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Safe Spaces: Let’s Talk About CARE At UCLA

To begin a journey of catharsis, self-understanding and empowerment, we have to start with an initial destination in mind. One on-campus resource that can open that door for many witnesses or survivors of sexual harassment, assault and violence is the Campus Assault Resources and Education program at UCLA (CARE).[bf_image id="q7kmd3-9lwby8-bxrpd6"]What Does CARE Do?

One key difference distinguishing CARE Advocates from the representatives of other campus resources is that they are a confidential source to consult—unlike all UC staff and representatives of the Title IX office, they are not required to report if they speak to students about experiences of sexual harassment or assault. This principle grounds their policy in a survivor-centered approach to guiding anyone that seeks support. Instead of instructing survivors to immediately file a police report or a formal complaint with Title IX, CARE empowers survivors to choose the best option for themselves from as wide an array of options as possible. [bf_image id="smss4n5cp7g7njc8g5px2bc"] CARE groups the services it provides into three categories: Education, Advocacy and Healing.

Firstly, CARE sets out to educate the campus community by providing prevention education and conducting outreach. Any student organization or department may request for a workshop with content tailored specifically to their needs. They may also select from an existing broad range of topics, including but not limited to: rape culture, campus and off-campus resources, bystander intervention, alternative healing practices, domestic violence, and more.

CARE also extensively advocates for survivors by supporting them emotionally and assisting them with accessing additional resources—this could look like accompanying survivors to file police reports, attending Student Conduct interviews and hearings, exploring Title IX processes, seeking crisis intervention and emotional support, and more. All UCLA-affiliated undergraduates, graduate students, professional students, faculty, staff, and alumni are eligible to book an appointment with the CARE Advocates.

Finally, CARE facilitates the healing of survivors from trauma by offering alternative healing paths, which are tailored to individuals. Some alternative healing workshops or spaces that have been created are focused on art, journalling, yoga and meditation. Find the schedule of events at here.

[bf_image id="gt87qhpsp8999ss9fk3jhsjk"] Crucially, CARE is capable of being both a "first responder" to people that have recently experienced sexual assault or harassment and a source of support to people that experienced sexual assault or harassment weeks, months or even years ago. CARE can also connect survivors with psychological therapy resources if survivors decide they want this form of support.

How Can You Get Involved?

Becoming a Peer Educator with CARE is one way to do your own prevention education outreach. Peer Educators facilitate educational presentations and conduct other CARE events—being a Peer Educator entails a weekly commitment of about six hours, including a mandatory one hour meeting and training sessions beginning in Week 6 of Spring quarter. Sign-ups to be a CARE Peer Educator will open soon here.

[bf_image id="q8mpfq848bnghbmh76srmjr"] You may also mobilize your student club or organization to attend workshops that will better inform members on issues specific to conduct or to the purpose of your organization. If you're working with vulnerable groups that may be less able to report and access resources following incidents of sexual harassment or assault, for example, request for a workshop that covers topics like supporting survivors and witnesses to violence and off-campus resources that are accessible to all.

[bf_image id="7f357kf443kcg5x36xf9jf3"] Finally, support CARE's efforts by participating in their events, listening to their podcasts, and watching and sharing their videos. In the process, you will educate yourself as well as show your friends that you will be a source of support should they ever experience such trauma. Many people in your life are probably looking for a way to support their friends or support themselves but have no clue where to start! You're able to open that door for them and show them that there are more paths to healing than what is traditionally discussed.

Staff at CARE work Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. Their office is located on the UCLA campus at Murphy Hall, Suite A223. You may call their main office line at (310) 206-2465 during business hours. For 24/7 crisis counseling, contact staff by dialing 1-888-200-6665. For general inquiries, you may email CARE staff at care@careprogram.ucla.edu. For information or requests about CARE prevention programming and outreach, you may email prevention@careprogram.ucla.edu

Audrey Choong is a Feature Writer for the UCLA Chapter of Her Campus. Currently, she is a 2nd year student Majoring in Economics and Minoring in Urban & Regional Studies from her home in Singapore. Audrey is passionate about community involvement and women's advocacy. In her free time, she loves baking, doodling in her bullet journal and exploring the city.
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