Support Services for Campus Sexual Assault Survivors
This fall, thousands of students have made their way to college campuses across Illinois. It is an exciting time filled with new classes and new friendships, but it is also a time of increased risk. More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur between August and November. Greenlight Family Services’ counseling program does the important work of supporting students who have faced this traumatic experience. This program exists to help survivors achieve healing and wholeness and to create a world in which a person’s life is not defined by the devastating experience of sexual assault.
Greenlight offers 20 free counseling sessions to survivors of campus sexual assault. Within the past year, we have provided more than 1,100 hours of counseling to student survivors. The Greenlight Counseling program coordinator Elizabeth Meyer, LCSW, describes this service as a conduit, triaging students to connect them with more than 50 counselors from a diverse array of partnerships. Many types of counseling are available, whether virtual or in-person, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), dance movement therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and more. Our counseling partners provide high quality services, evidenced by more than 50% of students who complete their sessions choosing to continue independently with their assigned counselor.
“Greenlight Counseling services change lives,” states Elizabeth. “For example, a recent client, ‘Allie*’ originally reached out to Greenlight Counseling in March of 2020, but did not follow up after completing the intake. About a year later, Allie reconnected with the program and expressed that at the time, she wasn’t yet in a place where she felt like she could start therapy, but she felt ready now. Allie was connected with a Greenlight therapist and completed all 20 sessions over about five months. At the end of her time in therapy, Allie’s therapist reported that she had made significant progress in her healing. Allie was able to talk about her past assault experiences openly and without being intensely triggered. She also was able to develop coping strategies to re-establish trust with men and feel safer moving through the world. This is a great outcome for our clients. Allie remained with her therapist after the 20 free sessions were completed to continue her journey of recovery.
As Program Coordinator, Elizabeth also conducts outreach and education for Greenlight Counseling. She builds relationships with college campuses to ensure students know that Greenlight has their back and that it is more than okay to reach out for help. Many students are referred to Greenlight Counseling by their university, support group, or peers. Elizabeth plans to increase peer outreach by working closely with student organizations and increasing flyering efforts.
The Greenlight Counseling program for survivors of campus sexual assault interrupts the guilt, shame, and distress faced by too many student survivors. Greenlight’s counselors offer understanding, healing, so that students may live as their most empowered selves.
If you or someone you know is in need of counseling or other sexual assault related services, please contact us at the methods below and check out these resources.
Text GCHOPE to 31996
Call us for a free consultation with Greenlight counseling 773-750-7077