Domestic Violence Resources for Employees

Western is committed to assisting employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and employees who have family members who are victims. The following is information for employees who are victims or for co-workers and supervisor who would like to help an employee in need.

Steps to take for leave:

Policies and Procedures

Applicable State Law

Resources through WWU

Campus Police

Takes and investigates reports of violence occurring on university property.


  • 2001 Bill McDonald Pkwy, Bellingham, WA
  • Business Phone: (360) 650-3555
  • Emergency Phone: (360) 650-SAFE (3991)

Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance

Receives reports and investigates complaints of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Coordinates support for survivors.


  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Old Main 345, Bellingham, WA
  • Office Phone: (360) 650-3307
  • Website

Survivor Advocacy Services, Counseling and Wellness Center, WWU

A confidential resource for Western students who are experiencing or have experienced relationship (domestic, dating, intimate partner) violence or abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment. Available to WWU employees who are also enrolled as students.

Survivor Advocacy Services staff can also provide information and assistance to staff and faculty in order to provide better support and services for survivors of sexual violence.


  • Old Main 540
  • Office Phone: (360) 650-7982
  • Website

Human Resources

Assists employees who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and employees who have family members who are survivors. Assists employees with requesting needed leave time from work and information regarding medical benefits.


  • Disability Administrator
  • Humanities 203, Bellingham, WA
  • Office Phone: (360) 650-3774
  • Email:

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Provides confidential professional counseling and legal assistance free of charge.


  • 24/7 EAP Phone Number:  (877) 313-4455

Community Resources

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS)

24-hour hotline, walk-services, support groups, crisis intervention, advocacy services which includes legal (help with protection orders, police reports and court proceedings), medical (support through medical exams following an exam), social service (help navigating social service agencies). Emergency domestic violence shelter (formerly known as WomenCare Shelter)


  • Hotline: (360) 715-1563 or (877) 715-1563
  • Business line: (360) 671-5714
  • Walk-in services: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Address: 1407 Commercial Street, Bellingham, WA
  • Website:

Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline

The Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline is a confidential resource and referral line. Trained advocates are available to assist with advocacy, emergency/crisis assistance, emotional support and safety planning. They can also help find domestic violence resources available in your specific area, such as safe shelter for victims and children, counseling and advocacy programs, legal advocacy and referral


  • (800) 562 – 6025
  • Available 7 days a week, 8 am – 5 pm.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Excellent source of help for concerned friends, family, co-workers and others seeking information and guidance on how to help someone they know. They provide confidential, one-on-one support to each caller and chatter, offering crisis intervention, options for next steps and direct connection to sources for immediate safety.


  • 24 hour hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
  • Live chat:

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. The organization provides many resources about sexual violence, including resources about how to help a loved one who has experienced sexual violence.


  • Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE
  • Website:

Help and Healing

If you’ve been sexually assaulted…

Remember that it was not your fault.  Whatever happened, you did nothing to deserve it.  Sexual assault can happen to anyone and it is never the victim’s fault.

What to do after a rape or sexual assault:

  • Go to a safe place and call the police if you want to report the incident.
  • Seek medical help.  Even if you do not prosecute you need to be seen by a doctor who can check for injuries.  Antibiotic therapy is often started immediately to lessen the likelihood of disease.
  • Do not bathe, douche, or change your clothes, especially if you think you might file charges.  Evidence can be destroyed even by something as simple as drinking water or going to the bathroom.
  • Do not move anything in the place where the assault occurred.
  • Get help.  Call CASAS to talk to a professional staff person who can give you information about available options.  It is always confidential.
  • Seek medical care as soon as possible.  If you want to file a police report, it is best to get care within 24 hours of the assault.  Contact CASAS for information about where to get medical assistance.

What medical services will do:

  • Determine if you have been injured in any way, including injuries you may not be aware of.
  • Screen you for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
  • Collect medical evidence for possible future prosecution.

Seeking medical assistance does NOT obligate you to report the assault to the police.  You have the legal right to decide if you want the police involved.

Increasing Safety in the Relationship:

  • The phone nearest to my home/apartment is located at:
  • I can tell these people about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home/apartment:
  • I can leave extra money, car keys, clothes, and copies of documents with:
  • In case I leave, I will have these important documents in an easy to reach place:
  • If it isn’t possible for me to keep important documents in my possession, I will try to have copies made.

Increasing Safety When the Relationship is Over:

  • I can obtain a protection order from the following places and keep it near me at all times:
  • I can leave a copy of my protection order with this person:
  • I will inform these people to call the police if my partner is observed near my residence/or place of work:
  • I can tell the following people at work about my situation and ask him or her to screen my calls and walk-ins:
  • I can change the locks; install metal doors, smoke detectors, a security system, and outdoor motion sensor lights at home.
  • If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can attend local support groups, call local and/or campus resources, and/or call these people for support:

“When one person helps another it can be such a joyful profoundly satisfying cooperative experience.  I wish to distinguish such a positive heaping experience from the unpleasant and destructive experiences which I call ‘rescues’.” – Claude Steiner

Helping a friend or co-worker who has experienced sexual assault or other abuse can be very difficult.  Often, our first reaction to friends in need is to try to solve all their problems and rescue them from the pain of the assault.  Unfortunately, this kind of rescuing takes away the power of the survivor to help her or himself and gain control, and makes the survivor feel even more helpless.  Here are some suggestions on how to help a friend or co-worker in need without further victimization:

  • Believe what a person tells you about her or his sexual assault or abuse.  Listen, do not judge.
  • Offer to assist the person in getting to a safe place, both physically and emotionally.
  • Reinforce that the assault was not their fault.  Many victims of sexual assault blame themselves.  Reassure them that they are not to blame.  The assailant is completely responsible for the assault.
  • Be patient and understanding.  Survivors have their own timetable for recovery.
  • Accept their choice of solution to the assault – even if you disagree with what they have chosen to do.  It is more important that they feel empowered to make choices and take back control than it is for you to impose what you think is the “right” decision.
  • Let the person know that there are resources to help them
  • Take care of yourself.  If you, as the helper, need someone to talk to, please call a campus or community resource.  Dealing with the sexual assault of a friend can be hard on your health too.

Being sexually assaulted can be a very traumatic experience.  Feelings of violation can evoke many reactions.  This page is designed to assure survivors that they are not alone and their reactions are normal.

An individual who has experience trauma may respond in a wide variety of ways.  Whatever you feel is a natural response to the sexual violence or violent crime.

Natural Responses:

Fear of the rapist
Because of direct threats made by a rapist or because media rape stores sensationalize rape, it is likely that a victim felt that they would either be brutally injured or killed during a rape attack.  Normal fear responses may be quite generalized or specific to the rapist.  The victim’s fear may be particularly strong if the rapist threatened to have them again, as often happens if the rapist suspects the victim will report to the police.  Fear of re-attack under any circumstances in a normal human fear.  The victim is not crazy or paranoid to be fearful.  They need positive reassurance from those around them that life is work living and they need to explore alternate ways of coping with the attack.  Help the victim express and specify their fears.  Encourage them to list all the things they can do to protect themselves, including some things that are unacceptable to them (such as staying home all the time behind heavily locked doors).  Whatever they decide, their plan should be clear in their mind and simple to put into operation even when they are emotionally upset.

The rape victim’s feelings of guilt are difficult for them to deal with and will likely have an effect on their decision to contact the police.  Many victim’s have internalized the prevalent mythology which emphasized the idea that victims are to blame for having been raped.  It is important to let them talk and try to help them define in precise terms what they might have done “wrong” – and what they might have done differently.  Talk to them about what is a ‘Rapable Offense’: hitchhiking? going on a date? asking your neighbor in for a drink? going to a singles bar?  Help them to give responsibility for the assault to whom it belongs – the offender.

Loss of control over their own lives
The rapist has forced the victim to submit to something they did not want to do.  Possible, they harbored some ideas before the rape that rape couldn’t happen to them, that they would be able to resist or that they could take care of themselves.  Since the rapist overcame their resistance by force or fear, they no longer feel sure of anything about themselves and their self-determination.  Sometimes even little decisions like whether to have a cigarette or whether to each become momentous things.  The victim practically has to repossess themselves after the rape took possession by force.  The have to reassert the value of doing things for themselves, they have to insist to themselves that they are worthwhile and that they still have willpower and can control their lives.

The victim may be embarrassed to discuss the physical details of the assault.  Our bodies and sexual activity have always been regarded as private and their privacy has been savagely stripped from them by another.  Telling anyone at all, including medical and law enforcement personnel, may be painful.

Wondering, “Why me?”
Some victims wonder why the rapist chose them.  What is it about them that separates them from others?  These feelings arise from the common mistaken belief that rape happens to victims who “ask for it”, or who in some other way made themselves noticeable.  It may be helpful to them to know that this is a common, normal feeling of rape victims and that anyone can be raped.  To help the victim see this, try to get them to tell you how they came in contact with the rapist before the rape occurred.  The rapist probably maneuvered the situation to lead to the rape.  In short, they should be reminded that the rapist made the decision to assault them.

This can be one of the more healthy feelings felt by rape victims, yet is is not commonly seen immediately after a rape.  When it is seen in the early stages of the rape trauma syndrome, it is often misdirected anger (directed at family, the system, or generalized to all men, it it was a male perpetrator).  If the victim is directing their anger at the rapist, they should be encouraged to express it freely.  If they are misdirecting their anger, try to help them understand what they are doing, and help them to identify the person they are really angry at.  It may be, also, that the victim is angry at themselves for allowing themselves to get into the situation; this is a form of misdirected anger.

How to help the healing process:

Many survivors find it helpful to talk to a counselor trained to understand and assist victims of sexual assault.

Counseling may be useful for recovering a sense of control over your life, thinking through the pros and cons of reporting, getting back on track academically, deciding who will be the best support during recovery, coping with not being believed, or dealing with self blame and loss of confidence.

Support Groups
Western offers a support group, Women Supporting Women, for sexual assault survivors quarterly.  This group is open to anyone who has ever experienced any kind of sexual violence including:

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Molestation
  • Acquaintance or “date” rape
  • Stranger rape
  • Attempted rape

Topics discussed in group include feelings, boundaries, assertiveness, building healthy relationships, healing your sexuality, anger, guilt and coping with stress.

Other ideas for coping and beginning the healing process:

  • Writing in a journal
  • Talking to a trusted friend
  • Volunteering at the local rape crisis center or battered women’s shelter
  • Poetry
  • Music
  • Reading

The Crime and Sexual Assault Services (CASAS) at Western has created a curriculum and workshop to train faculty and staff members to be proactive allies to Western students and employees who have experienced any form of relationship violence or sexual assault called the Safe Space Training.

The workshop explores issues surrounding relationship violence and sexual assault and teach participants to develop listening and support skills.  At the workshop’s conclusion, participants will receive an information packet that includes CASAS brochures, posters, magnets, and resource cards to be displayed in their offices.  Participants will also receive a “safe space/ally” sticker for their office window or door, which will indicate proof of workshop completion and serve as a way to communicate to students that their office is a safe space to disclose information.

It is highly encouraged for faculty and staff to attend one of these workshops and renew the commitment to ending violence at Western.  For further information, please contact the CASAS Survivor Advocacy Services Coordinator at 360-650-7982.

Frequently Asked Questions and Definitions

Abusive Relationship Warning Signs:

  • Your partner is jealous and possessive towards you.
  • Your partner tries to control you by being bossy and never considers your opinions.
  • Your partner scares you, making you afraid of how s/he will react to things you do or say.
  • Your partner has a quick temper and history of violence towards others.
  • Your partner pressures you into doing things that you do not want to do, such as having sex or breaking the law.
  • Your partner abuses illegal drugs and alcohol.
  • Your partner blames you for their problems, including those they brought upon themselves.
  • Your partner has a history of bad relationships.
  • Your partner believes that in relationships men should take the lead and women should follow.
  • Your family and friends have warned you about your partner or told you that they are worried for your safety.
  • Relationship violence includes emotional, physical, and verbal abuse.
  • Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators of relationship violence.

Same sex relationships can also include emotional, physical, and/or verbal abuse.

Domestic violence means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.

What is Rape?

According to the Washington State Rape Law (RCW Chapter 9A.44), rape is defined as: “sexual intercourse between persons without consent. The penetration can be in any form: penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth b an object or a sex organ. Either sex can be the victim or perpetrator of penetration.”

In other words, the following are considered rape, when:

Someone mentally coerces or physically forces you to have sex.

There is penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth made by anything including a penis, finger(s), a bottle, or other object.

Degrees of Rape:

1st Degree Rape: (Felony) Forcible compulsion where the perpetrator or an accessory uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or kidnaps the victim, or inflicts serious physical injury, or feloniously enters into the building or vehicle where the victim is situated.

2nd Degree Rape: (Felony) When first degree circumstances are not met. Forcible compulsion, or when the victim is incapable of consent by reasons of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.

3rd Degree: (Felony) The victim did not consent to sexual intercourse with the perpetrator; and such a lack of consent was clearly expressed by the victim’s words or conduct, or where there is a threat of substantial harm to property rights of the victim.

1st Degree Incest: (Felony) The victim is a known relative: ancestor, descendant, brother, sister; or stepchild, adopted child under 18.

1st Degree Rape of a Child: (Felony) The victim is less than 12 years old and the offender is at least 24 months older than the victim.

2nd Degree Rape of a Child: (Felony) The victim is 12 – 14 years old and the offender is at least 36 months older than the victim.

3rd Degree Rape of a Child: (Felony) The victim is 14 – 16 years old and the offender is at least 48 months older than the victim.

1st Degree Sexual Misconduct with a Minor: (Felony) The victim is 16 – 18 and the offender is at least 60 months older than the victim.


Degrees of Sexual Contact:

2nd Degree Incest: (Felony) The victim is a known relative; ancestor, descendant, brother, sister; or stepchild, adopted child under 18.

Indecent Liberties: (Felony) Not married; and forcible compulsion, or victim incapable of consent, or in supervisory authority over developmentally disabled victim.

1st Degree Child Molestation: (Felony) The victim is less than 12 and the offender is at least 36 months older than the victim.

2nd Degree Child Molestation: (Felony) The victim is 12 – 14 and the offender is at least 48 months older than the victim.

3rd Degree Child Molestation: (Felony) The victim is 14 – 16 and the offender is at least 48 months older than the victim.

2nd Degree Sexual Misconduct with a Minor: (Gross Misdemeanor) The victim is 16 – 18 and the offender is at least 60 months older than the victim.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is deliberate and/or repeated sexual behavior that is not welcome, and not asked for. There are three forms:

  • Physical – touching, pinching, and grabbing body parts, being cornered
  • Verbal – making sexual gestures, looks, jokes, or verbal comments, spreading sexual rumors or making sexual propositions
  • Visual – sending sexual notes or pictures, writing sexual graffiti

Hostile Environment is any sexually oriented conduct or atmosphere that is intimidating or offensive to a “reasonable victim” who is exposed to the sexual harassment of another person.

Quid Pro Quo means “you do something for me, I’ll do something for you” in Latin. Examples of this form of sexual harassment would be trading sexual favors for grades.

The following 3 things have to exist before something is considered sexual harassment:

  • The behavior must be sexual in nature and sex-based.
  • The behavior must be unwelcome and unwanted.
  • The behavior must be deliberate and/or repeated.

Social Definition: Dating/domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors including physical, sexual and psychological attacks against the victim, children, property or pets.

Legal Definition of Domestic Violence: “Physical harm, bodily injury, assault or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm or assault between family or household members.” Household members are people who have resided together or are residing together, have a child in common or are 16 years of older and have been in a dating relationship. Domestic Violence includes violence between spouses, boyfriend/girlfriend, adult child to parents and co-habitants.
Personal myths about domestic/dating violence exist, which need to be looked at in order to learn about domestic violence and anger control. Learning the facts helps to dispel the myths.

Myth: Abuse means physically hurting someone.

Fact: Abuse comes in many forms: physical, verbal, emotional/psychological, sexual. Inflicting fear with words and gestures is also abuse.


Myth: Battering or partner abuse rarely occurs. It’s a thing of the past.

Fact: One out of every four American women (26%) report that they have been physically abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.


Myth: Women who stay in abusive relationships must not really mind the abuse. If they did, they would leave.

Fact: A common misconception is that a woman will be safer if she leaves. In actuality, the danger escalates once she leaves. During separation a woman is five times more likely to be killed by her partner than prior to separation or after divorce.


Myth: Woman are just as violent as men toward their partners.

Fact: Among all female murder victims in 1995, 26% were known to have been slain by husbands and boyfriends. Only 3% of the male victims were known to have been slain by wives or girlfriends.


Myth: Abuse is a private thing that only affects the immediate victim and/or family.

Fact: An estimated 50% of the 256,000 children in foster care are victims of abuse. Those of us who pay taxes spend $2.5 billion in Federal foster care expenditures under Title IV-E.


Myth: Abuse happen elsewhere, but not in my town, not in Bellingham, WA.

Fact: According to 1997 and 1998 Bellingham Police and Sheriff’s arrest reports: A combined number of 2,864 people where charged and/or arrested according to Domestic Violence violations. An additional 2,903 incidents of Verbal Abuse within Whatcom County were investigated and reported.

  • Your partner is jealous and possessive towards you.
  • Your partner tries to control you by being bossy and never considers your opinions.
  • Your partner scares you, making you afraid of how s/he will react to things you do or say.
  • Your partner has a quick temper and history of violence towards others.
  • Your partner pressures you into doing things that you do not want to do, such as having sex or breaking the law.
  • Your partner abuses illegal drugs and alcohol.
  • Your partner blames you for their problems, including those they brought upon themselves.
  • Your partner has a history of bad relationships.
  • Your partner believes that in relationships men should take the lead and women should follow.
  • Your family and friends have warned you about your partner or told you that they are worried for your safety.

Often the victim wakes up in a strange room, having no memory of how they got there. However, looking at their missing clothing and feeling sore, they have a feeling that something has gone wrong. Unfortunately this nightmare does happen. In fact, these tasteless, odorless and colorless drugs are even being used at high school and college parties. These drugs can render a victim incapable of resisting sexual assault. This page was construct to inform people how to party safe and hopefully avoid a similar situation.

Protection Methods:

  • Educate yourself on what drugs are being used, including their appearance and effects. If you identify a drug, leave that situation immediately and contact the police.
  • Party with the buddy system and make sure to check on your friends.
  • Bring your own drinks that can be tightly covered.
  • Do not accept drinks from anyone other than a bartender or waiter/waitress.
  • Do not accept drinks from a punch bowl or other open container.
  • Never leave your drink because a friend left to watch it could easily be distracted.
  • Don’t drink anything that has a funny taste, color or smell.


(AKA: Roofies, Rope, Mexican valium, Roachies or Wolfies):

This drug is a central nervous system depressant that is ten times stronger than valium. The package states that patients may have no recollection of being awake for 6 to 8 hours. In other words, you can appear like you are functioning normally but not remember anything. Combined with alcohol the effects intensify and it can be lethal in large amounts. The pills are blue with a line scored on one side and the word ROCHE with a number 1 or 2 circled on the other side. Also, they think the drink and are coated with a film to slow digestion.

Effects of Rohypnol:

  • Quick intoxication
  • Slower motor skills
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Amnesia/memory impairment
  • Headaches

Tremors Ketamine

(AKA: special K, Ket, Vitamin K, KitKat, Super K, Green and Malcolm X’s)

This drug is much more powerful than Rohypnol and an overdose can result in a coma or death. Usually a white powder or liquid form, this drug is an anesthetic used for farm animals. it takes about 5 minutes to take effect after being inhaled and about 20 minutes in ingested. The first reaction is a powerful hallucinatory trip that usually lasts 20 minutes to an hour.

Effects of Tremors Ketamine:

  • Loss of motor control/difficulty in walking, talking or standing
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Numbness and drowsiness
  • Blocks normal thinking, memory recall and most sensory input
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Physical incapacitation

GHB, Gamma Hydroxybutrate

(AKA: Liquid X, ecstasy, Georgia Home Boys, Easy Lay, Ever Clear, Grievous Bodily Harm, Cherry Meth, Soap, PM and salt water)

GHB is prescribed for narcolepsy and alcoholism. Body builders who believe the myth that GHB helps them lose weight also use it. It comes in a white crystalline powder or a clear, odorless liquid that tastes slightly salty. Therefore, it is usually slipped into Margaritas and other salty drinks. After ingestion, it takes effect in 15 minutes and lasts 3 to 4 hours. It stays in the bloodstream for 4 to 5 hours and can be detected in a urine sample up to 12 hours after ingestion.

Effects of GHB:

  • Users may become violent or aggressive
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Respiratory failure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma


Most people know alcohol’s effects but are unfamiliar with the fact that under the influence of alcohol, sex is not consensual because both parties can’t make clear decisions. Alcohol has its own dangerous effects, but it can also be the carrying methods for other date rape drugs.

If you think you have been drugged:

  • Find a safe escort home.
  • Seek medical attention. Sexual assault is a violent crime and you may have sustained injuries you are not aware of. Doctors can check for internal injuries, test for STD’s and STI’s and give emergency contraception. They will also test your blood and urine for the presence of Date Rape Drugs, if you request it. You have a 72-hour window to be tested for Date Rape Drugs.
  • Call a campus or local resource for additional help and support.

Battering and sexual violence in same-gender relationships are issues rarely talked about. Until recently relationship abuse within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender communities was systematically minimized or completely denied. However, as found by Renzetti (1992), the existence of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in lesbian relationships occurs at approximately the same rate as in heterosexual relationships, one in four. To being talking about this issue we need to educate ourselves and others about the true dynamics of same-gender battering.


Myth: Abuse/battering that occurs in same-gender relationships is usually mutual.

Fact:: True “mutual battering” is rare. A consensual “fight” is not going on. A cycle of violence that includes control and domination by one of the partners is occurring. Many victims will attempt to defend themselves by fighting back.


Myth: Same-gender domestic violence is sexual behavior, a version of sadomasochism. The victims actually like it and agree to it.

Fact:: Domestic violence is not sexual behavior. In S & M relationships, there is usually some contract or agreement about the limits and boundaries of the behavior, even when pain is involved. Domestic Violence involves no such contract. Domestic violence is abuse, manipulation and control that is unwanted by the victim.


Myth: Domestic violence primarily occurs among LGBT people who hang out at bars, are poor, or are people of color.

Fact:: Domestic violence is a non-discriminatory phenomenon; victims as well as violent and abusive offenders come from all walks of life, all ethnic groups, all socioeconomic groups, and all educational levels.


Battering has long been one of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s “best kept secrets”. In some ways, violence in same-gender relationships resembles violence in heterosexual relationships:

  • Violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or verbal
  • The purpose of abuse is to get and maintain control and power over one’s intimate partner.
  • The abused may feel isolated, terrified, and debilitated by the violence.
  • Abuse does not happen all the time, it often occurs in a cyclical fashion.
  • Unpredictable attacks are a part of the tyranny.
  • The victim/survivor may feel as if s/he cannot do anything right.
  • Domestic violence can be lethal.
  • The myth persists that abuse is a relationship problem and may be mutual.
  • A sense of entitlement exists among perpetrators; they believe that they have the right to empower themselves by disempowering others.
  • Abuse in the home severely impacts the children living in that home, whether or not they are the direct recipient of the abuse.
  • Substance abuse may make domestic violence more dangerous and damaging.


In other ways, however, violence in same-gender relationships differs from violence in heterosexual relationships:

  • Lesbians and gay men who have been abused have much more difficulty finding support.
  • The isolation, that already accompanies LGBT person in a society prejudiced against LGBT people is compounded and made worse by domestic violence. The silence about domestic violence among LGBT people further isolates the victim/survivor as well as the perpetrator.
  • Utilizing existing services may be tantamount to “coming out” which is a major life decision.


Support services and friends often minimize domestic violence:

  • The battered women’s movement avoids the fact that women can be as violent and dangerous as men.
  • It is assumed that two men or two women in a fight constitutes a fight between equals.
  • GBT men often reject the idea that they can be victims within their own community.
  • LGBT people approach most shelters, social service agencies, and providers with great caution. Their fear of further victimization through minimizing or disregarding their circumstance remains, along with the fear of rejection and degradation.
  • There are no residential shelter services for GBT men in Bellingham. Bellingham’s LGBT community is small. Privacy is often difficult to maintain. In all likelihood both the survivor and the abuser may lose their privacy, be “outed” or become the subject of gossip.
  • The risk of losing their children to third parties is even greater for lesbian and gay couples when domestic violence is involved.
  • Victims may not be as financially dependent on their partners; and children may not be a consideration as often.

Male Sexual Victimization

Rape and sexual assault happens to men and women, boys and girls.

Myths About Male Sexual Abuse

(Adapted from a presentation at the 5th International Conference on Incest and Related Problems, Biel, Switzerland, August 14, 1991.)

The following myths and facts were adapted from the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization.

Myth #1 – Boys and men can’t be victims.

This myth, instilled through masculine gender socialization and sometimes referred to as the “mach image”, declares that males, even young boys, are not supposed to be victims or even vulnerable. We learn very early that males should be able to protect themselves. In truth, boys are children, weaker and more vulnerable than their perpetrators, who cannot really fight back. Why? The perpetrator has greater size, strength, and knowledge. This power is exercised from a position of authority, using resources such as money or other bribes, or outright threats. Whatever advantage can be taken to use a child for sexual purposes.

Myth #2 – Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males.

Pedophiles who molest boys are not expressing a homosexual orientation any more than pedophiles who molest girls are practicing heterosexual behaviors. While many child molesters have gender and/or age preferences, of those who seek out boys, the vast majority are not homosexual. They are pedophiles.

Myth #3 – If a boy experiences sexual arousal or orgasm from abuse, this means he was a willing participant or enjoyed it.

In reality, males can respond physically to stimulation (get an erection) even in traumatic or painful sexual situations. Therapists who work with sexual offenders know that one way a perpetrator can maintain secrecy is to label the child’s sexual response as an indication of his willingness to participate. “You like it, you wanted it,” they’ll say. Many survivors feel guilt and shame because they experienced physical arousal while being abused. Physical (and visual or auditory) stimulation is likely to happen in a sexual situation. It does not mean that the child wanted the experience or understood what it meant at the time.

Myth #4 – Boys are less traumatized by the abuse experience than girls.

While some studies have found males to be less negatively affected, more studies show that long-term effects are quite damaging for either sex. Males may be more damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization, and by their resultant believe that they must “tough it out” in silence.

Myth #5 – Boys abused by males are or will become homosexual.

While there are different theories about how the sexual orientation develops, experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation. It is unlikely that someone can make another person a homosexual or heterosexual. Sexual orientation is a complex issue and there is no single answer or theory that explains why someone identifies himself as homosexual, heterosexual, or bi-sexual. Whether perpetrated by older males or females, boys’ or girls’ premature, sexual experiences are damaging in many ways, including confusion about one’s sexual identity and orientation. Many boys who have been abused by males erroneously believe that something about them sexually attracts males, and that this may be they are homosexual or effeminate. Again, not true. Pedophiles who are attracted to boys will admit that the lack of body hair and adult sexual features turns them on. The pedophile’s inability to develop and maintain a healthy adult sexual relationship is the problem – not the physical features of a sexually immature boy.

Myth #6 – Boys who are sexually abused will sexually abuse others.

This myth is especially dangerous because it can create a terrible stigma for the child, that he is destined to become an offender. Boys might be treated as potential perpetrators rather than victims who need help. While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is not true that most victims go on to become perpetrators. Research by Jane Gilgun, Judith Becker, and John Hunter found a primary difference between perpetrators who were sexually abused and sexually abused males who never perpetrated: non-perpetrators told about the abuse, and were believed and supported by significant people in their lives. Again, the majority of victims do not go on to become adolescent or adult perpetrators; and those who do perpetrate in adolescence usually don’t perpetrate as adults if they get help when they are young.

Myth #7 – If the perpetrator is female, the boy or adolescent should consider himself fortunate to have been initiated into heterosexual activity.

In reality, premature or coerced sex, whether by a mother, aunt, older sister, baby-sitter or other female in position of power over a boy, causes confusion at best, and rage, depression or other problems in more negative circumstances. To be used as a sexual object by a more powerful person, male or female, is abusive and damaging.


Believing these myths is dangerous and damaging.

As long as society believes these myths, and teaches them to child from their earliest years, sexually abused males will be unlikely to get the recognition and help they need.

As long as society believes these myths, sexually abused males will be more likely to join the minority of survivors who perpetuate this suffering by abusing others.

As long as boys or men who have been sexually abused believe these myths, they will feel ashamed and angry.

And as long as sexually abused males believe these myths they reinforce the power of another devastating myth that all abused children struggle with: that it was their fault. It is never the fault of the child in a sexual situation, through perpetrators can be quite skilled at getting their victims to believe these myths and take on responsibility that is always and only their own.

Simply stated, “stalking” is any unwanted contact between the stalker and the victim that communicates a direct or indirect threat and that causes the victim to fear for his/her safety and/or the safety of family members.

How common is stalking in the United States?

  • 8.2 million (1 out of 12) women and 2 million (1 out of 45) men will be stalked at some point in their lives.
  • 1.4 million people are stalked annually.
  • (Source: Tjaden Report: NVAW Survey, 1998)

Relationship Between Victim and Stalker

  • 77% of female victims know their stalker
  • 64% of male victims know their stalker
  • 60% of female victims are stalked by an intimate partner (current/former spouse, cohabitant, boyfriend, or girlfriend)
  • 30% of men are stalked by an intimate partner (i.e., 70% of men are stalked by an acquaintance or a stranger)
  • (Source: Tjaden Report: NVAW Survey, 1998)

Most Common Types of Stalking Behaviors Reported by Victims

  • Female stalking victims most often report being followed, spied on, and receiving unwanted/harassing telephone calls.
  • Equal percentages of male and female victims report receiving unwanted letters or items, having their property vandalized, and their pets threatened or even killed.
  • Fewer than 50%of both male and female victims report being directly threatened by their stalkers (i.e., majority of stalkers do not threaten their victims verbally or in writing; rather, they most often engage in a course of conduct, than taken in context or as a whole, causes the victim to fear harm).
  • (Source: Tjaden Report: NVAW Survey, 1998)

Common Characteristics of Stalkers:

  • Jealous
  • Narcissistic
  • Obsessive/Compulsive
  • Manipulative/Controlling
  • Socially awkward
  • Views self as victim of society, family, and others
  • Unable to take “no” for an answer
  • Deceptive
  • Difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Unable to cope with rejection
  • Dependent on others for sense of self
  • Blames problems on others
  • Above-average intelligence

4 Different Stalking Types

  1. Love Obsessed Stalker
  • Stalker has had no relationship or only a very casual relationship with the victim (e.g., stranger, neighbor, coworker, classmate, acquaintance)
  • Mental disorders
  • Delusional thought patterns
  • Socially insecure
  • Low self-esteem
  • Victims include celebrities, athletes, politicians, and ordinary people
  1. Erotomanic Stalker
  • Stalker has no personal relationship with the victim, but believes he/she is loved by the victim
  • Mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia or paranoia)
  • Delusional
  • Little or no history of romantic involvement
  • Lives a “fantasy” life
  • Victims are most often celebrities, or public figures
  1. Simple Obsession Stalker
  • Stalker has had personal relationship, most often intimate relationship with the victim (e.g., spouse, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, casual date)
  • Personality disorders
  • Socially maladjusted
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Dependent on the partner for self-worth
  • Low self-esteem
  • Controlling and domineering toward partner
  1. Domestic Violence-Related Stalker
  • Most common and dangerous type of stalking
  • Domestic violence victims run a 75% higher risk of being murdered by their partners
  • Highest risk to domestic violence victim is when she leaves her abusive partner; stalking often begins or escalates at this point


Online stalking is rising as technology continues to develop. Examples of online stalking include:

  • Unwanted/unsolicited e-mail
  • Unwanted/unsolicited talk requests in chat rooms
  • Disturbing messages on bulletin boards
  • Unsolicited communications about you, your family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers
  • Identity theft
  • Spending/posting disturbing messages with your user name
  • 25% of the stalking incidents among college women involve cyberstalking

Internet Safety Tips:

  • Don’t use your real name or nickname as your screen name or user ID. Instead, use a name that is both gender and age neutral and don’t post personal information about yourself in your user profile.
  • Don’t share your password with anyone online, especially if you receive an instant message.
  • Don’t provide your credit card number or other personal information as proof of age to access or subscribe to a website you’re not familiar with.
  • Don’t share your primary e-mail address with people you don’t know or trust.
  • When you chat online or post to a newsgroup or mailing list, be careful and only express thoughts/ideas that you would be willing to say in a face-to-face conversation.
  • Exercise caution when meeting an online acquaintance in person; if you do choose to meet the person, make sure you meet in a public place and, if possible, bring a friend.
  • If you receive an angry/hostile electronic message, do not respond since this is how some online harassment situations begin.
  • If you feel that you need to respond, make it clear to the person that you would not like him/her to contact you again.
  • If a situation becomes hostile, log off or surf elsewhere; if the situation places you in fear, save any messages you have received and contact a local law enforcement agency.
  • Keep copies of all electronic messages you receive or unwanted online communications. Do not edit or alter them in any way and place them in a separate folder on your hard drive or on a diskette. Also, print out hard copies of all messages, chat logs, etc.
  • Notify the University Policy and Human Resources (650-3774).

What you can do to protect yourself:

  • Know what the definition of stalking means.
  • If you think you are being stalked, don’t hesitate to call the police, the campus police or Human Resources.
  • If your stalker is someone you know, don’t tiptoe around how you feel. People in our society are taught to not except no as an answer. If you tell someone that is stalking you that “you just want to be friends” or “I’m not ready for a relationship” then you are leaving room for the possibility that he/she has a chance at a relationship with you in the future.
  • Tell someone. Remember that the law about stalking is made to protect the victim. It can only make things better.

How to collect evidence of stalking:

  • Document all incidents (keep a stalking log or journal)
  • Photographs
  • Affidavits from witnesses
  • Videotapes
  • Answering machine tapes
  • Preserve all evidence
  • Letters, notes, e-mail
  • Answering machine messages
  • Photographs of damaged property, etc.
  • Gifts

Rape/Sexual Assault General Characteristics:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, victims of rape and sexual assault report that in nearly 3 out of 4 incidents, the offender was not a stranger.  Based on police-recorded incident data, in 90% of the rapes of children younger than 12, the child knew the offender. Two-thirds of the victims 18 to 29 years old had a prior relationship with the rapist.  (Greenfield, et al, 1997.  Sex Offences and Offenders:  An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault.  Department of Justice.)
  • 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female and 9% are male.  Nearly 99% of the offenders they described in single-victim incidents are male.  (Violence Against Women,Bureau of Justice Statistics, USDOJ, 1997.)
  • In 29% of rapes, the offender used a weapon. (lbid.)
  • Around the world at least 1 woman in every 3 has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.  Most often the abuser is a member of her own family.  (Population Reports:  Ending Violence Against Women, 2000.  Population Information Program,Center for Communications Programs.  Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Center for Healthcare Gender Equity.)
  • Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police. (Kilpatrick et al., 1992.  Rape in America:  A report to the nation.  National Victim Center.)


  • At least 45% of rapists were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994.  Violence Against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • Only 2% of rapists are convicted and imprisoned.  (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee: Conviction and Imprisonment Statistics, 1993.)
  • In the 1994 Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape, college aged men were asked about their sexual behavior.  Without using the word “rape”, men were asked if they had participated in specific acts that met the definition of rape, attempted rape, sexual coercion, and unwanted sexual contact, for example, “Have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman when she didn’t want to by threatening or using some degree of physical force?”  The results showed that 2,971 college men reported committing: 187 rapes, 157 attempted rapes, 327 episodes of sexual coercion, 854 incidents of unwanted sexual contact.  (Warshaw, 1994.)
  • In the same report, 84% of the men who committed rape said what they did was definitely not rape and 1 in 12 of  the male students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.  (lbid.)

Acquaintance Rape:

  • 77% of completed rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim.  (Bureau of Justice Statistics.  Sex Offenses and Offenders, 1997. U.S. Department of Justice.)
  • In a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S., 84%knew their attacker, and 57% of the rapes happened on dates.  (Warshaw, 1994.)
  • In 29% of rapes, the offender used a weapon. (lbid.)
  • 13.3% of college women indicated that they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation.  (Johnson, et al, 2000.  “Forced Sexual Intercourse Among Intimates, ” Journal of Interpersonal Violence.)

Sexual Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Individuals (LGBT):

  • In a sample of 412 university students, 16.9% of the subjects that reported that they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual; the remainder identified themselves as heterosexual.  Of the lesbian, gay, bisexual subjects 42.4% (30.6% female and 11.8% male) and 21.4% of the heterosexuals (17.8% female and 3.6% male) indicated that they had been forced to have sex against their will.  (Duncan et al., 100. “Prevalence of Sexual Assault Victimization Among Heterosexual and Gay/Lesbian University Students.” Psychological Reports, 66.)
  • In a study of 162 gay men and 111 lesbians, 52% reported at least one incident of sexual coercion b same-sex partners.  Gay men experienced 1.6 incidents per person, while lesbians experienced 1.2 incidents per person.  (Waldner-Haugrud, et al., 1997.  “Sexual Coercion in Gay/Lesbian Relationships: Descriptives and Gender Differences.” Violence and Victims, 12 (1))
  • 15% of men who lived with a man as a couple reported being raped/assaulted or stalked by a male cohabitant.  (Saltzman, et al., 1999.  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Intimate Partner Violence Surveillance:  Uniform definitions and recommended data elements.)

Male Victims of Sexual Assault:

  • An estimated 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.  (Tjaden and Thoemmes, 1998.)
  • Male rape accounted for about 8% of all rapes.  Crimes including rapes that occurred in an institutionalized setting (such as prison, hospital or the military) were not measured in the survey.  (National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice, 1992).
  • Estimates suggest that males account for 25% to 35% of child sexual abuse victims.  (Finkelhor, “Current Information to the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse”, 1994.)

Sexual Violence Against Women of Color:

  • 1 in 4 women residents of Los Angeles County reported at least one incident of an attempted or completed rape since the age of 18.  (Koss and Harvey, 1991. The Rape Victim: Clinical and Community Interventions.)
  • 44.8% of African-American women, 38% of white women, 25.6% of Latinas, and 21.1% of Asian-American women had a history of child sexual abuse.  The rates for adult rape show African-American women disclosing the highest rate of 37.9%, followed by white women (25.5%), Latinas, (17.9%), and Asian-Americans  at 10.5%.  More than half (61.5%) of the African-American women who were sexually abused in childhood reported rape as an adult, white women (44.2%), Latinas (40%), and Asian-Americans (25%).  (Urguiza and Goodin-Jones, 1994.)

Partner Rape:

  • Nearly 25 million women and 7 million men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998.)
  • Sexual assault is reported by 33% to 46% of women who are being physically assaulted by their husbands.  (American Medical Association, 1995.)
  • A study of a random sample of 930 women age 18 or older indicated that nearly 14% of the women who had ever been married were the victims of at least one completed or attempted rape by their husbands or ex-husbands. (Russell, 1990.  Rape in Marriage.)

Campus Sexual Violence:

  • 22% of all rape victims are between the usual college ages of 18 – 24. (Kilpatrick, et al., 1992.)
  • 75% of male students and 55% of female students involved in date rape had been drinking or using drugs.  (Koss, 1998. “Hidden rape: Incident, Prevalence and descriptive characteristics of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of college students.”  Rape and Sexual Assault, Vol. 2.)
  • In a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S.:
    • 1 in 4 women had been victims of rape or attempted rape
    • 84% of those raped knew their attacker, and 57% of the rapes happened on dates
    • Only 27% of the women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape thought of themselves as rape victims
    • 42% of the rape victims told no one about the assault, and only 5% reported it to the police (Warshaw, 1994.)

Physical Violence:

  • About 85% of victimizations by intimate partners in 1998 were against women.  Women were victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males.  (Rennison and Welchans, 2000.  Intimate Partner Violence, Bureau of Justice Statistics.)
  • In 1998, there were 1,932 females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents.  More than 12 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers.
  • 60% of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.  (FBI Supplemental Homicide Report, 1998.)

An employee may take reasonable leave from work, intermittent leave, or leave on a reduced leave schedule, with or without pay to:

  • Seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or employee's family members including, but not limited to, preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Seek treatment by a health care provider for physical or mental injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or to attend to health care treatment for a victim who is the employee's family member;
  • Obtain, or assist a family member in obtaining, services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other social services program for relief from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Obtain, or assist a family member in obtaining, mental health counseling related to an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or talking, in which the employee or the employee's family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
  • Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee's family members from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Family member includes any individual whose relationship to the employee can be classified as a child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or person with whom the employee has a dating relationship.

Dating relationship means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors that the court may consider in making this determination include: (a) The length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties.

Sexual assault means one or more of the following: Rape or rape of a child; assault with intent to commit rape or rape of a child; incest or indecent liberties; child molestation; sexual misconduct with a minor; custodial sexual misconduct; crimes with a sexual motivation; or an attempt to commit any of the aforementioned offenses.

The employee must give their supervisor and Human Resources at least 30 days advance notice or when practicable of his/her intention to take leave. When advance notice cannot be given because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the employee or his or her designee must give notice to the employer not later than the end of the first day that the employee takes such leave.

An employee is required to provide only Human Resources with the information in # below to establish that the employee's leave is protected under this provision. An employee is not required to produce or discuss any information with Human Resources beyond the documentation required or information that would compromise the employee's safety or the safety of the employee's family member in any way.

The employee is expected to provide the documentation in a timely manner, however in the event that advance notice of the leave cannot be given because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and the employer requires verification, verification must be provided to the employer within a reasonable time period during or after the leave.

  • A police report indicating that the employee or employee's family member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
  • A court order protecting or separating the employee or employee's family member from the perpetrator of the act of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or other evidence from the court or the prosecuting attorney that the employee or employee's family member appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in court in connection with an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking,
  • Documentation that the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, from any of the following persons from whom the employee or employee's family member sought assistance in addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking: An advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; an attorney; a member of the clergy; or a medical or other professional, or
  • An employee's written statement that the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and that the leave taken was for one of the purposes described in RCW 49.76.030.

Employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources prior to discussing their need for leave with their supervisor. Human Resources will work with the employee and his/her supervisor to facilitate the leave request in the most confidential manner.
Human Resources will maintain confidentiality of all information provided by the employee under this provision including the fact that the employee or employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, that the employee has requested or obtained leave under this chapter, and any written or oral statement, documentation, record, or corroborating evidence provided by the employee.
Information given by an employee may be disclosed by an employer only if:

  • Requested or consented to by the employee;
  • Ordered by a court or administrative agency; or
  • Otherwise required by applicable federal or state law.

An employee who is approved to be absent from work under this provision may elect to use any of their accrued leave, 180 med leave, holidays, compensatory time, or unpaid leave time. Effective October 1, 2008, employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking may apply for shared leave donations.

Benefits will not be impacted as long as the employee receives at least one day (8 hours) of pay during a calendar month. If the employee is in leave without pay for the entire calendar month, the employee may continue coverage of health, dental, and life insurance by self-paying the group premium rate, up to the maximum amount of time allowed under WAC 182-12-133.