Skip Navigation

FAQ

Gender and Equality Center, The University of Oklahoma website wordmark
Skip Side Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

Dating Violence

A pattern of physical abuse or threats of physical abuse in addition to sexual violence, name-calling, stalking, attack on property, isolation, emotional abuse, digital abuse, or financial abuse.

  • Perpetrators of domestic violence often use several tactics in order to maintain power and control over the victim like fear and intimidation.  It is not about jealousy or loving their partner too much—it is about power and control.

  • Violence does not have to occur every day for it to be considered dating violence. Dating violence is an ongoing cycle that is different for everyone that can include a calming period, leading to a tension building period, and ultimately a violent episode.

There is no way to tell if someone is abusive just by meeting them. However, most abusers share the same characteristics.

Some of the subtle warning signs include:

  • They stop you from participating in other activities with others. By doing this, they are trying to gain power and control over you by isolating you from friends and family.

  • They are extremely jealous or controlling. For example, they check up on your frequently and are jealous of you spending time with other people.

  • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others and you for everything that goes wrong or they frequently put you down.

  • They threaten to hurt you or someone you care about

Any one of these may not indicate that your partner is abusive, but it is important to pay attention to these warning signs.

Abuse, whether physical and/or psychological, is about power and control. If a person chooses to leave it can put them in serious danger of retaliation from their abuser.

Besides danger, people who are being abused stay in their relationship for various reasons.

Examples include:

  • Fear: They may be afraid of their abuser and what they could do if they decided to leave their abuser.

  • Normalizing their Abuse: They may not be aware that they are in an abusive relationship. In addition, they might not know what a healthy relationship looks like if they grew up in an environment where abuse was common.

  • Fear of Being Outed: If a victim is in an LGBTQ+ relationship but has not come out yet, they may fear that their abusive partner will out them or their partner may threaten to out them.

  • Embarrassment: Some people may find it difficult to reveal that they are being abused, or that the people in their life will judge them. They may also feel shame, that they did something to provoke the violence.

  • Blame: Their abusive partner may constantly put them down and blame them for the anger and abuse. They may begin to believe this, thinking that the abuse they are experiencing is their fault.

  • Not All Parts of the Relationship Involve Abuse: A victim can still feel love for their abuser due to the cycle of abuse.

  • Family: They may have children in their relationship and the victim wants to maintain their family or not cause complications for their children.

  • Financial Abuse: A victim may be financially dependent on their abusive partner. The abuser can have control over a victim’s time, transportation, food, clothing, shelter, insurance, and/or money.

Anyone can be a victim of abusive and anyone can be abusive. This happens to a wide variety of people regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, body-size, religion, etc.

It is important to know that you did nothing to provoke the violence. Regardless of the circumstances in your relationship, no one ever deserves to be abused.

Dating violence can be either physical or emotional. Physical signs are more obvious with the evidence being bruises and/or broken bones, etc. Emotional abuse may be harder to tell. The warning signs include harassment, controlling or jealous behavior, stalking, frequent put-downs, etc.

Victims of dating violence are also frequently isolated from everyone but their perpetrator. The perpetrator will have control of the victim’s time, activities, knowledge, and contact with others. Victims will become distant with friends acquaintances, or family.

As a reminder, anyone can be a victim of dating violence. So be cognizant of these patterns listed above.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is physical or sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent.

Sexual violence is not about sex or love, it is about power and control. This type of violence is used to intimidate or violate others. This behavior can include but is not limited to: harassment, sexual coercion, sexual assault, rape, incest, and abuse. Sexual violence can interfere in both the work or educational environment.

Rape is a specific type of sexual assault, involving forced penetration (vaginal, oral, or anal) that is perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Rape is about power and control.

Sexual assault is a term that encompasses terms beyond forced penetration. It is any forced or unwanted sexual contact or behavior which includes rape, incest, sexual abuse, and unwanted touching of intimate parts of the body. This can also be committed by using pressure, alcohol, drugs, or force to have sexual contact against someone's will or with someone who has already refused.

No. The Women’s Resource Center is a non-profit organization in Norman and is not a part of the University of Oklahoma, but they work closely with our OU Advocates team.

The WRC provides resources like the Rape Crisis Center that has an exam room specifically designed to provide the forensic medical exam. An Advocate will stay with you during the entire process and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who has received specialized training will do the forensic medical exam. You may be asked to go to the hospital if there are health complications or if you are injured.

The hospitals/emergency rooms in Norman do not perform rape exams. Instead, they refer all victims to the Women’s Resource Center. However, if you or the victim need medical attention, always go to the hospital first!

By calling OU Advocates (405-615-0013) or stopping by the Gender + Equality Center in person, an advocate can go with you to the Rape Crisis Center. They want to support you and help navigate the various procedures involved.

For more information regarding the Women's Resource Center in Norman, click here.

Consent

Simply, consent is saying "yes" to sexual acts or physical touch.

Consent is...

Voluntary: Meaning that is done, given, or acting of one’s own free will. Consent is a mutual decision in which everyone involved is a willing and active participant.

Enthusiastic: Meaning that when a person consents to sex, they are “having or showing eager enjoyment, interest, or approval” of that sex act.

Ongoing: Meaning that it is always in progress and is subject to change. You have to continue checking in with your partner to make sure they’re still into what you’re doing. If at any point you notice your partner becoming still, silent, or uncomfortable... stop! Then communicate.

Coherent: Meaning that in order to give true consent, a person has to be “awake and aware”, and “in a clear and logical state of mind”. A person must also be informed about what exactly they are consenting to, in order to make a rational decision.

Required: Sex without voluntary, enthusiastic, ongoing, & coherent consent is not sex, it’s rape.

In addition to this:

  • Your relationship status does not indicate consent is automatic. No one is ever obligated to give consent, even if you have done so in the past. This is also true even when someone invites you over to their place, goes on a date with you, if they let you buy them a drink, etc.

  • Consent to one thing does not mean consent to other sexual acts. Every act of physical intimacy requires its own consent.

Yes! In order to get someone’s consent, a “yes” must always be communicated, whether it be a verbal “yes” of non-verbal “yes” through body language.

Examples of consent through body language include:

  • Leaning towards you, reciprocating touches, and/or initiating actions

However, Consent is not silent. Rapists will often try to justify their behavior by saying things like, “well I didn’t hear them say “no”. The problem with that statement is that the absence of a “NO” is not a “YES”.

Just because someone doesn’t say the word “NO”, does not mean they are saying “YES”. I’ll say it again: The absence of a “NO” is not a ”YES”. In fact, it’s the other way around. The absence of a voluntary, enthusiastic “YES” is a “NO”.

It is always great to get a verbal yes, but it does not have to be!

Stalking

Stalking is a pattern of intentional following or harassment that causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety, the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

  • For example, this behavior can be exhibited through unwanted phone calls/voicemails/ texts, spying, sending unwanted gifts.

You may consider contacting OU Advocates for more help. You can call the crisis line 405-615-0013, contact us through WhatsApp, or stop by in person to the Gender + Equality Center.

Yes, the majority of victims are stalked by either a current or former intimate partner. You can be stalked regardless of the relationship you have with someone. It does not matter if you are dating, married, etc., stalking can happen in any and all relationships.

Perpetrators of stalking rarely stop on their own. In fact, the stalking typically gets more extreme and more frequent over time.

It is important for victims to create a safety plan to help keep themselves safe, to record and keep track of every instance of stalking, and to seek help from professionals. 

OU Advocates (405-615-0013) has the ability to deal with cases of sexual assault, relationship violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. So by calling this number or stopping by in person to the Gender + Equality Center, someone can help you.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual attention that is so persistent, or pervasive, that it unreasonably interferes with the work or education environment. This can be seen with two types.

  • Hostile Environment - inappropriate touching, sexual jokes or comments, repeated requests for dates, etc.

  • Quid Pro Quo or This for That - requesting or forcing a sexual favor in exchange for a grade or promotion.

Reporting / Seeking Help

A sexual assault exam or “rape kit” are names referred to a sexual assault forensic exam. The term rape kit actually refers to the kit itself—a container that includes a checklist, materials, and instructions, along with envelopes and containers to package any specimens collected during the exam. A rape kit may also be referred to as a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK). The contents of the kit vary by state and jurisdiction and may include:

  • Bags and paper sheets for evidence collection
  • Comb
  • Documentation forms
  • Envelopes
  • Instructions
  • Materials for blood samples
  • Swabs

During the exam, you will also receive antibiotics to prevent STDs/STIs.  After, all evidence collected will be given to law enforcement to be processed and stored and is completely confidential unless otherwise stated by you. However, a rape exam will not tell you if you have been raped, tell you if you are pregnant, going to test you for STDs/STIs, and is not mandatory for reporting a sexual assault.

A rape exam can be a difficult experience for some, but it is important to know that you can choose not to complete each step of the exam. There is also no cost for an exam and you do not receive any medications. If you are in the Norman area, rape exams are completed at the Women’s Resource Center. The hospitals/emergency rooms in Norman do not perform rape exams.

If you were recently assaulted, you may be interested in a sexual assault exam. These exams can help you ensure that any physical injuries are properly treated. They can also collect forensic evidence so that if you decide to press charges, evidence will be available.

If you have been sexually assaulted, the best place to receive the type of specialized medical care you need is a hospital emergency department, a specialized forensic clinic, or a sexual assault treatment center where the staff is experienced in treating sexual assault victims and collecting forensic evidence. Most of these facilities are available 24 hours a day. The Gender + Equality Center recommends calling the Women’s Resource Center Rape Crisis Line (405-701-5660). The center is best equipped to treat survivors of sexual assault. The doctors and nurses in these facilities receive special training in ways to treat victims of sexual assault. They should be sensitive to your needs and able to answer your questions about the physical and emotional effects of the assault.

A domestic violence exam is a full examination from top to toe. A trained professional will collect forensic specimens or clothing and take photographs for record and evidential purposes. History of previous assaults or other previous complaints received from the police will be documented along with the medical history of hospital visits, fractures, or other serious injuries.

The University of Oklahoma Police Department and Norman Police Department also investigate reports of sexual assault. If you wish to press criminal charges, you’ll need to file a report with the department in which the assault occurred. You’ll a report with the OU Police Department if the assault occurred on campus. If the assault occurred off campus, filing a report with the Norman Police Department would be more applicable. However, there’s no need to worry about filing a report with the correct department, because if jurisdiction applies to a different department, they can easily transfer the report. In order to file a report with the police department, you must call them. They do not accept emailed or typed reports.

That is okay! Reporting is not the best option for everyone. You do not have to report if you do not feel comfortable doing so. It is your decision to proceed with an investigation or to report; however, there are several resources on and off campus that can lend support. So, even if you do not wish to report and want to seek resources, there are many made available to you!

  • Norman ON CAMPUS: Goddard Health Center: 405-325-4441
  • University Counseling Center: 405-325-2911
  • OU Counseling and Psychology Clinic: 405-325-2914
  • OFF CAMPUS: Norman Rape Crisis Hotline: 405-701-5660
  • Norman Domestic Violence Hotline: 405-701-5540

Yes! The right to report the incident to confidential reporting resources rather than to University employees who have mandatory reporting obligations. Examples of confidential resources include:

  • Norman ON CAMPUS: Goddard Health Center: 405-325-4441
  • University Counseling Center: 405-325-2911
  • OU Counseling and Psychology Clinic: 405-325-2914
  • OFF CAMPUS: Norman Rape Crisis Hotline: 405-701-5660
  • Norman Domestic Violence Hotline: 405-701-5540

If the perpetrator of the assault is a member of the OU community, you have the option of filing a complaint with the University. The Institutional Equity and Title IX Office receives reports of any incident, conducts the investigation, and recommends corrective action. When reporting to the Institutional Equity Office, it’s important to understand that the University has an obligation to investigate reports of sexual violence and to take prompt and appropriate action. If you file a report with the Institutional Equity and Title IX Office, they are obligated to investigate. However, they will take your wishes and desires into consideration. There are a few potential outcomes to an investigating an assault at the Institutional Equity Office. The investigation may lead to adjudication, as is your preference. You can discuss the process Advocate or with someone at the Institutional Equity Office. If a sexual misconduct policy violation is found during investigation, the perpetrator may be sanctioned. To file a report with the University, you can fill out a complaint form online. The form can be found on the OU Institutional Equity Office homepage. There’s a link on the left-hand side of the page for sexual assault and sexual harassment complaints.

Women's Resource Center

The Women’s Resource Center is a grassroots organization that works to meet the needs of men and women who have been victimized by sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. The organization is home to Norman’s Rape Crisis Center, which provides sexual assault exams at no cost to the victim. You can contact their 24/7 hotline at (405) 701-5660.

Goddard Health Center

Goddard Health Center can assist with any health concerns that you might have, including STD testing and treating any physical injuries. To make an appointment, you can call (405) 325-4611, or simply walk in. If you want to reach their counseling center, you can call (405) 325-2911. They also have counselors available for people in crisis on a walk-in basis.

Institutional Equity Office

There are a variety of ways to file a report with the Institutional Equity Office. You can call, talk to advocate about setting up an appointment, or fill out a form online. The form can be found on the homepage of the Institutional Equity Office, on the left-hand side. The web address for their website is ou.edu/eoo. You can also ask your advocate to help you set up an appointment.

  • Office: (405) 325-2215 
  • Email: smo@ou.edu

University of Oklahoma Police Department

Norman Campus The OU Police Department investigates reports of crimes on the OU campus. In order to file a report with the police department, you must call them. They do not accept emailed or typed reports. Norman Police Department The Norman Police Department investigates reports of crimes that were committed off-campus. Their non-emergency number is (405) 321-1444.