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Sexual Assault and Harassment Reporting Guide: By Students for Students

Developed by PPPSGV's Peer Advocates; this guide provides students with information about what to do if they experience sexual assault or harrassment. 

Understanding sexual harassment and assault

Sexual violence is a term that includes things like sexual assault, rape, and harassment. It is any sort of unwanted, non-consensual, or threatening sexual behavior. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are terms within sexual violence that include different unacceptable sexual behaviors.

Any act that you did not give consent to is harassment and/or assault.

It is NOT your fault if you experience sexual harrassment and or assault.

For a complete list of resources, scroll to the bottom of the page.

WHAT is sexual consent?

Sexual consent is an agreement between people to engage in sexual activity. It must be agreed to before any sexual activity happens. It can be taken back at any time. 

Consent is as easy as FRIES:

Freely Given

Reversible

Informed

Enthusiastic

Specific

 

For  more information about sexual consent follow the link:https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sex-and-relationships/sexual-consent

WHAT is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is forced sexual contact that is done by someone using either physical force or emotional manipulation. It is an unwanted sexual act. Sexual assault includes rape or attempted rape, unwanted touching, or forced sexual behavior.

Source: https://www.rainn.org/types-sexual-violence

WHAT is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual advances, asking for sexual favors, and any other inappropriate or unwanted physical or verbal sexual behavior that takes place.

Source: https://www.rainn.org/types-sexual-violence

WHAT can sexual harassment and assault look like?

Sexual harassment can include anything from unwanted verbal comments to sexual gestures or inappropriate touching. It can happen anywhere. It can be student to student, teacher to student, or student to teacher. If the interaction is unwanted or makes someone feel unsafe, it is unacceptable.

Sexual assault doesn’t always include physical force. It can also include emotional pressure and manipulation, which is never okay in any situation.

Some examples of sexual harassment and assault are:

  • Touching someone without their permission (a butt slap, pulling on a bra strap)

  • Rude and inappropriate comments (Calling someone a “slut”)

  • Sexual gestures that look like sexual acts

  • Physical assault

  • Sending or receiving unwanted nudes or inappropriate pictures, videos, or messages

  • Feeling pressured to do a sexual act

  • Anything that you are not comfortable with or did not want

Source: https://www.rainn.org/types-sexual-violence

WHAT if the sexual harassment or assault happened off campus?

Even if sexual assault or sexual harassment occurs off campus between students, it can create a threatening and unsafe environment on campus as well. No one should ever feel that way, and it is the responsibility of the school to make sure that everyone feels safe. If you are struggling in school because of any kind of sexual trauma, you have the right to report it to the school. 
 

HOW does Title IX protect you?

Title IX are a set of guidelines that prohibit gender and sexual discrimination, harassment or violence. All schools that receive federal funding, whether they are public or private must follow Title IX. If schools fail to abide by these guidelines, they risk losing federal funding. It is important for you to be aware that your school is legally required to create an environment where everyone feels safe from gender and sexual discrimination or violence of any kind. If your school is not meeting these guidelines, you can hold your school accountable and demand more.

Source: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html

 

WHY is talking about sexual harassment and assault important?
  • A lot of sexual assault/harassment cases go unreported, which means that perpetrators often do not face consequences for their actions, and survivors may continue to feel victimized.

  • Sexual violence is one of the most widespread forms of violence in our society, but it is also one of the least talked about issues. By learning your rights and the rights of others, we can work towards building safer communities.

  • Victim blaming or shaming can work to keep the survivors of sexual assault or harassment from seeking justice, but sexual violence is NEVER okay.

  • Know your rights. You have a right to be heard. You have a right to report. You have a right to hold others accountable for their actions.

  • Your school has a responsibility to create a safe learning environment for yout. You have the right to be able to continue your education without any fear or feelings of helplessness. Under Title IX, your school must accommodate survivors’ needs. This can mean schedule changes, counseling, and tutoring.

Source: https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

What if you experience sexual assault or harassment?

Remember, experiencing sexual assault or harassment is never your fault. If you experience sexual assault or harassment, you can reach out to someone. They can help you talk through your experience and figure out what to do next. 

Telling someone about any unwanted sexual behavior directed towards you is the first step in getting help. Here are some people you can reach out to:

A trusted family member

If you feel comfortable and safe talking to a family member, this is highly recommended. They can provide you with support and help you through this process.

Title IX Coordinators

All public schools have a staff member designated as the Title IX Coordinator. Their job is to enforce Title IX at your school. This includes issues of sexual violence, abuse, and discrimination. You can find the Title IX Coordinator on your school or district’s website.

Trusted Adult on Campus

All individuals who work on your school campus (including custodial staff and security) are mandated reporters. This means that if a faculty member becomes aware that a student is in danger or is a threat to themselves or others, they are required to report it. If you have questions or would like to report an instance of sexual assault/harassment, tell a trusted staff member.

Reporting sexual assault or harassment

If something happened and you want to report it to your school, you will need to fill out a "uniform complaint form". 

HOW do you file a REPORT?

Each school district has a sexual assault/harassment/Title IX policy, including charter and private schools. These policies are publicly accessible.

Find and understand YOUR school policy. These policies can be found online or as physical copies at the district office or school's main office. 

You will also need to fill out a form that asks you for information about what happened. This form is usually called a "uniform complaint form". 

WHAT is a uniform complaint form?
  • This is a form that many districts use for complaints ranging from bullying to sexual harassment and assault. This form is very generic, and is straightforward to fill out.

  • You are in control of what you decide to report: you can choose to disclose as much or as little information as you want. Everything that you choose to disclose will determine the next steps taken by the school district.

  • Most school districts have a specific time period within which they must respond to the complaint (usually around 60 days).

WHERE can I find the uniform complaint form?
  • The form can often be found online on your school/district’s website and can be printed at home.
  • If it is not on your school or district’s website, it may be on campus at your student services center or any location where students can access resources. If you are unable to find the complaint form in either of those locations, it should be given to you upon request. Depending on your school, you should be able to ask office personnel, vice principals, teachers, counselors, or other staff on campus for this form. If no one on campus is able to direct you to the location of the form, a trip to the district office may be your best option.

  • Once you have filled out the form, it can be turned into any employee on campus. If you’re not comfortable doing so in person, you can mail it in or call the reporting number (if available).

WHAT happens after I file a report?

Disclosure:

Under California law, administrators on campus are required to report if they hear or suspect any sexual abuse (including harassment and assault), physical abuse, neglect, and/or emotional abuse.

NEXT STEPS 

  • Next steps will vary from case to case and from school/district.
  • Once the report is filed, an administrator will reach out and confidentially discuss the report with you.

The following adults may be involved in the process:

  • Parents/guardians 
  • A school counselor/psychologist
  • Other administrators/teachers
  • Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS)
  • Law enforcement

Resources

Your school should provide medical resources and emotional support accommodations for you. These resources are open to you and are completely optional.

School Policies

Both public and private schools have sexual harassment and assault policies. Whether something happened on or off campus, you can file a report with your school. Sexual harassment and assault policies are often found in the Title IX section of school websites.

Finding PUBLIC school district policies

Districts must have something called “Administrative Regulations” for their policies. These are the details of how the policy should be carried out. There are three main ways to find your district’s sexual harassment/assault policy:

Online

Search your school or district’s website for a tab that includes board policy. The policy may also be located under your school or district’s Title IX tab or page. Many districts post their policies through a different portal, but that can change based on the school.

Student Handbook

The sexual harassment and assault policy can be found in your student handbook/guide. This student handbook/guide can be found online or at your school’s main office. It also may have been distributed at the beginning of the year.

District Office

You can speak to an employee at your district’s office. The Office of Instruction or the Superintendent's office should be able to access that policy for you. You may have to fill out a “Request for Information” form.

Links to local PUBLIC school sexual harassment and assault policies
*ALHAMBRA Unified School District *ARCADIA Unified School District *AZUSA Unified School District *BALDWIN PARK Unified School District

This link requires you to sign in. The username is the word “public” and password is “baldwin”

*DUARTE Unified School District *GLENDALE Unified School District *GLENDORA Unified School District *LA CANADA Unified School District *LOS ANGELES Unified School District *MONROVIA Unified School District *PASADENA Unified School District *SAN GABRIEL Unified School District

This link requires you to sign in. The username is “sangabriel” and password is “public”

*SOUTH PASADENA Unified School District *TEMPLE CITY Unified School District

If your district’s policy is not listed above, a quick google search should work. Try “[Insert district’s name] board policy” or “[Insert district’s name] sexual harassment board policy.

Finding PRIVATE school policies

The location for the sexual assault/harassment policy can vary by private school. It can often be found in your student handbook/guide on your school’s website under “Policies and Regulations,” or posted on and around campus. It also may have been distributed at the beginning of the year. If you cannot find your policy in any of those places, speak with a staff member or administrator who can show you where to find it.

Location of PRIVATE school policies

You can find your sexual harassment policy in your student handbook or in your online student portal. If you need additional assistance, contact your school office. 

Need additional resources?

Below are a list of additional resources you can access.

  • Peace over Violence:

   626-793-3385

   https://www.peaceoverviolence.org

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):

   https://www.rainn.org

    1-800-656-4673

  • Planned Parenthood chat line

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline:

    http://www.thehotline.org/

  • Teen Line:

    https://teenlineonline.org/

  • Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF):

    • Multilingual and 24/7

    1-800-339-3940 or http://nurturingchange.org

 

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Legal Disclaimer

Nothing contained in this PPPSGV web site is intended to be or constitutes legal advice, and users should always seek the advice of an appropriate attorney or other professional regarding individual questions or concerns of a legal or professional nature.

Credits:

This guide was created by the 2017-2018 Peer Advocates.

Aylin S, Pasadena HS

Charlie D, LACHSA

Cora F, Westridge School

Diana H, Blair HS

Hannah P, Pasadena HS

Ian M, Polytechnic School

Katie G, Polytechnic School

Luna F, Polytechnic School

Maya B, Eagle Rock HS

Maya P, San Marino HS

Maya S, Gabrielino HS

Miles K, Polytechnic School

Oona F, South Pasadena HS

 

Rachel T, Polytechnic School

Riona B, Marshall HS

Sara K, La Canada HS

Sofie D, South Pasadena HS

Will H, South Pasadena HS

Cammie Bo, Advisor

Rosanna Cacace-Zakhir, Advisor

Sandra Abarca, Advisor & Webpage design