Content warning: This story mentions rape and sexual assault. As college students, we have to prepare for early morning exams, senior internship interviews, and unfortunately, protecting ourselves on campus. While it never should happen, there may come a time when you, or someone close to you, is affected by an unwanted sexual advance. If an uncomfortable situation like this happens to arise in your life, please know that you are not alone in dealing with the aftermath of it.
Thanks to the open conversations Gen Z is having around sexual violence and prevention, there’s a vast collection of resources available that can meet you where you’re at in your healing journey. And when it comes to getting help during such an unimaginable time, know that it is one of the strongest — and most important — things to do. No matter the circumstance, it is not your fault or your friend’s fault for being assaulted, and it’s important to remember that. As long as you’re making choices that honor your emotions and respect your boundaries, you are doing everything possible that you can do for yourself, and that’s more than enough. Here are nine important resources for students who have been sexually assaulted.
- Call the National Sexual Assault Helpline.
Again, you did not cause this, and support is out there for you. Dial 1 (800) 656-4673 for immediate, confidential, gender-based violence aid.
- Talk online to a trained crisis counselor.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable calling and that’s okay. You can chat on a secure device with someone who knows how to offer you the assistance you need.
- Seek immediate medical support.
Go to your student health center or local hospital and ask to have a Sexual Assault Forensics Exam done. You can do this anonymously, but it must be done within three days of the event.
- Contact your university’s Title IX office.
The center will provide you with resources to get you started on the road to recovery based on your specific needs and wishes.
- File a complaint with professional assistance.
Head to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) at your school and learn how you can have your concerns addressed and receive aid.
- Connect with a rape crisis center in your state.
Go to RALIANCE’s directory of programs to find a crisis support center near you. Locate a sexual assault recovery program that fits you.
- Go to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
Look through articles on how to heal after surviving sexual assault. Find therapeutic ways to manage the emotional toll you are left with.
- Use the End Rape on Campus Accountability Map and Tool.
Enter your school’s name and view in-depth information on its sexual assault policies. Get the knowledge you need to make a plan forward.
- Read the glossary related to violence prevention and response.
Equip yourself with a brief overview of the services your campus offers and what they all are. Knowing them will make you and your support people better advocates.
- Document the incident on Callisto.
Callisto is a new platform that allows survivors to log information relating to their assault, which can then be matched to similar, logged accounts. This platform aims to put a stop to serial assaults by identifying patterns and perpetrators and pairing survivors with third-party legal representatives.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org.