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Supporting survivors of sexual assaul

Meeting once a month to coordinate services, policies and procedures, the Interpersonal Violence Task Force (IVTF) is working to build relationships between different offices on campus. Offices involved in the IVTF are Residence Life, Campus Public Safety, Student Affairs, the Center for Student Health and Services and the Women’s Resource Center.

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The IVTF is composed of the people and offices on campus “who are most likely to handle personal violence on campus,” said Amy Shattuck, the director of the Women’s Resource Center. “There’s a lot of collaboration and coordination between offices on campus. We try to meet people’s needs as much as we can.”

In a recent instance of interpersonal violence, or sexual assault, in the Ondine, the officers responding to the emergency took the survivor of the assault from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to the room of the perpetrator to identify him, as reported by the Vanguard (Nov. 7). Although the Campus Public Safety (CPS) officers on scene protested, Traci Boyle said, “the police strong-armed them and took her (the survivor) down there” to the site of the alleged assault.

Boyle, who works as an advocate for the Interpersonal Violence Program (IVP), is upset about what happened that night. “I think any women who experiences sexual assault now will not call Campus Public Safety for fear that it will happen to them,” she said, discouraged.

Boyle noted that an involved member of the Tri-County Sexual Assault Task Force for the PPB “was really good” about the needs of the party involved. “Police have to go out and figure out who did the crime,” Boyle said. “But I think they can still listen to the needs of the survivor.”

As an advocate for the IVP, Boyle is organizing two trainings for CPS officers on interpersonal violence. “I hope to do two trainings, one on domestic violence and one on sexual assault,” she stated. She has also done trainings for Residence Life.

The objective of her trainings, Boyle said, is “making sure that people who have the first contact with the survivor have the skills to make them feel safe.” Her trainings for CPS are designed to make officers more sensitive to the needs of the survivors.

As an advocate for the IVP, Boyle’s position was created at the beginning of fall term. Boyle also provides peer support for survivors. “I’m basically available to people to talk about domestic or sexual violence,” Boyle explained. “If anyone has experienced some type of violence, they can call us.” She provides emotional support or resources over the phone or in person. “Anything to help manage what’s going on,” she said.

Boyle is also coordinating a support group for survivors of sexual assault. It’s “a drop-in group for survivors of sexual assault for any student, staff or faculty,” Boyle said. The support group will get off the ground winter term.

She wants students, staff and faculty to know that “there are people on the campus to support them.”

“PSU is pretty great about student activism,” she said. “Students should and are organizing grass-roots activism around this. Students being involved are the best, and they are the person the survivor is going to go to,

someone down the hall.”

Traci Boyle is available by phone Monday, Wednesday and Friday and encourages people to leave a message if she is not there. Her number is 503-725-6540. She can also be reached through e-mail at [email protected]