Say “Ah”: Title IX

Advanced Nurse Practitioner Donna Patrick / Contributor

Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about Title IX lately. I thought it was about women’s equality in sports programs but now I’m hearing that it’s the sexual assault law?

A: Title IX of the education amendment prohibits ALL forms of discrimination based on sex in schools that receive federal funding. It is fighting against sexual discrimination on all fronts — not just sports. It also protects all people from sexual harassment. It ensures you have the right to learn in an environment where you are safe and feel safe.

Q: What is sexual harassment?

A: Sexual harassment is unwanted or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with your ability to go to classes, study, work or participate in school activities. It is a form of sex discrimination and schools are responsible for
preventing it. Sexual harassment can come from coaches, teachers, staff members, other students or anyone else with whom you may come in contact with. Both men and women can be victims.

Q: How do you draw the line between flirting and sexual harassment?

A: Flirting or joking around is mutual between two people who feel comfortable with it. Sexual harassment does not feel like fun. It can make you feel creepy and uncomfortable. It might make you feel:
– Scared
– Embarrassed
– Angry
– Humiliated
– Trapped
– Confused
– Helpless

Some examples of sexual harassment are:

– Touching
– Pinching
– Grabbing body parts
– Sending sexual messages, texts or pictures
– Writing sexual graffiti on bathroom walls
– Making suggestive or sexual gestures
– Jokes
– Certain verbal comments
– Feeling pressured for sexual favors
– Spreading sexual rumors
– Peeping
– Pulling your or someone else’s clothes off
– Sexual assault and rape
– Stalking, which is when someone follows you everywhere you go or they repeatedly text, call or email you even after you told the person to leave you alone.

Q: What should I do if I am being sexually harassed?
A: If sexual harassment is ignored, it can get worse. If you feel safe, tell the person harassing you to knock it off.

Get some help. Tell someone like a friend, a counselor or  someone you trust.

If you’ve been assaulted, call 911 or go to the emergency room at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

On campus you can talk to one of the medical providers or a counselor at the health center in the Whitaker building and it will remain completely confidential. If you feel more comfortable talking with a teacher or someone who works on-campus outside of the health center, you should know that they are legally obligated to report the harassment to the Title IX office on campus. This is done for your protection and to protect others.

To report sexual harassment you can call the Title IX coordinator to begin an investigation at 474-7300 and or call the police to file a report.

Places to call if you need help that are confidential are below. There are many others on the UAF web site: www.uaf.edu/titleix/

UAF Campus Resource Health & Counseling Center
612 N Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775;
Open weekdays, 8 a.m. -5 p.m.; Phone: 474-7043

Careline Crisis Intervention
Phone: 907-452-4357
Text ‘4help’ (Fairbanks)
1-877-266-4357

Alaska Native Women Coalition
Phone: 907-378-0363

Center for Non-Violent Living
Phone: 907-452-2293

Fairbanks Regional Public Health Center
Phone: 452-1776

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or Sexual Assault Response Teams
Phone: 907-458-5221

Tanana Chiefs Conference, Family
Centered Service
Phone 452-8215

Remember you have a right to feel safe at school. You have a right to continue your studies without harassment or discrimination. And you have the right to get help no matter who you are. You have the right to help even if you were drunk or high and even if you were underage when drinking. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed. The natural inclination is to want to hide from what has happened to you and hope the bad feelings inside will go away, but you really need to tell someone who can help you. Stop blaming yourself and get the help you deserve.

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