Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

West Chester University is a campus that provides an innumerable amount of things for its students. There are lots of places to eat, tons of options for residence and a seemingly unlimited amount of organizations ranging from sports to academic clubs.

Aside from that, we are also very fortunate as West Chester students to have a wonderful array of resources at our fingertips. Not everyone knows exactly how much we have access to here on our campus.

At the Association for Women’s Empowerment meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, the group was asked what questions they, as women, had about our school.

Of the questions received, almost all of them had to do with the resources that are offered to us by our school. It is important that those questions are answered, so that we all know what we have accessible to us and how to go about utilizing those sources.

Q – Who can I talk to if an incident involving sexual harassment occurs? Are there options to speak out about it anonymously?

If you or someone that you know has experienced sexual assault, there are several on and off campus sources that are waiting to help. If one chooses to report it anonymously, they can do so by visiting the Counseling Center on campus. Sexual assaults can also be reported to the Student Health Center; however, they are only anonymous if the reporter is over the age of 18.

Off-campus resources include: the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, which is located at 135 W. Market St., and is open from 9am-5pm on weekdays, as well as The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, which can be found at 1001 Lincoln Hwy E.

If none of those options feel comfortable, one may also seek out one’s Resident Assistant, a campus Title IX coordinator or a trusted professor who will be able to sit down and go over options. These people, however, may be mandated reporters, therefore not being anonymous.

When one chooses to report a sexual assault, it does not mean that they are automatically submitting themselves to any formal process. Reporting simply means that you are allowing yourself to be contacted by someone to go over all of your options, which include counseling, medical aid, legal action, etc., without anything being forced.

Q – Who can I talk to when I am feeling depressed?

Whenever anyone feels concerned about the state of their mental health, depression included, it is a good idea to visit the Counseling Center on-campus. Without a previously-scheduled appointment, one can walk right in and be seen by any of the trained psychiatrists that the Center has ready on staff.

Through the Counseling Center, students can also get in contact with a counselor by filling out and submitting a survey online at wcu.caresforyou.org. After reviewing the survey, a counselor will then respond with any follow-up recommendations. Students may continue communicating with the counselor anonymously or schedule a meeting face-to-face.

If one is struggling with mental health, Resident Assistants and trusted administrators on-campus are also willing to help, but may not be confidential.

Q – Are there any volunteer opportunities on-campus regarding women’s issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, etc?

There are plenty of organizations on and off campus that are always looking for volunteers to help. The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County is currently looking for people to help with a hotline service to talk to people in crisis.

Additionally, off-campus, the Planned Parenthood in town may be able to provide volunteer opportunities to those who want to help.

On campus, there are organizations such as the Association for Women’s Empowerment, which meets weekly to discuss women’s issues and promote opportunities to get involved on campus with programs such as It’s On Us, which puts on a week-long event to honor and support survivors of sexual assault.

Ali Kochik is a first-year student English major. AK908461@wcupa.edu

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