Editor's note: Confidential sexual assault resources for UR students include CARE Advocates, which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804.801.6251; Peer Sexual Misconduct Advisors (PSMA), at email@example.com or 804.346.7674; CAPS, at CAPS@richmond.edu or 804.289.8119; Virginia LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline (24/7), at 866.356.6998; Greater Richmond Regional Hotline (24/7), at 804.612.6126; National Sexual Assault Hotline (24/7) at 800.656.HOPE.
The University of Richmond’s Center for Awareness Response and Education will offer an 8-week support group for student sexual assault survivors beginning the week of Feb. 7.
Registration for the support group will be open through Jan. 31 and is available for all UR students.
“Often something that happens when people experience trauma is they can feel very alone, so they can hopefully build that community with the group,” said Kaylin Tingle, CARE healthy relationships and violence prevention educator.
Liz Cozzati, a CARE advocate, licensed clinical social worker and senior sexual domestic violence therapist at Safe Harbor, will run the support group with fellow CARE Advocate Becca McNulty. Safe Harbor is a domestic violence treatment center in Richmond.
Once the support group starts, it will only be available for students who have registered and gone through intake assessments. Intake assessments allow Cozzati to get to know the students and why they are in the group so she can cater to what they need as best as possible, she said.
“The way I run groups is a bit more structured and psycho-educational,” Cozzati said. “So learning about coping skills — even just education around trauma and sexual assault.”
Sam Mickey, a senior and president of Spiders Against Sexual Assault and Violence, said the support group was needed on campus.
“Being a survivor takes a huge toll on your college experience,” Mickey said. “So to have someone like a professional who is leading the support group, but also your peers who are in the support group, and having someone you can call even outside when the group meets is really awesome.”
The focus of the sessions throughout the eight weeks is flexible and can change based on what the group needs, Cozzati said.
“So talking about boundaries and self-esteem or intimacy after assaults and whatever topics we feel as a group we need to cover,” she said.
The support group can be held virtually via HIPAA compliant platform, Bluejeans, or in person depending on what participants prefer, Cozzati and Tingle said.
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The group got started after UR and Virginia Commonwealth University had a collaborative grant they used to hold a support group for survivors at VCU, Tingle said. After the grant ended Tingle said she and Cozzati worked together to organize the first support group specifically for UR survivors, which started in the spring of 2020.
Cozzati said the support group will also focus on helping participants obtain any resources they may need beyond the group.
Contact news writer Katie Castellani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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