Project AWAKEN

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is an umbrella term which encompasses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

 

What does it mean to be a confidential resource?
Confidential resources do not have to report what you share with them to university officials or police. They provide crisis intervention, support, and a safe place to talk without judgement. Confidential resources are still obligated to report or break confidentiality in three circumstances: (1) threat of harm to self or others, (2) suspected or known child or elder abuse, and (3) judge-signed court orders.

 

What is consent?
Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Consent must be freely given, ongoing, informed, sober, and it can be withdrawn at any time. Past consent does not imply future consent.

 

How do I help somebody I care about?
If someone you care about tells you that they’ve experienced sexual violence, here are some things you can do to help:

  • Listen. Try not to rush them; let them tell you whatever they want to tell you and avoid asking questions since that may be perceived as judgmental or blaming.
  • Provide Choices. Sexual violence is all about power and control, and no one ever chooses to be victimized. Therefore, it is a good idea to provide choices to survivors so they can restore their sense of power and control.
  • Believe them! Let the survivor know you are there and support them. Statistically speaking, they are probably telling you the truth.
  • Safety first. It is ok to ask someone you care about if they feel safe now. If that answer is no, explore safety options together like calling the police, contacting the university, or utilizing a 24/7 hotline.
  • Maintain confidentiality. This person trusted you with their story, so it is important that you do not violate that trust. Maintain their privacy unless you are worried about harm to self or others.
    • If you are a mandated reported, please contact the Title IX office for questions about how to report disclosures. It is also best to warn students ahead of time so they can decide if they want to tell you their story or not.
  • Resist revenge. It is completely normal to be angry that someone you care about was hurt. Acting on those feelings, however, is not justified. Seeking revenge may put you and/or the survivor in harm’s way, and it also takes more power and control away from the survivor.
  • Still stuck? Reach out to Project AWAKEN or a confidential crisis/support service to explore options of how to help and to get support for yourself.

 

Why do you say “survivor” when someone is a victim of sexual violence?
Using the term “victim” or “survivor” is a personal choice, and neither is wrong. The legal system often uses the term victim since they are focused on the crime that has happened. Many advocacy services will use the term “survivor” instead to focus on how strong someone is despite experiencing horrific trauma. For more information regarding terminology about sexual violence, click here

 

Who commits acts of sexual violence?
Individuals who commit sexual violence are called perpetrators. Anyone can be a perpetrator of sexual violence, and perpetrators are all genders, ages, races, identities, etc. Perpetrators are most often someone the victim or survivor knows and/or have established trust with. Sexual violence is all about power and control, and it is never the victim or survivor’s fault.

 

Who is responsible for sexual violence?
The perpetrator is the only person responsible for sexual violence. The victim or survivor is never to blame.

 

Why do perpetrators commit acts of sexual violence?
Committing sexual violence is a choice that perpetrators make. It isn’t because they “can’t control themselves” or they’re “crazy.” It is about power and control.

 

Who experiences sexual violence?
Anyone can experience sexually violence. It impacts people of all genders, ages, races, identities, etc. Regardless of who the victim or survivor is, sexual violence is never the victim or survivor’s fault.

 

What can I do to help prevent sexual violence?
Often when sexual violence occurs, there are other people that are bystanders who do nothing. Instead, preventing sexual violence can be done by speaking up if you witness violence or injustice. This can be as simple as calling out a friend who uses derogatory language or cat calls at someone. Or, it could be making sure everyone gets home safe by going out as a group and going home as a group.

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This project was supported by Grant No 2017-WA-AX-0049 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.

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