The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Brazos Valley support

Photo by Graphic by Nic Tan
Sexual Assault Statistics

In addition to on-campus resources, the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) and Twin City Missions are places within the Bryan-College Station community students can go to for support.
For over three decades, SARC has assisted thousands of sexual assault survivors in the area through their free and confidential services. From crisis intervention and counseling, to community outreach and education, SARC provides resources to the seven counties in the Brazos Valley.
Jennifer Hunt, education and outreach specialist for SARC, said their resources fall under two categories.
“First, we have a 24/7 crisis hotline, the number is (979) 731-1000. Someone can call that number at anytime, day or night, 365 days a year if they need to talk to somebody, if they need questions answered,” Hunt said. “Also, we have a team of members that dispatch to the hospital within 30 minutes of a call coming into our center.”
Hunt said SARC dispatches when someone who has been sexually assaulted chooses to receive an examination conducted by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE).
The SANE conducts a forensic examination, which preserves DNA evidence of the alleged perpetrator, and examines the survivor for any injuries and possible sexually transmitted diseases or infections. When this examination is conducted, an advocate from SARC goes to the survivor in the hospital to make sure they’re being respected and their decisions are being listened to.
“The other services we have … are more therapeutic,” Hunt said. “We have three full time counselors. One is Spanish speaking, another travels out to the six [other] counties of Brazos Valley so she’s available to people who can’t come to us. We have six support groups that meet at our location and all these services are free and confidential.”
Esmeralda Casas, education and outreach specialist and Spanish speaking advocate at SARC, said she enjoys meeting other people and getting services to survivors.
“We hadn’t been able to reach as many populations as we wanted and now I enjoy making sure we reach out to everyone,” Casas said.
SARC also focuses on educating the community about sexual assault and related topics. Hunt said SARC hosts programs to inform people at Texas A&M, public schools in the area, professional settings and medical settings.
Twin City Mission also serves the seven counties in the Brazos Valley by providing services for homeless people, violence and abuse victims and others.
Jordan Utsey, outreach and prevention specialist for Twin City Mission, said her advice to students is to seek help if they are in a dangerous situation.
“It is hard to see when you’re in [an abusive relationship] and you’ve had enough,” Utsey said. “You realize you don’t want to do this anymore and are scared. We at Twin City Mission want to help people before they get to this point, but unfortunately it’s not always like that. So seek services, don’t be embarrassed or scared, our services are all free and SARC is free.”
Utsey said her advice for friends of a survivor is to never discourage them. She added that encouraging the survivor, and making it clear that they are understood and loved is imperative to dealing with the situation. According to Utsey, confronting the abuser is often harmful to the survivor.
“Don’t ever confront the abuser, especially behind the victim’s back,” Utsey said. “This could cause more harm for the victim. Just don’t leave the victim, always be there for them.”
Casas said spreading awareness starts by admitting sexual assault is a problem in the community and conducting personal research on the issue.
“I want to let people know that it is ok if you are a survivor and know someone that is a survivor and don’t have all the answers,” Casas said. “That’s what we are here for, 24/7, and we hope that although you may not feel comfortable going to a family [member] or a friend, there is always a 24/7 hotline here to talk.”

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