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OASIS: Confidential Victim Advocacy Free. Convenient. Survivor Centered

The Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence (OASIS) provides free and confidential victim advocacy services for American University students who are impacted by sexual violence, meaning sexual assault, rape, dating or domestic violence, sexual harassment, or stalking.

Whether you are a survivor yourself, or you are seeking information on how to support a friend (while still taking care of yourself), we would be happy to meet with you. If you have recently experienced sexual violence, please visit this page for crucial information about obtaining a forensic exam (rape kit) and 24/7 crisis response services on and off campus.

Image says OASIS Victim Advocacy. We believe you. You are not alone.

Advocates provide:

  • Emotional and administrative support, including coordinating interim measures, accommodations, and other supports.

  • Psychoeducation on the impact of trauma and cycle of violence.

  •  Referrals and resources both on and off campus. 

Advocacy Is:

  • Trauma-informed: meaning we are experts on the impact of trauma on student functioning. 

  • Survivor-centered: our goal is to reduce the burden on survivors as they navigate their recovery. 

  • Empowerment-based: We don't believe in telling anyone what to do; rather, we provide information to help survivors make fully-informed decisions. 

Advocacy Isn't:

  •  A substitute for counseling: Advocacy might feel therapeutic, but it isn't therapy. 

  • Medical Advice: While we encourage survivors to access medical care, we do not provide medical advice.

  •  Legal advice: We work closely with local organizations who provide free legal services for survivors. 

Trauma and Recovery

Healing and Recovery Aren't Linear--but they are possible!

What is Trauma?

Trauma is the subjective experience of emotional distress in response to an event or prolonged period of extreme stress. The experience of trauma overwhelms the body's ability to cope and can contribute to a sense of distress, horror, or helplessness.

Sexual violence--which can encompass unwanted sexual touching (sexual assault), rape, interpersonal violence, dating violence, stalking, and harassment--is a form of trauma. This means it can impact functioning and well-being in ways that can feel scary and unpredictable. Reactions to trauma are as varied and unique as the individuals who experience the trauma itself.

WHAT IS RECOVERY?

Recovery after trauma is absolutely possible. At OASIS, we often stress that sexual violence is something that happened or a crime that was perpetrated--it does not define who you are or your trajectory in life. It also looks different for everyone. Through assessment, psycho-education, and specialized referrals, the advocates at OASIS are here to support you on your own path to healing.

With permission from survivors, we work closely with both confidential and non-confidential resources to minimize the impact of a traumatic incident on a survivor's academic career. We also work with friends or loved ones who are seeking information on how to support a survivor in their life. And, as always, each interaction is fully-confidential.