Advocacy Services Available Through the Women and Gender Advocacy Center
Advocates are available to provide confidential crisis intervention and emotional support. We provide information about academic, legal, medical, emotional, and student conduct resources to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. We also offer support to secondary survivors, such as intimate partners, friends, family, and you.
Call 970-491-6384 during business hours M-F. In addition, the 24-hour Victim Assistance Team is available to assist survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. Call 970-492-4242 and ask to speak with an advocate.
How do I refer to an advocate? Try saying…
“I’d really like to call an advocate to work with us here if that’s OK with you. I can be here with you in addition to the advocate. They are a good resource to have.”
Supporting Students/ What is my obligation?
During the course of your time at CSU, you may have a student disclose to you that they are a survivor of sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking. Faculty, Staff and Student Staff at CSU are responsible employees under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This means that you are required by law to report any form of sexual misconduct. This does not mean that you don’t care about your students and their choices; rather it signifies that campus safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. When a student discloses to you, it is best to mention your role as a mandated reporter and let them know that they may be contacted by the University after you communicated to the campus Title IX coordinator. The student will always have the choice on whether or not to share their story with the University.
One way to provide support is to combat rape-supportive culture on campus. Call out sexist jokes and racist, homophobic, and transphobic language. Teach students about how to be active bystanders.
If the student wishes to continue talking to you, allow them to share what is on their mind. Regardless of how the conversation proceeds you are required to report your conversation. For more information on your role as a mandated reporter call (970) 491-1350 or go to www.supportandsafety.colostate.edu
There are many reasons students may disclose to you – they may be asking for emotional support, asking for extra time or consideration in a class or program you run, or wondering where to go for resources. This situation may be recent, a long time in the past or ongoing. Regardless of the reason, research shows that the response of the person to whom a survivor makes an initial disclosure has a significant effect on their healing process. The most important response that you can have is to actively listen to the survivor and to validate, provide support, and inform on resources.
In addition to letting the student know you must report, offer WGAC as a confidential resource that can assist in processing their experience and navigating various resources and systems.
Other Confidential Campus Resources are:
Health Network Medical Services: (970) 491-7121
Counseling Services: (970)491-6053
Label Triggering Material
If you are covering material about sexual violence — such as reading a book or watching a movie that contains scenes of sexual violence — consider giving students a warning about the potentially distressing content of the material, and giving students the opportunity to leave the room if necessary. Adding a brief note to a syllabus about such content and available resources can make a real difference in students’ lives.
What a survivor may be going through…
The student may not want you to solve the problem. If the student has experienced interpersonal violence, their power has been taken away. The best thing we can do is to share resources and empower them to make their own choices.
There may be cultural issues that affect the way a student responds. Religion, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, national origin and sexual orientation all play a significant role in a person’s response to interpersonal violence.
The student may tell you what they did to provoke the incident as a way of blaming themselves, such as “because I drank too much…” or “because I made him mad…” If the student told someone else, such as a friend, roommate or family member, that person may have blamed them as well. We can help by giving them messages that counter this blame – “It wasn’t your fault. No matter what you did, no one deserves for this to happen to them.”
The student may have fear of judgment. Talking about their trauma often makes survivors uneasy and heightens their sense of wariness. It is important that you remain open, free from judgment. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing, that they were alone, if they were drinking, etc. They did not deserve what happened to them.
The student may have concerns about what will happen to the assailant. Most types of violence happen between people who know each other; it is more likely than not that the survivor cared for the assailant in some way.
The student may be worried that many other people will find out. This fear is one of the most significant reasons a student leaves school after a situation of interpersonal violence occurs. Remind them that you are a mandated reporter and you are willing to listen and that there are confidential resources on campus as well.
Common Reactions Following a Traumatic Event
Note: These reactions are common for many survivors; yet each person’s journey is different.
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing. This can often affect academics significantly, both in class and in completing assignments.
- Trying to go about one’s normal routine as if everything is OK
- Sleep and eating disturbance.
- Flashbacks (feeling of reliving the event), intrusive memories (can’t stop thinking about the event) and nightmares
- Withdrawal from people and places in one’s life