University of Florida | GatorWell Health Promotion Services - Health Topic

Interpersonal Violence Prevention


GatorWell's interpersonal violence outreach works to challenge cultural attitudes and beliefs that contribute to violence, promote healthy consensual relationships and educate students about their role in the prevention of violence.

 

STRIVE at GatorWell will be launching a Sexual Consent health communication campaign on August 22, 2016 that will run through the Fall and Spring semesters. Check the website for updates and new information after the campaign launch!

Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence is the behavior of an individual or small group of individuals that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to another. Interpersonal violence includes (but is not limited to): sexual assault and violence, rape, stalking, bullying, harassment, dating and relationship violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, hate crimes, and gender-based violence.

Know Your Rights

Here are some resources you should explore if you want to learn about you right to a violence-free campus:

  • Title IX “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
  • Jean Clery Act
  • Student Code of Conduct policies regarding sexual harassment and interpersonal violence

Sexual Assault

A sexual assault is any act of a sexual nature performed without the explicit consent of all persons involved. Consent has to be willing and voluntary, which means a person who was coerced, bribed, threatened, or who simply did not say “no” has not really given consent. Legally, a person is unable to consent if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Both men and women can be sexually assaulted, and no matter what their behavior, a sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault.

  • FACT: There is no causal link between a woman's clothing and social behavior and crimes of violence. Nothing a person does or wears causes a brutal crime like sexual assault.
  • FACT: There is no medical evidence to support that men biologically have uncontrollable sexual urges. Rape is an act of violence committed out of a desire for power and control.
  • FACT: Perpetrators can be charming, convincing, or often someone you know intimately, like a coworker, a friend, or a family member. The vast majority of sexual assaults occur between people who know each other.
    • → However: While the greatest risk of sexual assault is still from an intimate partner, persons who identify as LGBTQ are twice as likely as their straight peers to be sexual assaulted by a stranger.
  • FACT: Signs of arousal, including vaginal lubrication, penile erection, and even ejaculation, do not equal consent. These are physiological responses that can't be controlled and can even result from stress.
  • FACT: The FBI found that only 2% of sexual assault cases are based on false accusations. The process of reporting can be very overwhelming - it's not worth reporting just to get revenge. You should always assume that a survivor is telling the truth.

What is Sexual Consent?

The one thing you cannot have sex without is consent, because sex without consent is sexual assault. Sexual consent is an active process of willingly and freely choosing to participate in sexual activity of any kind (kissing, petting, intimate touching, oral, anal, vaginal, or digital union with or penetration of sexual organs, etc.) with one or more people. 

Consent is the shared responsibility of everyone engaging in sexual activity. Consent is mutual, voluntary, sober, wanted, enthusiastic. Consent can be withdrawn at any time before or during a sexual act.  It cannot be assumed, even if the parties have engaged in sex before or are in a relationship.

What does the UF Conduct Policy say about consent?

  • Consent is a verbal response that means yes, or acts unmistakable in their meaning. It is NOT the absence of no.  Consent to one form of sexual activity does NOT mean consent is given to another type of sexual activity.
  • There are times when people cannot knowingly consent to sexual activity for reasons such as their age, disability, or impairment. One type of impairment comes from alcohol and drug use.
  • The Initiator of any sexual activity must make sure that their sexual partner(s) is/are capable of consent.

Regulations of the University of Florida

What does FL law say about consent?

  • Consent is intelligent, knowing, and voluntary. It does not include coerced submission. The failure by the victim to offer physical resistance to an offender is NOT consent.
  • People who are unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness cannot give consent. People who are incapacitated due to intoxicating substances cannot give consent.
  • Children under the age of 16 cannot give consent to sexual activity. Children ages 16 and 17 can consent if their sexual partner is age 24 or younger, but not if the partner is 25 or older.
  • A victim’s request that an offender use a condom, dental dam, or other item to prevent sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy, cannot be used alone as evidence that the victim consented.

Florida State Statute Chapter 794

How do I know if I have consent?

Your partner needs to tell you, each step of the way – with words, non-verbal expressions of yes, sign language, in writing. Every time you want to go further, check in. If you aren’t relying on verbals, the non-verbals have to be unmistakable. How good are you at reading non-verbal cues? WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Making Healthy Sexual Connections

Whether you are starting a relationship that you intend to stay in for a long time, or just hooking up for the night, it’s all about mutual respect!

  • The person initiating a sexual act must ask for and receive unmistakable consent before each sexual act. Initiating a sexual act with someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs is sexual assault.
  • Know your boundaries – what do you feel comfortable with and what are the things you won’t do?
  • Communicate those boundaries clearly and continuously. Try completing a will want won’t chart and then comparing it to your partner(s) to determine what is okay for both of you.
  • Respect the boundaries of your partner(s). They are just as important as yours! If they express uncertainty with either words or body language, you no longer have consent. STOP!
  • Think critically about the messages you receive about sex and gender roles from media, popular culture, and society at large. They often promote unhealthy connections.
  • Everyone’s pleasure matters in a healthy sexual connection!
  • If you recognize that you are being coerced, it’s ok to get louder and stronger in both voice and body language.

Risk reduction strategies may reduce the chance that a sexual assault will occur to a particular individual (through self-defense classes, mase, etc.) or at a particular place (cutting back bushes, walking in groups, etc.). However, focusing exclusively on risk reduction neglects the true root causes of sexual assault: the perpetrator’s taught sense of sexual entitlement and a cultural acceptance of violence. Risk reduction is always best used in combination with prevention.

 

The University of Florida Police Department offers many Safety Tips to reduce your personal risk on campus. These include:

  • Avoid walking alone. On campus, use the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP), a safe campus escort service available between 6:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. by calling 352-392-7627 (SNAP) or downloading the [SNAP safety application] (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.totuit.snap) and requesting an escort.
  • Report suspicious activities or individuals immediately by calling 9-1-1.
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. This is particularly true if you are wearing headphones and may not be able to hear someone near or behind you.
  • If someone bothers you, don't be embarrassed to attract attention to yourself. Yell!
  • Stay in well-lighted areas, away from alleys, bushes and entryways.
  • Don't accept rides from strangers.
  • [Drink responsibly] (Should link to ‘GatorWell’s Alcohol and Other Drugs’ page).
  • Call 9-1-1 during an emergency or use one of more than 300 Blue Light Safety phones located throughout campus.

 

We also encourage everyone to download the “Tap Shield” safety application that also can be used to contact police. Finally, you can follow updated campus safety information through the UFPD home page, the UF Alert home page, or the UF Public Safety Twitter Page.

 

***We recognize that these safety tips are suggestions that apply to only a small number of sexual assault situations, as 85% of sexual assaults occur between acquaintances, not strangers who use weapons and attempt to gravely injure victims. These tips may or may not apply even in a stranger situation. Trust your instincts in the moment, and no matter how one responds, sexual assault is never, ever the victim’s fault.***

Prevention

Prevention strategies are those which target fundamental and sustainable changes in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It is possible to use prevention strategies before, during, and after a sexual assault. 

Prevent Before: End Rape Culture

At STRIVE, we aim to eliminate sexual assault by promoting an accurate understanding of, and participation in, affirmative consent. We also encourage all students to challenge the acceptance of gendered violence in popular culture and mass media, and to be leading examples in a new culture of caring and consent.

  • Challenge Rape Culture
    • Speak Up against discriminatory language and jokes.
    • Be Mindful of your own language.
    • Think Outside of rigid gender roles.
    • Model healthy relationships.
    • Feel Empowered in your sexuality. Embrace and express your desires.
    • Know your Boundaries and talk about them with your partner.
    • Respect the wants and needs of your partner. Always ask for consent.
  • Two Easy Steps to Consent
    • Step 1) State a feeling or a question. Be honest and specific about what you are asking for. Allow your partner the option to say "no", without feeling pressure, manipulation, or guilt. If your partner says "no", proceed to Step 2.
    • Step 2) Ask for something less. OR ask your partner what they would like instead.
  • The Fine Bold Print
    • Consent to one type of sexual activity does not mean consent for another. Be specific and check in with your partner to make sure they are on-board with everything you are doing.
    • Prior consent does not mean current consent. Just because your partner has agreed to something in the past does not mean they agree to do the same thing again.
    • Remember your partner has the right to revoke consent for any activity at any point, even if it is something they have already agreed to.
    • A person is unable to give consent if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
    • ALWAYS respect your partner's answer.

Prevent During: Be an Active Bystander

During a risky situation, a victim is often unable to defend themselves against attack due to intoxication, coercion, intimidation, etc. Because of this, bystanders are capable of making the most powerful impact through intervention. The presence of an active bystander is shown to reduce the completion of sexual assault by 44%. Check out these strategies on how to intervene when you notice dangerous or inappropriate behavior.

  • Some simple steps to becoming an Active Bystander:
    •  Notice the situation: Be aware of your surroundings.
    •  Interpret it as a problem: Do I recognize that someone needs help?
    •  Feel responsible to act: See yourself as being part of the solution to help.
    •  Know what to do: Educate yourself on what to do.
    •  Intervene safely: Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.
      • Direct – directly interact with the people involved in the situation.
      • Distract – divert the attention of the people in the situation.
      • Delegate – ask someone else to help. Refer to authorities such as 911.

Prevent After: Support Survivors

Survivors of sexual assault are at greater risk of severe health consequences resulting from trauma and stress. These include increased risk for PTSD, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Survivors often experience problems in future relationships and academic performance. Support from loved ones can help to alleviate trauma and assist in recovery to prevent subsequent health consequences. If you know someone who has experienced sexual assault, please practice the following:

 

  • Listen. It can be difficult for someone to disclose that they have been sexually assaulted.
  • Believe. Questioning the details of the story may unintentionally lead the survivor to minimize its impact or to blame them-self for what happened.
  • Promote Safety. Find out how you can help the survivor feel safe. 
  • Never Blame the Victim. The survivor is NEVER to blame for sexual assault.  Responsibility lies with the assailant.  Remind the survivor that this was not their fault.
  • Provide Resources. Help the survivor find [information] (link to resources below) about medical care, counseling, advocacy, and for making a report to police and/or campus officials. 
  • Empower the Survivor. After an assault, it is important to empower the survivor. Allow them to make important choices about how they handle the situation.
  • Be Patient and Understanding. Everyone experiences trauma differently. The survivor may act differently than you expect, and having changing needs from day to day.
  • Take Care of Yourself. It is normal and natural that you will be impacted by the experience of the survivor. Remember to take time for yourself, engage in activities that are soothing and nurturing to you, and seek support when you need it.

 

Resources: Your Choice. Your Voice.


Anonymous Reporting 

Survivors of rape can make an anonymous report with the Gainesville Police Department through the website. This website, provided by Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center allows survivors of rape to share information anonymously. The information will be kept confidential, and survivors have the option to share as many or as few details as they are comfortable providing. The survivor is not required to identify herself or himself. Most importantly, regardless of your decision to report or not, we encourage all survivors to seek medical assistance and support services.

Advocacy and Support

  • University of Florida Office of Victim Services provides a support person for any member of the campus community who has been a victim of a crime including sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Victim advocates are available 24 hours per day. They can support you by helping you access medical consultation, informing you of available legal processes, and referring you to additional support resources. You may utilize this service even if you choose not to report the crime to a law enforcement agency. Advocates can be reached directly at (352) 392-5648 during regular business hours, or by calling the University Police Department at (352) 392-1111 after hours.
  • Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center provides confidential support for anyone in Alachua County who experiences a sexual assault or other criminal victimization. They may be reached at (352) 264-6760. Advocates are available to support you during medical examinations, police questioning, and during legal proceedings. This office also offers support groups for survivors of sexual assault. All services are free and confidential.
  • Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network offers a wide range of services for survivors of intimate partner violence. If you call the 24 hour crisis hotline at (352) 377-8255, an advocate will be able to listen to your situation, help you assess and plan for your safety, and offer information and referral options. Additional services may include victim advocacy, support groups, or emergency shelter. Peaceful Paths advocates will not make these important decisions for you, but instead will help support you as you explore your options.
  • The Source Program coordinates resources to address legal, safety, and medical concerns for low-income survivors of sexual and relationship violence. For more information about available services, call (352) 273-0805.

Counseling

  • University of Florida Counseling and Wellness Center offers free consultation and short-term counseling for UF students. Individual, group, and couples counseling are available. Call (352) 392-1575 to make an appointment. Same-day consultation is available for urgent concerns.
  • Alachua County Crisis Center provides free, confidential crisis intervention and telephone counseling 24 hours per day as well as short term face-to-face counseling during regular business hours. Either of these services can be accessed by calling (352) 264-6789.

Other Sources of Support

U Matter, We Care is an umbrella for care-related programs and resources for students and employees. The initiative includes a program to train people to recognize the signs of distress and to provide help. It also includes a website of care-related resources, as well as a centralized phone number (294-CARE) and email address for those seeking help or wanting to help others: umatter@ufl.edu. 

Dating Violence

No one expects to be hurt by the person they are dating. No one wants to believe that their relationship may be unhealthy or abusive. Yet as many as 53% of college students have experienced at least one incident of dating violence. College-age women, ages 16-24, are the most likely victims of intimate partner violence but no group is immune to its effects. Violence happens in all kinds of relationships, between people of all classes, cultures, religions, and sexual orientations. By knowing the facts, you can help keep yourself safe and make a positive difference to those around you.

  • FACT: Relationship violence can easily become a pattern. The following three stage pattern shows how love, hope, and fear all help keep the cycle in motion:
    • Stage 1) Tension Building: In this phase, one or both partners may feel that they are “walking on eggshells.” Communication may be decreased or impaired, and issues may be left unresolved. Arguments or criticism may increase. This phase may last a week, a month, or even a year. This phase becomes more frequent as the cycle of violence repeats itself.
    • Stage 2) Violence: As tension builds, physical violence can erupt as one partner loses the desire or ability to manage his/her anger. Tension is released and the relationship may seem to improve. The violent partner may temporarily feel better after releasing his/her anger, thus reinforcing this pattern of behavior.
    • Stage 3) Honeymoon/Seduction: In this phase, it is tempting to believe that this was a one-time occurrence, something that will never happen again. This phase is characterized by remorse on the part of the perpetrator. There is often renewed hope that the relationship will change for the better.

 

  • FACT: Alcohol, drugs, and mental illness do not cause violence, although an abuser will sometimes use these as excuses to justify his/her actions. Violence typically happens when an abuser has learned and chooses to abuse.

 

  • FACT: The following are early warning signs of an abusive relationship...
    • Your partner “puts down” your goals or accomplishments.
    • Your partner prevents you from doing things you want to do.
    • Your partner limits the time you spend with family or friends.
    • Your partner blames his/her behavior on drugs or alcohol.
    • Your partner blames others for his/her problems and feelings.
    • Your partner is jealous and controlling.
    • Your partner uses coercion or force during arguments.
    • You feel scared of how your partner may act.
    • You try not to do anything that may cause conflict.
    • You spend more time doing what your partner wants than what you want.
    • You find yourself making excuses to others for your partner’s behavior.

Explore below to learn how to protect yourself and loved ones from dating violence.


Survivors--Prioritize Your Safety

If you are experiencing violence or abuse in your relationship, you are not alone. There is help and support available.

  • Talk with someone about your experience: Abusive partners may attempt to isolate you from friends and family who care about you. The feelings you have about the abuse may also make it hard to reach out. Reaching out and connecting with others can help break this cycle of isolation and increase your safety. In addition to friends and family, you may also consider talking to a counselor at the Counseling & Wellness Center, the Alachua County Crisis Center, or Peaceful Paths.
  • Educate yourself on warning signs and the cycle of violence: Remember that you are not to blame. Abusive partners may blame you for their actions. This is an abusive tactic. It is not the truth. Regardless of your actions, no one deserves to be abused.
  • Consider your legal options: If you partner has been violent with you, you may have the option of getting a protective or restraining order. You also have the option of reporting any incidents of violence to the police. To learn more about these options, contact the University of Florida Office of Victim Services, “The Source” program, or Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Hotline. Advocates from these agencies will NEVER force you to make a report, but they can help you understand your legal options.
  • Plan for your safety: Staying in an abusive relationship is dangerous, and at times leaving can be even more dangerous. Only you know when it is safe to take action. Advocates at the Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Hotline can help you plan for your safety and may be able to help you access emergency housing.
  • Additionally: 
    • Think ahead about scenarios that will likely cause an argument between you and your partner. Do your best to avoid having these arguments in spots where you are cornered or where there are weapons available such as in the garage or kitchen.
    • ​Consider keeping a list of resources from the Campus and Community Resources page with you in an unobtrusive way. If your partner is violent with you, you may need to be extremely careful about what you keep and where
    • Consider keeping a set of spare keys and some money in a place that you can get to in a hurry. If you live in a residence hall or an apartment complex, you may be able to leave these essentials with a nearby friend
    • Plan ahead about safe places you can go in case you need to leave
    • Think about other ways your partner may have access to information about you (email, Facebook, your text messages). If you decide to leave, make sure you do not communicate your location using these means.

Supporting a Survivor

The cycle of violence can be difficult for survivors and their allies. If someone you care about is in a violent relationship, these guidelines may be useful to you. Remember: you are an important lifeline for this person. Your support can make a world of difference.

  • Listen. Don't judge. It may be difficult for someone to confide that they have been in a violent relationship. Listen attentively and avoid rushing to provide solutions. Show your concern by asking gentle questions and allow plenty of time for an answer.
  • Educate yourself on the cycle of violence and warning signs.
  • Provide information, ideas, and resources. Familiarize yourself with the [Campus and Community Resources] (link to resources below) Emphasize to the survivor that help is available. Offer to accompany him/her to these resources if you are able to do so. Provide support, but don’t force.
  • Be patient. The cycle of abuse can be difficult to recognize and even more difficult to stop. It is not always safe for someone to leave an abusive situation, even if they know it is abusive. You may not see change right away, even if you have provided excellent resources. Remind the survivor that you are available for support when he/she needs.
  • Provide reassurance. Relationship violence is never the fault of the survivor, yet survivors often feel ashamed or embarrassed. Remind the survivor that abuse in a relationship is never acceptable.
  • Step in if needed. In some cases, you may become aware of immediate danger. If you witness or hear an assault in progress, call 911. Do not attempt to physically intervene.
  • Continue to be a friend. In many cases, survivors choose to remain in an abusive relationship for some time out of fear or hope that the situation will change. Continue to provide support and friendship – avoid giving ultimatums or forcing the person to choose between you and their partner. By choosing to remain a friend, you will be an important resource for the survivor in the future.

Explore below to familiarize yourself with dating violence resources available in the community.


Advocacy and Support 

  • University of Florida Office of Victim Services Provides a support person for any member of the campus community who has been a victim of a crime including sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Victim advocates are available 24 hours per day. They can support you by helping you access medical consultation, informing you of available legal processes, and referring you to additional support resources. You may utilize this service even if you choose not to report the crime to a law enforcement agency. Advocates can be reached directly at (352) 392-5648 during regular business hours, or by calling the University Police Department at (352) 392-1111 after hours.
  • Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center: Provides confidential support for anyone in Alachua County who experiences a sexual assault or other criminal victimization. They may be reached at (352) 264-6760. Advocates are available to support you during medical examinations, police questioning, and during legal proceedings. This office also offers support groups for survivors of sexual assault. All services are free and confidential.

  • Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network Peaceful Paths offers a wide range of services for survivors of intimate partner violence. If you call the 24 hour crisis hotline at (352) 377-8255, an advocate will be able to listen to your situation, help you assess and plan for your safety, and offer information and referral options. Additional services may include victim advocacy, support groups, or emergency shelter. Peaceful Paths advocates will not make these important decisions for you, but instead will help support you as you explore your options.

  • The Source Program Coordinates resources to address legal, safety, and medical concerns for low-income survivors of sexual and relationship violence. For more information about available services, call (352) 273-0805.

Counseling Services

  • University of Florida Counseling and Wellness Center: Offers free consultation and short-term counseling for UF students. Individual, group, and couples counseling are available. Call (352) 392-1575 to make an appointment. Same-day consultation is available for urgent concerns.
  • Alachua County Crisis Center: Provides free, confidential crisis intervention and telephone counseling 24 hours per day as well as short term face-to-face counseling during regular business hours. Either of these services can be accessed by calling (352) 264-6789.

U Matter, We Care.

U Matter, We Care is an umbrella for care-related programs and resources for students and employees. The initiative includes a program to train people to recognize the signs of distress and to provide help. It also includes a website of care-related resources, as well as a centralized phone number (294-CARE) and email address for those seeking help or wanting to help others. 

According to UF’s Student Code of Conduct, sexual harassment includes any “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature”. It can also include offensive comments suggesting that a person is inferior or less capable due to their sex or gender. Sexual harassment often involves intimidation, creating a hostile environment which can interfere with a person’s academic or professional success. Anyone can be a perpetrator of sexual harassment, and the victim may be of the same or opposite sex. All forms of sexual harassment are illegal under federal law.

  • FACT: Sexual harassment is not a sexually motivated act, but is an expression of hostility and/or power focused on differences in gender or sexual orientation. People do not invite sexual harassment.
  • FACT: Harassment usually involves individuals using their authority, power, or perceived status or relationship inappropriately. Whenever it occurs, it is wrong.
  • FACT: Generally, the harasser is persistent and does not stop on his/her own, and often has more than one target. When a victim ignores the advances, leers, comments, or suggestions, the harasser may interpret this behavior as consent or encouragement.

Here are some tips to consider in taking action against sexual harassment:

  • Examine your own behaviors. Don’t automatically assume that others will welcome risqué jokes, touching, flirting, or other sexual advances.
  • If possible, be direct if someone is making you uncomfortable. Be clear in stating what behaviors are unacceptable and how they make you feel. If the person continues the harassment after you have asked them to stop, document these behaviors and make a report.
  • Seek support from others if you are unsure about what to do. We recognize that it can be intimidating to confront the harasser as they are often a boss, teacher, co-worker, or classmate who may have some control over your academic and professional performance. Sometimes we need another person to speak up for us. Check out our resources tab below tab for people to connect with.

Sexual Harassment Resources

  •  Title IX Coordinator: University of Florida students and employees are asked to report any incidences of stalking to the respective deputy IX coordinators. Sexual harassment is considered a violation of the Title IX Act which prevents discrimination on campus towards university affiliate based on sex or gender.
  • University of Florida Office of Victim Services: Provides a support person for any member of the campus community who has been a victim of a crime including sexual harassment. Victim advocates are available 24 hours per day. They can support you by helping you access medical consultation, informing you of available legal processes, and referring you to additional support resources. You may utilize this service even if you choose not to report the crime to a law enforcement agency. Advocates can be reached directly at (352) 392-5648 during regular business hours, or by calling the University Police Department at (352) 392-1111 after hours.
  • UF Police Department Sexual Harassment Resources
  • Gainesville Police Department
  • Alachua County Sheriff Office

Stalking includes a variety of unwanted and repeated attention or harassment by the perpetrator. These behaviors may include, but are not limited to, following a victim to their home, work, places of leisure, etc., and unwanted letters, text messages, phone calls, emails, or attention on other forms of social media. Stalking often involves harassment, threats, and other forms of intimidation, causing victims to fear for their safety or the safety of loved ones.

  • FACT: Four out of five college students who are victims of stalking say that they know their stalker. The stalker is most often a current or former intimate partner.
  • FACT: The majority of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method.
  • FACT: Stalking behaviors often escalate and can become violent over time. It is important to report early and keep a record of all stalking behaviors.

If you or someone you know is being stalked, it is essential to develop a safety plan that includes documentation of the behaviors from your stalker. Be specific in your documentation; templates are available. Make attempts to record obscene behaviors and threatening phone calls. Keep all evidence of contact you may obtain, including emails, text messages, letters, voicemails, “gifts”, etc. Please consider reporting all stalking behaviors to the police often and early. Although some of these behaviors may seem minor, they can escalate. Even if the police cannot begin a case right away it is important to establish a history of concerning behaviors. Stalking is illegal under Florida State law and documentation of all stalking behaviors can help in obtaining a restraining order.

If you are a victim of stalking, UFPD recommends the following safety tips:

  • Immediately notify law enforcement.
  • Inform everyone around you that you are being stalked. Describe the stalker so that they may alert you to his/her presence.
  • Tell the stalker to stop all contact. Do this ONLY ONCE! Afterwards, ignore the stalker no matter what the threat. Do not communicate with him/her again.
  • Walk or travel with a friend or in a group whenever possible.
  • Think ahead, have a safety plan, and never underestimate the potential for danger.
  • Title IX Coordinator: University of Florida students and employees are asked to report any incidences of stalking to the respective deputy IX coordinators. Stalking is considered a violation of the Title IX Act which prevents discrimination on campus towards any university affiliate based on sex or gender.
  • University of Florida Office of Victim Services: Provides a support person for any member of the campus community who has been a victim of a crime including sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Victim advocates are available 24 hours per day. They can support you by helping you access medical consultation, informing you of available legal processes, and referring you to additional support resources. You may utilize this service even if you choose not to report the crime to a law enforcement agency. Advocates can be reached directly at (352) 392-5648 during regular business hours, or by calling the University Police Department at (352) 392-1111 after hours.
  • UFPD Stalking Resources
  • Gainesville Police Department
  • Alachua County Sheriff Office

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