Sexual Assault Prevention

OPD thoroughly investigates any and all sexual assault crimes reported to this agency. OPD officers are trained in trauma informed policing techniques, and will always take a victim/survivor first approach, in resolving any incidents of sexual assault.

Otterbein understands that sexual violence is a power-based crime. One that works through control, coercion, and force. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, although people from marginalized groups are more vulnerable to all forms of violence. 

To stop sexual violence, we all need to be more informed and more empowered. We need to know more about the forms sexual violence takes, about consent, and about how we can protect ourselves and others from assault. In addition, we are a more responsive community if we know what to do when a survivor comes to us, how to report similar crimes, and the resources available to survivors. See the information below for more insight:

OPD further offers the following Sexual Assault Guarantee:

Sexual Assault Guarantee

Sexual assaults, including non-stranger sexual assault, are a very serious concern of the University. If you feel you are the survivor of a sexual assault on campus, your Otterbein University Police Department will guarantee you the following:

  • We will meet with you privately, at a place of your choice in this area, to take a police report.
  • We will not release your name to the public or to the media, except as provided by law. If your name is requested to be released, we will attempt to notify you prior to its release so you can exercise your rights under law.
  • Our officers will not prejudge you, and you will not be blamed for what occurred.
  • We will treat you and your particular case with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
  • We will assist you in arranging for any hospital treatment or other medical needs.
  • With your permission, we will assist you in contacting counseling and advocacy services, in addition to and other available resources that will continue to provide you with additional support throughout the investigation.
  • We will fully investigate your case. You will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the investigation. Each investigation is forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review, with your input taken into consideration as to the best possible outcome.
  • We will continue to be available for you, to answer your questions, to explain the systems and processes involved (prosecutor’s office, court proceedings, university investigation), and to be a listening ear if you wish.
  • We will consider your case seriously regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, and regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the suspect.
  • It is our policy not to pursue alcohol or drug charges on victim-survivors who chose to report sexual assaults.

If we fail to achieve any part of the above guarantee, the Chief of Police, Larry Banaszak, will meet with you personally to address any problems. He can be reached at (614) 823-1222 or email at lbanaszak@otterbein.edu. The Otterbein University Police want to continue to make the campus safe for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

If you need support as a survivor of sexual assault, contact Julie Saker, the Associate Dean of Students at (614) 823-1250 or email at jsaker@otterbein.edu or Scott Fitzgerald, the Title IX Director at (614) 823-1805 or sfitzgerald@otterbein.edu. You may also contact Kathleen Ryan, Licensed Psychologist, at 614-823-1250, Judith Guion-Utsler, Chaplin, at 614-823-1409, and members of the Women’s Gender and Resource Center at 614-823-1028. It is a confidential resource and recommended for victims and survivors of sexual assault. To file a police report, or to get more information about filing a police report, feel free to contact the Otterbein University Police at (614) 823-1222, and say you would like information on reporting a sexual assault. Otterbein Police are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact Information Includes:

  • Otterbein Police: 614-823-1222
  • Westerville Police: 614-882-7444 or 911

Reporting Options

Otterbein University takes sexual violence very seriously and is deeply committed to assisting victims/survivors with respect, non-judgment, knowledge and care. The options below will aid victims/survivors in navigating through the process.

Option 1:

The victim/survivor may file an Otterbein University Police Report. Students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to report all crimes and public safety related incidents to OPD in a timely manner. To report a crime phone 614-823-1222 or dial 911 if it’s an emergency.

Note: The report will list them as the victim/survivor and will name the accused. The report will be forwarded to Otterbein University Student Conduct and they will begin the review process. We will also forward the report and investigation to the Franklin or Delaware County Prosecutor’s office to determine if criminal charges will be brought against the accused and if so, the specific charges to be filed.

Option 2:

The victim/survivor may file a Police Report with the Westerville Division of Police. Names will be included in the report. Note, they typically forward the report and investigation to the Franklin or Delaware County Prosecutor’s office to determine if criminal charges will be brought against the accused and if so, the specific charges to be filed.

The Otterbein Police Department will offer assistance in filing a report with the Westerville Division of Police to any victim/survivor who chooses this option

Option 3:

Confidential Reporting: The following are options for students who do not wish to file a police report but desire to communicate the crime to other entities on campus. The Women’s Resource Gender Center (WGRC) (614-823-1028) is comprised of student peer advocates who have specialized training to aid survivors of sexual assault and relationship abuse. Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Kathy Ryan, a licensed psychologist and Caleb Tipple, Clinical Counselor are available to meet with victim/survivor and provide counseling services. Ryan’s email address is kryan@otterbein.edu. Tipple’s email address is ctipple@otterbein.edu. You can also phone at 614-823-1250. Otterbein University Chaplain Judith Guion-Utsler (614-823-1409) is also available to meet with the victim/survivor and provide aid. Her email address is jguionutsler@otterbein.edu. Our licensed counselors clergy and students in the WGRC are encouraged to report sexual assaults to OPD for statistical purposes only. Names of victim/survivor and the accused and details of the incident remain confidential.

Option 4:

The victim/survivor may choose not to file a report or can file a report at a later date, or may select to take advantage of support services previously listed.

Option 5:

If the survivor says “no” to Reporting Option #1 or #2, they may file a Confidential Otterbein University Police Report.

Note: The Confidential Report will briefly describe the incident but will not include the name of the Subject or Accused.  They will be listed as “Jane Doe” or “John Doe”.  There will be no follow up investigation or forwarding of the report to the County Prosecutor Office for the pursuit of criminal charges.   The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of yourself and others. With such information, the University can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the annual crimes statistics for the institution.

We are obligated to notify the Title IX Coordinator about all incidents of sexual harassment/assault.  Per federal law, the Title IX Coordinator has some obligations to conduct a Title IX investigation. If we know your identity, we have to provide it and the accused‘s identity to the Title IX Coordinator.

You can change your mind about the type of report you wish to file at any time in the future, to do so contact Otterbein University Police.

Option 6:

The victim/survivor may file a report with the institution’s Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator for the Institution is the Director of Human Resources, Scott Fitzgerald. He is located at the HR Office, at 25 W. Home St., Westerville, OH and can be reached at 614-823-1130. Another alternative is to file a report with the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Julie Saker who can be reached at 614-813-1250.  Her email address is jsaker@otterbein.edu.  The institution has adopted and published grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee complaints alleging any action that would be prohibited by Title IX, including sexual harassment and sexual assaults carried out by employees, other students or third parties. This information can be found at: https://www.otterbein.edu/about/title-ix/.  Further, the institution does not discriminate on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities that the institution operates.

Option 7:

The victim/survivor may make a report to any Campus Security Authority.  The report will be forwarded to the Otterbein University Police Department, who will contact you for investigative purposes.  If you choose to report to a Campus Security Authority and wish to remain anonymous, a “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” report will be forwarded to the Otterbein Police Department.  The purpose of this report is to allow the University to take steps to ensure the future safety of yourself and others. With such information, the University can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the annual crimes statistics for the institution.

How to determine who is a Campus Security Authority: If a person has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, he or she is a campus security authority. Some examples include coaches, student affairs personnel, and police, and residence life employees, advisors of clubs or organizations.

Note: A Campus Security Authority is obligated to notify the Title IX Coordinator about all incidents of sexual harassment/assault.  Per federal law, the Title IX Coordinator has some obligations to conduct a Title IX investigation. If the CSA’s know your and the accused‘s identity, the CSA’s must provide them to the Title IX Coordinator for those purposes. You can change your mind about the type of report you wish to file at any time in the future, to do so contact Otterbein University Police or the Title IX Coordinator.

Option 8:

You may also select to contact off campus resources such as: Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) 24 hour rape hotline is 614-267-7020; Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) at 614-294-7867 or 1-866-7286; Ohio Domestic Violence Network at 614-781-9651.   

Definitions:

  • Consent – The State of Ohio does not define Consent in the Ohio Revised Code.   Consent is defined in Otterbein University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy as “Consent is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or action, which indicate a willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.” 
    Read Otterbein University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy >
  • Sexual Assault: “Sexual assault” means an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. Per the National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual From the FBI UCR Program, A sex offense is “any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim if incapable of giving consent.”
  • Rape is defined as the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Fondling is defined as the touching of the private parts of another person for the purposes of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Ohio Revised Code 

Risk Reduction Tips

As a reminder, sexual assault is any sexual activity that occurs in the absence of consent.  Responsibility lies with the perpetrator, not the survivor.  No one deserves, asks for, or provokes sexual assault.  Sexual assault occurs in all communities and people of all genders can be survivors.  Crimes are never the fault of the survivor.  We remind you to increase your overall safety by reviewing the following tips:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
  2. Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  3. Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  4. Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
  5. Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  6. Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
  7. Do not allow yourself to be isolated with someone you do not trust or someone you do not know.
  8. Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
  9. When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
  10. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately, (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
  11. Do not leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you have left your drink alone, just get a new one.
  12. Do not accept drinks from people you do not know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, do not drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
  13. Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
  14. If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately, (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
  15. If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation here are some things that you can try:
    • Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame.
    • Be true to yourself. Do not feel obligated to do anything you do not want to do. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
    • Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you do not feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
    • If you do not want to hurt the person’s feelings, it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use need to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
  16. Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  17. Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  18. Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  19. Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
  20. Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake.  Respect them when they do.
  21. Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
  22. If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner.  These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you. 
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent.  If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better.  You may be misreading them.  They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet.  You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  • Do not take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if he/she did it to him/herself.
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful.  You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size.  Do not abuse that power.
  • Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior. 

Procedures Victims/Survivors Should Follow if a Crime of Sexual Assault Occurs

After an incident of sexual assault and domestic violence, the victim should consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible at St. Ann’s Hospital located at 500 South Cleveland Ave. Westerville, Ohio 43081 where they will be treated by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Nurse) who will conduct an exam and collect evidence. In Ohio, evidence may be collected even if you chose not to make a report to law enforcement[1]. The evidence is turned over to the Otterbein University Police Department where it is sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Identification crime lab. A sexual assault victim also has the right in Ohio to remain anonymous. In this case, the evidence is submitted as Jane Doe. The purpose of this is to allow the victim the opportunity to reconsider their desire to file a criminal complaint later. It is important that a victim of sexual assault not bathe, douche, smoke, change clothing or clean the bed/linen/area where they were assaulted if the offense occurred within the past 96 hours so that evidence may be preserved that may assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred/or is occurring or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order. In circumstances of sexual assault, if victims do not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers can still treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease. Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence are encouraged to also preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents, if they have any, that would be useful to University hearing boards/investigators or police.

As time passes, evidence may dissipate or become lost or unavailable, thereby making investigation, possible prosecution, disciplinary proceedings, or obtaining protection from abuse orders related to the incident more difficult. If a victim chooses not to make a complaint regarding an incident, he or she nevertheless should consider speaking with Campus Public Safety or other law enforcement to preserve evidence in the event that the victim decides to report the incident to law enforcement or the University at a later date to assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred or that may be helpful in obtaining a protection order.

Under the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, starting in 2009, states must certify that they do not “require a victim of sexual assault to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam, reimbursement for charges incurred on account of such an exam, or both.” offense occurred/or is occurring or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order. In circumstances of sexual assault, if victims do not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers can still treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease. Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence are encouraged to also preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents, if they have any, that would be useful to University hearing boards/investigators or police.

As time passes, evidence may dissipate or become lost or unavailable, thereby making investigation, possible prosecution, disciplinary proceedings, or obtaining protection from abuse orders related to the incident more difficult. If a victim chooses not to make a complaint regarding an incident, he or she nevertheless should consider speaking with Campus Public Safety or other law enforcement to preserve evidence in the event that the victim decides to report the incident to law enforcement or the University at a later date to assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred or that may be helpful in obtaining a protection order.

Bystander Intervention

Bystander Intervention is a philosophy and strategy for prevention of various types of violence.  It involves safe and positive options to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

What can bystanders do to make a difference?

  • Believe someone who discloses a sexual assault, abusive relationship, or experience with stalking or cyberstalking.
  • Be respectful of yourself and others. Make sure any sexual act is OK with your partner if you initiate.
  • Watch out for your friends – if you see someone who looks like they are in trouble, ask if they are okay. If you see a friend doing something shady, say something.
  • Speak up – if someone says something offensive, derogatory, or abusive, let him or her know that behavior is wrong and you do not want to be around it.

Other Bystander Intervention Strategies

  • Silent Stare – A disapproving look can be more powerful than words.
  • Humor – Reduces the tension of an intervention and makes it easier for the person to hear you.
  • Group Intervention – There is safety and power in numbers.
  • We’re friends, right….?
    • Reframes the intervention as caring and non-critical.
    • Example: “Hey Chad…..as your friend I’ve got to tell you that getting a girl drunk to have sex with her isn’t cool, and could get you in a lot of trouble. Don’t do it.”
  • Distraction
    • Snaps someone out of his or her “sexist comfort zone.” Example: Ask a man harassing a woman on the street for directions or the time.

Campus Resources

  • Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Kathy Ryan, a licensed psychologist, is available to meet with victim/survivor and provide counseling services.  Dr. Ryan’s email address is kryan@otterbein.edu.  You may also phone her at 614-823-1333. 
  • Otterbein University Chaplain, Judith Guion-Utsler (614-823-1409) is also available to meet with the victim/survivor and provide aid.  Her email address is jguionutsler@otterbein.edu.
  • The Women’s Gender Sexuality and Resource Center (WGSRC) can be reached at 614-823-1028. The contact is Suzanne Ashworth and you may reach her at 614-657-9042 or sashworth@otterbein.edu.
  • Title IX Coordinator for the Institution is the Director of Human Resources, Scott Fitzgerald. He can be reached at 614-823-1130. Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Julie Saker who can be reached at 614-823-1554. Her email address is jsaker@otterbein.edu. They will work with the appropriate Student Affairs staff and Title IX team.

Confidential Resources

  • Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Kathy Ryan, a licensed psychologist, is available to meet with victim/survivor and provide counseling services.  Dr. Ryan’s email address is kryan@otterbein.edu.  You may also phone her at 614-823-1333. 
  • Otterbein University Chaplain, Judith Guion-Utsler (614-823-1409) is also available to meet with the victim/survivor and provide aid.  Her email address is jguionutsler@otterbein.edu.

External Resources

  • Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio https://www.ohiohealth.com/community-health/sarnco 614- 267-7020
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Sexual Violence web page
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) The NSVRC’s mission is to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research.
  • Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence As Ohio’s statewide coalition, OAESV advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.  Web site has Ohio rape crisis centers listed by county and prevention resources.
  • Ohio – Buckeye Regional Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) works to eliminate violence perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identification, domestic violence, and sexual assault through prevention, education, advocacy, violence documentation, and survivor services, both within and on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities. Helpline 614-294-7867 or 1-866-862-7286
  • Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline 24/7 confidential, statewide helpline.  1-844-OHIO-HELP or 1-844-644-6435
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and home to the U.S. hotline.  24/7 confidential support 1-800-656-4673
  • RAINN Online Hotline – RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and home to the U.S. hotline.  24/7 confidential support
  • Male Survivor has been a leader in the fight to improve the resources and support available to male survivors of all forms of sexual abuse in the U.S. and around the globe. We are a community built upon a unique foundation of respect and mutual partnership between survivors themselves and the professionals who work with them.
  • Darkness to Light is a U.S. organization committed to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse.