change of housing.

Academics

Sometimes experiencing intimate partner violence can compromise concentration, ability to focus on school, or feeling able to get to class. If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.

Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you. If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court.

If you have questions about obtaining a protective order you can talk to an advocate in OVA or call the Boulder Protective Order clinic at 303-441-4867 or, if there is no answer, call Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence at 303-449-8623. You can also learn more online at http://www.bouldercounty.org/cs/cb/dapp/protectorder.htm. Depending on the situation, campus authorities may be able to offer an exclusion of individuals responsible for certain kinds of incidents. To learn more, consult OVA or UCPD.

Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence offers a protective order clinic at the Boulder County Justice Center. For more information contact 303-449-8623.

Depending on the situation campus authorities may be able to exclude the person who committed the assault from campus or parts of campus. To learn more consult OVA or UCPD.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

If you want to report and get some help setting limits with a partner, the criminal justice system is an option. If you call the police, Colorado has a mandatory arrest policy for intimate partner violence, so if the police believe a crime has been committed, an arrest is likely. OVA, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence or the Colorado Anti-Violence Program can talk with you about the pros and cons of getting into the criminal justice system. We can discuss the system and direct you to resources if you become involved.

If you or a bystander decide to report to law enforcement, the police are required to investigate. If the police have “probable cause” (meaning that they have reason to believe a crime of intimate partner violence has been committed), they are required to arrest the person they think is the “predominant aggressor” and remove that person from where the arrest happened and take the person to jail. The jail is required to notify you when the arrested person is released. If you think it might be hard for the jail to find you, call them at 303-441-4650 and let them know the best way to reach you.

Once the arrest happens, the DA’s office will decide what to do with the case. If the DA decides to move forward with the case and you would like to a tell the DA your perspective or get more information about the system, call the DA victim/witness program at 303-441-3700 or OVA 303-492-8855 or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence at 303-444-2424.

Reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

If you have experienced intimate partner abuse from a CU student: Intimate partner abuse violates the student code of conduct. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance investigates reported intimate partner abuse under the Discrimination and Harassment policy and Student Code of Conduct. If the CU student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct they will be sanctioned through the Office of Student Conduct. If you would like to know more about the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance process, you can contact OVA or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, or look at their website.

If you experienced intimate partner abuse by a faculty or staff member, you may want to consider reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation. You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/

The Office of Institutional equity and Compliance can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able assist with an informal solution. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance process is different from criminal or civil processes. You typically can choose one or both but because this is an intimate partner violence situation, a report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance may move your case through the criminal justice system. You can contact the Office of Institutional equity and Compliance anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

To learn more about the filing guidelines and process go to:

http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint

 

Confidential Reporting

If you do not want to or have not yet decided whether to report officially, you can still inform a confidential resource of intimate partner violence you may have experienced or witnessed. Completing this form does not constitute a report to the University and will not initiate any law enforcement, judicial or administrative action.

This information goes to a confidential office, the Office of Victim Assistance and will not be shared except in aggregate, non-identifiable form. OVA can help you with support, information and referrals.

For Confidential Reporting, click here.

How to Help

Sometimes people in a difficult situation find it hard to assess their options, or even know where to begin. Friends, family and significant others can offer to listen, or do some of the basic footwork about what resources exist.

You might notice the person taking responsibility for the situation or feeling protective of the individual who hurt them. They may seem tired and withdrawn, angry and irritable, or oddly energetic and outgoing. Let the person know what you notice about their behavior and express your concern. Consider referring them to a confidential and supportive resource like OVA.

How to help a friend who might be in a harmful relationship:

  • If you are worried about your friend’s relationship you can talk with him or her about what you see.
  • Be specific--don’t put down their partner’s whole personality. Say “when so-and-so insulted you in front of all of us, I got worried.”
  • Be willing to listen-- your friend may be confused about the relationship, some parts may be good, some parts may be hard.
  • If your friend isn’t ready to talk, don’t push, but say you’re available when she/he is ready. If after a while you are still concerned, follow up gently.
  • Don’t tell them what to do. You can find out what the options are, but don’t try to take control of the situation.
  • Don’t say “why are you putting up with this?” or “If I were you…” These questions imply that the situation is easy and the answer is clear. This can feel insulting to your friend, who may be struggling with complexities you don’t see.
  • Do acknowledge your friends situation, without trying to solve it for them.
  • If you have been in a similar situation your experience may help. Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • If you haven’t been in a similar situation, you can listen, and then learn more about how a harmful relationships impact people (see links below).
  • Talk with informed resources that can give you information and talk through the issues. It can be hard to see someone you care about in this type of relationship especially if they seem to go back and forth a lot.

For more information on how to help please click here.

How to help a friend who might be harming someone

  • Be specific:“I respect you, but it worries me to see you do [the concerning behavior].”
  • Take a stand: “I don’t want to watch you hurting yourself and other people.”
  • Don’t shame the person. You care about this person, and want the behavior to stop. If you didn’t think this person had it within them to be decent, you probably wouldn’t be hanging out with them.
  • Let them know where they can get help.
  • Talk with OVA or Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence about what you’re seeing. They can give you information and specific referrals.
  • At some point you may decide that you no longer want to be friends with this person.

 

Harassment or Discrimination

"Do I have to deal with this if I want to be here?"

General Information

Harassment and discrimination are pervasive and can take place in many different contexts. Some harassment and discrimination is a clear violation of university policy or other laws and some is not covered. Regardless, the impact of the harassment and discrimination is the concern of the the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA). OVA and many other resources on campus are available to help you explore your options and resources whether harassment and discrimination has happened on or off campus, is presently happening or has taken place in the past.

University policy states that  harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy is behavior directed at an individual that interferes with their work or academic performance or participation in University programs or activities, and creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or hostile. Harassment may occur between students, faculty, staff, and administrators of any gender. It may occur when one individual holds a position of real or perceived authority over the other or between individuals of equal status. Harassment can occur anywhere on campus, including the classroom, workplace, residence hall or within any University sponsored program or activity. Harassing behaviors might include:

  • physically assaulting or repeatedly intimidating, teasing, mocking or joking based on an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
  • repeatedly directing racial or ethnic slurs at an individual.
  • repeatedly telling an individual that he/she is too old to understand new technology.
  • repeatedly displaying disparaging visual material (calendars, posters, cards, software, and web sites).

Discrimination Discrimination is conduct that deprives an individual of a benefit of employment or educational opportunity on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status (Veteran is defined as a person who serves or has served in any branch of the U.S. military, including ROTC.), political affiliation, or political philosophy.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention that unreasonably interferes with an individual's working or learning environment. It may involve intimidation, threats, coercion, sexual advances, request for sexual favors or other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexually harassing behaviors might include:

  • physically assaulting or repeatedly intimidating, teasing, mocking or joking based on an individual's gender or sexual orientation.
  • repeatedly directing sexual or gender-based slurs at an individual.
  • persistent remarks about another person’s clothing, body or sexual activities.
  • repeatedly pressuring an individual for dates or sexual favors.
  • repeatedly displaying sexually explicit visual material (calendars, posters, cards, software, and web sites).
  • repeatedly giving or sending inappropriate gifts, calls, letters or e-mails.
  • promises or rewards (a better grade or a promotion) in return for sexual favors.
  • unwelcome physical contact like unnecessary touching, pinching, patting or brushing against another person’s body.
  • disparaging comments about a particular gender as a group.
  • giving unequal work assignments.
  • sexual assault (see Sexual Assault section).

For a handout on this click here

Options:

Practical Information There are many reasons attempting to stop harassing or discriminatory behavior directly and on your own can be costly, complicated and difficult, especially if the person/people doing it are in a position of power. At the same time, the direct approach is frequently very effective for people who just want the harassment to stop. It gives you the most control over how the situation is handled and may produce better and quicker results than intervention by a third party. The direct approach also helps protect your privacy. No one else needs to know about the problem unless you or the offender speaks to others. There are some steps that you could consider taking that may help to end the harassing or discriminatory behavior.

  • If you feel comfortable doing so, consider telling the harasser(s) to stop. The individual may be unaware that you find the behavior to be offensive or unwelcome. Consider talking to someone you trust about how you might approach the individual(s) and what you might say. Practicing and thinking this through may help you feel more confident.
  • Consider writing a letter. In many cases, a letter to the individual(s) may clear up any misunderstandings and cause the behavior to end. The letter should include a statement such as: "When you (stare at me, put your hand on my shoulder, make sexual, racial or religious comments/jokes), I feel uncomfortable. I would like you to stop.” If you send your letter solely as an informal, private communication you should not send copies to others; but be sure to keep a copy of the letter and proof that you sent it in case the behavior does not cease.
  • Consider printing out a copy of the university policy against discrimination and harassment, highlighting the relevant portion and giving it to the person. Try to keep a record. What happened? When? Where? Who were the other people present? How did you feel? Save written notes/correspondence, voice mail and e-mail messages. This information may be useful if you decide to report the situation.

Support

Experiencing discrimination or harassment can take a toll on your day to day life. Taking care of yourself may involve getting help about what to do. Seeking support takes many different forms. Individuals who experience discrimination or harassment often look to their communities first for understanding and advice. Discussing the situation with someone may help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. You may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, family member, spiritual advisor. Other people may seek out a supervisor, professor or individual in a position of power to help remedy the situation but keep in mind that if you tell a university employee they may have a supervisory duty to report. While you may want to talk to someone you trust there are also resources available on campus. When you seek help from professionals, first ask what their confidentiality is, and who they are required to tell if you were to disclose your situation. That way, you can make an informed decision.

Some things you might discuss:

  • figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
  • getting information that will help you assess the situation, and figure out what you want.
  • talking about how to manage your academics or work given your situation.
  • talking about making a safety plan if applicable. There are many strategies available.
  • getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
  • changing where you live to get some space, or safety. There is community help with this.
  • reporting to the police or the CU Office of Student Conduct or Office of Discrimination and Harassment if appropriate.

If you are not ready to talk to somebody but want to get more information about your situation, the web is a great place to do that. If you are concerned about privacy, you should know that most computers keep track of websites you visit. There is a lot of useful information on the web, and it might be best to seek these resources on a public computer such as at a lab on campus, a public library or at a friend’s house.

OVA can provide you with information that may be helpful in dealing with your situation and is a confidential resource with no duty to report. If you’d like to know more about how people sometimes react to these kinds of events, click here.

Housing

If the discrimination or harassment you are experiencing is affecting your living environment, OVA may be able to help you arrange housing.

Academics

If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. It is extremely difficult to concentrate in class especially if the harasser is the professor, or a fellow student in the class. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

If you are being repeatedly harassed by another individual, reporting the behavior to the police is an option. Reporting can take many forms and doesn’t necessarily have to lead to the filing of criminal charges. Some people simply want to file an “informational” report with the intention of making the police aware of their situation without pursuing charges. Other people are interested in having the police contact the person and give a verbal warning. At the same time, many people choose to file criminal charges. OVA can talk with you about reporting issues, as well as help you make connections with the police if you want help in assessing the situation.

Reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

If you experienced harassment or discrimination by a CU student, faculty, or staff member, you can report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation. You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint

The Office of Institutional equity and Compliance can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able assist with an informal solution. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance process is different from criminal or civil processes. You can choose one or both (unless this is an intimate partner violence situation). You can contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

To learn more about the filing guidelines and process go to:

http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/file-report/guidelines-filing-complaint

Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you. If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court.

If you have questions about obtaining a protective order you can talk to an advocate in the OVA or call the Boulder Protective Order clinic at 303-441-4867, or if there is no answer, call Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence at 303-449-8623. You can also learn more online at http://www.bouldercounty.org/cs/cb/dapp/protectorder.htm.

Depending on the situation, campus authorities may be able to offer an exclusion of individuals

responsible for certain kinds of incidents. To learn more, consult OVA or UCPD.

Confidential Reporting

If you do not want to or have not yet decided whether to report officially, you can still inform a confidential resource of harassment, discrimination, violent or abusive experiences on this campus.

Completing this form does not constitute a report to the University and will not initiate any law enforcement, judicial or administrative action.

This information goes to a confidential office, the Office of Victim Assistance and will not be shared except in aggregate, non-identifiable form. OVA can help you with support, information and referrals.

For Confidential Reporting, click here.

How to Help

If someone you know is experiencing a form of discrimination or harassment, there are ways you may be able to help.

  • First, take the situation seriously. It is important that your friend or colleague feel understood.
  • If you have been the target of a similar situation your experience may help. Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • If you haven’t been the target of a similar situation, you can listen, and then learn more about how harassment and discrimination impact people (see links below).
  • Ask the person how they feel the situation is impacting their life. Are they having a hard time concentrating on school work? Do they feel they can no longer work productively at their job?
  • Encourage the person to keep a record of the behavior, including dates, places, times and witnesses.
  • Consider referring the person to OVA for confidential support and options.
  • Don’t investigate the situation or overreact. It is important that the person experiencing the harassment have the opportunity to address the situation at their own pace and in a way that causes them the least impact.
  • If you are a CU employee, you may have a reporting obligation. Click here to learn more

For more information on how to help please click here.