The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Sexual violence is everyone’s problem

Dear Distress Signal,
A very close friend of mine was recently raped. She is very scared and traumatized. How can I support her and help her continue on at school? I am worried she is going to drop out and hide.
-Concerned Friend

Before I get started here, let me say thank you. On behalf of all survivors of sexual violence, thank you for taking the time to ask what you can do to help.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that nearly one in four women have or will experience rape or sexual assault while in college.
Rape and sexual assault are a growing concern on campuses nationwide for both men and women, and it’s up to all of us to reverse this epidemic.
So often, rape survivors bear shame and guilt about what happened.
Make sure she knows that this was not her fault. Rape has nothing to do with what she was wearing, how much she had to drink or where she was.
Rape is the fault of rapists.
Remember that rape is about power and control.
Your friend had her control taken away from her; give her the gift of being able to control her own solutions. As tempting as it is to try to “fix” our friends’ problems, what they really need is for us to listen.
Let her know that you are there for her – even if all that means is eating popcorn and watching cheesy movies while studying together.
Sometimes just being there for a hurting friend is worth a thousand therapy sessions.
But don’t try to fix this all by yourself. Encourage her to seek counseling.
Psychiatric counseling is available free of charge in MSR room 210. Call 209-667-3381 for more information
If she is able to report it, a supportive thing to do would be to go with her during the process.
The reporting process can be difficult in itself, and having a hand to hold means a lot. To report an incident (whether or not this happened on campus), go to MSR 320, or call 209-667-3351.
Keep in mind that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and we have a number of workshops/events coming up on campus that are designed to help us help our friends, before and after trouble strikes. There are workshops happening on April 3, 9 and 28 in the Event Center from 5 to 7 p.m.
More help can also be found at RAINN.org, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, as well as at Pandora’s Aquarium, an online forum/message board for survivors of sexual violence.
Don’t theorize about what she could have done to avoid it. She’s doing that already, I’m sure, and at this point, it’s hardly helpful.
What we can all do to avoid rape is learn more about rape culture, rape myths/facts and the ideologies that promote this kind of behavior.
Best wishes,
The Distress Signal
Got a burning question? Submit your relationship issues anonymously at: http://goo.gl/HGAKSL or email the Distress Signal directly at: [email protected]

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Sexual violence is everyone’s problem