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 Parton Center for Health and Wellness, and other on- and off-campus resources.
Emergencies: Please dial 911 or call the Department of Public Safety at 802.443.5911.
Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are strictly prohibited under Middlebury's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy and Middlebury's Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking. Please see Appendix B and Appendix C to these policies for further resources and support information.
Complaints under these policies should be directed to the Human Relations Officer (harassment) or the Judicial Affairs Officer (sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking). Students are also encouraged to contact their Commons Deans.
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.
Middlebury's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy prohibits all forms of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment. Please see the policy for detailed information about definitions, procedures, and support and resources. Harassment complaints or reports should be directed to the Human Relations Officer.
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 any member of Middlebury's faculty or staff who are not considered confidential resources are required to report even the possibility of harassment to Middlebury's Human Relations Officer.
A confidential resource is an individual who is legally and ethically bound to keep confidential all information shared with them in the course of providing counsel and support, except under the circumstances noted below. Middlebury respects that the decision to come forward may be difficult and that individuals may wish to seek assistance from someone who can provide confidential information and support, and who can provide assurances that what is disclosed will not be acted on except in the circumstances outlined below. For more information about confidential resources that are available to you, click here.
In general, the law recognizes and protects the confidentiality of communications between a person seeking care and a medical or mental health professional, religious advisor or trained sexual assault advocate. The medical, mental health, religious professionals and MiddSafe advocates at Middlebury and their off-campus counterparts respect and protect confidential communications from students, faculty, and staff to the extent they are legally able to do so. These professionals may have to breach a confidence, however, when they perceive a serious risk of danger or threat to any person or property. In addition, medical and mental health professionals may be required by law to report certain crimes (e.g., any allegation of sexual and/or physical abuse of a person under 18). These exceptions to confidentiality are governed by the law of the state in which the confidential resource is located.
An individual who speaks to a confidential resource must understand that, if they want to maintain confidentiality, Middlebury will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the individual who is alleged to have violated this policy.
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 or participating in an investigation, 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.
For additional information and assistance for stalking victims, please visit the Stalking Resource Center website.
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
- To file a complaint, contact the Human Relations Officer.
- Cut off all communication with the stalker
- Save emails, messages, texts and IMs as evidence
- Call any of the resources listed in Appendix B or Appendix C to Middlebury's Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.
- For additional information, please visit the Stalking Resource Center website.