April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!
Use Your Power! Come out to our events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month #saam to learn more so you can #recognize dangerous situations, #support a friend, or learn how to #intervene. Tweet & instagram our hashtags. Ask for consent every time in every sexual encounter. Tell us about it at #iaskforconsent! Read about all our events at www.udel.edu/saam. Call Student Wellness at 831-3457 if you have questions about the events.
Whether you are sending your son or daughter off to college for the first time, or you are an experienced parent of a college student, we congratulate & welcome you!
Studies done with high school students by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy tell us that most adults believe that teens' peers have the highest influence on teen decision making about sex. However, teens themselves report that parents most influence their decisions about sex. You play a vital role in shaping the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of your sons or daughters. You may also be instrumental in helping them to understand how beneficial it is to their long-term physical and emotional healing if they turn to helping resources after victimization, and where to turn for help if they need it. Parents can be powerful catalysts for healing if they respond appropriately with support, non-judgment, and acceptance after a sexual assault. While it can be an anxiety-provoking experience to try to talk with your son or daughter about sex, alcohol, sexual assault, healthy decision-making, and healthy relationships, these are critical and meaningful conversations to have. Additional scholarly research (listed below) indicates that proactive conversations between parents and their teen/adult children, and parents communicating their expectations, are likely to have a powerful impact on students' choices and experiences. We encourage parents to discuss these topics early and often, even with your college-aged, young adult children.
- DiIorino, C., Kelley, M., and Hockenberry-Eaton, M. (1999). Communication about sexual issues: Mothers, fathers, and friends, Journal of Adolescent Health; 24:181–189.
- Miller, B. (1998). Families matter: A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
- Nash, S.G., McQueen, A., Bray, J.H.(2005). Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations Journal of Adolescent Health, 37, 1, 19–28, United States
- Council of Economic Advisors (2000). Teens and their parents in the 21st century: An examination of trends in teen behavior and the role of parental involvement. Washington, DC: Council of Economic Advisors.
You can do it!
You may find it helpful to talk with other parents of college students for their insights and suggestions about addressing these difficult issues with your child. You may also find it helpful to establish a network of parents of college students to have a peer group in which to exchange ideas and offer support. Also remember, Wellspring is here to assist parents too. If you would like assistance in preparing yourself to have a conversation with your son or daughter, call us at 831-3457 during business hours and ask to speak to a professional staff member. If we are with students or attending meetings, one of us will return your call as soon as we are able.
Resources for Parents
Below are links to some excellent resources to assist parents in preparing to have these critical conversations. Check them out as you prepare yourself to check in with your son or daughter.
Talk to Your Kids...Before Everyone Else Does -- helpful booklet for parents from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Includes 10 tips for talking with your kids about tough issues.
Parents Talking to Kids About Consent & Sexual Assault -- The Safe Date Project
Safe and Respectful Relationships for All -- a Delaware resource with a section for parents
How Can I Protect My Child From Sexual Abuse? -- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network). This document is focussed on younger children but offers valid helpful suggestions.
Protecting Children From Sexual Assault -- Also for parents of younger children, but a very informative & helpful resource.
What Parents Need to Know About College Drinking -- good information & excellent suggestions from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Fall Semester -- A Time for Parents to Revisit Discussions About College Drinking -- another great resource from NIAAA
Recovery from Sexual Assault -- RAINN offers many resources about helping a survivor after a sexual assault, support and recovery for friends & family members of the victim, and other resources.
Sexual Assault on Campus
National studies inform us that 1 in 4 college women will experience sexual assault. While recent studies on our own campus tell us that the percentage is lower at UD (1 in 14), we are engaged in preventative efforts to reduce sexual assault on our campus, and we are initiating new strategies to make students aware of their options and resources after a sexual assault has occurred.
Education & Prevention
UD students will be exposed to messages about their sexual safety in a variety of different environments on campus. Freshmen will learn about the high correlation between drinking and sexual assault, and related safety information, as part of their Alcohol.Edu online course. Freshmen enrolled in a Freshmen Year Seminar (FYS) or a Student Athletes' seminar will learn about sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sexual safety as a mandatory part of their Freshmen Year Experience (FYE Program). All students will have the opportunity to attend educational programs in the residence halls, at Fall DelaWorld, as part of their fraternity or sorority risk management classes, and/or at campus-wide events. Female students may choose to sign up for a free RAD class (Rape Aggression Defense) offered by Public Safety.
These experiences ideally will, in a fun and interactive way, raise students' awareness about healthy and respectful communication regarding sex and relationships, help them to cultivate their own good decision making and assertiveness skills, and educate them about potential safety risks and the resources available to them on campus.
Resources if Your Son or Daughter is Victimized
In the unfortunate circumstance that your son or daughter experiences sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, the University provides a wide array of offices and services to assist them.
S.O.S.: 302-831-2226 for 24/7 crisis care or 302-831-3457 for non-emergency appointments. (Please explore the rest of this website for more information.) S.O.S. services include 24 hour victim advocacy, crisis care and support for victims of all forms of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. The 24 hour crisis service is available to parents, friends, roommates, significant others, family members, colleagues, and UD staff working with the survivor. To contact an SOS volunteer at any time day or night, call the Health Service at 302-831-2226 and tell them you wish to speak to someone from S.O.S. The staff member will take your first name and a phone number and have the victim advocate on duty call you back within 10 minutes. S.O.S. also provides follow-up crisis counseling with a professional staff member at Wellspring, referral to other resources on and off campus, corresponding with professors regarding excusal from class or postponement of exams, and assistance obtaining other resources. S.O.S. offers a support group for survivors of sexual violence. The 24 hour number is also available to parents, roommates, friends, loved ones, and partners of victims. Read more about supporting a victim after an assault.
University of Delaware Police Department: 302-831-2222. Trained detectives investigate on campus sexual assaults for both the criminal justice system in Delaware and on-campus Office of Student Conduct proceedings. The Department of Public Safety can also provide victims with a ride to the Christiana Hospital for medical attention and forensic evidence collection via the Forensic Nursing Unit at the Emergency Room.
ChristianaCare Forensic Nursing Unit (Formerly known as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE) - Located in the Emergency Room of Christiana Hospital, the forensic nursing unit provides victims with comprehensive medical care, emergency contraception, STD testing and prophylaxis, and evidence collection examinations for use in conjunction with a criminal investigation and court proceedings. Christiana Hospital is the only medical facility in New Castle County providing forensic evidence collection.
Student Health Service: 302-831-2226. Provides medical care, arranges contact with the S.O.S. victim advocates, and offers gynecological care through the Women's Clinic.
Center for Counseling and Student Development: 302-831-2141. Provides students with counseling, psychotherapy, and crisis intervention for psychological issues.
Office of the Dean of Students: 302-831-3266. Direct student assistance for crisis or administrative issues. The Dean of Students may serve as a liaison for students with academic departments and other offices on campus.
Office of Equity and Inclusion: 302-831-8063. Provides information and support to students regarding sexual harassment.
Office of Student Conduct: 302-831-2117. Violations of University Code of Conduct, including violations of the sexual assault and sexual harassment policies, are addressed by the Office of Student Conduct.
Residence Life: 302-831-1201. Students may contact their Hall Director in the residence hall for immediate assistance, for assistance contacting S.O.S., to report a sexual assault (which will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct), or for other referral information.
Newark Police: 911 for emergencies or 302-366-7111. Newark Police investigate crimes that occur off-campus in the City of Newark.
Student Wellness & Health Promotion: 302-831-3457. S.O.S. is a service of Student Wellness & Health Promotion, which offers students education and one-on-one support to discuss their drinking or drug use, sexual decision making, sexual assault experience, and related wellness topics in a confidential environment. The professionals at Student Wellness & Health Promotion can also offer support and answer questions for parents.
Bicycle Safety Program
218 Gore Hall
Presented & sponsored by Campus & Public Safety. For more info, contact the Community Resource Unit at 831-2224.