Sexual misconduct affects more than just those with direct experience. As a parent, family member, roommate, friend and/or bystander your wellbeing is just as important to the healing process as is your support. Before you can provide support please make sure that any and all of your mental and emotional needs are met. Trauma affects all of those involved and if you are a student you are entitled to resources offered on campus. If you are not a student, there are community resources that are available to you.
We understand how difficult it may be for parents and family members to hear that a loved one has experienced an act of sexual misconduct. With that in mind, you can imagine how difficult it could have been for them to share that with you. Some conversations may make you uncomfortable as discussions regarding sexual activity will arise but please do your best to remain receptive to all and any conversation. If your loved one seems to be opening up to friends or other individuals more, do not take this personally and remain prepared to discuss the incident as they feel necessary.
It is important for friends and roommates to be open to offer support in a variety of ways. Sometimes this may mean doing a leisure activity to help take their mind off of things. In some cases it may mean walking them to the Counseling Center. And for some friends, it may just mean offering a shoulder to lean on. Use your best judgment based on the relationship you have with your friend/roommate in deciding how they would want you to react.
In some cases the accused may be a mutual friend of yours. In situations like these it is key to remember that the survivor has also thought of that. If they have come forward to share their story it means that they feel comfortable sharing with you. Do your best to respect the wishes of the survivor regarding your contact with the accused. Changing dynamics within groups of friends can wear on all members of the group. Remember that your well-being is just as important as the survivor’s and that all campus resources are available to you as well. Please see our Resources page if you’d like further details.
If you witness an act of sexual misconduct or are the first person to interact with either the victim or accused, the most important thing is to ensure your safety and the safety of the survivor. Intervene only in situations where it is safe to do so. If you have been injured, seek medical attention. Regardless of your ability to intervene, you are strongly encouraged to call Public Safety (610-436-3311) for assistance. To the extent that you are able, direct the survivor to medical care and other support services which you can find on our resources page.
If you have witnessed an act of sexual misconduct we encourage you to fill out our sexual misconduct report form.
Depending on your role on campus, you may experience a sexual misconduct disclosure by a student or colleague. To best support those who have disclosed to you, familiarize yourself with campus resources and policies, as well as your Title IX reporting obligations.
An important part in supporting a student survivor is to let them know about policies (like Title IX) that may require you to report the incident. Remember the policies that you need to abide by and be as open with the student as possible. It may be difficult for you to report as you feel you’re disregarding the wishes of the survivor but please remember that the policies are there for the well-being of the student and the overall campus climate. Please see our WCU employee FAQ page for further details.
Although conversations regarding sexual misconduct may be uncomfortable between you and a student, be supportive and respect their willingness to open up to you. Let your student know about the resources offered on and off campus and encourage them to take care of both their physical and mental well-being. See our Resources page for more information.
Advocacy is an important part in sexual misconduct prevention and training. If you are interested in being involved there are many options offered.
Becoming Green Dot trained is a great step in prevention for employees and students to take. Visit Green Dot for details.
The Center for Women and Gender Equity is a great place to get information on involvement options. Contact Alicia Hahn-Murphy, Director of the Center for Women and Gender Equity, at 610-436-2122 if you think you may be interested.
For further involvement at the faculty level you may want to consider contactingDr. Erin Hurt
who helps facilitate the Faculty Advocacy Group. This group focuses on education for faculty about incidents of sexual misconduct and the procedures that follow.