/ Student Development

Support and Advocacy

Hope College’s victim advocate provides confidential support for students who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual or gender-based harassment, or stalking.

What can an advocate do?

Working with an advocate can look like:

  • Crisis intervervention and emotional support: Supporting you as as you process the thoughts, feelings and reactions you may have about what you experienced.
  • Medical advocacy: Connecting you with post-assault medical care and walking you through what it looks like to go to the hospital, Hope’s Health Center or Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence for that care.
  • Academic advocacy: Working with you to reach out to your professors, departments and other Hope offices to explore your opitons for academic support and asssistance.
  • Reporting/investiagtion support: Talking with you about your options if you are considering reporting what happened to you to the college, the police or both and supporting you throughout investigative processes.
  • Safety planning: Helping you explore options for securing safety measures through the college or the court system.
  • Housing advocacy: Helping you explore your housing options and connecting you with housing resources for both on- or off-campus living.
  • Referrals: Working with you to connect to therapy services, food pantries, legal experts and other supportive resources as needed.
  • And more: Working with you to reach out to your employer, assisting with financial aid concerns, writing letters of support and much more based on your individual needs!
What can I do if I'm sexually assaulted?

It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you are not alone. Below are some things to keep in mind. Please note that, if you are in immediate danger, your best option is to call 911.

  1. Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.
  2. What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen — and that’s not okay.
  3. Think about calling a confidential, supportive professional to help you talk through your options. This may include Hope’s victim advocate, Hope’s CAPS office or Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence. 24/7 support is available through Resilience's Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-800-848-5991.
How can I support surviviors I know?

As a loved one or community membere of a survivor, your support plays a crucial role in helping someone heal. If someone discloses to you that they have experienced violence, supporting them can look like:

  • Believing them, thanking them and listening to them.
  • Respecting their decisions; refraining from judging.
  • Sitting with them amidst their feelings.
  • Offering information on and assistance connecting to helpful resources like Hope’s victim advocate, Hope’s CAPS office or Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence.
  • Maintaining their privacy — allowing them to share their story in their own time with whom they choose.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Remain calm — you may feel shocked or angry about what happened to this person and your expression of those emotions in the moment may feel overwhelming for survivors.
  • Everyone’s experience with violence is unique. Every survivior respons to and heals from their experience in their own way and at their own pace.
  • Provide space for the person to make their own decisions in their own time — let them be in the driver’s seat as much as possible.
  • Supporting a surivor might be triggering or traumatizing for you as well; during this time, prioritize your own self-care and think about checking in with a supportive person, too.
What does “confidential” mean?

Per Hope College’s Equal Opportunity, Harrassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy, designated confidential support people on campus must maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor, an elder or an individual with a disability, or when required to disclose by law or court order.

This means that all interactions with the victim advocate, including scheduling of appointments, attendance at appointments and content of appointments, are considered confidential and will not be shared with any person except as detailed above.