SA resources help survivors deal with mental and physical trauma


Falcon Media Staff

Teal ribbons are placed around trees on campus for Sexual Assault Awareness.

Laura Sandlin, Reporter

As sexual assault cases rise, students may be unaware of the resources available to them as a decline in mental health and feelings of being alone become prevalent. 

In 2019, Bowling Green State University reported 19 rape cases and nine instances of fondling. Many victims are unaware of what to do or whom to turn to, and they are often left to figure it out themselves. Sexual assault awareness month (SAAM) occurs in April, and different events occur throughout the school year.

Following an instance of sexual assault, one’s mental health can be affected negatively. Sexual assault awareness on campus is advertised, however, not often talked about. Sara Scarlett is a member of BGSU NAMI, an on-campus mental health-centered organization.

“NAMI represents an organization about mental health advocacy and education. The mission of our organization is to promote mental health in the community and on campus, and overall make mental health a more comfortable topic for people to talk about,” Scarlett said.

Organizations such as BGSU NAMI and the Center for Violence Prevention and Education (CVPE) at BGSU provide resources for those affected by sexual assault. Each year, BGSU packs SAAM survivor kits to be donated to Wood County Hospital.

The Center for Violence Prevention and Education partnered with The Green Dot Strategy which addresses sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking through bystander education and intervention. 

Being aware of the proper prevention methods can help students, faculty and anyone in a situation where they may be affected by sexual assault or other violent situations.

All students can play a role in combating sexual assault by holding perpetrators accountable, supporting the rights and choices of those who have been assaulted and making full use of campus resources to educate themselves on this problem.

According to the CDC, one in every three men has experienced sexual violence during their lifetime and 1 in 4 women has experienced completed or attempted rape.

Holding perpetrators accountable is one of the most important parts of sexual assault awareness. Sexual assaults that occur at BGSU can be reported to the campus police at 419-372-2346 and can also be reported to the Bowling Green City Police. Even if the victim does not personally want to report their experience, a campus official may anonymously report, however, the claim would not be followed by an investigation, according to the BGSU website.

According to the BGSU website for sexual misconduct, “BGSU has a Task Force on Sexual Assault comprised of students, faculty, staff and a victim advocate to address this issue.” 

Representation is an important part of sexual assault. Victims understanding that they are not alone can help them to be cared for and heard.

Medical care is recommended after any sexual offense. At a minimum, such care allows for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In addition, if the assault has taken place within the last 96 hours, an exam can be conducted (known as a rape kit exam) to collect evidence for prosecution.

Students may seek medical care at the Falcon Health Center (FHC) during business hours or Wood County Hospital’s Emergency Room 24 hours a day. However, if the student does not want a rape kit completed, the FHC can still treat for STIs and provide emergency contraception. 

Non-students can go to the Wood County Hospital’s Emergency Room for a rape exam if the assault occurred within the last 96 hours. Non-students can also be seen at Planned Parenthood or by a private physician for treatment of STIs and pregnancy.

Advocacy is an important part of managing the experience of sexual assault. Bowling Green State University recommends The Cocoon, which is a 24/7 hotline that uses emergency and support services for sexual and domestic violence.

Advocates are available to listen and provide options, empowering survivors of crisis through their journey of healing. Services are available at any time – hours, days or even years – after being victimized. Cocoon advocates can meet survivors at any safe location to help, and contact can be by phone only if that is preferred. All services are provided at no cost and are completely confidential.

Counseling can also be an integral part of recovery from a sexual assault. The Counseling Center on campus works to help promote the well-being of students and helps to provide resources for students to use additionally outside of an academic setting.

Overall, the important part of sexual assault is prevention, reporting and recovery. A person’s physical and mental health is the most important following such a tragic event.