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Gender Discrimination Abroad

The University of Denver's Honor Code and Equal Opportunity/Title IX Procedures prohibit gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation, whether on-campus or off-campus. DU travelers participating on DU international experiences are protected by this policy and are expected to conform to the expectations expressed within it. DU has resources available to help travelers who are abroad and experience any type of gender-based misconduct. DU will work with travelers to inform them of their rights, help support survivors using a wealth of available resources, and help begin the healing process.

Dealing with gender-based misconduct is difficult, and it can be especially difficult to process and navigate through available resources while abroad. The information below is meant to raise awareness of DU's support structures while abroad and to provide options to survivors.

Keep in mind that anyone could be a victim of gender-based misconduct. It touches people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, socioeconomic status, and national origin. Members of the DU community who learn that an individual has experienced unwanted gender-based behavior should also remember that is their job to offer support and to connect that individual to the appropriate resources. They should not attempt to assign blame to any individual or to investigate the matter themselves.

What is Gender-Based Misconduct?

Gender-based misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Non-consensual sexual contact
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Retaliation for reporting misconduct
  • Groundless and malicious complaints

What is Consent According to DU?

Many forms of gender-based misconduct involve unwanted sexual contact or attention without obtaining effective consent from the individual(s) subject to those actions. The University's procedures clearly state that it is the responsibility of the person wishing to engage in sexual conduct to obtain effective consent. The procedures state that effective consent "must be clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is active not passive. Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity" (Office of Equal Opportunity Procedures V.(A.)- Guiding Principles).

For a full review of consent in the University's Procedures, click here and select V. Prohibited Conduct. 

Please note that the DU's policy may define consent in a way that may be different than the definition of consent in your host country. It is important to understand the definition of consent prior to departure.

Medical Attention

Medical attention can be made available for survivors of sexual and relationship violence. This attention can be for physical, emotional, and sexual health needs, as well as to complete a forensic exam. Access to a forensic exam will vary depending on local resources.

A trusted individual on site, such as a resident/faculty director or a DU staff member will often have received training on responding to a disclosure of sexual misconduct. These individuals are in the best position to provide immediate assistance, such as identifying and helping to secure access to appropriate, quality medical care in partnership with International SOS. In most locations, International SOS can provide referrals for compassionate providers experienced in treating survivors of sexual or relationship violence. Medical services, laws, and cultural norms vary from country to country, and if necessary services are not available, International SOS may be able to arrange alternatives in other locations. If language barriers exist, your trusted individual on-site can usually assist with translation. Alternatively, International SOS may be able to provide translation services upon request.

Understanding Confidential Resources

Individuals who wish to speak about their experience without notifying the University of the incident may speak with confidential resources. These confidential resources will not disclose any identifying information to another person or entity without the permission of the student. Confidential resources on the main DU campus include: the Center for Advocacy, Prevention, and Empowerment (CAPE), the DU Health & Counseling Center (HCC), and the DU Chaplain. Depending on the laws of each host country, other on-site staff at host institutions might also serve as confidential resources. Be sure to understand which personnel at your host institution may serve as a confidential resource prior to departing. Also note that limits of confidentiality might exist when:

  • Clear and substantial risk of physical danger to self or others exists. This may include life-threatening situations or where specific others are endangered by perpetrator (e.g., threats).
  • Required by law (e.g. child abuse reporting statute) or court ordered. In this case, efforts are made to protect all sensitive information.

Where information about an incident of gender-based misconduct is disclosed to any university employee who is not a confidential resource, that employee will have an obligation to inform the Office of Title IX about the incident. However, it is important to know that this does not obligate you to file a formal report or cooperate with a formal investigation. This will merely prompt the Office of Title IX to reach out to offer information about resources, reporting options, and any safety concerns. Even where information is reported to the Office of Title IX all personal information and conversations are kept as private as possible. Information is only shared with administrators on a need-to-know basis. Campus Safety, the Office of Title IX, Pioneers Care, faculty leaders, host country on-site staff will all maintain privacy while maintaining compliance. In planning any action by the institution in response to the incident, the wishes of the person who experienced the unwanted behavior are given full consideration.

DU Reporting and Resources

Should a DU traveler experience gender-based misconduct while abroad, know that DU is available to help even from afar. However, DU can only respond to allegations of sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, or other gender-based misconduct if they are reported. Reporting enables the University to promptly provide support to the impacted traveler(s), and to take appropriate action in order to prevent a recurrence and protect the campus community.

Any DU travelers who believe that they may be the victim of gender-based misconduct are encouraged to report to DU through one or more of the following private resources:

Host Country On-Site Staff
Faculty or Staff Director
OIE Study Abroad Advisor 
International Travel Risk Analyst
Campus Safety
Office of Title IX
Pioneers Care: Student Outreach and Support

In addition to the above resources, DU travelers may report gender-based misconduct confidentially to the following campus resources that provide support and guidance:

The Center for Advocacy, Prevention, and Empowerment (CAPE)
Health and Counseling Center
University Chaplain

Other Resources:

International SOS (University's membership number is 11BSGC000067)
U.S. Embassy and Consulates
U.S. Department of State 
International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Sexual Assault Help and Support for Americans Abroad (SASHAA)
It Happened To Alexis

Prevention and Risk Reduction

  • Become familiar with cultural norms and general attitudes of your host culture.
  • All participants in sexual activity are encouraged to engage in clear and continuous communication about which sexual actions are welcome, and which actions are not.
  • Listen to your intuition and know that you have the right to say "NO" to any unwanted sexual encounter.
  • Know that drinking and recreational drug use can impair the judgment of all involved, and that intoxication can affect the ability of any individual to give effective consent.
  • Watch out for your friends, and ask that they watch out for you.