Indiana Daily Student

Fight for survivors

Around 33 percent of survivors of sexual assault have suicidal thoughts, while about 13 percent of sexual assault survivors will attempt suicide.

Additionally, nearly one-third of all rape victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder, the mental illness caused by extremely scarring events.

Rape victims develop PTSD at a rate almost 6.2 times that of the general population. Victims of rape and sexual assault are also three times more likely than non-victims to have a major ?depressive episode.

They contemplate suicide more than four times as often than non-victims and 13 times as likely to attempt ?suicide.

Survivors of sexual assault and rape are also 13.4 times more likely to have two or more major alcohol problems and are 26 times more likely to have two or more serious drug abuse problems.

These statistics are not fun or enjoyable to read. They may have made you cringe or feel uncomfortable.

Good.

We live in a world today that is far too blasé about mental illness and substance abuse in regards to victims of sexual assault or rape. Any time I can make people feel uncomfortable or uneasy, I know that they’re realizing we have a major problem.

Here at IU, Sexual Assault Crisis Services, a subsection of Counseling and Psychological Services, services about 30 to 35 victims of sexual ?assault weekly.

Whether or not these are returning students or first-time visitors is unavailable for public viewing due to ?confidentiality laws.

SACS is staffed by a grand total of two people who assist visitors with both in-person and over-the-phone ?counseling.

Beyond that, there is not a licensed psychiatrist on staff, which means that SACS has to send its patients who desire or need psychiatric care or ?medication to CAPS.

These students get two free sessions, which are mainly used as intake and background information gathering, for CAPS, the same free sessions given to all IU students. Afterwards, students have to pay $20 or more for CAPS sessions with a doctor who can ?prescribe medication.

It could take several sessions per week for several months for victims of sexual assault or rape to make headway on a mental illness that might have resulted from the horrific experience you’ve had.

For low-income students, those without adequate healthcare or who simply don’t want their parents to know they are seeking mental healthcare for a sexual assault-related illness, a $20 ?session adds up rather ?quickly.

For a University that claims to stand at the forefront of supporting victims of sexual assault and rape, it certainly seems as though we are focusing exclusively on sexual assault prevention.

While it’s fantastic that we want to prevent sexual assault, we need comprehensive policies and actions to deal with the aftermath in the terrible situation that those preventative ?policies do fail.

Whether it’s providing more funding for CAPS and SACS or subsidizing the cost of CAPS sessions for those with mental illnesses caused by sexual assault, IU needs to stand with its brothers and sisters who have experienced the tragedy that befalls far too many ?students.

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