Middlebury

 

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...

  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.)
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or strangled you
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place
  • Scared you by driving recklessly
  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
  • Forced you to leave your room or home
  • Trapped you in your room or home or kept you from leaving
  • Prevented you from calling Public Safety or the police, or from seeking medical attention
  • Hurt or threatened to hurt someone you care about
  • Used physical force in sexual situations
  • You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner...

  • Believes in rigid gender role and views you as an object
  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Held you down during sex
  • Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you
  • Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involved other people in sexual activities with you without your consent
  • Ignored your feelings regarding sex
  • You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner...

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you
  • Humiliates you in public
  • Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends
  • Constantly checks up on you, monitoring where you go, and whom you call or spend time with
  • Blames you for problems in the relationship
  • Does not want you to study or work
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money
  • Punishes you by withholding affection
  • Threatens to disclose a secret, such as “outing” a same sex partner or revealing anything that you want to keep private
  • Threatens suicide or self-harm if you assert independence or try to leave the relationship
  • Threatens to hurt you, your family, your friends or your pets
  • What can I do if I am being abused?

  • If you are in immediate physical danger you can call x5911 for Public Safety, or 911 to access the police.
  • If you have been injured,  you can go to the Parton Health Center or Porter Medical Center to get medical attention.
  • You can call Parton Health Center, which includes the Center for Counseling and Human Relations, for support and information about resources and options. All services provided by Parton Health Center are free, non-judgmental, and confidential.
  • You can tell family, friends, and Middlebury staff you trust what has happened. They may be able to offer support and resources.
  • You can attend a support group for survivors of relationship abuse; contact the Center for Counseling and Human Relations at x5141 for more information.
  • You can create a safety plan for whether you are leaving or staying in the relationship; a friend or College staff member can help you with this.
  • You can ask your Commons dean to implement a no-contact order, which is a two-way policy restricting communication and contact between two members of the Middlebury community.This can also set limits on contact between the two parties and other individuals in their circles, such as close friends and roommates of the involved parties.
  • You can take legal action; for example, applying for a Relief from Abuse  Order. This is a court order telling your abuser to have no further contact with you or your family members.
  • You can contact WomenSafe, a local organization providing free confidential 24-hour services to people experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
  • Sexual harassment

    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

    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.

    What can I do if I am being stalked?

  • If you think that you are being stalked and are in danger, call x5911 for the Public Safety office, or 911 for the police immediately
  • Cut off all communication with the stalker
  • Save emails, messages, texts and IMs as evidence
  • Call any of the resources listed under Seeking care, and seeking action for information about your options,  resources, and support