Are you in a violent or dangerous situation, or feeling stalked or harassed?
Physical violence of any kind, and some forms of emotional violence, are violations of Middlebury College policies. If you are experiencing relationship abuse, sexual harassment, or stalking, remember that it is not your fault. Reach out to friends, family or College staff that you trust and tell them what is happening. Let them help you connect with the Center for Counseling and Human Relations, and other on- and off-campus resources.
What is relationship abuse?
Relationship abuse can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Relationship abuse may occur in any type of intimate relationship – dating, living together or marriage. Its perpetrators and victims may be women or men, young or old, gay, lesbian, straight or bisexual. Relationship abuse affects people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels.
You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner...
You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner...
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner...
What can I do if I am being abused?
Sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome behavior, or attention, of a sexual nature that interferes with your life. Sexual advances, forced sexual activity, statements about sexual orientation or sexuality, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature all constitute sexual harassment. The behavior may be direct or implied. Sexual harassment can affect an individual's work or school performance, and can create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Harassment can occur in a number of ways:
- The victim as well as the harasser can be either male, or female. The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex.
- The harasser can be anyone: a supervisor, a coach, a professor, a fellow student, a stranger, even a family member
- The harasser's behavior must be unwelcome
- The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be anyone who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it
- While adverse effects on the victim are common, this does not have to be the case for the behavior to be unlawful
- The harasser may be completely unaware that their behavior is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment, or that their actions could be unlawful.
See Middlebury's Anti-Harassment Policy for a detailed definition, and information about what to do if you think you are being harassed.
What can I do if I am being harassed?
You may be unsure whether a certain type of behavior is sexual harassment and want more information. It is important to know that Vermont law requires any member of Middlebury's faculty or staff who are not considered confidential resources to report even the possibility of harassment to Middlebury's Human Relations Officer (HRO). The HRO is identified in the Anti-Harassment Policy.
Confidential resources include all members of Middlebury's Center for Counseling and Human Relations staff; all members of the Parton Health Center medical staff; and Middlebury's chaplain and associate chaplain. You can speak freely with any of these resources with the knowledge that they are not obligated to take action without your permission, unless your physical safety or the safety of others is at stake.
There are still many ways you can seek help from other members of Middlebury's staff, such as a dean, a member of the Public Safety staff, a coach, or another person with whom you feel comfortable. Framing your question in hypothetical terms (e.g. "if a student does this, might it be considered harassment?") will allow a non-confidential staff member to provide you with information without being obligated to report a case of possible harassment before you're ready. Please remember, however, that our primary concern is creating an environment in which harassment, including retaliation for filing a harassment complaint, is absolutely not tolerated. Our goal, and our responsibility, is to make harassment stop immediately, and to put in place measures to make sure that retaliation against the complaining party will not occur.
Stalking is a serious and dangerous crime. It affects men and women alike: 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetimes*, and it is estimated that one in twenty adults will be stalked in their lifetime.
Stalking is defined as a series of two or more actions, directed towards a specific person that intimidate and/or cause that person emotional distress. This includes behavior which causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
Stalking behaviors include:
- Threatening your safety
- Following, approaching, or confronting the targeted person, their friends or family
- Appearing with no legitimate purpose at or around a place where a person can be found, including home, work or campus
- Causing damage to property
- Placing an object on the person's property, either directly or through a third person
- Causing an injury to that person's pet
- Communicating in a harassing manner through letters, packages, gifts, or electronic means including cell phones, email, and social networking sites.
The threat of stalking is real for college students:
- 80% of campus stalking victims knew their stalkers.**
- 13% of college women were stalked during one six-to-nine-month period.**
- Women are most likely to be stalked for the first time, between the ages of 18-29.
- 3 in 10 college women reported being injured emotionally or psychologically from being stalked.**
* Stalking in America—National Violence Against Women Survey
**Fisher, Cullen, and Turner. (2000). "The Sexual Vicitmization of College Women," NIJ/BJS.