As you walk around campus, you will see placards (similar to that to the right) on your faculty or staff member’s office door or on a student’s laptop which states that they have been HAVEN trained and will be supportive of survivors of interpersonal violence. You may also see HAVEN logo buttons and t-shirts around campus. This visibility of allies to survivors helps create a safer space on campus for all students. If you see a placard, button or t-shirt, thank them for being an ally!
Check out the list of HAVEN FacultyStaff 2012 (pdf).
Are you a faculty/staff person missing from this list? Or no longer working at UNC? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have this list updated.
The HAVEN Program is a campus-wide initiative to increase support for student survivors of interpersonal violence (stalking, abusive relationships, and sexual assault) and to further the universities’ efforts to prevent interpersonal violence. The idea is to create multiple “safe spaces” around the campus for students to go for information, discussion, and referral. Faculty, staff, and students may attend a HAVEN training session and then receive a sign which indicates that they are a safe space to go to discuss issues around sexual assault, abusive relationships, and stalking.
HAVEN is sponsored by the Carolina Women’s Center, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator. The program was initially funded in part by the Robertson Collaborative Grant program and is also funded by a Parent’s Council grant for 2011-2012.
For more information about HAVEN trainings, or to view a list of Haven allies at UNC, please visit the HAVEN Training section of this website.
Even though we may not realize it, we all know someone who has been abused, assaulted or violated in some way at some point in their life. While we may want to help, many of us may not know how. We often feel uncomfortable getting involved in someone else’s personal life. However, we don’t have to be afraid to help.
Here are a few suggestions for responding to someone you suspect may be a survivor of sexual assault, rape, stalking, sexual harassment, or abusive relationships.
Be a good listener.
Listen and be patient—it will take time. Let them know you are there if they ever need to talk about their experience, but do not rush them.
Believe them unconditionally; people rarely make up stories of sexual assault, rape, or abuse. It is not necessary for you to decide if they were “really hurt.” If the victim/survivor says they were, that should be enough.
Avoid “why” questions, as they often sound blaming (e.g. “Why didn’t you yell?” “Why did you go back to that person’s room alone?”) Instead you might say “It is difficult to yell when you are frightened.” Remind them it wasn’t their fault. Instead, point out what the individual did to survive, or the ways they can take care of themselves. Assure the individual that they did not deserve to be violated or hurt and that they did not cause the violence.
Respect the individual’s privacy and personal space.
Don’t tell others what they tell you. Let the individual decide who to tell and when. Encourage them to seek support and assistance from others. Ask before you touch them. Don’t assume that physical contact will be comforting to a victim, even in the form of a gentle hug.
Provide ongoing support for the survivor and help that person develop safe support networks. Healing can be a long process.
Provide support without talking over—Let them have control.
After being assaulted, many survivors want to feel like they have control over their life, so don’t force issues, simply restate concerns. Encourage the individual to explore her/his/hir options and support the decisions they make. Let them know what resources are available and help connect them with these resources if they choose.
If they are willing, help connect with resources.
Encourage the survivor to seek counseling and to consider reporting the assault to law enforcement authorities, but don’t pressure. Offer to give them a ride to a hospital, and stay or call someone they are comfortable with because the exams can take an emotional toll. Remind them that counselors have experience dealing with these issues and support the individual if they decide to make a call.
Take care of yourself.
Hearing about sexual assault, rape, abuse, and other forms of violence can be upsetting. You may feel scared, angry helpless, and/or sad. Remember that the support resources available to people who have experienced sexual violence are there to support you as well. Feel free to contact them.