NDSU launches sexual assault helpline as a resource for students
Few sexual assaults are reported to NDSU University Police every year. But the number of unreported cases may be higher and students who have been sexually assaulted may be dealing with the effects in silence, said Sarah Dodd, assistant director for sexual assault prevention programming at NDSU.
According to the National Institute of Justice, one in five women and about 6 percent of men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault while in college.
NDSU has a new resource that aims to break the silence about sexual assault. In August 2011, the Office of Student Life launched the NDSU Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy Helpline, which is called SARA for short.
“We recognize that it can be very difficult for students to continue with their academic work after a trauma like sexual assault,” said Janna Stoskopf, dean of student life at NDSU. “The SARA helpline connects students to the many resources available on campus and in the community so that they can receive assistance and, ultimately, have the greatest opportunity to be successful.”
A team of nine trained faculty and staff members answer the free, 24/7 helpline. They provide information on counseling options, avenues for reporting crimes to law enforcement and/or the university and provide clarity about victim rights on campus. They are also there to just listen, Dodd said.
The helpline is for any student, female or male, who has been sexually assaulted as well as friends, faculty and staff who are helping a student who has been victimized. “We’re available; we’re here for the NDSU community,” Dodd said.
Callers have the option to remain anonymous. “There won’t be any pressure to disclose your name,” Dodd said. “SARA volunteers want callers to feel comfortable. We are committed to providing support for students in a survivor-centered, consistent manner.”
The SARA helpline number is 701-730-6149.
NDSU’s other sexual assault prevention programs include:
- Workshops, panels, events and classroom presentations that promote healthy interpersonal relationship
- Training for faculty, staff and students on responding to disclosure of sexual assault
- Basic physical defense for women
- Violence Prevention Educators, a peer education group for students who want to actively work on sexual violence prevention at NDSU
For more information, contact Dodd at 231-5733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.