Samford University is committed to preventing and ending all forms of abuse and violence on campus, supporting victims of abuse and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions. In this site you will find information on sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, sexual harassment, as well as how to get help if you have experienced these issues and how to give support to a friend or colleague.
If you want to talk to someone in person, the Counseling Center is available to talk with you weekdays before 5 p.m. by calling 205-726-2065. If you need help or support after 5 p.m. during the week or on the weekend, you may call the Crisis Center 24-hour crisis line at 205-323-7777.
The purpose of this site is to provide information that enables individuals to be a part of the solution in combating violence against persons and to provide resources for individuals who were/are a victim of violence.
The assistant dean for Student Services coordinates efforts to eliminate acts of violence on campus. The Student Services, Public Safety, Counseling Services and Human Resources offices develop and contribute to a wide range of programs and events designed to increase awareness about violence against persons. Programs are designed to promote healthy relationships and to provide educations about behaviors that enable relationship violence. Programs offered by these offices included, but are limited to: sexual misconduct and sexual assault, healthy relationships, self defense and personal safety, and understanding sexual consent. The programs are structured to meet the needs of specific audiences and can be presented upon request. Presentations are intended to encourage audience participation and critical thinking about behaviors associated with relationship violence, as well as providing education about prevention and personal safety.
Reporting an incident of sexual misconduct is a difficult decision. It is important to understand that filing a report of sexual misconduct can be a beginning to the healing process. Reporting or pressing charges can prevent an offender from harming another person.
If a sexual assault occurs off campus, attempt to determine in which police jurisdiction the offense occurred and notify that department or call 911 for local police assistance. If the sexual assault occurs on campus, call 911 or (205) 726-2020 to contact the Public Safety department. Although an assault may occur off campus, the victim may report the incident to Public Safety, which will assist the victim with contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency.
In addition to reporting to a law enforcement agency, a victim of sexual misconduct is urged to report the incident to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator. An allegation of sexual misconduct can be filed, as needed, by any member of the Samford community. A member of the Samford community may file a complaint of sexual misconduct against a "Samford student" under this policy. For purposes of determining the University’s jurisdiction, a "Samford student" means any student who is registered or enrolled at the University (a) at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct (including sexual misconduct that is alleged to have occurred during any academic recess, provided that there is an expectation of such student's continued enrollment at the University), and (b) at the time that a formal complaint against such student is received by the Assistant Dean of Student Services. This policy applies to any allegation of sexual misconduct against a Samford student, regardless of where the alleged violation occurred. There is no geographical limitation to invoking this policy.
In cases involving potential criminal conduct, consistent with state and local law, the University will determine whether appropriate law enforcement or other authorities should be notified.
Research statistics suggests more than 75% of victims of sexual assaults know their assailant.
A number of circumstances could result in a victim not fighting back during an assault. In some instances, the assailant may use a drug or the element of fear to prevent the victim from using physical force against the assailant. The simple truth is that intentional sexual contact without consent of the other person constitutes sexual assault, regardless of whether the victim fights back or not.
According to the United States Department of Justice, 80% of rapes and sexual assault incidents do not involve a weapon.
According to national rape statistics, one out of 33 men will be a victim of rape or sexual assault in their lifetime.
Research data suggest less than 40% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported.
Alcohol is a weapon that some perpetrators use to control their victims and render them helpless. As part of their plan, an assailant may encourage a potential victim to use alcohol, or they may identify a person who is already drunk to victimize. Alcohol is not a cause of rape; it is only one of many tools that perpetrators of rape use to control their victims.
When a person says yes to sex, they are giving consent. Silence does not mean consent, nor does a victim giving in to sex after being subjected to consistent begging or pleading mean consent. Unrelenting pleading or begging for sex is consistent with coercion. If your partner says no or seems unsure, respect that person and their wishes.
While there are no absolute ways to protect yourself from being the victim of a sexual assault, there are some cautionary things you can do to protect yourself from being assaulted.
It is important to know where you are and who is around you who may be able to assist if you are caught in a bad situation.
Don’t let yourself be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave immediately.
Don’t allow someone else to talk you into a staying in a situation or participating in an act or activities with which you do not agree.
Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have enough money for cab fare.
When you go to social gatherings, go with a group. Arrive together, check with each other throughout the event and make sure you all leave together.
You are encouraged to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, but if you must drink, be mindful of the following:
If you do leave your drink, pour it out and get a new one.
If you choose to accept a drink from someone at a bar, watch the drink being poured and carried to you. At parties, do not drink from punch bowls or open containers. Do not accept an open beer or drink from someone you do not absolutely trust.
If your friend seems out of control or intoxicated, get him or her to a safe place immediately. Do not allow the person to be separated from you.
Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of relationship violence. Bystanders are often the largest group of people involved in acts of relationship violence. Webster dictionary defines bystander as “one who is present, but not taking part in a situation or event; a chance spectator.” In terms of relationship violence, a bystander can be 1) a person who may be aware that an assault is occurring or a person who has knowledge that an assault will happen, 2) a person who observes an assault or one who witness potential assault, or 3) a person who has information that an assault has already happened. The phrase bystander intervention indicates by engaging ever so slightly in a situation, a bystander may be able to prevent a potential assault or assist a victim by getting help.
If you see your friend doing or saying something inappropriate, be a true friend and tell him to stop. Let your friend know the behavior you are witnessing is not right. Additionally, if you see someone who appears to be in trouble say something; ask them if they are okay.
If you hear or see someone doing something that is not right, let them know you believe their behavior is wrong. Let them know if they do not stop, you will call or report them to the authorities. Do not laugh at racist, sexist or homophobic jokes. Challenge your friends and acquaintances to be respectful of differences and people.
You should model the behavior you know is right for your friends and acquaintances. The behavior you model in your relationship can be a great guide for your friends to follow.
If you witness a friend harassing another person, intervene by asking your friend a question: Ask your friend to accompany you to a different location. If it is a stranger intervention, from a distance ask the individual for directions or for the time. The goal of distraction is to provide the victim time to move away and to provide the abuser a chance to refocus his/her thoughts.
Sometimes the most powerful action a person can take is to provide a disapproving stare. The use of the stare provides the perpetrator an understanding they are being watched and that their behavior is seen by another.
Victims of violence often are confused and incapable of making rational decisions after an assault. A bystander can assist a victim by reassuring and staying with a victim until professional assistance is provided. Additionally, the bystander should be willing to get the victim help.
While being aware of your safety and not putting yourself in harm’s way, bystanders should do something to prevent an act of interpersonal violence.
If you see something that does not appear to be right, while protecting your safety and well being, evaluate the situation and consider stepping in and asking questions. Ask the person if he needs help, if they feel safe, or if they want your assistance. If you feel something is wrong and you do not feel safe about intervening, call the police.
If you observe someone doing behavior of which you do not approve, tell the person you do not approve of what he/she is doing. Ask him or her to leave the potential victim alone.
While the majority of men do not commit sexual assault acts, research indicates men are more likely to commit a sexual assault than women. Men can be instrumental in the prevention of sexual assault and violence by speaking out about such acts and being an ally to those who may be susceptible to acts of violence.
Become knowledgeable about the issues of violence against people and share your knowledge with your friends and others.
If you perceive immediate danger, on campus call Public Safety at 2020; off-campus, call 911.
Encourage your friend to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as well as seeking professional counseling. The University’s Counseling Services offers confidential counseling and can be contacted at 205-726-2065.
Stay with your friend until the person is safe and with someone he or she trusts.
Provide your friend with information related to resources for help.
Samford University is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of all members of the university community. If you, or someone you know, believe that you may be a victim of sexual misconduct, you are encouraged to seek immediate assistance. The following chart provides information related to where you can obtain assistance.
Be sure your friend knows you will be supportive. It is important to let her know you are willing to listen when they are ready to talk. Being a real friend sometimes means you will listen without offering too much conversation.
Remind your friend anyone can be a victim of a sexual assault act and that it is not their fault. Your friend may be blaming herself about being a victim, and it is important to assure their actions did not cause the assault.
Protect your friend’s privacy and confidence. Allow your friend to determine the pace and focus of the conversation and when they are willing to discuss the assault. Do not force the topic!
You may feel hurt, angry, guilty, anxious or frightened. Such feelings are understandable, but your reactions may feel surprising, confusing or overwhelming. Seek counseling support for your feelings.
You can only do so much to help. You can only provide support and compassion. Know your limitations.
First and foremost, be aware of your personal bias, which may interfere with you understanding the victim’s situation. If you cannot be objective, refer the individual to another person for support.
Be familiar with campus and community resources. Know your limitations, and be ready to encourage the individual to seek professional assistance: counselor, medical professional or the police.
Reassure the victim and be a support by assisting them (if desired) in considering their options.