April 18, 2022
NOTE: This story refers to situations that may trigger traumatic memories for members of our community. Resources and assistance are available through multiple campus programs.
Katie Gregory is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. She is also the co-lead of the Culture of Support initiative, one of the action items in the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Strategic Plan.
Each one of us has the potential to be a first responder when it comes to relationship violence, sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment. And our responses to a survivor’s disclosure of having experienced abuse can greatly impact their healing trajectory. Research has shown that by simply saying, “I believe you. I am so sorry this has happened. Do you want me to help you find some people who might be able to help you?” can be exactly what a survivor needs to hear after telling someone what happened to them.
As the co-director of the Culture of Support initiative, I am helping lead a team of faculty, students and staff who are passionate about creating a culture in which everyone feels safe and supported. We are partnering with the survivor-serving programs here at MSU to amplify how each member of our community can get services and provide support to survivors. We are working to educate all faculty, staff and students about how to be trauma-informed. And we are just getting started.
I look back to that time as an undergraduate student and am struck by how hard we worked to support our friend after their assault and how difficult it was to find the appropriate survivor-centered help they desperately needed. I wish things could have been different for them.
That time with my friend and countless other experiences fuel the work I do in tandem with amazing colleagues, students, mentors and staff here at MSU. It will take all of us, collaboratively, to try to shift the culture around relationship violence, sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment.
To learn more about the programs serving survivors at MSU and to learn how to support survivors in your life, please visit supportmore.msu.edu.
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