sexual assault

Tennessee Watson

Students walked out of class at the University of Wyoming Monday to draw attention to the administration’s handling of sexual assault. The organizers believe the school should be doing more, so they drafted a letter to UW President Laurie Nichols outlining a list of actions that should be taken to improve safety on campus.

 

This follows a recent report of sexual assault by an unknown perpetrator in a UW parking lot.

 

Darrah Perez

Half of American Indians living in native majority areas say they or a family member feel they’ve been treated unfairly by the courts, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s a lack of justice that Wind River Reservation residents say they live with every day. Now the tribes are working together to solve the problem.

One morning, Northern Arapaho member Rose was sitting at the table with her 14-year-old daughter, Latoya.

No More

UW’s football game against Fresno State on Saturday, November 18, will promote the “No More” campaign, which aims to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Tennessee Watson

The University of Wyoming Police received a report that a woman was tackled and sexually assaulted by an unknown suspect walking across the East Stadium parking lot Friday evening.

 

According to a statement issued by UW, the victim would like to remain anonymous at this time, but evidence has been collected should the victim choose to make a formal report in the future.

Tennessee Watson

Both private and public institutions are bound by federal law to respond to reports of sexual harassment and abuse. In the workplace, it’s Title 7. In educational settings, it’s Title 9. But this fall the U.S. Department of Education announced it plans to overhaul the guideline. In response, UW law students organized a panel of university administrators to discuss potential changes. A Laramie attorney — who has represented a student facing sexual misconduct violations — spoke out at the event.

University of Wyoming

#metoo started flooding social media following the news about film producer Harvey Weinstein. Now the campaign has extended beyond women in Hollywood  inspiring millions of people to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. But what happens when students come forward at the University of Wyoming? This is the third story in a series looking at Title IX and schools responsibility to respond to sexual misconduct.

UW College of Law

From immigration policy to environmental regulations to sexual harassment, Law Week at the University of Wyoming tackles timely and contentious legal topics. Starting October 16, the week of panel discussions hosted at the College of Law is open to the public.

Cut It Out program

Last year, Illinois passed legislation that requires cosmetologists to receive domestic abuse prevention training as part of their licensing process. Many people form strong bonds with their hair stylist. Now Wyoming is interested in turning to cosmologists for help spotting abuse in a similar way.

Katie Hughes works for the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the organization offering the training. She said the Cut It Out Program will teach hair stylists to understand the dynamics of abuse, how to offer support and where to refer victims to services.

Tennessee Watson

In August we reported on a University of Wyoming student who filed a Title IX complaint with the federal government about the handling of her sexual assault. Since then Education Secretary Betsy Devos initiated an overhaul of the Title IX guidelines, bringing concern about higher education’s handling of sexual violence to national attention.

University of Wyoming

Obama era regulations, which increased protections for campus sexual assault survivors, are in the process of being removed. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it intends to overhaul federal Title IX guidelines regarding how schools should respond to sexual violence.

 

Google Maps. Stars added by Tennessee Watson

Natrona County, Laramie County School District #1 and Albany County Schools are all under federal investigation for their handling of sexual violence. The districts are three of 137 nationwide under review by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for Title Nine compliance issues.  

Title Nine is the federal act that prohibits sex discrimination and obligates all federally funded educational institutions to protect students from gender-based violence.  

Tennessee Watson

On July 6, 2017, the University of Wyoming came under federal investigation for its handling of reports of sexual violence made last year. The student who filed the complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said she came forward with the hope of strengthening the university’s policies and procedures. 

Maggie Mullen / 1989

The Casper Police Department will host the second and final public panel on sexual assault Wednesday, June 21. The series began after 30 women told the Casper City Council they believed the police neglected or mishandled their cases.

Max Pixel freely distributed with a Creative Commons Zero - CC0.

  

When it comes to sexual assault in the U.S., the majority of victims will not make a report, and Wyoming is not much different than the rest of the country.

    

    

Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley has been involved in sexual assault investigations since 1974. He said he’s come across many cases where he knew a rape took place, but he wasn’t able to move forward with it

    

    

Casper Police Department’s Facebook

UPDATE: Shortly after this story originally aired, Interim City Manager Liz Becher announced that Police Chief Jim Wetzel will no longer serve in that role. According to the press release, “the City of Casper has decided to go in a new direction in the leadership of the Casper Police department.”

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year organizations across the country are focusing on the theme of “Engaging New Voices.” This is work the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault does year round. The coalition links organizations in every Wyoming county.

For example, the Community Safety Network, has for the last 35 years offered services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. They operate a confidential helpline and a shelter, and they work with survivors to create safety plans.

Wikimedia Commons

A Take Back the Night candlelight vigil honoring the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence will take place 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Prexy’s Pasture on the University of Wyoming campus. Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard sat down with Sydney Stein – a senior in the Visual Culture of Gendered Activism class that organized the event – to talk about why they put this together.

Maggie Mullen

The Casper Police Department hosted a community panel on sexual assault Thursday night, following the complaints of over 30 women that claim law enforcement mishandled their sexual assault cases.

The panel included representatives from sexual assault related services, including the Self Help Center, the Casper Police Department's Victim Services, the Child Advocacy Project, Wyoming Medical Center, as well as District Attorney Mike Blonigen and Chief of Police Jim Wetzel who discussed how they try to help victims.

Maggie Mullen

In the last year, over 30 women have approached the Casper City Council to express their frustration with how the Casper Police Department dealt with their sexual assault cases. The women allege that their cases were either mishandled or neglected by law enforcement.

It’s a quiet afternoon in Casper, shortly before Aimee Kidd will need to leave her house to go pick her children up from school. On her lap, is her 5-month old daughter, Noèmie.

Casper Police Department Facebook page

The City of Casper has set up a community panel discussion regarding how police handle sexual assault complaints.

More than 30 women have accused the Casper Police Department of mishandling or neglecting reports of sexual assault.

Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel announced the panel discussion at Tuesday’s city council meeting and said the hour-long panel is meant to inform and educate the public on the legal, investigative, prosecutorial, and victim services issues of sexual assault.

University of Wyoming

On Wednesday, the University of Wyoming launched a new sexual assault prevention program.

President Laurie Nichols sent a letter out to all UW community members citing concern with the prevalence of sexual assault in higher education.

According to her research about one in five women and 6 percent of men are victims of sexual assault while in college. In response she launched a working group to pull together diverse strategies into a comprehensive response, which she said is unique.

Laramie County Community College is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for allegedly discriminating on the basis of sex in its response to a complaint of sexual violence. Representatives from the Office for Civil Rights were scheduled to appear on campus September 13 and 14.

MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming Police Department reported 14 campus sexual assaults in 2015. That’s up from nine sexual assaults the year before.

Police Chief Mike Samp says this year’s number is just shy of a record 15 sexual assaults at the University in 2013.

“It’s consistent with some of our higher years that we’ve ever had reported,” says Samp. “We think the vast majority of those are possibly due to increased reporting options—making sure that students are aware it’s okay to come forward. We hope that we’re not seeing an increase in the actual number of sexual assaults.”

NAWHERC

April is sexual assault awareness month, and a Native advocacy group is handing out free copies of a new booklet on reservations around the country called “What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls.”           

NAWHERC

  

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a good time to talk with the editor of a new book being handed out for free to Native women around the country called What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook For Native Girls

Melodie Edwards

For victims of violent crime on the Wind River Indian Reservation, finding help and safety after an attack can be hard. A lack of funding means there are very few services for crime victims there. Recently, the only safe house for victims of sexual assault on Wind River closed down when its funding went dry, forcing victims to risk traveling to nearby towns to shelters off the reservation. But a new bill recently introduced in Congress would make it easier for tribes to get money to run their own safe house.  

U.S. Senator John Barrasso and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs have introduced a bill to help Native American tribes get better access to federal funds meant to help crime victims. In the last five years, tribes have received less than one percent of the federal victims’ funding available, even as crimes like homicide and sexual assault continue to rise on reservations.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Flickr Creative Commons

Someone was sexually assaulted on the University of Wyoming campus on the very first day of classes this year. It wasn’t an isolated incident. Between 2011 and 2013, 27 sexual assaults were reported to campus authorities.

UW Police Chief Mike Samp says the problem is much worse than we know.

“According to FBI statistics, only about 1 in 10 victims ever report it to law enforcement, so although that number may seem high, we could actually have much higher number of victims out there,” Samp says.

Melodie Edwards

By some estimates, sexual assault on U.S. Indian reservations is the worst in the world with one in three Native women assaulted during their lifetime. Unbelievably, it’s higher even than war-torn Serbia or the Republic of Congo. And the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming is no exception.

Credit National Sexual Violence Resource Center

April is sexual assault awareness month, and here in Wyoming a new law now offers stricter protections for victims. Becca Fisher is the Executive Director of Laramie’s SAFE project – a crisis center for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. She talked with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard about the progress and challenges still facing sexual assault awareness in the state.

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