On sunny Panama Beach, hundreds of onlookers watched and videotaped while multiple men assaulted a nineteen-year-old girl in broad daylight. This well-known gang rape incident happened back in March 2015, but it still remains a chilling illustration that people are unprepared to handle sexual assaults, and sexual assaults can happen anywhere. Bystanders are unreliable to step in and help. We should all educate ourselves on resources available, so we are prepared to help ourselves and others if a crisis occurs. Due to recent assaults and reported incidents on campus, The Reporter wants to provide a reminder of what resources MNSU offers to victims of rape and assault.
One item that the university encourages students to do is download the free Circle of 6 app. The Circle of 6 allows users to choose six people to instantly text if trouble arises, simply by touching one of three icons. The car icon communicates, “Come get me home safely.” The phone icon asks for someone to call and provide an interruption in a sticky situation. The chat icon communicates that the user is looking for relationship advice. The exclamation point icon dials a customizable national hotline for instant help.
IN AN EMERGENCY:
If you’re experiencing an emergency, dial 911 first. Keep in mind that this does not legally require you to press charges or take any kind of legal action in the case of sexual violence or assault. It’s simply a call for immediate help.
It’s also wise to keep the campus security number in your phone: (507) 389-2111. Campus Security offers walking escorts 24 hours a day, and you can also find their emergency telephones located around campus with buttons that will contact security directly.
HELP FOR VICTIMS
Off-campus, CADA (the Committee Against Domestic Abuse) also provides a 24-hour crisis line: (800-477-0466). This number puts you in contact with a CADA advocate, who will give you options for your situation, walk you through reporting an incident, and go along with you to the police station or hospital if you are uncomfortable going alone. A CADA advocate also provides mental and emotional support in time of crisis. They are entirely confidential and not affiliated with the University.
If you are in a consistently bad relationship where you go through sexual abuse or violence, if you are being stalked, or if you have experienced rape or assault, the University offers multiple resources as well.
The Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX (507-389-2986) will investigate reported cases of assault and help you explore your governmental rights and options.
The Counseling Center on campus (507-389-1455) is a confidential resource, and students can meet with licensed counselors free of charge to get emotional and mental help. Students can receive ten free sessions per year and must complete a brief amount of paperwork before beginning their first session. They are located in CSU 285.
For more information on reporting an incident, pressing charges, counseling help, and other resources, go to http://www.mnsu.edu/eotitleix/titleix/.