Information for Victims
BYU-Idaho is committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and respectful environment for the campus community. Sexual misconduct is against the law, contrary to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code, and inconsistent with the life and teachings Jesus Christ, which we hope are embodied on our campus. The university prohibits sexual misconduct perpetrated by or against university students, university employees, participants in university programs, or visitors to its campus, whether the behavior occurs on or off campus.
This training explains detailed answers to commonly asked questions from victims, including:
- What should I do if I was a victim of sexual misconduct? (especially sexual assault)
- Should I call the police?
- Who can I talk to on campus?
- Am I safe on campus? What if the person that harmed me is in my class or lives in the same apartment complex?
- What is a Title IX Investigation? If I report what happened, is that information confidential? (and finally)
- What resources are available at BYU-Idaho? Are there resources off-campus as well?
Sexual misconduct, especially being a victim of sexual assault, is a difficult experience that nobody expects will happen to them. BYU-Idaho is a remarkably safe campus with exceptional students, faculty, and staff, but we are not immune to these issues. Remember that acts of sexual misconduct are crimes, and you are not responsible for another’s attack on your freedom. There are many concerned and professionally trained people at the university and throughout the community who are prepared to help you. If you are ever a victim of sexual misconduct, know that BYU-Idaho is here to help.
This training focuses on commonly asked questions from victims and presents detailed information that will be of assistance to you should something like this happen to you or somebody you know. We note at the outset, however, that one’s response to sexual misconduct, especially for victims of sexual assault, is uniquely personal and significantly impacted by your life experiences. So do not be overly concerned if everything contained in this video does not resonate with you or the experience you’ve had. Remember that true healing comes through the unwavering love of Heavenly Father for each of His children, and there is great power and peace available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We affirm the truth taught by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy, that Jesus "understands perfectly what it is like to suffer innocently as a consequence of another’s transgression."1 Seeking out resources, support, and trained professionals will do much to assist in your healing, but never lose sight of the Lord’s desire to “succor his people” in times of need.2
Because Satan knows the source of true healing, he will try to convince you that there is no solution—that you are beyond help, responsible for what has happened, or forsaken by God with the thought that if God loved you, He would have prevented the tragedy.3 As Elder Scott counseled, "do not be kept from the very source of true healing by the craftiness of the prince of evil and his wicked lies….do not let Satan convince you that you are beyond help."4
What should I do if I was a victim of sexual misconduct? (especially sexual assault)
It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after something like this happens. Please know that you’re not alone. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Your safety is important! Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for help.
- If you are a victim of sexual assault or other misconduct that causes physical injury or related concerns, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not contact the police. There are specialized nurses at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg trained to conduct sexual assault examinations. The examination provides care to minimize the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and preserves evidence that will be important if you decide to pursue criminal charges or wish to obtain a protective order against the person who assaulted you.
- When possible, preserve evidence before an exam. Do not bathe, shower, or use toothpaste or mouthwash in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault. Do not wash clothing, bed sheets, pillows, or handle other potential evidence. However, if you do any of these things, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible—even if some time has passed since the assault. Preserving evidence is important as it may provide necessary proof of criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It may also be helpful if you choose to obtain a protective order.
- Always seek support. You do not need to deal with this situation alone. Call someone you can trust. The Dean of Students Office provides a safe place to seek support and ask questions, and helps connect you with resources available on campus and throughout the community. The BYU-Idaho Counseling Center is available 24 hours a day and provides a confidential and supportive environment where students can address their concerns. There are also confidential 24-hour crisis lines staffed with capable professionals who can answer questions and explain options to you. A list of these resources is included on our website under the "Resources" tab.
Should I call the police?
Deciding whether or not to report sexual misconduct to the police is a difficult decision left entirely up to you. As a victim you may decline to notify law enforcement if you choose. Should you decide to contact law enforcement, the Dean of Students Office can assist you with this. A criminal investigation is independent and separate from any investigation or disciplinary action on campus, so BYU-Idaho will not contact law enforcement on your behalf (unless you are a minor).
Who can I talk to on campus?
BYU-Idaho does everything in its power to stop, prevent, and remedy all incidents of sexual misconduct that impact its campus community. We strongly encourage victims to report sexual misconduct to a Title IX Coordinator on campus. Our Title IX Coordinators are located in the Dean of Students Office, and they provide a safe place for you to seek support and ask questions. You can also make a report though the “Report a Concern” link on our website and a Title IX Coordinator will contact you directly. The Title IX Coordinator oversees all reports of sexual misconduct and directs the University’s efforts in responding to these issues.
Am I safe on campus? What if the person that I reported is in my class or lives in the same apartment complex?
Part of our efforts to stop, prevent, and remedy incidents of sexual misconduct include ensuring that you feel safe on campus. Interim safety measures are available to protect you from further acts of sexual misconduct or retaliation after you report the incident. A Title IX Coordinator can issue a “no-contact directive” which prohibits the person you reported from having any contact with you, whether direct or indirect. Interim safety measures could also include any of the following: a change to your class schedule or housing arrangements, counseling and medical services, academic support, or a security escort to protect you. A request for interim safety measures should be directed to a Title IX Coordinator, and these requests can be made regardless of whether you report the incident to law enforcement.
What is a Title IX Investigation and what does that entail? If I report what happened, is that information confidential?
Title IX is a Federal law that protects people from any form of sex discrimination at the university or in any of its programs. Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title IX and university policy. Reported incidents of sexual misconduct are investigated under the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, which provides information on the procedures the university will follow once a report has been made. The policy can be found on our website, but let us briefly explain the investigation process to you.
After making a report to a Title IX Coordinator, qualified administrators who receive annual training on sexual misconduct and how to conduct an impartial investigation are assigned to conduct an investigation process that protects victims and promotes accountability. The university strives to complete all investigations within 60 days. If, as a result of the complexity of the case or other extenuating circumstances, the investigation cannot be completed within 60 days, both parties involved will receive periodic updates regarding the status of the investigation and causes for delay.
All those involved in an investigation will be treated equitably and have the same opportunities to provide statements, evidence, and the names of witnesses for the administrators to visit with.
Both the reporting party (or victim) and responding party can bring a support person to any meeting during the investigation. A support person is not allowed to speak on your behalf or advocate for you, but the university will not limit the choice of advisor for either party, so you can bring whoever you’d like.
The administrators will gather information, ask relevant questions, and interview any witnesses that have first-hand information about the reported incident. At the conclusion of the investigation, the administrators will determine based on the preponderance of the evidence (or in other words, is it “more likely than not”) whether the responding party has in fact engaged in sexual misconduct or other behavior in violation of university policy. Both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of the investigation (including the rationale for the outcome) and an explanation of the Title IX Coordinator Review (or appeal) process. The discipline imposed by the outcome of the investigation will be explained to the responding party, and in limited circumstances the discipline imposed by the outcome will be explained to the reporting party as well. This is explained in detail on our website.
Sanctions that may be imposed by the university following an investigation may include one of more of the following: counsel and education, warning, probation, suspension withheld, short-term suspension, suspension, expulsion, or a ban from campus. Sanctions depend on the circumstances and severity of the violation.
Victims are often reluctant to report an incident because of confidentiality concerns. If a victim requests that his or her identity be kept confidential or asks the university not to pursue an investigation, the university’s ability to investigate and respond to a report may be limited by this request, and under some circumstances, the university may not be able to honor such a request because of safety concerns for the larger campus community. However, the university takes all reasonable steps consistent with the victim’s request for confidentiality.
All reports are investigated as confidentially as possible, and if you have concerns about this or are unsure what you should do, please reach out to a Title IX Coordinator in the Dean of Students Office. We are happy to answer questions or explain the investigation process to you in detail, and you may have some misconceptions or concerns about making a report that we could alleviate for you.
What resources are available at BYU-Idaho? Are there resources off-campus as well?
A detailed explanation of resources available to you can be found on our website under the "Resources" tab. Our website provides the most up-to-date list of resources with current contact information, so we encourage you to visit there as needed. There are many helpful resources available to you on campus and throughout the local community, and we encourage you to explore these resources. If you have questions about appropriate resources or how to get in contact with any of them, feel free to contact a Title IX Coordinator in the Dean of Students Office.
2 See Alma 7:12
3 See Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse”, April 2008 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/to-heal-the-shattering-consequences-of-abuse?lang=eng