What is Sexual Violence? It is a Crime!

What terms will help me understand the way the College responds to reports of sexual violence?


Victim, Survivor, Victim/Survivor:

“Terms used interchangeably by people who have experienced sexual assault and by the professionals who interact with them. ‘Victim’ is often associated with the early trauma following a rape of sexual assault and emphasizes the fact that a crime has been committed. The terms ‘survivor’ and ‘victim/survivor’ emerged as part of the sexual assault victim’s rights movement to describe individuals who have experienced a violent incident, but no longer want any association with the perpetrator or the stigma of being viewed as remaining under the rapist’s influence and control. In other words, the victim is now dealing with the trauma of the crime, which has been put into a perspective that allows her, as a survivor, to go on with life without the extensive, negative disruption created by the assault.



Confidentiality is a guarantee that no information will be shared with third parties without the reporter’s permission. Licensed mental or physical health workers are held to standards of confidentiality as prescribed by their professions. The only exception to confidentiality by those licensed workers is if there is an imminent danger of harm to self or others, in which cases these professionals are required by law to notify the police of that danger.



Information contained in a student’s educational record is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). In general, FERPA guarantees privacy of records for all students. FERPA assures that only individuals at any college who have a “legitimate educational need to know” may access a student’s record. (For the full college policy on FERPA see http://www.purchase.edu/studenthandbook


Confidential Non-actionable Incident Report (CNA):

This is a written report of an incident involving sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking. A verbal report of an incident of sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking to any college staff member with the exception of University Police and the staff of Health Services and the Counseling Center will result in the filing of a CNA. The victim may choose to write the CNA, or to have the staff member write it on their behalf. In either case, the CNA is forwarded to the Grant Coordinator, and no further action is taken unless the victim chooses to pursue either criminal or campus disciplinary action.


Dell Publishing (1994). American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed.). New York. Fisher, B., Cullen, F., and Turner, M. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women: Findings from two national-level studies. Washington, DC: National

[i] (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1996).

[ii] (CALCASA Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides p.28

[iii] (National Criminal Justice Association, 1993).

[iv] For discussions of stalking behaviors, see both Hall, _____ etc. 1998; and Orion, ___1997. [v] Levitz-Spitz, ____________.

"Stalking: Terrorism at our Doors - How Social Workers Can Help Victims Fight Back,” Social Work, October 2003, 58(4) p. 504.

Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics. [On-line]. Available: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf