Can UC Berkeley students feel safe from sexual violence on campus?
Last year, the campus Annual Report on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment found that 454 reports alleging sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH, were made to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, or OPHD.
Sexual harassment was reported the most to OPHD, making up 37.1% of the 454 reports. Sexual assault was the second most occurring allegation at 35.7%, followed by relationship violence and stalking.
According to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore, several sexual assaults on campus that occurred in the last year were perpetrated by someone the victim did not know, though she said these incidents are not typical.
“The most common type of SVSH incident involves individuals who know each other,” Gilmore said in an email. “This is why a lot of educational efforts around SVSH focus on consent and healthy relationships.”
According to Gilmore, UC Berkeley is working to increase SVSH safety on campus through the Coordinated Community Review Team, or CCRT. CCRT is working to develop a comprehensive prevention plan to combat SVSH on campus, Gilmore said in the email.
In addition, Gilmore noted other campus initiatives, including the TRAIL Certificate, that operate to give the campus community tools and training to help prevent and respond to SVSH.
“The #weCARE social norms campaign uses data from our own UC Berkeley community to communicate the healthy attitudes of the majority, which encourages everyone to increase prosocial behavior,” Gilmore said in the email.
Outside of campus efforts, Berkeley Police Department, or BPD, tracks sexual assaults in the Crime Data Snapshot on the Transparency Hub, according to Public Information Officer Jessica Perry.
BPD responds to an SVSH investigation first at a patrol level, then forwards it to the Special Victims Unit for further investigation if necessary.
According to Leah Kimble-Price, executive director of Bay Area Women Against Rape, or BAWAR, programs and services at BAWAR provide access to a 24-hour bilingual, confidential and anonymous hotline. BAWAR also offers non-urgent requests at their office.
Kimble-Price noted the importance of support for SVSH victims.
“If (you) aren’t sure how to support someone who discloses being the target of sexual violence, there is a very simple first step: start by believing,” Kimble-Price said in an email. “It is not important whether you understand the details or circumstances, believing your loved one is what they need. Everyone is entitled to a confidential advocate when reporting sexual violence even if the police don’t believe you.”
BAWAR’s 24 hour bilingual and confidential hotline can be reached at (510) 800-4247. BAWAR’s non-urgent requests can be reached at (510) 430-1298.