Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Rape


 

Sexual assault, violence or harassment of any kind is never the fault of the person who experienced harm. This is true regardless of the circumstances, relationship between those involved, location of incident, and real or perceived cultural differences between the individuals involved.

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What to Know Before you go Abroad

Sexual harassment and sexual assault impacts all gender identities worldwide. Cultural and social attitudes towards sexual harassment, assault, and rape can vary widely throughout the world. Being culturally sensitive does NOT mean that you need to submit to or accept behaviors that invade your personal boundaries or that make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Consider this advice before traveling abroad:

  • Learn social norms about personal space, touching, and gender dynamics in your host country 
  • Research and understand the cultural norms, laws and attitudes relating to sex, sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape in your host country 
  • Research and understand the resources at GVSU that are available to support you
  • Find a balance between your independence and your safety that allows you to feel comfortable and in charge
  • Trust your instincts about people and situations. You don't need to be polite if something doesn't feel right
  • Prepare for differences in attitudes and behavior surrounding sexual harassment
  • Read about The Cultural Confusion of Being Sexually Assaulted Abroad
  • Take note of barriers and obstacles facing victims of sexual assault abroad

Incidents of Sexual Violence

In the event you, or someone you care about, experience sexual harassment or violence while abroad, you are strongly encouraged to seek the support of resources in country and/or through GVSU support services. 

Get to a safe place and seek help

  • If you believe you or anyone else is in immediate danger, contact the U.S. Embassy and a trusted in-country contact. In most cases, local police authorities are critical resources and may be the best point of contact, but this may not always be the case. The U.S. Embassy can assist you with contacting local authorities and guidance on whether or not reporting to the local police is advisable in your host country. 

Seek Medical Attention

  • Even if you think you are physically fine, you may have injuries that require treatment
  • Medical attention may be necessary to mitigate risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
  • Forensic evidence may be collected if criminal action is desired 

Consider Reporting 

  • GVSU and the U.S. Embassy can provide you with options for reporting the crime. 
  • If you decide to report an incident of sexual misconduct to a staff member at PIC, the staff member is required to notify the Title IX coordinator of the incident.
  • You may contact the GVSU Victim's Rights Advocate for support and assistance.

Access Support

  • If you want to speak with a confidential resource at GVSU, you are encouraged to contact the Counseling Center
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) offers 24/7 online chat support for victims of sexual violence