Sexual harassment, assault, and interpersonal violence can happen anywhere. Unfortunately, study abroad programs are no exception. It is important to be remember that different cultures and governments have varying attitudes, societal norms and laws regarding sex, sexuality, harassment and violence. However, respecting and adapting to cultural difference does not mean that you need to submit to behaviors that invade your personal boundaries or that make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Who to Contact
- In an emergency, your first call should be to local authorities or on-site staff as instructed during your on-site orientation upon arrival.
- Additionally, you can contact Gonzaga’s Campus Public Safety and Security Department which maintains a 24-hour emergency hotline. Call the hotline at (509) 313-2222 and the Study Abroad Office will get back to you immediately.
Know the local emergency numbers for police, fire department and calling an ambulance. Save on-site staff phone numbers and local emergency contact numbers to your phone or keep in your wallet or purse.
If you are sexually assaulted or if you want to report on behalf of a friend or fellow student, please note the following:
- Mandated reporters will not notify parents, relatives or emergency contacts.
- Find a place where you feel safe.
- Contact local police or consider contacting Stephanie Whaley, Gonzaga's Title IX Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 313-6910 for questions about medical attention, reporting, and confidential support options.
- Consider seeking medical attention even if you are not seeking evidence collection. It is important to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and to treat possible internal injury.
- Consider talking with a counseling professional who can help you begin to process and understand what happened. This person can help you cope with emotional difficulties that may arise after an assault.
Sexual Violence Prevention While Abroad
- Research, learn and understand your host country’s perceptions, values, attitudes, and laws pertaining towards sexuality, sex and gender, particularly when it comes to dress, speech, eye contact, being alone, etc.
- Follow safety guidelines to minimize risk of becoming a victim.
- Never go out alone. If you are separating from your group, tell someone what you are doing. The better option is to stay with your group/buddy.
- Have a safe plan to/from your residence particularly at night.
- Be alert and informed.
- Do not try to behave like you would in the United States.
- Memorize important phrases in the host country’s language. These could be phrases like “I need help!” or “Where is the nearest clinic?” Alternatively, you could carry a translation booklet or download a translation app on your smartphone.
- Consume alcohol in a responsible, culturally appropriate manner, within the laws of your host country.
- Alcohol impairs judgment which increases your risk of becoming a victim of theft, assault, and sexual violence/misconduct.
- Understand you don’t have to be polite. It is okay to say no.
Different cultures and countries have varying attitudes and norms and laws regarding sex, sexuality, harassment and domestic/relationship violence. It is extremely important to understand how these attitudes and norms differ from the United States.
Sexual Violence Resources
The following are recommended articles and resources about sexual harassment and violence, and prevention:
- Alcohol Safety
- Steps To Prevent Sexual Assault
- Your Role in Preventing Sexual Assault
- What CONSENT Looks Like
- Support at Gonzaga
- Zags Help Zags training at Gonzaga (before you go abroad)
- About Sexual Harassment & Prevention Abroad
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- Title IX explained
- Learning About Other Cultures