The Office of Victim Services has been renamed to The Center for Survivor Support and has been a useful tool for students by educating and responding to the impact of interpersonal violence and continuing to try to create a community free of violence. Kayla Shantz, a first-year media production student at Ball State, is proof of that.
“I believe having an organization like this on campus is so beneficial. As a survivor, it makes me and the women around me feel much safer on campus. It feels like someone has our back,” Shantz said. “I believe this organization is a good resource to have on campus. One tends to feel very alone when faced with this kind of trauma.”
Shantz fully supports the name change and believes the name change creates a positive organization.
“I think promoting the strength survivors have is super important,” Shantz said via email. “I think more outreach and publicity for the organization would be beneficial.”
A victim a dvocate is a professional who is trained to support those who are victims of any crime. The homepage for the victim’s advocate provides students with non-judgmental and confidential support.No information will be shared without the student’s consent. Though the advocacy cannot press criminal charges, it can lead the student to viable service options, such as campus police, whom the advocacy works closely with.
Anna McGee is a victim advocate at the Center for Survivor Support.
“The Office of Victim Services’ [name] no longer reflects the extensive and ever-changing education and prevention services our department provides campus-wide,” McGee said via email.
Those within the organization will continue to work with the Ball State University Police Department (UPD) to ensure the safety and support of victims of all gender-based violence. This is not biased toward any one identity, McGee said via email.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) refers to the word “victim” as someone who has been affected by sexual violence, and when discussing a crime or certain aspects of a crime, the term “survivor” is used to refer to an individual who has gone through the recovery process.
Jim Duckham, Ball State chief of police and director of public safety, said training has evolved since news concerning sexual assault. According to RAINN, one out of six women in the United States are victims of rape. Women of the ages 18-24 in college are three times more likely to fall victim of rape. Duckham also stated the student atmosphere has changed when it comes to these certain crimes.
“I think people are always concerned about their safety, [and] I think what is different is the way people are aware of how quickly that information spreads with social media and 24-hour news cycles,” Duckham said. “I think where the changes come is the understanding of how to respond from an investigative standpoint to victims and survivors of trauma.”
If the crime is in the patrol area, UPD will respond and take the report and contact the appropriate on-campus resource, including the victim advocate, with whom they have an excellent working relationship, Duckham said.
Shantz is a supporter of the organization, as well as all women going through the process of healing after a traumatic experience such as domestic abuse.
“I’d let [other survivors] know that no matter the circumstances, it is not and will never be their fault,” Shantz said. “Focusing on pushing forward rather than letting the pain overcome you is the only way to heal. You are beautiful, you are loved and you are safe.”
Around 40 percent of women and 26 percent of men have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse in Indiana in the last year, according to the State of Domestic Violence Report. Organizations such as the Center for Survivor Support exist to make campus safer and to provide support to those who need it.
If you or anyone you know have been a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, please visit the Center for Survior Support Website to schedule an appointment or contact UPD.
Contact Jayda Mann with comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.