At the VIP Center, we believe that no one has to do everything, but everyone can do something. We specialize in manageable Green Dots students, staff and faculty can do to make a big difference in violence prevention on our campus. A Green Dot is any moment when one says or does something to support a culture of nonviolence, which is essential to a successful academic experience. We offer a variety of ways to participate in this mission because we are convinced that the reduction of power-based personal violence (partner violence, stalking, and sexual assault) depends on commitment from faculty and staff as well as students.
As a staff member, you are very likely interact with students or other staff members who have experienced power based personal violence (PBPV) including sexual assault, partner violence and stalking. Staff at the VIP Center work to address a variety of needs including safety, health and housing. These tips are designed to give you information and suggestions on how to have a productive and supportive working relationship with a student or colleague who may be experiencing PBPV.
Because of your role on campus, others may see you as a safe and trustworthy person to talk to about their experiences with PBPV. If they are experiencing difficulty with their work or school responsibilities, they may be coming to you out of necessity even if it is very difficult to discuss the situation. You have the responsibility to:
When someone discloses, they are expecting a safe space, where they will not be judged and people will want to help and support them. Listen without interrupting, maintain eye contact, and smile or nod encouragingly as needed. This may mean being comfortable with crying and strong expressions of emotion, as well as periods of silence. Potential responses:
The way people respond to disclosures can help or hurt those impacted. In general, avoid questioning their decisions, blaming them for what happened, minimizing what happened or how they are feeling, and telling them what to do.
Staff members should be aware of and share the resources for those impacted by violence such as those found here.
For example, I am here to listen and support you, but it would also be helpful for you to talk to someone who has specialized knowledge in this area. In rare cases, you may be concerned that someone is an imminent danger to themselves or others. In such a case, tell them you would like to call the appropriate campus support systems, including UKPD or the VIP Center, and stay with them until help arrives. Finally, close with a statement offering additional support and confirming any arrangements such as: Thank you again for sharing what you’ve been going through. I appreciate that you felt comfortable enough to talk to me about it. If there is a way I can help, please let me know.
The VIP Center is available to provide information in the areas of power based personal violence including partner violence, stalking and sexual assault. Staff are also available to provide consultation regarding disclosures as well as concerns about potential problems that may arise. Contact us at 257-3574 to speak with a staff member.
Keep in mind that VIP is a resource for you too. It can be difficult to hear about someone's experience of violence. Sometimes it can trigger memories or reactions to violence you may have experienced. Even if you have never experienced violence, it can raise concerns for you about campus safety, anger that someone you care about has been hurt, fear that you didn't say the right thing. We all have different reactions and it can be helpful to have someone to talk to about it. We can also consult with you if there are situations related to power-based personal violence that you are unsure how to handle.