As you may have read in the first blog post, SASARI has very limited contact with colleges/universities at this point. We want to start out with a few and build from there as we work things out. I have received a piece of feedback from a college/university that should be shared though. They expressed that they believe the host university or program should be the first point of contact after a student experiences a sexual assault while abroad. Here was my response to them.
I encourage you to download and fill out the Sexual Assault Safety Profile as completely as possible for your students. I think I have a note on the bottom that it should be in the order these people should be contacted. Please remember this: What the school would like a rape survivor to do and what a rape survivor feels inclined to do in the moments after trauma may be different. During my orientation at my host school we were asked to contact the study abroad advisor on the 24 hour line in the event of an emergency, but there wasn’t a fiber in my being that was about to call that number and tell that person anything that had to do with sex and violence. But I am one student. If the school helps a student prepare a one page Sexual Assault Safety Profile and explains why a rape survivor would want go to the school and not an advocate first I might understand where you are coming from. Mustering up the courage to get help from an advocate is a feat in itself. And it is their job to take care of victims! I know that if one person e-mails me about the first point of contact issue there will be more.
I was raped in 2005. In 2014 I contacted of my host school to tell them about my rape. They gave me resources that I could have used in my time of need, but I don’t remember ever having these sexual assault specific resources being made available to me during orientation. This is why a Sexual Assault Safety Profile printed out is so necessary.
I would like SASARI.org to be designed for all students, not just one college/university’s study abroad students.
If you ever want wording on the sasari.org webpage to be changed please let me know. About first point of contact or anything else.
One of my brainstorm ideas is that an alert system be designed for students abroad so they can just push a button to notify the proper individuals of a sexual assault and get a proper response. This thought most definitely needs to be explored and researched, buy I am eager to share these ideas. This alert system may alleviate the “first point of contact” dilemma, but backup protocol would be needed in case of technology failure.
If you know of someone that might benefit from our resources, let them know how to find us.
*Featured image is “Miniature Art on the Tip of Pencil by Dalton Ghetti”