The following email was sent out to all Athens and Regional campus students from Kimberly Rouse, LISW-S, Director of Survivor Advocacy Program:
(Content Warning: discussion of resources available to survivors of interpersonal violence)
I am reaching out as Director of the Survivor Advocacy Program (SAP) to let you know of our services that are available to you as a student of Ohio University. While it is always our hope that none of our students or community members are impacted by any form of violence or harm, including interpersonal violence and sexual harassment, we know from national statistics that traditional college-aged students are at a heightened risk for this type of violence. Our confidential services are available to student survivors and those supporting survivors here at Ohio University free of charge.
The Survivor Advocacy Program provides support and advocacy services to student survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. When a survivor reaches out for our services, they are never expected to disclose details they are not ready to share. Because all staff at the Survivor Advocacy Programs are licensed social workers, we are able to provide confidential support, information, resource connection, and discuss reporting options available to you. If you choose to move forward in reporting, an advocate will help you understand your options, explain the processes and accompany you through the process you choose. In addition to these direct services, Survivor Advocacy Program offers a number of workshops throughout the semester open to anyone.
Your health and safety are our top priority at Ohio University. As such, you should not be concerned about reporting or seeking support because of drug or alcohol use or COVID safety violations. The priority for Survivor Advocacy Program and for OHIO is that you are heard, supported and receive the guidance and resources you need. Though we don’t condone large gatherings amidst this pandemic, we will work to ensure you are not penalized for participating in one should you seek help from the Survivor Advocacy Program.
Please note that Survivor Advocacy Program staff are currently working remotely due to COVID. Advocates ARE available to meet remotely via Microsoft Teams and appointments can be scheduled online. We also have a private meeting room on the Athens campus that you can use if you need a private space to connect to the Teams meeting with your advocate. We hope to return to offering in-person resources in our Lindley Hall office once it is safe to do so again.
Counseling and Psychological Services, OhioHealth Campus Care, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital and Hopewell Health Centers are all additional confidential resources you can reach out to. Due to COVID, these services ask that you call ahead before visiting their offices. There are also a number of online resources if you are not located on or near the Athens campus. If you are currently residing outside the state of Ohio, there may be restrictions to the services SAP can offer. Reach out to email@example.com to discuss.
Ohio University’s Survivor Advocacy Program has always provided confidential support and advocacy services to student survivors, and we will continue to be a resource to all OHIO students to ensure you have access to a survivor-centered process regardless of the constantly changing environment we are experiencing due to COVID. We will continue to support you in whatever way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.
Survivors: We hear you, we see you, we believe you.
Kimberly Rouse, LISW-S
Survivor Advocacy Program