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PETSA: Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness

Q: So is PETSA saying that all men are rapists?

A: No! Not all men are rapists. Not all women are victims either. But according to the Department of Justice, 99% of rapists are men, and 96% of rape victims are women. This means rape is not an equal opportunity crime with regard to gender. It also means that paying close attention to the way gender intersects power is an important part of understanding why and how it happens.

• Here is a website with additional helpful statistics: Sexual Assault Statistics

Q: Can men be victims of rape too?

A: Yes, they can. The national Institute for Justice and the CDC estimate that about 3% of men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Other data estimates this number to be closer to 10%. Another study estimated that about 3% of boys in grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. Many researchers believe that rape against men is a crime that is underreported because of societal issues related to stigma and masculinity, and this stat is likely to be extremely low.  While this isn’t an equal opportunity crime, there is something that boys and girls, men and women share with regard to power-based personal violence. It leaves victims feeling traumatized, confused, scared, and often overwhelmed. It creates scars that can last a lifetime.

• Here is a website that can provide more information: Who are the Victims? Breakdown by Gender and Age

Q: Is rape just a heterosexual phenomenon?

A: No! It isn’t. Rape is a crime that is also perpetrated in the LGBTQ community and to LGBTQ people. Our knowledge about the frequency of sexual assault in the LGBTQ community is limited largely due to the heterosexual bias in our reporting and laws. It exists and leaves victims feeling alone, scared and confused.

• Here are two websites that can provide additional information:

Information on Lesbian Sexual Assault

Factsheets: Male Rape

Q: What should I take away from this training?

A: There are three very important takeaways:

  1. No student should have to be profoundly impacted by personal violence because they lacked information about when, why and how it occurs. We want you to know how to reduce your risk of being assaulted and how to reduce your risk of committing assault.
  2. If you have been a victim of an assault and want to talk with someone about it, call SARC (Student Advocacy Resource Center at the University of Montana) at 243-6559 free of charge. The advocates at SARC can help you talk about your experiences and walk you through your options. You can also request help from UM’s Counseling Services at Curry Health Center on campus. They can be reached at 243-4711. You can also contact the Dean of Students Rhondie Voorhees at 243- 6143 or the Title IX Coordinator, Eric Gutierrez, at 243-5710 to report.
  3. You can intervene in a situation that you know is not right. And you can make a difference. We know that most men do not rape. We also know that everyone can do something to intervene. So stand up, don’t stand by. If you want to get involved to end sexual violence, contact Brent Hildebrand of Advocates for Non-Violence/Men of Strength Club at 243-5336.

Q: I hear that in the state of Montana, it is my legal right to have an advocate with me if I am a victim of assault, but what is an advocate?

A: An advocate is someone who provides crisis counseling support and referrals to victims of sexual or interpersonal violence. They are there to listen, believe you, provide you with information and help you make the best possible decision for you about what happens next. They can talk with you about your medical needs, your legal rights, your reporting options to the University and/or to law enforcement, and talk about the healing process. What you say to an advocate is protected by law as confidential. People at SARC are advocates. You can also call the Missoula YWCA 24 hours a day at 542-1944 to talk to an advocate.

Q: What if I am not ready to report something that happened to me?

A: If you are a victim of assault and you are not ready to report it, that’s okay. We encourage you to contact UM’s SARC 243-6559 or Counseling Services 243-4711 just to talk. Talking through the feelings, thoughts and memories you may have about an incident that happened to you is really important. You have options. And the advocates at SARC or the counselors at Counseling Services can help you talk through them and help you make the best decision for you.

Q: If I report a sexual assault or an incident of sexual misconduct to the University and my underage friends and I were drinking in connection with the incident, will we be disciplined by the University?

A: No! The University strongly encourages students to report instances of sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct involving students. Therefore, students who report information to the University about sexual misconduct will not be disciplined by the University for any violation of the University’s drug or alcohol possession or consumption policies in which they might have engaged in connection with the reported incident.

Q: Is there anything else I need to know to understand this issue on campus?

A: Yes! Know that all students at the University of Montana are accountable to the University's Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation policy and accompanying Discrimination Grievance Procedures, the UM Student Conduct Code, and all relevant state and federal laws. Students found responsible for violating these policies can face University sanctions such as disciplinary warning, probation, suspension or expulsion from the institution. Offenses that are violations of University policy and are also violations of state or federal laws can be prosecuted separately through the legal system and if the person is found guilty, can result in civil or criminal penalties, such as probation, fines, jail, and/or prison.

Q: So does this mean that a student may be held responsible under both the University’s policies and the law?

A: Yes! However, it's also important to understand that the two processes operate independently from one another. Even if there is a parallel criminal or civil proceeding in the courts, if a student is alleged to have violated University policies, the University does not wait for criminal or civil charges to be filed or for a student to be found guilty in a court of law before pursuing its own administrative proceeding and, if applicable, issuing University sanctions.

More Questions?

Didn’t see your question? Drop us an email at PETSA@umontana.edu.