Help for survivors | Ithaca

All Resident Assistants (RAs) were to arrive on campus early for semester training before the fall between August 10 and 13 in preparation for the residents’ move in on the weekend of August 15. Day three of the training focused on helping – everything from how the Clery Act makes RAs into commissioned journalists, to how to resolve conflicts between roommates. The third day of training strongly marked me for a different reason, this reason being the knowledge of The Advocacy Center.

The Advocacy Center is a domestic and sexual violence service provider in the Tompkins County area. Although this is an off-campus resource, it correlates strongly with Title IX and is available to students in the Ithaca region. It provides services to anyone who is a victim of child incest or sexual abuse, sexual and family violence and sexual assault, as well as services and resources for the friends and family of these victims.

The reason the Advocacy Center stuck with me so deeply and sternly, is the fact that I had only learned it, almost exactly six months from the time I was in a dangerous situation. Due to the pandemic pushing the resource to be almost entirely virtual, I knew it was difficult to market the Advocacy Center and all of the services it offers to victims – but I couldn’t help but feel an immense grief to learn something “too late.”

It was here: a confidential resource, where I had access to a completely neutral person for me to be there for a SANE exam – an assessment given by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who was trained to provide comprehensive victim care. sexual assault and able to conduct a forensic examination – and could walk me through all the options I had whether or not I wanted to go ahead with a court case and help me with the next steps which I chose on my own terms.

The way this grief has manifested is that I now make it a point to promote the Advocacy Center in as many bulletin boards and events as possible. As much as I want my students to come to me about an event that is going on in their life, I understand that it can be uncomfortable when you know that the person you are talking to has to report the incident on their own and even more difficult when that person sees you almost every day.

I’ve learned that it’s better to get help months after the fact than never to get it at all. I have used the Survivor Group offered by the Advocacy Center to share my story and coping mechanisms with people who have had similar experiences and who are working together on the road to recovery.

For more information on the Tompkins County Advocacy Center, go to or call their hotline at (607) 277-5000.

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