Sexual Violence ResponseRape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to talk to someone immediately, please contact a Peer Advocate at (212) 854-HELP. You can help end sexual and relationship violence by getting involved.
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Peer Advocates assist survivors by accompanying them to the hospital, health services, the police, public safety, court, campus disciplinary proceedings and other resources. They also help survivors make informed decisions about reporting and disciplinary options. Peer Advocates also receive 50 hours of training and are supervised by Columbia and Barnard counseling clinicians.
Hours: Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week*
Peer Educators lead interactive workshops and provide the campus community with information about sexual assault and relationship abuse, campus services, positive ways to communicate about sex, and ways in which we can all get involved to create a safe and supportive environment where sexual violence is not tolerated.
Referrals for on-campus and off-campus services are available.
We know that sexual assault is not confined to any group or community, and believe that sexual violence oftentimes works in conjunction with racism, sexism, homophobia and classism. We know that both women and men can be survivors of sexual violence and that women are disproportionately victimized. We believe that the silencing of survivors is detrimental to the healing of individual survivors and that the silence masks an alarming frequency of sexual violence. We envision the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to speak about their experience and to break the silence and the censorship that are tacitly and explicitly encouraged by our media and culture.
We choose to use the word survivor, rather than victim, to honor the strength and courage of the women and men who survive sexual, physical, and emotional violence. We understand survival as a physical, emotional, and psychological process. Just as everyone experiences sexual violence in different forms, so every survivor's experience with its effects will differ. We believe that the healing process is difficult and highly individual. We acknowledge that there is no right way to heal. We see ourselves as facilitators and helpers rather than experts. We believe that speaking our truths about sexual violence can be an important part of the healing process, both for the individual survivor and for the larger community of survivors. We believe that healing is possible, that victims of sexual violence can heal themselves as survivors.
We are here for all members of the Columbia/Barnard community, separate from political beliefs. The RC/AVSC provides services to survivors and to their supporters, women, and men. We educate, inform, and explain. We believe in the right of survivors to define their own needs, and we are here to support survivors at various times and throughout the healing process.
The RC/AVSC is committed to having the volunteers, peer counselors, peer advocates, and staff reflect the diversity of our large community with respect to ethnic and racial identity, cultural background, national origin, sexual orientation, and economic circumstances. We are here to support, acknowledge, and validate survivors and their differing perspectives around sexual violence. Our counseling services are provided by peers, not by professional therapists. Peer Counselors are trained and supervised by professional clinicians. We work together as counselors and rely on one another through the counseling process.
We see the RC/AVSC as a healing place whose focus, organization, and services will grow and expand with the needs, expectations, and resources of our community.
We work for the day when we are not needed.
The Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (RC/AVSC) was founded in 1991 as a joint program between Barnard College and Columbia University. Motivated by growing national awareness about sexual assault on college campuses, student activists and administrative allies collaborated to open this on-campus resource. Over the years, the services of the RC/AVSC have expanded with the needs and resources of the community. The RC/AVSC is a part of Sexual Violence Response and offers services to the entire University community.
Sexual violence affects all of us. Every year, 1 in 36 college women and an untold number of men will experience rape or attempted rape, and many more will experience another form of sexual violence. Each survivor has friends, partners, roommates, and family members who are affected as they try to respond and help.