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Employer Spotlight: Sexual Assault Crisis Service

dIndiana University Bloomington’s Sexual Assault Crisis Service has been as a part of the IU Health Center since its inception in 1988. Their offices are located on the 4th floor of the Health Center, which they share with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the pioneers of the Service. Staffed by two full-time therapists and one doctoral counseling student, the Sexual Assault Crisis Service offers a variety of counseling services to survivors of sexual assault. One of those therapists is Ann Skirvin, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, whom I had the pleasure of speaking with about the prevalence of sexual assault, the services available on IUB’s campus, what it’s like to work in such a field, and internship opportunities available to students.

What is the prevalence of sexual assault on IUB’s campus?  The prevalence on the IUB campus is similar to national statistics.  It is difficult to get exact numbers, but we estimate 1 in 4 women and as many as 1 in 6 men may experience some form of sexual victimization in their lifetime.  College is a high risk time for both men and women.

What services are offered by the Sexual Assault Crisis Service?  We offer free individual and group counseling for survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.  We also staff a 24-hour crisis line with specially trained counselors, and offer outreach programs on the Bloomington campus to student groups, dorm floors, Greek organizations, classroom presentations.  We are advisors to 3 student groups:  Raising Awareness of Interactions in Sexual Encounters (RAISE), Safe Sisters, and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault.

What is your role at the Sexual Assault Crisis Service? I am a counselor.  I provide individual and group counseling for survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, staff the crisis line, give outreach presentations, advise student groups, and collaborate with campus offices.

How long have you been in that position? I have worked at the Sexual Assault Crisis Service for the past 8 years.

What is it like working for the Sexual Assault Crisis Service?  Every day is different.  I hear many stories from survivors, provide counseling to help people on their healing journeys, work to raise awareness, teach students how to advocate for themselves both individually or in groups, give presentations, collaborate with other campus offices, and work to help people immediately after an assault to receive the services they would like to receive and make decisions about what is best for them with regard to reporting and teach coping skills to aid in recovery.

What is the best part of the job? I find great joy in helping people recover from trauma. It is very fulfilling to connect with survivors, help them connect with each other, and work with people on their healing journey to find hope, resilience, and a brighter future.  I also love working with groups of students who are discovering ways to change the culture and advocate for change.

And the worst part?  Sexual assault is a complicated and deeply rooted problem in our culture, and while so much good work is being done, there is also so much still to do. The magnitude of what still needs to change, even in light of how much has already improved, can be overwhelming at times.  Connecting with other people who are working toward similar goals and seeing the positive changes being made helps.

What positions are you looking to fill? We are looking for undergraduate and graduate students to help us do outreach presentations, plan events to raise awareness.

Could you describe the available positions a bit further? We are seeking outreach interns to help us develop and present outreach programs for residence halls, classrooms, Greek and student organizations, fill outreach requests; work on a team with other outreach interns, contact and collaborate with campus offices that target specific populations (such as international students, LGBTQ students, Greek life, residence halls, students living off campus), develop educational materials, plan outreach events (such as Sex, Drugs, Rock n Roll for Welcome Week), represent the Sexual Assault Crisis Service at tabling events (such as Take Back The Night, Slutwalk).

What kinds of candidates are you considering? Undergraduate or graduate students with a background/interest in public health, mental health, sexual assault awareness/prevention efforts.

How should interested students apply for the internship? They can contact me at skirvina@indiana.edu.

Ann will be representing The Sexual Assault Crisis Service at the Career Expo this Thursday, September 24th. If you are interested in an internship which offers hands-on experience addressing one of the most serious issues affecting IUB and campuses nationwide, stop by and introduce yourself!

Additional information about The Sexual Assault Crisis Service can be found here.

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