The United States Department of Justice reported between 20% and 25% of female students and 15% of male students will be victims of forced sex during their time in college. Rexburg is not exempt from these statistics and the court is seeing a larger amount of sexual assault cases from the university, according to Magistrate Judge Mark S. Rammell.
Victims of sexual harassment can find help at the Title IX Office located in room 290 in the Spencer W. Kimball Building.
The Title IX Office aims to help victims of “gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure and any other non-consensual sexual contact or behavior,” according to the BYU-Idaho website.
Nick Rammell, Title IX coordinator, graduated from BYU-I in 2008, went to graduate school at the University of Arkansas and attended J. Reuben Law School at BYU.
“My interest after I graduated from the university was student development and the law,” Rammell said.
His passion for these two topics led him back to BYU-I.
Rammell said there are three main areas that the Title IX Office covers, which are:
- Responding to reports of domestic violence, sexual assault and anything that violates the university’s sexual misconduct policy.
- Raising awareness among students and faculty so everyone knows the policies regarding sexual misconduct.
- Working with students who have been sexually abused in their past by connecting them to the best resources for help.
Rammell said reports come from different people and not always from the victim. Concerned friends, roommates or outside sources, like the Family Crisis Center, refer students to the Title IX Office.
When someone submits a report, the Title IX coordinators begin gathering information such as statements from victims, statements from witnesses, text messages, photos, social media, etc.
“Our immediate concern is their safety, and then the secondary concern is the safety of everyone else on campus,” Rammell said.
One of the biggest challenges, Rammell said, was helping victims move on from the incident. It is difficult for victims to go back to their normal routines or trust people after experiencing sexual misconduct or assault, he said.
Bystanders can play an important role in the prevention of sexual crimes. Rammell addressed the importance of not standing by when it comes to sexual misconduct.
“If you have friends that are doing things they shouldn’t be doing, I hope that we all take a hard enough look in the mirror and say that can’t happen,” Rammell said.
Speaking out against sexual misconduct can be more of a challenge when friends are the source of the abuse. Rammell said that no matter who it is, we all have a duty to see that it stops.
“To think that we can have our way and our will, and force our will upon another person is totally inconsistent with not only policy and the law but absolutely inconsistent with the tenets of our faith,” Rammell said.
The Title IX Office isn’t the only source for help. There are many resources on and off campus. Here are some of them:
Dean of Students Office: Helps with student development and connects students with other resources on campus. Find the office in room 290 in the Spencer W. Kimball Building or contact them at (208) 496-9200.
Counseling Center: Provides counseling for couples and individuals. The Counseling Center can be found in room 200 of the Student Health Center or reach them at (208) 496-9370 during business hours or (208) 496-4357 after business hours.
Safety and Security: Available 24 hours a day as they patrol BYU-I campus and respond to emergencies. Find them in room 150 of the Spencer W. Kimball Building or contact them at (208) 496-3000.
Family Crisis Center: It offers crisis counseling, support groups for women, provides victim advocacy and gives referrals for legal assistance. Locate the Family Crisis Center at 16 E. Main St. or contact them at (800) 962-5601 or (208) 356-0065.
The Domestic Violence Legal Advice Line: It extends help to victims of domestic violence and provides help with protection orders. Contact them by calling 1-800-799-7233.
Madison Memorial Hospital: The hospital helps with sexual assault examinations which include assessments and documentation of injury, collection of evidence, and treatment to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Madison Memorial Hospital is located at 450 E. Main St. and you can reach them at (208) 359-6900.
Support groups can help victims remember that help is within their reach and could remind them they’re not alone. The university works to help students who have been affected by sexual abuse realize that it is not their fault.
“These are criminal acts and you are not responsible for another’s act that violates your freedom,” according to the BYU-I website. “If you are a victim of sexual misconduct, please know that BYU-Idaho is here to help and is able to take protective measures to ensure your safety on campus.”
More information on these resources and other means of help are available on the BYU-I website.