Home » Interview » Shedding Light on Sexual Assault

Shedding Light on Sexual Assault

Daniel Tuczinski, Attorney

Daniel Tuczinski, Attorney

Sexual assault is a difficult topic for many. A few weeks ago I watched the documentary called The Hunting Ground  which exposed the issue of sexual assault on America’s college campuses.  I had some questions regarding the film and was able to connect with Daniel Tuczinski of the law firm Tuczinski, Cavalier & Gilchrist PC and the Executive Director of the K2P Network, LLC and get his reactions and insight to the film and the issues behind it.  Daniel Tuczinski has been an attorney for 35 years and has handled many cases involving public safety and legal liability issues.  He is a martial artist and self-defense instructor for the ABC Women’s Self-Defense Program.  He is also a certified Girls on Guard instructor and founding director of the K2P sexual assault, dating, and domestic violence education and prevention programs.

This is the interview with Daniel Tuczinski

 

Question: How involved are you with this issue of sexual assault?

Daniel Tuczinski (DT): I have always been concerned with and devoted to public safety issues. As more information and statistics have been disseminated, I realized the magnitude and scope of sexual assault issues. It became clear to me that intelligent solutions are necessary to change the culture. I thereafter began putting together a program for students and colleges to deal with the many issues associated with sexual and dating violence. I am assembling a team of consultants and instructors including college professors and administrators, physicians, attorneys, martial arts and defensive tactics instructors, law enforcement, sexual assault and domestic violence instructors and students who want to help make a difference. This was the origin of K2P (knowledge to passion and power).

Question: What are your reactions to this documentary?

DT: I was shocked and disappointed over the factual information portrayed in the Hunting Ground. I could not believe that high caliber Colleges and Universities would discount and cover up sexual assault on campuses. I am pleased that the truth is finally being revealed and that the Federal and certain State Governments are finally giving these issues the attention they deserve.

Questions about sexual assault from a legal perspective

 

Question: What is the difference between sexual assault and rape?

DT: The difference between sexual assault and rape depends in part on whether you are applying penal law or legal definitions or general understandings in the definition. Sexual Assault typically encompasses a wide range of violence acts against women which includes sexually motivated activities including unwanted touching, fondling, penetration, and acts including sexual abuse. Such acts can involve forcible compulsion, improper sexual conduct because of underage and other impediments to ability to consent.  Rape is generally considered to be forced sexual intercourse with another person.

Question: What is New York State’s position on saying “no”?

DT: New York State passed “enough is enough” legislation in 2015 to helped clarify that “No” means “No” and that consent to sexual activity or relations is necessary from both parties. If one person does not give complete unequivocal consent, sexual activity is not authorized and permissible.

New York State Law now requires both parties to consent with a verbal “Yes”.

Question: Why are sexual assault cases so hard to prosecute?

DT: Sexual assault cases are hard to prosecute because of human factors. There is still a blame the Victim mentality in criminal cases though there is a shift away from this. Many times women do not report sexual assaults in a timely manner which can compromise the handling of evidence. As women learn their rights this should help with successful prosecutions. Criminal sexual cases often lack strong forensic evidence and or is based on he said she said evidence which can erode confidence in guilt.

Questions regarding the Education Code and the responsibilities of College/Universities as it relates to sexual assault

 

Question: Can you clarify how Title IX of the education code helps victims

DT: Under Title IX mandates schools to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failures. Sex discrimination in education in prohibited. Students have the right to obtain the benefits of their educations without gender based or sexual discrimination. Gender Based or sexual discrimination includes sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.  The rights flowing therefrom give the survivor certain reporting options and access to counseling and support service whether informal or formal disciplinary complaint.

Question: What is a university’s legal responsibility to its students?

DT: A University has significant legal responsibilities to provide a safe and secure learning environment on its Campus. Schools are required to educate students on the legal definitions and requirements of the Jean Cleary act and federal legislation and the New York “enough is enough” legislation. Students must be advised about their legal rights and options including filing a complaint with non-campus police such as the New York State Police.

What can we do?

Self Defense Against Sexual Assault

Self Defense Against Sexual Assault

Together, we can work as a team through education, support, training strategies, self-defense, bystander intervention to help change the Culture.

Question: What recourse is there for victims?

DT: Victims have recourse through the criminal system, the school administration system and the civil tort system to secure a reasonable remedy. Victims need to be given the best resources and support services available without limitation.

Question: As a lawyer, what would you recommend they do if they are sexually assaulted?

DT: As an Attorney I want to see a person who is sexually assaulted receive the best support services available right after the criminal incident. I want to see that person be given access to evidence preservation kits and strong legal counsel at a time counsel is most needed. The victim deserves to have the best legal efforts to help through this tragic time.  Reducing sexual and dating violence requires a collaborative effort between men and women. Together, we can Work as a team through education, support, training strategies, self-defense, bystander intervention to help change the Culture. I am sure that together we will have success!!

 

About

Jeanne started her martial arts training later in life and has been training at SMAA for over 10 years. She likes all aspects of the martial arts from the physical challenges to the spiritual pursuits of martial etiquette and virtue. She has a master degree in marketing and is currently working on her MBA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*