Frequently Asked Questions

All FAQs

How do I access services at Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, gender-based harrassment or gender-based violence and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a professional Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate at (212) 854-HELP.  

Advocates assist survivors by accompanying them to hospital emergency departments, the police, public safety, court, campus disciplinary proceedings and other resources. They also provide survivors with information on medical and legal rights and options.

Survivor Advocates are available 24/7/365 and Peer Advocates are available 24/7 during the academic year.

Please visit the Hours and Locations page for the most up-to-date information on office hours and availability for walk-ins at all three SVR locations.

 

 

How do I become a volunteer with SVR?

There are many opportunities for current students to get involved with Sexual Violence Response by applying online to be a (an):


 

I would like SVR to co-sponsor my group's event; how can I apply for co-sponsorship?

Student groups can apply for co-sponsorship with SVR using our online form. Please submit at least one month prior to the event.

My student group would like some education on sexual violence. Where can I request a workshop or training with SVR?

We require a minimum of three weeks’ notice to schedule a workshop. Fill out our online request form.
 

Where can survivors of sexual violence get help on-campus?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a professional Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate 24/7/365 at (212) 854-HELP (4357). We offer crisis intervention, emotional support, accompaniment, information about legal and medical rights and options, and referrals to survivors.

To make a report on-campus, visit the Gender Based Misconduct Office

For a full list of on-campus resources, please visit the Emergency page.

What is relationship violence?

Relationship violence, also known as "domestic violence," “intimate partner violence” or "battering", is the use of abusive behavior by one person in an intimate relationship as a means of gaining power and control over the other person. This abusive behavior is frequently some combination of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and/or economic abuse. Relationship violence is rarely an isolated incident. Rather it is a recurring pattern of coercive behaviors that often escalate over time. Relationship violence is not limited to any racial, ethnic, or religious group, economic or social class, sexual orientation, or age group. Read more about the University policy.
 

What is drug-facilitated rape?

Drug facilitated assault occurs when drugs or alcohol are used by a perpetrator to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used by perpetrators in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the victim of a sexual assault.
Alcohol remains the most commonly used drug in sexual assaults. Other drugs used to facilitate sexual assault include Rohypnol (roofies), GHB (liquid E), and Ketamine (special K), and other sedatives. 

For more information about drug-facilitated sexual assault, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual violence refers to unwanted or coercive sexual behavior, ranging from sexual comments to rape. The terms rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse have some overlap, and are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to non-consensual sexual contact. People of any gender identity or of any sexual orientation can be sexually assaulted. For more information about how the Columbia University Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students defines sexual assault visit: http://ssgbsm.columbia.edu/

According to the National College Women Sexual Victimization Study (2000), about 20% to 25% of college women are victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their college years.  About 9 in 10 college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape know their assailant.  Less is known about the sexual assault of men, but research suggests that up to 10% of campus rape victims are men, usually raped by other men. A 1991 study of university students reported that of their sample of gay/bisexual students (including both gay men and lesbians) approximately 18% had been victims of rape, approximately 12% had been victims of attempted rape, and approximately 37% had been victims of sexual coercion.

Oftentimes, college students reach out for help and support from their friends. Here are some important tips to help a friend who has experience sexual violence: 

  1. Listen and believe the survivor.
  2. Let the survivor lead the conversation.
  3. Assure your friend it is not her/his fault. 
  4. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

 

What is the relationship between alcohol and sexual assault?

Research shows that the use of alcohol is associated with 50-72% of all campus sexual assaults (e.g., Abbey 2002, Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, 2001).  That being said, alcohol does not cause sexual assault but is rather used to facilitate sexual violence.  Research shows that many perpetrators of sexual violence use alcohol as a weapon to facilitate sexual violence (Kanin, 1985; Lisak, 2002). This means that some perpetrators of sexual violence get another person drunk or high to impair their judgment or cause them to blackout in order to engage in sexual intercourse. Getting someone drunk or stoned in order to have sexual intercourse with them is considered sexual assault. Bystanders play an important role in intervening in these instances. If you see someone who is getting drunk and another person is supplying them with more alcohol while becoming physically intimate with them (i.e., kissing, groping), you can step up to see if you can intervene in the situation. 

For more information about bystander intervention, visit Step Up! Bystander Intervention. Additionally, if you are ever in a situation where you are with someone who has been drinking alcohol, it is best to wait to have sexual intercourse until everyone is sober to ask for or give consent.

For more information on Columbia’s definition of sexual assault and consent visit the Sexual Respect website.
 

 

Top Viewed FAQs

Where can survivors of sexual violence get help on-campus?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a professional Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate 24/7/365 at (212) 854-HELP (4357). We offer crisis intervention, emotional support, accompaniment, information about legal and medical rights and options, and referrals to survivors.

To make a report on-campus, visit the Gender Based Misconduct Office

For a full list of on-campus resources, please visit the Emergency page.

How do I access services at Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, gender-based harrassment or gender-based violence and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a professional Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate at (212) 854-HELP.  

Advocates assist survivors by accompanying them to hospital emergency departments, the police, public safety, court, campus disciplinary proceedings and other resources. They also provide survivors with information on medical and legal rights and options.

Survivor Advocates are available 24/7/365 and Peer Advocates are available 24/7 during the academic year.

Please visit the Hours and Locations page for the most up-to-date information on office hours and availability for walk-ins at all three SVR locations.

 

 

How do I become a volunteer with SVR?

There are many opportunities for current students to get involved with Sexual Violence Response by applying online to be a (an):


 

How do I help a friend who has experienced sexual assault?

Seventy percent of student survivors of sexual assault tell a friend or someone else they know that they were assaulted. Active support of a friend is a primary factor that distinguishes those who report from those who do not.

Listen. Believe unconditionally. People rarely lie about being sexually assaulted. Be sure your friend knows how much you support him/her.

Let the survivor control the situation. Let your friend determine the pace of healing. Help your friend understand the options available, and encourage your friend to keep his/her options open. Most important, allow your friend to make his/her own decisions.

Assure your friend it was not his/her fault. No one asks to be sexually assaulted. Avoid blaming questions and judgmental statements such as, ”Why didn’t you scream?” or ”If I ever get my hands on the creep. . .” Do not search for things your friend should have done.

Give your full attention. A friend may confide in you 10 minutes or 10 years after the assault. It does not matter so much what you say but how well you listen. Remember that your friend’s sense of trust has been violated, so one of the most important things you can do is respect his/her need for confidentiality.

Trust your instincts. If the assault happened recently, encourage your friend to get medical attention as soon as possible.

Do not be afraid to ask for outside help. Your friend may need medical attention or counseling. Offer to help your friend through these processes. Your friend can get medical attention from a private doctor, a clinic, or a hospital emergency room. Only the emergency room can collect evidence that can be used in a criminal trial. It is the patient's legal right to decide to report. Bringing a friend or advocate to the ER can be very helpful.

My student group would like some education on sexual violence. Where can I request a workshop or training with SVR?

We require a minimum of three weeks’ notice to schedule a workshop. Fill out our online request form.
 

I would like SVR to co-sponsor my group's event; how can I apply for co-sponsorship?

Student groups can apply for co-sponsorship with SVR using our online form. Please submit at least one month prior to the event.

What is the relationship between alcohol and sexual assault?

Research shows that the use of alcohol is associated with 50-72% of all campus sexual assaults (e.g., Abbey 2002, Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, 2001).  That being said, alcohol does not cause sexual assault but is rather used to facilitate sexual violence.  Research shows that many perpetrators of sexual violence use alcohol as a weapon to facilitate sexual violence (Kanin, 1985; Lisak, 2002). This means that some perpetrators of sexual violence get another person drunk or high to impair their judgment or cause them to blackout in order to engage in sexual intercourse. Getting someone drunk or stoned in order to have sexual intercourse with them is considered sexual assault. Bystanders play an important role in intervening in these instances. If you see someone who is getting drunk and another person is supplying them with more alcohol while becoming physically intimate with them (i.e., kissing, groping), you can step up to see if you can intervene in the situation. 

For more information about bystander intervention, visit Step Up! Bystander Intervention. Additionally, if you are ever in a situation where you are with someone who has been drinking alcohol, it is best to wait to have sexual intercourse until everyone is sober to ask for or give consent.

For more information on Columbia’s definition of sexual assault and consent visit the Sexual Respect website.
 

 

What is relationship violence?

Relationship violence, also known as "domestic violence," “intimate partner violence” or "battering", is the use of abusive behavior by one person in an intimate relationship as a means of gaining power and control over the other person. This abusive behavior is frequently some combination of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and/or economic abuse. Relationship violence is rarely an isolated incident. Rather it is a recurring pattern of coercive behaviors that often escalate over time. Relationship violence is not limited to any racial, ethnic, or religious group, economic or social class, sexual orientation, or age group. Read more about the University policy.
 

What is drug-facilitated rape?

Drug facilitated assault occurs when drugs or alcohol are used by a perpetrator to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. In addition, drugs and alcohol are often used by perpetrators in order to minimize the resistance and memory of the victim of a sexual assault.
Alcohol remains the most commonly used drug in sexual assaults. Other drugs used to facilitate sexual assault include Rohypnol (roofies), GHB (liquid E), and Ketamine (special K), and other sedatives. 

For more information about drug-facilitated sexual assault, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

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Last updated December 08, 2017