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Prevention

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

  • 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their time at college.
  • 1 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, the 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 a Title IX Education Specialist:

Mariana Matthews
(304) 293-5600 office
(304) 906-9930 mobile
Mariana.Matthews@mail.wvu.edu

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

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 request an in-person Title IX training please utilize our online form. So that our Education Team can best service you, please fill out the form as completely as possible:

Training Request Form

If you have any questions regarding Title IX at West Virginia University, please contact our Senior Title IX Education Specialist:

Mariana Matthews
(304) 293-5600 - office
(304) 906-9930 - 24 Hour Hotline Mariana.Matthews@mail.wvu.edu

Other related trainings are also available for West Virginia University faculty and staff:

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.

Trauma/Sensitivity

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.

WVU TITLE IX COORDINATOR
James Goins, Jr.
1085 Van Voorhis Rd, Suite 250
Morgantown, WV 26505
James.Goins@mail.wvu.edu
(304) 293-5600

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 be 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/

Seeking help?

If you are fearful for yourself or another person in your current environment or situation call 911 immediately.

Find an emergency contact

West Virginia University Campus Police: 304-293-3136.

WELLAWARE

An interactive bystander intervention training program that teaches students to realistically and effectively intervene in high-risk situations.

Learn more about WELLAWARE

File a complaint

File a complaint regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual & domestic misconduct (including sexual assault), stalking, or retaliation.

File now

Prevention Programs

Learn more about sexual assault and power-based personal violence prevention programs offered at West Virginia University.

View available programs.

WVU Peer Advocates

Get involved and make a difference

West Virginia University signed onto the national It’s On Us campaign in 2015 to continue violence prevention efforts and reinforce Mountaineers’ rights under Title IX.

Under the It’s On Us campaign, the University coordinates the WVU Peer Advocate program. Through this initiative, expertly trained students work to end sexual assault and power-based personal violence on campus through immediate crisis intervention and prevention awareness events.

Any student is welcome and encouraged to become a WVU Peer Advocate and can become involved by contacting a Title IX Education Specialist.

  • To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
  • To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
  • To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
  • To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Take the Pledge