Police Officer Gennifer Baker talks about resources on campus
North Dakota State University Police work with students to report crimes of sexual assault. By understanding the laws and process around sexual assault, survivors are able to understand their rights and options for resources.
According to NDSU, “Sexual assault” is an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system. A sex offense is any act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
Gennifer Baker is a North Dakota State University Campus Police officer. She explained the process of how campus police handles sexual assault cases. ”The victim is the one that has to report it to us,” said Baker. To first report the case, survivors can come into the campus police office, hospitals often help connect survivors to the police as well. NDSU faculty and staff will help connect those who have faced sexual assault with the campus police or other resources as well.
By reporting a sexual assault case, the police first connect a survivor to medical help if needed. After the assault is reported to the police, they will ask some clarifying questions to understand the situation. ”It’s up to them how much they want to disclose to us,” said Baker. Some of the questions they will ask will be about the perpetrator and if the survivor knows who they are.
Some of the process is figuring out who the perpretrator is, explained Baker. “Just interviewing as many people as we can that may or may not have known something about it,” said Baker. Finding witnesses or people that may have been told about the assault is important for evidence in a future legal trial. The report then goes to the state attorney’s office, where it would be decided if it would be charged. Depending on assault, the report could be charged as a misdemeanor or a federal crime.
Gennifer Baker also holds a self defense class to help people become more confident in their skills. She helps people run through the “what if” scenarios so people can prepare for these situations. She hopes that the people who take the class feel more empowered at the end of the class. “So hopefully, if it was to ever happen, it wouldn’t be such a shock,” said Baker.
At NDSU, 4 rape cases and 3 fondeling cases were reported in 2020. In North Dakota at least 50% of the adult assaults were rape, 7% attempted rape and 43% were sexual contact other than rape or attempted rape. The 51% of the crimes were reported to law enforcement in North Dakota, according to CAWS.
Click here to find your rights as a sexual assault survivor in North Dakota.
Click here to find NDSU sexual assault definitions and records.