The Wellness Center houses OASIS: the Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence. Our confidential victim advocates are trained to work with survivors of sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and stalking. Advocacy is survivor-driven and intended to empower survivors to make informed decisions about their health, emotional well-being, and the adjudication process.
During Welcome Week of 2015, incoming students participated in a new consent-based sexual assault prevention workshop. Empower AU is a peer-led workshop focusing on consent, communication, and bystander intervention. The curriculum builds on the Eagle Summit session "What Would You Do?" and complements Step Up, the bystander intervention initiative of American University.
Learning objectives for Empower AU include how to: identify and communicate boundaries, ask for and communicate consent, recognize non-consensual behavior, and be more than a bystander. All new undergraduate students are required to attend the training.
If you missed Empower AU during Welcome Week, you can sign up for a make up session here.
What Do OASIS Services Look Like?
Sexual assault resources, including victim advocacy, are divided into two primary categories: immediate and follow-up services. Below, we define each category to help explain what the support looks like.
Immediate support includes resources, recommendations, and helpful guidelines to assist in the aftermath of an assault. Reactions to trauma vary drastically from individual to individual. In order to help survivors understand the wide array of possible feelings and actions, we discuss some “common reactions” to trauma and remind survivors that their feelings are normal.
Follow-up support includes a thorough review of advocacy services and on and off campus resources. Some of these options include:
Counseling can help survivors understand, process, and develop new strategies to cope with difficult feelings after experiencing trauma.
Academic assistance is available for survivors who may need administrative communication with professors in order to ease academic issues that arise from an assault.
Legal assistance is available off-campus from the advocacy group NVRDC.
Housing can be altered in order to meet the needs of a survivor.
Medical attention is encouraged for victims/survivors in order to check for STI’s, pregnancy, and possible internal or external injuries.
Additional resources are available through offices who offer services to specific populations on campus.
The Sexual Assault Working Group
The Sexual Assault Working Group, convened by the Dean of Students in spring 2009, issued recommendations to enhance support services for survivors on campus. A phased implementation of recommendations began in summer 2009.
Today, faculty, students, staff, and administrators meet regularly to assess, improve, and enhance our response and prevention efforts on campus. The Steering Committee meets every other week during the academic year, with subcommittees (policy, assessment, education, and survivor support) meeting on the off weeks. Information on SAWG's current initiative may be found on the SAWG website.
If you would be interested in becoming involved in the Sexual Assault Working Group, please contact SAWG@american.edu.