CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mention of sexual assault.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there is help available. At TCU, call the 24/7 confidential counseling helpline at 817-257-7233 or contact Confidential Advocate Ms. Leah Carnahan at [email protected] or 817-257-5225. You can also call the national sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Sexual Assault: sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. (RAINN)
Unfortunately, sexual assault is an issue that faces too many men and women in our society. Even more unfortunately, these survivors are often left unsupported and forced to deal with the trauma alone.
Below is a list of ways for you to best support a survivor that you may know:
The best thing to do if a survivor comes to you is to listen. Don’t talk, and don’t press for answers to questions.
2. Believe Them.
If a survivor has gotten to the point of coming forward about their experience, then they are being courageous. Don’t doubt them, and instead, be the one to believe them. There is no reason to not believe someone with this experience, since only 2% of rape cases are falsely reported.
3. Know Resources.
Know the resources available to survivors, nationally and locally. At TCU, there are many resources available. It’s On Us TCU and the TCU CARE office creates a list of which is included at the beginning of every article this week.
4. Educate Yourself and Get Involved.
Everyone needs to take action toward learning and understanding sexual assault and the culture that contributes to it. Whether it’s your own research or workshops and events hosted on campus or online, any level of learning more about the topic, and how to specifically prevent it (big-picture and locally), makes a difference. For TCU-specific educational opportunities, check out It’s On Us TCU!
5. Intervene as a Bystander.
Bystander intervention is so important to the prevention of sexual assault on college campuses. This can look many different ways, but it is essentially stopping an unsafe situation from continuing before it reaches the point of assault. Look out for behaviors and situations where one party looks uncomfortable or out of control of their body. Then, try to intervene in a harmless way to prevent unnecessarily escalating the situation.
A couple of ideas? Walk up and join the conversation, pretending to be sent over by the uncomfortable party’s friend. Or, you can “accidentally” spill a drink right between them, effectively creating a barrier and an excuse to take the uncomfortable party away to “clean up.” Make sure you’re safe when intervening, and protect yourself too.
Thank you for supporting the survivors around you, and helping to make a difference around you!