For many survivors of sexual assault, reaching out for help is often embarrassing, and they are traumatized that someone may discover what they have experienced. But now survivors can take the first step toward getting help in the comfort of their homes with a new website that aims to provide a support system. The University’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Division of Student Affairs collaborated to launch a website, survivor.umich.edu, that not only offers information for sexual assault victims but also for their friends and family.“The website is a good communication resource” said Kelly Cichy, director of SAPAC. “We want to provide information to build a support system for a victim. So there are sections on the website for not only victims but friends and family members dealing with issues involving sexual assault as well.”Being a part of the “Take A Stand” campaign, the website helps raise awareness of sexual violence as an issue. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, associate dean of students, said the website helps to communicate to the University community that there are many resources available regarding the issue of sexual violence. “Most importantly, we wanted to eliminate any confusion whatsoever about where a survivor can go for help,” Amaker said.Cichy said one attractive aspect of the website is that users will remain anonymous. With confidentiality and availability both being important factors, Lynn Rose, project administrator of CAPS, said another motive was to create “a website that would provide instant information and crucial resources for sexual assault survivors in the safety of their own personal space no matter what time of the day or night.”“We wanted to make it easier for the campus community to know about the available resources and how to access them when needed,” Amaker said. “In that regard, the site is a comprehensive University-wide Web resource that doesn’t focus on a single office or unit.”Rose led the design of the site. She worked with a design team of Technology Services who helped her bring this vision to fruition. “I believe that all of us who were involved have created a site that survivors and those who love and care about them, will find the help and resources they need to begin the healing process,” Rose said.Along with using the site as a resource, Cichy said sexual assault victims could also visit SAPAC, the University Hospital or the SAPAC hotline. Todd Sevig, director of CAPS, said the new site represents another step in the enhancement of services provided to the University around issues of sexual violence.Survivors can call SAPAC at 998-9368, CAPS at 764-8312 or the 24-hour crisis line at 936-3333.

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