So Yes Means Yes, But How Do I Ask?

This blog post was originally published on June 16, 2015.

Photo:
Photo: “Communication” by Joan M. Mass, Flickr Creative Commons.

As many of us know, UNC-Chapel Hill adopted a new affirmative consent standard in August 2014, meaning that, rather than “no means no,” UNC enforces a “yes means yes” standard—where consent is defined as the clearly conveyed, enthusiastic, conscious, non-coerced “yes.” It is the responsibility of person initiating the activity to receive affirmative consent, and being under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not lessen that responsibility. Consent can’t be treated as binding; if your partner and you say that next Friday you plan to have sex, you should still check in with your partner next Friday to make sure they consent. If, next Friday, your partner decides they do not consent, you cannot try to hold them to what they said the week before or make them feel guilty in any way for changing their mind. Also, consent to one activity is not consent to another (so, for example, consent to oral sex is not consent to vaginal sex).

I’ve found in my experience conducting One Act trainings that a lot of students struggle to understand the affirmative consent standard, and have a lot of questions about how it works in practice. Many of us are much more comfortable relying on body language, so enforcing a policy that heavily relies on verbal communication can be daunting.

But how do I ask? Won’t it kill the mood? Isn’t that awkward? Don’t you just know when someone wants to have sex? Is it really necessary to ask permission every step of the way? Does this mean that anytime I don’t explicitly ask permission, they can just regret it and call it rape?

Those are all questions I’ve been asked, on several occasions, by several students. A lot of those questions stem from a “but I just want to have sex” mindset, when the mindset should revolve around what both you and your partner enjoy doing. Affirmative consent isn’t about making things awkward, it’s about making sure your partner really does want to do what you want to do.

So how do you ask? Here are some suggestions:

“I’d really like to do ____, do you want to?”

“How do you feel about trying/doing   ____?”

“Does this feel good to you?”

“Are you interested in doing ___?”

“Are you enjoying this?”

“I like doing _____. What do you like to do?”

The possibilities are endless, so have fun with it! Remember that sex should be an ongoing conversation, where you check in with your partner to make sure they are excited about and are enjoying everything that is happening.

But what about just knowing when someone is consenting to sex? Why this change? Why use an affirmative consent standard, when, for years, relying on body language has been considered acceptable?

It’s simple: there has been new research  that indicates people are likely to freeze up when they feel scared, threatened, or traumatized. While most of us are familiar with flight or fight, there is actually this third chemical reaction in our brains – “freeze.” Because of neurobiology, people may not be able to speak up and say “let’s stop,” so they just disengage and wait for it to be over. Using an affirmative consent standard takes into account what happens in our bodies on a cellular level. Beyond biology, social norms may impact some a person’s ability to speak up. Statements like “maybe later,” “I’m tired,” “not right now,” “let’s just watch a movie,” or even silence are indicators that a person doesn’t actually want to have sex, despite none of those being an explicit “no.”

If you ask someone if they want to have sex with you (or do any other activity) and they say no, you didn’t “kill the mood.” You simply gave that person an opportunity to tell you that they didn’t want to have sex. Rejection usually doesn’t feel good, but neither does hurting someone. Affirmative consent is sexy. So play around with how you ask for consent, figure out what way is most comfortable to you, and practice good communication with your partner(s)! Being able to talk about what you are interested in doing together gets easier, and affirmative consent is sexy! Remember: even if you do find it awkward, a few seconds of feeling awkward is worth preventing harming someone.

If you’re worried that your partner may confuse regret with sexual assault, here is a great blog explaining why that likely won’t happen.

Can you think of any more ways to ask for consent? Post below in the comments!

March Madness and Problem Gambling Awareness Month

As we all enjoy watching the Heels make their way through this year’s NCAA basketball tournament, it is an important time to remember that March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month across the nation.

Image courtesy of Doug L on Flickr.
Image courtesy of Doug L. on Flickr.

Gambling occurs anytime you risk something of value on an event or activity in which the outcome is uncertain, with the hopes of receiving something of value in return, according to DSM 5. Common forms of gambling include daily fantasy or other sports betting, online poker, card/casino games, lottery tickets, and animal racing.

For many people, gambling is a fun recreational activity that is done socially and responsibly. Responsible gambling occurs when a person sets limits and views the money merely as the cost of entertainment. For others, however, gambling can lead to a harmful addiction known as a gambling disorder.

Image courtesy of Ralf Roletschek on Wikimedia.
Image courtesy of Ralf Roletschek on Wikimedia.

Gambling disorders affect about 5–10 percent of college students, which is disproportionately high compared to the larger adult population. Gambling disorders are also over-represented in male-identified individuals, members of Greek organizations, those who binge drink, and those who play video games obsessively.

As you watch your brackets this month, be sure to also watch out for the following signs of a gambling problem, either in yourself or in your friends:

  • Progressive preoccupation with gambling
  • Increased use of gambling language
  • Increased talk about wins and attempts to hide gambling losses
  • Loss of interest in non-gambling activities
  • Lying about engaging in gambling behavior
  • Compulsion to “chase losses” (gamble more to recover lost money)
  • Unexplained debt or attempts to borrow money
  • Feast or famine cash flow
  • Frequent unexplained absences from classes
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Increased symptoms of depression
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

If you or someone you know is experiencing a problem with gambling, there are many ways to get help and support. You can always drop by Student Wellness or Counseling and Psychological Services (both located in James Taylor Campus Health Building).  Additionally, you can call, text, or chat with free and confidential help from the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program.

Gambling disorders are similar to substance use disorders and oftentimes people who struggle with these issues can find help in similar places. At UNC, the Carolina Recovery Program is an on-campus community dedicated to supporting people in recovery from addictive disorders. Consider checking it out if you think you or someone you know might have a gambling problem. If you’re just interested to see how your gambling activity compares with other college students, take the brief survey found here.

If you do choose to gamble, here are some tips for gambling responsibly:

  • Set your limit before you start gambling. Any money spent on gambling should be considered the cost of entertainment – only use money that you can afford to lose.
  • Avoid gambling when feeling lonely, depressed, angry, stressed, when coping with loss, or as a way to impress others.
  • Avoid gambling in conjunction with excessive alcohol or drug use.
  • Avoid borrowing money to gamble — it is always a high-risk decision.
  • Only gamble when it is legal.

Whether or not you choose to gamble, March is alw
ays an exciting time here at UNC.  Take some time this year to enjoy the tournament, and remember that you are obligated to cheer for two teams: (1) The Tar Heels and (2) whoever is playing Duke.

 

Shane currently works at UNC Student Wellness as the Program Assistant for Recovery Initiatives. He is in his first year of the Master of Social Work program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to starting at UNC, Shane lived in Asheville and worked in wilderness therapy programs for adolescents and emerging adults. He holds a BA in English from Georgia State University and an AS in Outdoor Leadership from Young Harris College.

Safety on the safe.unc.edu website

Have you ever wondered about the bright green “leave website now” button in the top right corner of the SAFE website?

safe website

This button is a safeguard for individuals who are experiencing violence or abuse. Abusers often control the types of information and resources their partner can access, including information about getting help. It may not be safe for someone who has a controlling partner to be browsing a website where there’s information about how to get help. Learn more about controlling behaviors here.

  • The button lets them leave the site in 1 click if the abuser enters the room or looks over their shoulder.
  • You’ll find a similar button on other websites that serve victims of violence, such as the local domestic violence agency, Compass Center for Women and Families:
    http://compassctr.org/get-help/domestic-violence/safety-planning/

If you suspect that it may not be safe for you to look at websites on getting help, be sure to clear your browser history. Click on this link for additional tips from the National Network to End Domestic Violence for staying safe online when you are in a violent or controlling relationships.

Visit the Get Help Now Section of the SAFE website for even more information about getting help for sexual or interpersonal violence or stalking.

If you’re not feeling safe in your relationship, help is available through both confidential and private resources. Everyone has a right to a safe and loving relationship.

 

Kelli is the Coordinator for Violence Prevention Programs at UNC Student Wellness. Kelli has a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary in Women’s Studies. Kelli believes we can prevent sexual violence, interpersonal violence, stalking, harassment, and discrimination by changing systems of oppression, empowering bystanders, supporting survivors, and holding individuals accountable for their problematic behavior.

7 FAQs about calling the Orange County Rape Crisis Center Hotline

As staff here at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC),  we spend a lot of time talking about sexual violence because it’s our job! For others, these conversations may not come so easily. Sexual violence is an uncomfortable and deeply personal topic, and talking about your experience can feel invasive. For many people, though, talking about their experience is exactly what is needed to move forward in the healing process. OCRCC offers a 24/7 hotline (also called a crisis line or helpline) to provide an anonymous, confidential space for these conversations. Here are 7 questions that might help you in deciding whether to call the help line for support.

 

1. I’m not sure if I this is the right place to talk about my situation. Should I call the help line?

If you have any concerns about sexual violence, absolutely call the help line. Even if we’re not the best resource for what you are personally experiencing, we can help point you in the right direction. Sexual violence can be hard to talk about and nobody should have to sit alone in an uncertain situation. People can call our helpline anytime, immediately after experiencing trauma or even years later. We provide support and resources for survivors, their loved ones, and professionals who support them.

2. I don’t know who I’m talking to. Who is on the other end of the line?

The folks who answer our helpline are known as Companions. They have gone through extensive training on sexual assault, crisis counseling, and community resources so that they can provide a safe space to listen compassionately and confidentially to your concerns and to offer referrals for further assistance.

3. I don’t know what to expect. What happens when I call the hotline number?

When you call the helpline number during business hours (weekdays, 9am-5pm), a trained support person will answer right away. If you call outside of regular business hours, the call is first directed to an answering service. The person who answers will ask for your first name and phone number, then they will give this information to a Companion. The Companion will then call you at the number you provided. Or, if you would prefer not to leave a name and number, you can ask to be patched through directly to the Companion.

4. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. What kind of support is available through the OCRCC hotline?

The OCRCC helpline is a confidential, immediate resource for crisis and non-crisis situations. Companions provide space to process through racing thoughts, overwhelming emotions, and other concerns. Companions can also share information and referrals about health care options, legal options, and who to contact if we don’t have all the information to answer your specific questions. If you go to the hospital, would like to file a report with the police, or have an upcoming trial or hearing, Companions can go with you to provide in-person support.

5. I’m concerned about a friend. Can I still talk to a hotline counselor?

Yes. As a secondary survivor – a friend or family member of someone who has been sexually assaulted – it is also important to address your reaction to the situation. Working through your own concerns can help you to be more present when supporting your friend. You can also act as an advocate for your friend and call the help line to get information and resources to share with them.

6. I spoke with someone on the phone. What do I do next?

Breathe. Thank yourself for spending the time and energy to address your needs, as this is one of many steps that can help you move toward healing. It takes a great deal of courage and strength to call someone you don’t know and ask for help. Breathe again. If you called the helpline looking for referrals, reach out and call those other supports when you feel ready to do so. If you can’t reach out to others yet, call us back. We are available 24/7, and you don’t have to go through this alone. What comes next for you personally depends entirely on your situation. Whatever questions you have or whatever comes your way, we are always here to support you.

7. How do I call the OCRCC hotline?

The Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s 24-Hour Help Line is always available at 919-967-7273 or 866-WE LISTEN (866-935-4783).

 

Natalie Ziemba is a guest blogger and works as the Crisis Response Coordinator at Orange County Rape Crisis Center. She earned her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Colorado and then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa. She recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with her MSW and enjoys dismantling systemic oppression and violence.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Safe Sparks: How to Find Your Online Match

"Dating Online" by whybealone1, Flickr Creative Commons
“Dating Online” by whybealone1, Flickr Creative Commons

Match.com. eHarmony. Tinder. OkCupid. Coffee Meets Bagel. Over the past few years, all of these online dating websites have gained members. Online dating has become increasingly more common, especially among millennials. According to one study, 22% of Americans ages 25-34 have used an online dating website. Do people find their soul mate online? The data is unclear, but lots of people definitely meet people online, for friendship, relationships, and/or sex.

Meeting up with someone for the first time can be scary or intimidating, but it can also be a lot of fun! Here are some tips to make the most out of your online dating experiences:

  • Be careful what information you put online. It’s not recommended to put your last name, address, or work online since anyone can access it. Only share your phone number with people whom you plan to get to know better or meet up with.
  • It’s a good idea to chat online or on the phone (or even facetime!) before you meet. This way you can see if you want to meet up with them rather than arriving for a date and realizing then that they seem sketchy.
  • Meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, for a first date. It’s not recommended to meet for the first time at someone’s apartment, dorm, or house.
  • Arrange your own transportation. This way you can leave at any point and won’t have to depend on the person to get you home.
  • Let a friend or two know where you are going ahead of time and who you are meeting up with. It can be a good idea to have a friend call or text you at some point to give you an “out” in case you want to leave. You can have a code word or just say that your friend needs you.
  • If you plan on hooking up or having sex, discuss expectations ahead of time. Discuss contraception and barrier methods (such as condoms and dental dams), comfort level with certain acts, and what you expect out of the meet up. Know that you can change your mind at any point in time, and you never have to do something you are uncomfortable or unsure about. Consent is required for all sexual acts.
  • Trust your intuition. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, trust that feeling. Never feel guilty for stopping communication with someone who doesn’t make you feel good.

 

Amee Wurzburg is the Sexual Violence Prevention Program Manager at Student Wellness. She is currently earning her Masters in Public Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. Amee received her BA in History from Barnard College of Columbia University. Before moving to North Carolina, Amee worked at an organization in India focused on HIV, where she worked on projects related to rights-violations, LGBTQ health, and domestic violence.

Meet Rebecca Gibson from the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office

This is Rebecca Gibson, the Report & Response Coordinator at UNC. She works in the Equal Opportunity Compliance Office, where she provides support and resources for students who have experienced sexual or interpersonal violence, stalking, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. She is your go-to person in case you are in need of the services she provides. I chatted with Rebecca to get a better idea of who she is and what she does.

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Gibson.
Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Gibson.

Kelli Raker (KR): Tell me about your background. What led you to this position?
Rebecca Gibson (RG):
I’m a social worker by training and previously worked at the Durham Crisis Response Center managing the sexual assault program. I’ve consistently been drawn to this field because of the greater social influences and the resiliency that survivors exhibit even after great trauma has happened to them. I have always aspired to work in higher education. When this opportunity became available at UNC-Chapel Hill to do the work that I’m passionate about, it was just too good to pass up.

KR: What happens in your first meeting with a student who has experienced violence?
RG:
In our first meeting, I will explain my role in the process and available resources. I thank them for contacting me and try to assess any immediate safety concerns or medical needs. We’ll discuss community and campus-based confidential resources, interim protective measures, and reporting options, including speaking to law enforcement and making a formal report to the University.

I will explain that I am a private resource, which means that I will share information only as needed with the Title IX compliance coordinator, relevant staff in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC), and other parties on campus who have a need to know depending on the conduct and where it happened. I will discuss immediate safety concerns and the option to go to the hospital to receive medical care. If the student discloses or alludes to some form of sexual violence, I will explain the option to receive a sexual assault forensic exam at UNC Hospitals or Campus Health Services and talk a bit about the role of the community advocate in providing hospital accompaniment if they choose to receive the exam. I will also provide information about confidential resources such as Cassidy Johnson, gender violence services coordinator, in the event the student would like to talk in a confidential space before talking with me.

It’s truly up to the student in this meeting to decide how much he or she wants to tell me about the violence itself. There are no obligations to provide details. That being said, my ability to help address safety concerns or discuss protective measures will be limited if the student doesn’t want to tell me anything. We’ll talk together about any concerns with academics or housing and if there is a possibility the aggressor will contact the student in the near future.

KR: What about when you meet with someone who may have harmed, harassed, or discriminated against another person?
RG: My role at Carolina is a neutral one. I’m a point of contact for those involved to answer questions, clarify steps, and connect to resources. In meeting with the individual who is responding to allegations of misconduct, I will provide appropriate resources and support just as I would make referrals and connections for a student who reported experiencing these types of conduct. I will explain what they can expect throughout the University’s investigation process, discuss next steps, and address questions they may have. There are times I’m simply not able to answer a question due to student privacy rights, relevant laws, or safety concerns. If there are questions or concerns either party has that I’m not able to answer or address, my job is to find the person who can provide the information.

KR: Why should someone come to talk to you?
RG:
I can facilitate interim protective measures such as academic accommodations or changes to housing, give perspective on reporting options, and connect individuals to resources both at the University and in the community. Ew Quimbaya-Winship also provides this assistance.

For someone who wants the University to pursue a formal investigation of an alleged policy violation, I’m the first point of contact to get that process moving.

For someone who isn’t sure about how they want to proceed, I’m able to talk through what the reporting process would look like and connect that person to others who can support them regardless of the decision to report. The University will make every effort to respect the individual’s decision about how to proceed.

KR: What do you wish all students knew about your office?
RG: I want students to know that my office is a welcoming space and resource for the entire Carolina community. My team is made up of smart, compassionate people who are working hard to make this campus safe and equitable.

I also want folks to know that in addition to addressing sexual violence, my office is also the place to go if you’re experiencing harassment or discrimination based on any protected status: age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

KR: Well, there you have it. Thanks, Rebecca! Always remember there are resources on campus to help you if you face any form of discrimination or harassment!

 

Kelli Raker is the Coordinator for Violence Prevention Programs at UNC Student Wellness. Kelli has a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary in Women’s Studies. Kelli believes we can prevent sexual violence, interpersonal violence, stalking, harassment, and discrimination by changing systems of oppression, empowering bystanders, supporting survivors, and holding individuals accountable for their problematic behavior.

5 Tips for Helping a Friend Who is Being Stalked

January is Stalking Awareness Month, and stalking is a crime and a violation of UNC’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment & Related Misconduct. Approximately 3.9% of UNC students have experienced stalking during their time as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, most often by another student, according to the AAU Campus Climate Survey in April 2015. This amounts to 1,134 students out of the 29,084 currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill! You may know someone who has experienced or is currently experiencing stalking, so here are some things for you to know.

green "help!" button on a white keyboard
Photo courtesy of Got Credit

Stalking is unwanted and repeated attention from another person. It may come in the form of physical, verbal, or electronic conduct that is serious enough to cause someone to feel fearful or to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment.

Stalking behaviors can include:

  • Repeated, unwanted phone calls, texts, Snapchats, etc.
  • Leaving unwanted gifts, such as flowers or notes, on the person’s car or at their home
  • Repeatedly showing up at someone’s room, workplace, class, or social space when they have no reason to be there
  • Reaching out to the person’s friends online or in person to gain information about the person they’re stalking

Many times, stalking involves people who know each other and had a relationship of some kind, but it may also involve strangers.

You might notice changing behaviors from a friend who is being stalked. People who are being stalked may:

  • Feel increased paranoia or anxiety about their safety
  • Change their routines to avoid encountering the stalker
  • Deactivate their social media accounts
  • Ask you or others not to post photos of them or otherwise indicate where they are or who they’re with on social media

If you notice these behaviors, here are five tips for helping a friend who may be experiencing stalking:

  1. Encourage your friend to document what is happening. Encourage them to save voicemails, texts, or emails and take screenshots of messages they may receive on social media. They can also write down the details on any in-person contact, such as a location, time, and/or description of what happened. Making a list may help a friend see that what is happening is a pattern or that it may be escalating. It can also serve as evidence should your friend choose to report what is happening.
  2. Offer resources to your friend. Share with them that confidential emotional support is available through CAPS and the Gender Violence Services Coordinator. Let them know that they can also report the incident to the University and/or to law enforcement if they want. The Equal Opportunity & Compliance Office and the Office of the Dean of Students can help them make a report to the University. They can also help with protective measures like a no-contact order. Law enforcement can investigate the behavior(s) and determine whether criminal charges can be filed.
  3. Help them think about ways they can keep their contact information private. For example, they might want to block unwanted calls, texts, or emails, or change their privacy settings on social media.
  4. Listen to your friend. They are the expert on their experience, and if they know the person who is stalking them, they are the expert on that individual’s behavior. If they are worried that taking a particular action (such as blocking someone on social media) would anger the person stalking them or put them in more danger, respect their right to choose an alternative.
  5. Whatever your friend decides to do, respect their decision, let them know that they are not alone, and that help is available.

Finally, don’t hesitate to access resources yourself if you want to process your feelings or concerns about what is going on. Every situation is different, and no one expects you to have all the answers or be the only support for your friend. If you would like to learn more about supporting a survivor of stalking, check out HAVEN Training, a skills training for students, faculty, and staff.

 

Kelli is the Coordinator for Violence Prevention Programs at UNC Student Wellness. Kelli has a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary in Women’s Studies. Kelli believes we can prevent sexual violence, interpersonal violence, stalking, harassment, and discrimination by changing systems of oppression, empowering bystanders, supporting survivors, and holding individuals accountable for their problematic behavior.

Are Fake I.D.s Worth the Risk?

Not too long ago, my best friend and I were craving sweet potato tots and the Table Sandwich from Linda’s. So we headed to the fine establishment to get our fix. After placing our orders, the bartender returned to our table with a pint for my friend and asked if I wanted anything to drink. I thought, sure, why not. I ordered a porter of some sorts, and of course, as expected, the bartender asked, “May I see your I.D.?” I scrummaged through my wallet to find that my I.D. was nowhere to be found. I told the bartender I was sorry and that I misplaced my I.D. This is when the scene became serious. The bartender went from chill and easy-going to an Army sergeant in half a second. He said, “Okay, I can’t serve you any drinks. And if I even see you taking a drink from your friend’s glass, I’m going to have to ask both of you to leave.”

I responded by telling him that I completely understood. Just for record sake, I am 4 years past the legal age to drink. If I did have my I.D. this whole scenario would have never been a thing!

The bartender continued by saying, “I’m sorry, but we are really cracking down around here because of the situation that happened over the summer.” I knew exactly what he was talking about, and understood why his demeanor became so strict and serious within a blink of an eye.

You may be aware of the incident the bartender was referring to as well. The two bars the former UNC students drank at before his accident are facing major ramifications for providing alcohol to a minor and not checking his I.D.

Image courtesy of Brandon Athan on Flickr.

These consequences are less than ideal for a bar owner. As you could probably imagine, no other bar owner in Chapel Hill wants to go through what He’s Not Here and La Residence are now facing. The leniency in allowing an individual to get away with using a fake is lessening.  Right now, more than ever, using a fake I.D. at a bar in Chapel Hill is a great risk.

With that said, it may be important to keep in mind the consequences that one can face when caught using a fake I.D. At the very least of one’s worries, you can get your I.D. taken away and asked to leave a bar. But, there is definitely more that could be at stake. If you do possess a fake and are convicted of using one, you will have a class one misdemeanor on your record which is punishable by a fine, community service, probation, or even an active jail term for someone that has prior criminal convictions.  Fines and court costs alone can run up to $500, and if you hire an attorney, you have attorney’s fees on top of that. The whole thing may cost you around $1,000 or more.

Furthermore, the class one misdemeanor that you can gain on your record will be classified as a misdemeanor for use of fraudulent identification. A charge like this can cause a major impact on your future. It could disable you to get your dream job after graduation.

I spoke to Fran Lewis Muse, an attorney at the Carolina Student Legal Services here at UNC, and she stated:

“I have heard of cases where job offers have been withdrawn after an Employer learns of a fake I.D. charge. I have heard other lawyers report this, especially in the investment and/or banking industry. In a job where you are going to handle other people’s money, any kind of crime that has an element of fraud or deceit, might trigger a negative reaction from a potential employer. They may think that they cannot trust you.  Also, expungements are not what they used to be.  We can expunge records from the courthouse and other state agencies, but a thorough internet search of a person may reveal the charge. There are companies that buy court docketts and publish the information, such as mugshot.com. In a tight job market, a charge of fake I.D. could have a negative impact for an applicant.”

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide to use a fake I.D. or not.  This blog is meant to show you that the consequences are real, and can happen.  As they have with the former UNC student and many others.

If you do happen to find yourself charged for a fake I.D. or want to know more about the legal consequences of using one, always feel free to reach out to the Carolina Student Legal Services.

Jenna Hess is the Program Assistant for the Carolina Recovery Program at Student Wellness. She graduated from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI with a degree in Psychology and Substance Abuse Counseling. Learning about mental health illnesses, addiction, and how to help people struggling with these issues is a passion of hers. She also is a strong advocate for recovery, and hopes to spread awareness about Collegiate Alcohol/Drug Addiction Recovery across UNC’s campus.

What happens if we don’t do anything?

This blog was written by Jessica Smith-Ninaber, a social media intern with One Act, to address what happens when we do not intervene in situations that may lead to violence.

Let’s paint a picture. You’re at a party, the music is loud, there’s no furniture, it’s so crowded, and you look across the room and see a man with a woman “all up in her face”. She looks cordial at first, “I think I’m good here”, he doesn’t want to hear it, he moves closer to her and begins to try and dance with her, “Sorry, I have a boyfriend”, she says. Her face begins to look more and more uncomfortable as you witness the man getting closer and closer.

Thoughts run fast through your head:

  • She must know him. Why else would he be all up in her face?
  • He’s just drunk and probably messing around. He doesn’t know what he’s doing…I hope.
  • Does she need help?
  • Who, me? No, I couldn’t, it’s none of my business.
  • I should go help her, but is it safe?

And if you’re feeling extra brave that night…

  • I am going to help her!

This kind of scenario happens weekly for many people on our college campus. We go to a party, we witness something that doesn’t seem quite right, two people going upstairs, one person’s drunk and the other is sober, and so often we just stand there, unable to think properly, unable to act, and unable to intervene.

We know the positives of intervening, we know what happens when we muster up the courage to approach someone and diffuse the potentially dangerous situation, we know the good that can come out of it, but have we ever stopped to think about what might happen if we don’t intervene?

blog - jess pic 2
Image courtesy of ExplorePortal on Twitter

It’s so easy to think the small acts we do don’t make a difference. It’s so much easier to not take responsibility and think that someone else will step up and intervene. It’s so much easier to just ignore the situation.

And yet, while that may all seem so easy and we continue about our days, our community is tolerating violence. Members of our community are becoming victims of violence. While it may be easier to not think about the woman at the party in that uncomfortable situation, on the inside she is screaming, “someone help me!”

If we don’t intervene, if we sit by passively, violence will most likely occur, sexual assault will most likely happen. We hear the statistic all the time, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their time at UNC, so how can we standby and do nothing? If you don’t say something, if you don’t intervene, if you think someone else will, then you are letting violence happen on your watch, all in the name of “it’s none of my business”. It is our responsibility as active bystanders to be just that, active bystander. It is also our responsibility as members of our Carolina community to promote behavior that we wish to become the norm; to stop behavior that threatens our safety; to promote an alternative Carolina Way that is committed to promoting health and safety on our campus.

blog - jess pic
Image courtesy of Penn State on Flickr 

So the next time you see someone in an uncomfortable situation at a party, run up to them and with all the vibrancy you can muster say, “Hey, weren’t you in my class?!” It’s just an out if someone needs it. Diffuse the awkward and uncomfortable situation, and get between the person and the potential perpetrator. Do something. Do your One Act. Create a new Carolina Way and together, let’s put an end to violence at UNC.

If you want to contribute to creating a new culture at Carolina you can start by signing up for One Act training here.

Time for a Culture Shift

From walking on Franklin to hanging out with friends we all observe things that seem odd or off. The question is: What do we do about it? Do we keep going on with our own lives? Or do we stop and ACT?

Only 22.6% of UNC students said that they intervened as a bystander after witnessing an intoxicated person at risk of experiencing a sexual assault. Furthermore, of the students who participate in this Campus Climate survey, 77.4% of UNC students who did witness this situation did nothing to intervene.

In a society where we are told to keep to ourselves and mind our own business, it can be challenging to speak up and ACT.

But, ACTing and being an active bystander can save someone’s life.one act

Bystanders play a crucial role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence in our Carolina community, and getting our culture to shift towards that belief is imperative. A bystander witnesses violence or conditions that perpetrate violence. Bystanders are not directly involved however they have the opportunity to intervene.

The One Act bystander intervention program offers a 3-step approach that can help us ACT in situations that we know are not right.

ACT

Asking for help.

  • Your safety is always the number one priority. If you notice something fishy, odds are others around you do too. Ask for help, and remember – your safety is the number on priority—strength in numbers.

Create a distraction.

  • If you see that someone is obviously very uncomfortable you might approach them and say “I think your car alarm is going off?” or “I just lost my phone, could you help me find it?” Both of these examples are ways to create a distraction and provide an opportunity for someone to leave.

Talking directly.

  • Talk to the two parties. Check in with the potential victim. Ask if the potential victim needs to be walked home. If the potential victim is a friend let them know they are too drunk to go home with someone because of the risk of sexual assault.
  • Be direct. “Are you okay?”, “How do you know each other?”
  • Remember to also check up with your friend after they’ve been able to process what happened. Ask them if there’s anything you can do and if they’re okay. J

To help continue building a safe UNC community, sign up for One Act training. One Act will give you “knowledge, skills, and confidence to recognize the early warning sings of violence and take preventative action in your everyday life”.

Watch out, confront, and believe. By taking these steps we can create a safer campus and community with less violence.

Safe at UNC logo.

Resources:

Video produced by UNC students of UNC students called the “Bystander Experiment” through Interactive Theatre Carolina and One Act.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HonivDF7ooI

http://safe.unc.edu

https://lgbtq.unc.edu/programs-services/healthy-relationships-ipv-programs

https://studentwellness.unc.edu/our-services/interpersonal-violence-prevention/haven-training-creating-allies-survivors

https://studentwellness.unc.edu/oneact

http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf

http://safe.unc.edu/create-change/aau-survey/

http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2040

This post was written by Rachael Hamm, One Act Social Media Intern.