College students experiencing dating abuse face unique obstacles when seeking help:
- Living away from home can make students feel trapped in their campus community and social peer groups.
- They might be more fearful of reporting because they don’t want to get in trouble for substance use. For instance, they may be reluctant to report a sexual assault if they were drunk when it happened.
- Victims may live in the same residence hall as their abuser, which can put them more at risk for harassment and stalking.
- Campus policies and procedures about dating abuse may be unclear.
Common stalking behaviors, which can occur during the relationship or after it’s over:
- Following you, waiting, showing up, or driving by wherever you are, such as your home, school, or job.
- Constantly calling (including hang-ups), texting, leaving voicemails.
- Sending you unwanted letters, cards, e-mails, or gifts.
- Monitoring your phone calls or computer use.
Some stalking behavior may not seem dangerous to an outsider, but stalking is serious and should be treated that way. If you are being stalked, keep a record of what is happening so that you’ll have it as evidence if you decide to get help from the police or court.
For more information on stalking, including New York State’s stalking laws, visit:
Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Most sexual assaults happen between people who know each other, with the use of alcohol and drugs being a factor. It is common for someone who has been abused by their partner to also have been sexually assaulted by them.
While sexual assault can involve force and coercion, it also may involve being pressured into sexual activity that the person isn’t comfortable with.
What is Consent?
Consent is an agreement between two people, given through words or actions, that they are both clearly and enthusiastically willing to engage in sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance does not count as consent. Some people aren’t able to give consent, such as individuals who are drunk, sleeping or unconscious, and some people with intellectual disabilities. Consent involves active communication, and knowing that one person always has to right to withdraw consent. This means that someone can consent to one activity (kissing) but not consent to another (sex). Consent, like sex, should be about respecting each other to make their own decisions about their body.
Getting consent can be simple: it’s all about communication. You can talk about boundaries before engaging sexual activity, but you should also regularly check in with a simple “is this okay?” to ensure everyone involved is comfortable with what is going on.
Still have more questions about consent? Check out this video.
Enough is Enough
New York’s Enough is Enough law extends preventive policies and protections adopted by SUNY campus to all campuses statewide. It includes:
- A uniform definition of affirmative consent, defining consent as a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity;
- An amnesty policy to ensure that students reporting incidents of sexual assault or other sexual violence are granted immunity for certain campus policy violations, such as drug and alcohol use;
- A Students’ Bill of Rights, which campuses will be required to distribute to all students in order to specifically inform sexual violence victims of their legal rights and how they may access appropriate resources;
- Comprehensive training requirements for administrators, staff, and students, including at new student orientations; and
- Reporting requirements for campuses to annually submit aggregate data on reported incidents of sexual violence and their adjudication and handling to the State Education Department.
All students have the right to:
- Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
- Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault treated seriously;
- Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violence and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or justice process free from pressure by the institution;
- Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
- Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
- Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
- Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
- Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
- Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
- Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process in including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and
- Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.
- More on Laws and Regulations
- How SUNY campuses are responding to sexual violence
- New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- NYS Trooper’s Campus Sexual Assault Victims Unit
- For College students: Understanding IPV, Stalking and Sexual Assault
- Campus Dating Violence Fact Sheet
- A College Student’s Guide to Safety Planning
- Information for Administrators and Safety Personnel
- Awareness Campaigns for College Campuses
- Safety Planning for College Students
To report a sexual assault on a New York college campus, call the New York State Police’s 24-hour hotline at 1-844-845-7269.
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence recommends that all schools develop a dating violence policy, which can help them to:
- Build victim safety and offender accountability into the school’s response.
- Provide a consistent school response to dating abuse.
- Establish clear roles and responsibilities for school staff.
- Provide help to victims.
Break the Cycle is a national organization that collaborated with four local organizations to develop the DC Safe Schools Model Policy, which can be used as a tool by schools seeking to develop their own policies:
- Break the Cycle: Safe Schools Model Policy: A Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Dating Violence and Sexual Violence in District of Columbia Schools
- A Resource Manual for School Employees
Initiatives and Curriculums
- NYSCADV recommended curricula and activity books
- Start Strong
- Dating Matters
- That’s Not Cool
- Safe Dates
- Shifting Boundaries
- Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships is a national program promoting healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising ways to prevent teen dating violence.
- Webinar: Start Strong School Policies
- Bystander Workshop Guide