Beginning college is an exciting time. When making new friends and exploring new surroundings, it’s hard to imagine a negative situation that might put a damper on a happy new life.
While nobody plans to put themselves in a harmful situation, many students will have to face the reality of dealing with violence: physical, mental and sexual abuse.
The effects of coping with violence can be overwhelming for students, but the University’s Program Against Sexual Violence is a confidential organization on campus that can provide help.
“Incoming freshmen need to be made aware of the prevalence of sexual violence in our culture as well as the frequency within a higher education institution,” said Jamie Tiedemann, PASV director.
“Freshmen need to understand what sexual violence is, how they need to practice some specific risk reduction measures, such as always go to parties with a roommate or friend,” she said.
Tiedemann noted the highest
frequency of assault for women on campus occurs during the first semester of their freshman year.
PASV offers a variety of services for students who have experienced a sexual assault or relationship violence and for persons concerned about a friend or loved one.
A 24-hour crisis line is available seven days a week, as well as walk-in assistance Monday through Friday in 407 Boynton Health Service.
PASV representatives accompany students to the hospital for a physical exam, arrange alternative housing for victims and sponsor support groups for victims/survivors.
“Surviving a sexual assault or a violent relationship is extremely challenging and stressful. No one should do this alone,” said Roberta Gibbons, PASV associate director.
“PASV can help victims/survivors to understand their options. Advocates listen to victim’s concerns and help them to move forward with their lives,” Gibbons said.
The program also sponsors education seminars and provides volunteer opportunities for students interested in becoming peer educators on sexual violence.
“I strongly encourage new students to drop by and check our wealth of information regarding sexual violence. Knowledge is power,” Tiedemann said.
Melinda Rogers welcomes comments at [email protected]