Sexual Violence Support at the University of Greenwich
This article will talk about different forms of sexual violence and abuse. We know that this may be triggering or upsetting. If this topic is difficult for you, we suggest taking as much time as you need to read through this information and ensuring that you have support around you, whether that is someone you know and trust, an activity that can calm and regulate your emotional response or a form of professional support. You can also call the Rape Crisis National Helpline on 0808 802 9999 which is open 24/7 for anyone who has experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives, as well as their supporters, friends and family. You can find out more about the helpline here: Want to talk? | Rape Crisis England & Wales
Here at Greenwich Students’ Union we know that many of our members and students will have experienced some form of sexual violence at some point in their lives. We also know that this could happen to our students whilst they are at university. We want to ensure that all survivors/victims of sexual violence know where they can go to access support if they need or want to. If you have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed it is never your fault, and you always deserve support, understanding and care.
If you are looking for links and information about support services, please scroll to the end of the page to find all the links.
I’m not sure if what I experienced was sexual violence
Sexual violence takes many different forms, and there is no hierarchy of sexual violence – whatever you experienced, you deserve support. The term “sexual violence” acknowledges that this behaviour is violent – whether or not any additional physical violence took place. It is up to you to define your own experiences and name them in a way that feels right for you. You can always reach out to the Rape Crisis National Helpline to talk about an experience that you aren’t sure about. Sexual violence can include, but isn’t limited to:
- Sexual harassment (physical or verbal)
- Online sexual harassment or image-based abuse
- Sexual assault and assault by penetration
- Rape by a stranger, friend, partner, acquaintance or family member
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Any sexual acts or attempt to obtain a sexual act by coercion
- Trafficking and ritual abuse
I’m not sure if I feel ready to talk about what happened
It is always your choice whether you want to reach out for support, or if you don’t want to or feel ready to. There are lots of resources that you can access if you want to begin to process your experience on your own.
Self care | Women and Girls Network (wgn.org.uk)
For survivors | Rape Crisis Scotland
The courage to be me (consentcollective.com)
Resources & Self Guides | London Survivors Gateway
I do/don’t want to report to the police/I’m not sure if I want to report to the police
You are never under any obligation to report anything to the police if you do not want to – this is completely your choice. Sometimes other people may think that reporting is the best thing for you, and you can feel that there is a pressure to report. Remember that you are the best person to understand what you need at this time.
If you want to get more information about what reporting might look like, and what might happen within the Criminal Justice System there is a short guide here: Gateway-CJS-Resource.pdf (survivorsgateway.london) and a much more comprehensive guide here: From-Report-to-Court-2018.pdf (rightsofwomen.org.uk)
I would like to report an incident of sexual violence to the university
If the sexual violence you’ve experienced has happened at university, by another student or a staff member, you can report this to the university. There are specially trained members of university staff called Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) who can support you to report to the university.
You can find the Student Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy here: student-harassment-and-sexual-misconduct-policy-2022-23-v1-0.pdf (gre.ac.uk) and information about the SVLOs and other support services here: Sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexual assault | Support | University of Greenwich
A recent or past experience of sexual violence is affecting my studies
We know that experiences of sexual violence can have a huge impact on your ability to study, whether those experiences were recent or in the past. Coming to university, new friendships and relationships and academic stress are just some of the things that may trigger memories.
If you are struggling with your studies due to mental health, you can always reach out to the Wellbeing team at email@example.com.
The GSU Advice Team can support you to submit Extenuating Circumstances if your mental health is impacting your assessments. There is more information about Extenuating Circumstances here: Extenuating circumstances | Student Services | University of Greenwich.
I experienced sexual violence at a GSU venue and would like to report it to you
You can approach a member of staff in the venue, if you feel comfortable doing so. If you would prefer to use our complaints process, this gives you the option to report with your contact details or report anonymously. You can find the form here: Complaints (greenwichsu.co.uk)
I am a man and/or I am LGBTQ+
Sexual violence is often talked about in a very gendered and heteronormative way, and some people feel that their experiences are not represented, which can be confusing and isolating. At GSU we understand that anyone can experience sexual violence, regardless of their gender or sexuality and the gender or sexuality of the perpetrator. You deserve to be heard, believed and supported.
There are specialist services which support men and/or LGBTQ+ people:
SurvivorsUK | We challenge the silence to support sexually abused men
Galop - the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity - Galop has provided advice, support, research and lobbying around the issues of LGBT+ policing for over 30 years.
Organisations and support for survivors of sexual violence: