Thriving at Hopkins requires a number of factors- intelligence, dedication, commitment, studiousness, and most importantly a support system. A group of people you can lean on, vent to, listen to and be listened to, and generally have an understanding with. These people are your social support networks. The people you go to when classes are overwhelming and about to swallow you whole. They help remind you that the ground is under your feet, not over your head and you CAN handle this.
Take a minute. Identify who's in your corner?
If someone in your corner came to you with a problem, could you help them? What if the issue was personal? Think you could help?
Imagine a friend in your group told you she was sexually assaulted. How would you respond?
If you aren't sure, keep reading... we have some advice that could help you if you are ever faced with this. And note that statistically, 1 in 5 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during the time they are in college.
Believe them when they confide in you.
Do not place blame on them for the sexual assault (there is NOTHING they could have done to deserve or cause what happened to them)
Don’t pressure them to talk or ask them for details. It is better to go slowly and let them set the pace.
Give them options, and be sure not to make any decisions for them.
Ask open ended questions and see what they'd like to do.
Some options include reporting the crime to Security or Baltimore City Police. Same for going to the hospital. If they'd like to go to or need medical attention it would be best to suggest going to Mercy Hospital which specializes in sexual assault and has specially trained forensic nurses ready to help any survivor.
And lastly, consider offering the Counseling Center as a place they can seek help. They can be walked to the Counseling Center by you, if that's more comforting than going alone or they can call the counselor on call through Security, if it is after hours. The Counseling Center can help the survivor walk through akll of the options and assist in coping with the sexual assault.
Some student groups that can offer a great deal of help are APTT and SARU. A Place to Talk offers free, non-judgmental listening to students in AMR 1 and Wolman. They are a great resource for anyone that needs to vent. See more about them at http://www.jhu.edu/aptt. SARU is the Sexual Assault Resource Unit which offers support through listening, referrals, and information for survivors or friends of survivors of sexual assault. If you or someone you know needs information, consider calling them at 410-516-7887.
With all of this information, do you think you might be able to help a friend if one came to you about sexual assault? Sexual assault on college campuses happen at high rates, are under-reported, and survivors are both men and women. While we want to do more to reduce sexual assault, we also want to provide a support network for those who are assaulted.
Please know that if you or a friend have been assaulted, there are resources and people here that care and want to help in whatever way the survivor would like.