Why Should You Care?Knowing what resources are available on- and off-campus gives you the tools that you need to help yourself and others who have experienced gender-based discrimination, including sexual violence, power-based personal violence, and harassment. West Virginia University has a zero-tolerance policy for these types of offenses and is pro-actively working to make them happen less, but it’s on all of us as a Mountaineer family to help one another wherever and whenever we can.
What If Bears Killed One in Five People?
Who Is Affected by Sexual Violence? 1
women will be sexually assaulted during their time at college.
in 16 men will experience sexual assault during college.
90% of campus sexual assaults are committed by someone that the survivor knows.
84% of female survivors report being sexually assaulted during their first
four semesters on campus.
The majority college rapists commit an average of 6 sexual assaults each.
57% of college students who report experiencing dating violence report experiencing
it while in college.
It is important to remember that these statistics are just that, statistics. Many
survivors of sexual violence and power-based personal violence do not report
their experience for a number of reasons, making the truth behind the numbers
less reliable than what individuals actually experience on campuses and in communities
across the nation.
What Can You Do?
WVU Peer Advocates
West Virginia University employs two Title IX Education Specialists – Mariana Matthews and Brooke Bailey – who coordinate the WVU Peer Advocate program. This program trains students to work to end sexual assault and power-based personal violence on campus through immediate crisis intervention. This training takes form through a 3 credit hour course where students receive the knowledge and tools they need to help their peers. Services provided by the WVU Peer Advocates include but are not limited to the following:
Accompany students to
Ruby Memorial Hospital
student conduct hearings
WellWVU Carruth Counseling Center
, or other appointments related to their experience and recovery.
Assist students in filing a
Title IX complaint
with West Virginia University.
Host prevention and awareness events across campus.
Meet with students to discuss their experience and the resources and options
available to them.
Provide on-campus education regarding the issues around Title IX and sexual
violence at West Virginia University.
Any student is welcome and encouraged to become a WVU Peer Advocate and can become involved by contacting either Title IX Education Specialist:
(304) 293-5600 office
(304) 906-9930 mobile
Mariana and Brooke can provide alternate options– such as unpaid internships and
volunteer hours – for students who do not have the time to commit to a 3 credit
hour class but still want to be involved.
It’s On Us
The purpose of the It's On Us campaign is to raise awareness about issues surrounding sexual violence and empower college students to be active bystanders. Sexual violence and power-based personal violence effect thousands in our Mountaineer family, and we all have a part to play in the solution to these problems. This campaign asks that you sign the It's On Us Pledge and take a stand against sexual violence in our community.
Title IX Trainings
Title IX training is available for students, faculty and staff through West Virginia University. The in-person training sessions provide education on individuals’ rights under Title IX and resources that are available both on- and off-campus. Additionally, conversations on sexual assault, power-based personal violence, consent, and prevention efforts are facilitated.
To host an in-person Title IX training, or if you have any questions regarding Title IX at West Virginia University, contact one of the Title IX Education Specialists:
(304) 293-5600 office
(304) 906-9930 mobile
(304) 293-5600 office
(304) 960-1920 mobile
Other related trainings are also available for West Virginia University faculty and staff:
Title IX: What Everyone on Campus Needs to Know
Sexual Harassment Training
Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Prevention Training
- SAFE Zone Training
All faculty and staff at West Virginia University are considered responsible employees.
This means that when a Title IX related incident is disclosed to them, they must
report it to the University to ensure the individual’s safety. Counselors and
pastoral staff are exempt from this and maintain a confidential status. Title
IX Education Specialists and WVU Peer Advocates are considered private resources,
meaning that they do not report specific cases to the University, only demographic/non-identifying
information that can be used in West Virginia University’s Annual
Campus Security Report.
When a person is involved or witnesses a traumatic event – such as a car accident or a sexual assault – the body deploys a number of self-protective mechanisms in order to keep that person safe. Sometimes these mechanisms can produce disruptions in memory or emotional expression.
The amygdala, or the part of the brain responsible for processing fear, interferes with memory consolidation when it is hyper-activated. This can explain why survivors of traumatic experiences remember only parts of what happened, remember fragments of the event at a later time, or remember nothing at all.
The body also produces opioids in response to trauma as a way to minimize pain, similarly to opiates like heroin. When these opioids are released into the body, it can give the survivor a “flat affect.” This flat affect is described as a sort of numbing effect on the survivor’s body and affords them a third option in contrast to the flight or fight response: freeze. Freezing during a traumatic event is a very normal response. When the body “freezes” it is because the brain has decided that neither fleeing nor fighting are appropriate actions for survival.
Following the trauma, survivors of sexual violence or power-based personal violence can appear emotionless, carefree, or even cheerful. They may display flirtatious or sexual behavior toward responders, or giggle and laugh at unexpected times. None of these things alone should be taken as an indication that the victim is lying about having been assaulted. The brain of each and every individual person responds differently to trauma; there is no standard expectation for how a survivor should behave following their trauma.
Every case involving sexual violence and power-based personal violence is different. Any individuals feeling like they have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking are encouraged to report the event to the Title IX Coordinator so that the University can provide them with the help and resources they need to recover and continue their education.
James Goins, Jr.
1085 Van Voorhis Rd, Suite 250
Morgantown, WV 26505
How to Help a Friend
If someone comes to you and they have been sexually assaulted:
Make sure they are safe. Always call 911 if there is an emergency.
Make sure they know that it wasn’t their fault. Tell them that they did the
best that they could do to survive the situation and that no one deserves
to be sexually assaulted.
Validate their feelings. Acknowledge their sadness, anger, fear, or confusion,
regardless of how strange their reaction to the event may seem to you.
Believe them. It is rare that people make up stories about sexual assault.
Help them seek resources. West Virginia University provides many different
resources for survivors of sexual violence or power-based personal violence.
The Title IX Education Specialists and WVU Peer Advocates are private individuals
who can thoroughly discuss the survivor’s options without reporting the incident
to the University.
NEVER pressure them into doing anything. As an outside party, you may feel
that certain actions need to b
e taken, but it is important that you empower the survivor by supporting what
actions they think is best.
1 All statistics were taken from http://knowyourix.org/statistics/