I am a graduate student in philosophy and a survivor of sexual abuse. While universities seem to be becoming more aware of the possibility of rape and abuse on campus, I have found little to no long-term support available. There is a very strong pressure to just “get over it,” and I am afraid that I will be seen as weak and not grad school material for disclosing. In my experience there is some support for the immediate aftermath, but about 6 months to a year out you’re expected to be over it.
Knowing the statistics, I can’t imagine that I am the only woman in academia struggling with this. How can we make our environment supportive not just of the immediate aftermath, but of the long-term success of our survivors?
One thought on “Reader Query: How can universities support sexual assault survivors?”
At my university there is a very active Women’s Resource Center. (See http://www.uh.edu/wrc/.) I think that such centers are fairly common these days (in fact, ours came into existence relatively late, and we had done research about similar ones at many other universities, some of which had been around for 20 years or more). They have a lot of ongoing discussion and support groups. If there is such a center at your university you might look into it and talk to the staff there about what is available and what is needed. If not at your university then perhaps in your community there is some sort of women’s center that could become the home for an ongoing support group. I hope you can find something or maybe help get something started, as I am sure you are not alone.
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