2021 Commencement Information
It is the policy of the College to offer ongoing programming each year to reduce the risk of all forms of sexual misconduct. Throughout the year, ongoing campaigns are directed to students, faculty, staff, and administrators that include strong messages regarding awareness and primary prevention—including normative messaging, environmental management, and bystander intervention—and discuss, among other things, California definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and consent in reference to sexual activity. These programs also offer information on how to recognize warning signals and avoid potential attacks without applying victim-blaming approaches. Educational programs are offered to raise awareness for all incoming students and employees and are conducted as part of new student and employee orientation.
Whittier College encourages bystander intervention, as long as students consider their safety first. Bystanders may witness emergencies, crimes, or risky situations that could lead to violence. In such a situation, bystanders have the opportunity to do one of three things: 1) nothing, 2) contribute to the negative behavior, or 3) provide assistance. Proactive bystanders are people that choose to provide assistance and prevent sexual violence.
Sexual violence is supported by cultural norms that let harmful attitudes, aggression, and coercion go unchecked. Proactive bystanders make a difference by preventing acts of violence, by changing our community norms from inaction to action and encouraging others to provide assistance in the future.
To be a proactive bystander, students should:
1. NOTICE an incident as one that needs their assistance. Situations that could benefit from proactive bystander intervention are everywhere, including language that indicates harmful attitudes towards people in situations where someone is too intoxicated to give consent.
2. Take RESPONSIBILITY for intervening. Students are encouraged to be the leader that steps up and takes on the responsibility for doing something or who engages others in intervening as a group.
3. Be READY to intervene by having the skills and practicing. Students are encouraged to learn to delay a situation, distract either person, delegate the intervention to their friends, or be direct in their intervention to stop violence from happening.
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, the suggestions below may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:
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: