Archive for April, 2012

MSU and Sexual Assault

Type in “MSU Policy on Sexual Assault” into Google and you are instantly connected to websites such as the MSU counseling center and SAFE.  When one delves deeper, you can quickly find MSU’s sexual assault policy.  However, this policy is not on the main website; you will find it on the website.  How many students, faculty, or other campus employees would think to look at the inclusion website? Not many I’m betting.  Without Google, I’m sure this search of mine would’ve taken at least 15 minutes.


So what does it say?  The policy states that sexual assault is not tolerated at MSU and that it is a form of sexual harassment.  Specifically, complaints of sexual assault are investigated and handled via the sexual harassment policy at MSU.  It also provides contact information for other resources for victims.  To report a sexual assault as a form of sexual harassment, there are many different avenues.  If the alleged harasser is a student, the report is given to the Department of Student Life or the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  If the alleged harasser is a faculty or staff member, the report is given to the alleged harasser’s unit administrator or to the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  If the alleged harasser is a unit administrator, then the report is given to the unit administrator’s superior or the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  Finally, if the alleged harasser is a third party, the report should be made to the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  And, of course, the sexual assault should be reported to the MSU police department.  No complicated at all right?


In this case study, the aggressive way in which mom reacts points to a history of this type of behavior.  One does not simply react this way in public without first reacting in a similar way at home in private.  At home, this abuse must have happened before and was allowed. Just as the father did not intervene at the conferences, he probably does not intervene at home.  This behavior, or lack thereof, feeds mom’s belief that this type of treatment is alright.  Unfortunately, verbal abuse is typically not significant enough for protective services to get involved. There needs to be physical or sexual violence which is severe or occurs multiple times.  Verbal abuse, although detrimental to a child’s emotional and social development, is not a huge deal in the eyes of the law. 

That said, this boy’s teacher should look out for signs of physical violence on the boy.  Chances are good that mom will eventually advance to physical violence if the verbal tirades are not serving her as well as she’d like.  The teacher should talk to the boy, encourage him in his schoolwork and social life at school.  She cannot inject herself into his home life, but she can make a huge difference in his life (and self-esteem) the 40 hours he spends at school each week. In addition, the teacher can talk to the school’s counselor or social worker on behalf of the young boy.  Basically, she should be a supportive figure in his life.