Information about SHARPP Services
Crisis is defined as a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life. As you might imagine, this is a common experience for survivors of sexual assault, relationship abuse and stalking. It happens in the moments, hours, and days after abuse occurs, and can happen repeatedly throughout a survivor’s life due to a variety of factors, such as being retriggered.
Advocates from the SHARPP office can help you work through your crisis and regain a sense of equilibrium for that moment. The advocate’s goals in crisis intervention are to assist you in sorting through options, feelings, thoughts, and reactions, strengthening coping responses, regaining control, and renewing previously healthy relationships.
Advocates are trained staff and volunteers of SHARPP who meet with survivors to provide a wide-range of services. All advocates are required to undergo a minimum of 30 hours of training on the issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship abuse and stalking, and the systems that pertain to these issues. Advocates empower survivors by providing information, tools, resources and opportunities. They are trained to work with survivors respectfully, recognizing that systems may be confusing and overwhelming to survivors.
Advocates help identify all the options available and help survivors decide which choices best met their needs in a non-judgmental way, leaving the advocate’s personal opinion out of the equation.
Advocate Mission Statement:
To provide culturally competent intervention services to survivors of past, present or attempted
sexual/relationship abuse by creating a supportive environment for survivors and their allies.
Advocacy for Male Survivors
Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In the U.S., it is estimated that about 10% of all victims are male. In many ways, the harm of sexual abuse on male victims is similar to the harm inflicted on female victims. There are ways in which it is different. It is important to consider the following*:
- Sexual assault has nothing to do with masculinity. Boys and men can be sexually used or abused, and it has nothing to do with how masculine they are.
- Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. If a male victim liked the attention he was getting, or was sexually around during the abuse, this does not mean he wanted or liked, being manipulated, abused, or that any part of what happened, in any way, was his responsibility.
- Sexual assault is the result of abusive behavior that takes advantage of a victim. Males can be sexually abused by both straight men and gay men. In no way is the abuse related to the sexual orientation of the perpetrator.
- A victim’s sexual orientation is never the result of sexual abuse. Whether the victim is gay, straight or bisexual, sexual orientation is neither the cause or the result of sexual abuse. By focusing on the abusive nature of sexual abuse rather than the sexual aspects of the interaction, it becomes easier to understand that sexual abuse has nothing to do with a male’s sexual orientation.
- Girls and women can sexually abuse men and boys. The males are not, “lucky,” but exploited and harmed.
- Most males who are sexually abused will not go on to sexually abuse others.
*Adapted from 1in6.org
Advocacy for the LGBTQ Community
It is estimated that between 25 and 33 percent of LGBTQ relationships include abuse, a rate equal to that of heterosexual relationships. There is a misconception that if violence occurs in an LGBTQ relationship it is mutual fighting and that it does not reflect the same power and control issues as seen in heterosexual relationships, however the abuse is in many ways similar.
While many aspects of LGBTQ relationship abuse are similar to those experienced by heterosexual victims, it is not in all ways identical. Perpetrators often attempt highly specific forms of abuse based on identity and community dynamics, some of which include:
- "Outing" or threatening to out a partner's sexual orientation or gender identity to family, friends, employers, or in other situations where this may pose a threat.
- Telling the survivor that abusive behavior is a normal part of LGBTQ relationships, or that it cannot be relationship violence because it is occurring between LGBTQ individuals.
- Manipulating friends and family supports and generating sympathy and trust in order to cut off these resources to the survivor.
- Portraying the violence as mutual and even consensual, especially if the partner attempts to defend against it, or as an expression of masculinity or some other "desirable" trait.
Typically, an advocate will accompany a survivor who is a survivor of sexual assault to the hospital for medical care after the assault (specifically for a rape kit). This generally happens one of two ways:
- The survivor calls the hotline and decides to go to the hospital, at which point the advocate would meet the client at the hospital or at a determined location.
- A survivor is at the hospital and discloses the abuse. The hospital is mandated to call the local crisis center for services which will prompt an advocate to come to the hospital. The client can then accept or refuse services.
Undergoing a medical examination, especially one as extensive as a rape kit, can be very difficult. An advocate can be a source of support, as well as a helpful resource for any questions you might have throughout the medical examination. The advocate is there solely for your support and can help you understand the process better and help you navigate what can be a very overwhelming procedure.
An advocate can be made available to assist survivors in navigation of the legal process, whether that is criminal, civil or the University’s conduct system.
An advocate can accompany you in making a police report, as well as offer assistance in determining whether reporting is the right choice for you. The advocate can also be present for any follow up appointments made with law enforcement such as forensic interviews.
An advocate can assist you in filing a restraining or stalking order. The advocate will accompany you to the courthouse, help you work through the paperwork, and provide support and safety planning for the outcome. Additionally the advocate will be able to accompany you to the court hearing.
Many students are unaware and unfamiliar with the University’s legal proceedings through the Office of Community Standards (OCS). A SHARPP advocate can explain what this process might look like in your specific situation, as well as assist you in beginning the process by filing charges. The advocate will be able to accompany you to any meetings related to the proceedings as well as sit in for support on the hearing date. You can find the Student's Rights, Rules & Responsibilities handbook here.
Please note, the conduct system is for UNH students only. Both the survivor and perpetrator must be enrolled students at UNH.
Affirmative Action & Equity Office:
Faculty and staff who have been victimized by colleagues can make a report to the Affirmative Action and Equity Office on campus. A SHARPP advocate can assist in this process.
Surviving a traumatic event like sexual or relationship abuse can take a toll on all aspects of our lives.
If you find you are having trouble keeping up with your coursework, studying for tests or completing assignments on time, come talk to a SHARPP advocate. SHARPP may be able to provide you with an Academic Intervention, through which we will ask your professor(s) to give consideration to you in your coursework. The purpose of the academic intervention is to facilitate recovery of the student survivor with minimal impact on his/her academic achievement.
We will never disclose what has happened to you, but only explain that you have been experiencing repercussions from a traumatic event and open the conversation between you and your professor so that you may work out deadlines, make-up test dates or extra credit possibilities that satisfy both of your needs.
Sharing your healing process with others who are also healing from similar situations can be very therapeutic. Support groups offer a safe space in which survivors can talk about their experiences with other survivors.
SHARPP currently does not run any support groups for survivors, but we are always open to changing that. If there is a support group that you would like to see from SHARPP, please contact our office at (603) 862-3494. Furthermore, SHARPP can refer you to other crisis centers in the area that may be offering a support group that fits your needs.
Being Fierce and Fabulous Group
SHARPP and Health Services offer the Being Fierce and Fabulous group for female students at UNH. This group is offered in the fall and spring semesters. The goal of the group is to provide women a safe space to explore who they are in order to live lives that are fulfilling emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually. Learn more about Being Fierce and Fabulous Programming...
Support Groups at UNH Counseling Center
The UNH Counseling Center offers a variety of support groups each semester. Learn more about their groups...
Support Groups at UNH Health Services
The Office of Health Education and Promotion, Health Services offers a variety of educational group each semester. Learn more about their groups...
Supporting a Friend
Most survivors of sexual and relationship abuse disclose the assault or abuse to at least one other person, usually a friend. You can't rescue your friend or solve her/his problems. Learn more here.
Resources and Referrals
While every survivor’s story is different, there are many resources throughout the UNH and seacoast community that can aid in your healing process.
SHARPP’s focus on the issues of sexual assault, relationship abuse, stalking and sexual harassment provides the community with advocates who are aware of the many resources available to survivors that you may need to utilize. Advocates can help connect you to the resources you need, but may not already be aware of.
Advocates may refer you to other organizations and accompany you to appointments with those organizations.
We can come to your classroom, residence hall, apartment complex, department, Greek house or other facility to provide a debriefing process in a format that allows individuals an opportunity to discuss their feelings and reactions to a traumatic event or difficult situation.
To schedule a debriefing consultation, please contact Amy Culp, SHARPP Director, at (603) 862-3494.
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