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You are not alone: Reclaiming power and control after an act of violence
University Health Services works to bring hope and healing to survivors of interpersonal violence
University Health Services (UHS) Survivor Services is a suite of confidential, no-cost resources and victim advocacy services for students who experienced interpersonal violence including sexual assault, rape, incest, intimate partner/dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and/or sexual harassment.
Any UW-Madison student is eligible to use Survivor Services—whether they experienced victimization while on campus or before coming to UW-Madison—and there’s no limit to the number of sessions a student can utilize.
“We understand reaching out for formalized help can be a difficult first step,” says Survivor Services Coordinator Jamie Temple. “But it acknowledges a students’ willingness to invest in themselves. We support survivors throughout the entirety of their healing process while recognizing that it often looks different for each individual.”
Family and friends of survivors, as well as UW-Madison employees, can also access resources and information about how to support a survivor.
There are three victim advocates on staff who are trained mental health professional with focus on helping students reclaim the power and control that was taken away from them by violent crimes. Temple says advocates can help empower students to set and maintain healthy boundaries or relationships, reclaim their body as a place for safety and pleasure, or reinforce that they are not to blame for what they experienced. Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator and never the fault of the victim.
Students can seek support from Survivor Services in multiple ways: individual counseling, Open Access (drop-in hours, no appointment is needed), or in a support group.
- Individual counseling appointments generally run 50 minutes where our staff can provide emotional support, assist with arranging academic and housing accommodations, information about reporting options, and support in deciding what is most helpful for the individuals healing process.
- Open Access is no-cost to all students and does not require an appointment. Students are given an informed participation form and a brief questionnaire so they can understand their rights and office policies.
- Support groups are another no-cost option for survivors that do not require registration. All groups are confidential, and students are supported in a safe environment.
Temple explains that survivors can feel a range of emotions, such as a sense of shock or denial, in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. “We always talk through with a student that they are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event(s),” She encourages friends, family, and faculty/staff to always listen to, believe and respect, and support survivors of violent crimes.
UHS is committed to promoting a safe and respectful UW-Madison campus community. If you or someone you know is a survivor of violence, help is available. Confidential victim advocacy services are available at UHS by calling 608.265.5600 (option 3), or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Services are also available in Spanish.
Written by Emilie Burditt, UHS Communications Assistant