If someone you know has been impacted by interpersonal violence or harassment, you can contact the VARCC to meet with our experts for advice and support. Our staff will meet with you one-on-one to support you in helping those you care about get connected to resources and options.
Possible signs that someone has experienced interpersonal violence
Victims of interpersonal violence respond varying ways. Many survivors appear to be themselves and have their feelings under control, only to become extremely upset again within a short time. Some of these reactions may be short-lived; others can be troubling for months or years following the incident.
A survivor might experience any or all of the following reactions:
- Emotional shock
- Intrusive memories or thoughts about the incident
- Inability to work or make decisions
- Impaired relationships
- Anger and irritability
- Social withdrawal
- Impaired memory
- Psychological disorders
- Substance abuse
- Weight gain or loss, eating difficulties/disorders
- Emotional detachment, loss of caring
- Difficulty with concentration
- Hyper vigilance
- Heightened startle response
- Panic attacks
Ways you can help
Safety first: Always keep safety in mind as you interact with a distressed student. If you have any concern for the safety of your student or yourself, call University Police at 607-777-2393 or 911 immediately.
Avoid escalation; be sensitive and supportive: Victims of interpersonal violence have experienced a traumatic event that results in an intense loss of power. Create an environment of safety and let the student know it's safe to talk to you and that you'll listen without judgment and believe him/her. The student has chosen to speak to you because he/she trusts you. Don't press for details and let the student decide what steps, if any, to take. Remind the student that what happened wasn't his/her fault.
Don't assume you're being manipulated: The victim of interpersonal violence won't appear distressed simply to get attention or relief from responsibility. The individual will typically exhibit emotional responses consistent with those listed above. Listen to and believe the student, referring to appropriate resources for help.
Know your limits: As sympathetic and understanding as you may be, some students will need much more emotional support than you can provide. Referrals to professional counseling services are an important step for recovery. The University Counseling Center is available to help at 607-777-2772 .
Helpful information for allies
Visit our resources page for additional on- and off-campus assistance.