Reports Find Increase in Rape and Dating Violence at IUPUI

The instances of rape, fondling and dating violence reported on the IUPUI campus increased in 2017 compared to the previous two years, according to Indiana University Police Department data.

The number of reported rapes increased from four in 2016 to eight in 2017, fondling rose from one in 2016 to eight in 2017 and dating violence climbed from three in 2016 to nine in 2017. Reports of domestic violence and stalking decreased compared to the previous year, but were higher than they were in 2015.

Campus police attribute the higher numbers for rape and fondling to increased reporting, said IUPD Lt. Heather Braun, who is in charge of assembling the data for IUPUI’s annual public safety report.

“The climate, in general, around the country, we feel, has caused the increase,” she said, citing the #MeToo Movement and the 2016 presidential election.

IUPD’s efforts to spread awareness about sexual violence on campus has also contributed to the increase, as some reports came in response to interactions with IUPD Public Information Officer April Mantel, Braun said.

The crime statistics were part of a public safety report the university has to deliver by Oct. 1 each year to comply with the federal Clery Act. It shows data for the preceding three years regarding an array of crimes reported on campus.

“The 2018 numbers are trending in the same direction,” Braun said. “In next year’s report, you won’t see that dip. You’ll see a pretty consistent number.”.

Title IX and Campus Climate reports

The university also issues an annual report on Title IX, which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, including sexual misconduct, and surveys students about their safety concerns on campus.

According to the most recent Title IX figures for IUPUI, 118 reports of sexual misconduct were made during the 2016-17 academic year. Of those, 14 proceeded to formal adjudication. Some of them involved the same person, so there were only eight resolutions, six of which found the accused to be responsible.

The 2016 Campus Climate Survey found that 5 percent, or 122, of the undergraduate women who responded experienced attempted or completed nonconsensual sexual penetration while at IUPUI, which is far lower than the national figure of 20 percent.

“We know that it’s occurring, and we also know that it’s a vastly underreported crime to the police,” Braun said.

IUPUI Office of Student Conduct

According to IUPD’s daily crime logs, campus police have responded to 25 incidents since Sept. 8 that could fall into the sexual misconduct categories in next year’s public safety report. Of those, 13 were referred for judicial review through the university’s disciplinary process.

In most cases, if the incident only involved students, they would be sent to the IUPUI Office of Student Conduct. However, if a faculty or staff member was involved, they would likely be sent to the IUPUI Office of Equal Opportunity. Either way, the university would carry out an investigation and decide whether to initiate the disciplinary process.

The Office of Student Conduct’s involvement is separate from any police investigation that may be happening at the same time and carries a different set of potential penalties.

“Our process is looking at whether the IU sexual misconduct policy was violated,” Interim Director for the Office of Student Conduct Sara Dickey said.

Office staff trained as investigators interview the victim, the person accused and, if possible, witnesses, Dickey said. If an investigator determines that the disciplinary procedure should be initiated, the person accused can accept responsibility or request a hearing.

Hearings are conducted in person by a volunteer commission made up of three faculty or staff members. The students involved and the investigator participate in the proceedings. Students can bring advisors, but they are only allowed to attend.

Potential repercussions if the accused student is found to be at fault include anything from a warning to expulsion. The Office of Student Conduct can also hand down educational sanctions if the student is not expelled.

If students prefer not to contact the police, they can approach the office directly.

“There’s nothing too minor or too small to report,” Dickey, who is also one of IUPUI’s Title IX coordinators, said. “We can always provide resources, even if we don’t engage in a full investigation.”

Available resources

The following resources are available to students on or adjacent to campus to help them prevent or cope with sexual violence. Unless otherwise noted, all phone numbers begin with the 317 area code.

— Safewalk, 274-7233, provides a police escort to walk callers anywhere on campus or to apartment complexes adjacent to it.

— Rape Aggression Defense, a women’s self-defense class, is available through IUPD to students, staff and faculty or as a one-credit college course. Courses for all sexes are provided by IUPD upon request.

— IUPD, 274-9711 or 911, for on-campus incidents.

— Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, 327-3811 or 911, for off-campus incidents in Indianapolis.

— IUPUI Office of Student Conduct, 274-4431, or IUPUI Office of Equal Opportunity, 274-2306, to begin the IUPUI disciplinary process in cases of student conduct. The Office of Equal Opportunity also takes reports involving IUPUI faculty or staff. The two offices are also where students can file Title IX claims.

— IUPUI Counseling and Psychological Services, 274-2548

— 24-hour Crisis and Suicide Hotline, 251-7575

— Employee Assistance Program, 888-234-8327, provides confidential counseling to employees, medical residents and graduate appointees and their family members.

— IU Health Methodist Hospital Center of Hope, 963-3394, and Eskenazi Health Center of Hope, 880-8006, have specially-trained staff to handle medical exams, forensics, crisis support and follow-up care for victims of physical, sexual or domestic violence.

— IUPUI Campus Center Health, 274-2274, or IUPUI Campus Health, 274-8214, can provide follow-up care after a sexual assault has been experienced.

Community resources are also available for students, staff or faculty in need of assistance.

— Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 917-3685, and Center for Victim and Human Rights, 610-3427, can provide legal assistance.

— Legacy House, 554-5272, offers free trauma counseling and advocacy.

— The Julian Center, 920-9320, and Families First, 634-6341, also offer advocacy services.

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