• Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Violence

    The assistance you can offer will depend on the nature, timing and ongoing effects of the incident(s).

    If a student turns to you in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault (within approximately 120 hours of the incident):

    • Help the student find a safe environment
    • Advise the student to seek medical attention as soon as possible. We recommend Regions Hospital (SANE)
    • Advise the student to preserve evidence.
    • Let the student know you are not confidential and if that is what they want/need, get them to that resource.

    If you learn that a student is being harassed or stalked:

    • Encourage the survivor to ask that the behavior stop if safe.
    • Encourage the student to document incidents and keep evidence.
    • Refer the student to appropriate campus authorities.

    Blaser Model - by Cordelia Anderson

    Believe - Research shows that overwhelmingly people don’t lie about sexual violence and being believed is essential.
    Listen - Carefully, respectfully, and as non-judgmentally as possible.
    Affirm - What the person is saying/feeling without imposing your own feelings or beliefs.
    Support - The person for coming forward.
    Empower - Pay attention to clues about how they feel. Let them make decisions about what they want to do or see happen.
    Refer - Just as they came to you for help, you need to go to someone else for help.

    What should you communicate to a survivor?

    Do Communicate:

    • “I’m sorry that this situation has happened."
    • “It’s not your fault”
    • “You are not alone”

    Do communicate that the Title IX Coordinator will need to be informed and you want to discuss what the survivor's options are for reporting and for support.

    • “I want to help connect you with resources on campus. We have confidential resources as well as others like our Title IX Office.”

    Do find out if they are safe in their classes, living environment, and other activities on campus. Let them know that the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy can and will help support them and assist with accommodations on campus.

    Also remember to:

    • Be calm. If you are in crisis the victim may feel the need to take care of you rather than themselves. Be aware if the importance of separating your own experiences and emotions from them.
    • Be informed. Learn about the services available for victims on campus and in the community and be able to assist them in connecting to resources. [link to Get Help Now]
    • If they choose to report to law enforcement and/or the University, support them in that choice. And, if they want to talk to a confidential resource help them connect there as well.
    • Understand that it is normal for the person to experience a wide range of emotions and reactions.

    What are the signs that a student may have experienced sexual violence?

    When sexual contact isn’t consensual, the aftermath can be devastating to the victim both in and out of the classroom.Survivors may experience anxiety and fear, difficulty in relationships, and/or a drop in academic performance— some may withdraw/transfer or drop out of school.

    Additionally, there may be:

    • Shock and disbelief
    • A feeling of “why me?”
    • Guilt
    • Denial
    • Flashbacks/nightmares
    • Acute distress/severe anxiety
    • Confusion
    • Multiple fears (of death, rapist, or other situations)
    • Depression (helplessness/hopelessness)
    • Anger
    • Loss of self-esteem
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Dysfunctional behaviors
    • Crying

    Please note: not all students experience these signs or symptoms, and some may occur because of other issues.

    Did you witness someone harassing, abusing, or acting violently toward others?

    In this case you have a role in prevention through bystander intervention. Through awareness and action, you can be the person who stops a situation from escalating or continuing. We encourage you to use the SEE Model: Safe Responding, Early Intervention, and Effective Helping.

    Safety First. The welfare of the student and the campus community is the top priority when a student displays or threatens violent behavior. Coordinated professional help and follow-up care are essential.

    Trust Your Instincts. It is important to pay attention to your gut feelings. Seek consultation from the Title IX Office, Dean of Students Office or Safety and Security. Promptly report safety concerns or conduct code violations.

    Listen Sensitively and Carefully. Distressed students need to be heard and helped, but they may have difficulty articulating their feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, feel confused, or have thoughts of harming themselves or others.

    Be Proactive. Use syllabus to inform students in writing of the expectations for campus/classroom conduct including the Title IX Statement and devote time to reviewing this information with your students.

    Avoid Escalation. Distressed students can be sensitive. Use the expertise and personnel to help them. The Dean of Students Office and Counseling and Health Services can help you identify appropriate resources. We have a behavioral consultant team that can be brought together by either by the dean of student’s office or counseling and health services. We will talk with you, hear your concerns, and work to create solutions and assistance.

    Help Them Get Help. Refer the student to campus departments or offices that have the expertise and personnel to help them. The Counseling and Health Services along with the Dean of Students Office and/or Title IX Office can help you identify appropriate resources.

    Work as a Team. Share information and consult with the appropriate university officials to coordinate care and follow-up for the student. Violent, threatening, or persistent inappropriate behaviors should always be reported to the Dean of Students Office, Title IX Office, and/or Safety and Security Office.