Women's Resource Center
The Women’s Resource Center is dedicated to improving the status of women students, faculty, and staff at Bloomsburg University. We do so through the development and implementation of educational programs, community outreach, victim advocacy, and referral services.
These programs and services are provided in a manner that reflects a commitment to equity, safety, mutual respect, diversity, and sensitivity to others. Educational programs are coordinated with other campus areas and resources and off campus agencies to:
- enhance awareness of gender issues and violence prevention
- address the needs of a diverse female population
- promote equity, advancement and empowerment of all women on campus
How to help someone you care about
It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially when that person is a family member, friend, or loved one. Consider the following ways of showing support:
- Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.
- If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
- Encourage the survivor to get support. Share resources like the National Sexual Assault Hotline and online.rainn.org, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.
- Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
- Encourage them to practice good self-care during this difficult time.
To learn more, visit rainn.org
These websites have additional information regarding women's rights and resources for women. If you have any questions and/or comments, please contact our office.
Volunteering with the WRC
Are you interested in volunteering at the Women’s Resource Center? Contact us for more information on how you can help.
The Bitner Fund has been established to provide financial assistance to BU female students with critical unmet needs. Contact us for more details.
Relationship Violence Resources
Relationship violence includes actions or words that cause a person in a relationship with the abuse to feel fear or intimidation. Relationship violence is about a perpetrator having power and control over another person; it is not about a person being "out of control."
Relationship violence does not simply mean physical violence (hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, pushing, punching, or beating). There are many other equally as traumatizing abusive behaviors, such as:
- Verbal Abuse-constant criticism, mocking, yelling, swearing, interrupting, or not responding to what the victim is saying.
- Sexual Violence-forcing sex on an unwilling partner, demanding sexual acts the victim does not want to perform, or degrading treatment.
- Isolation-making it hard for victim to see family/friends, monitoring phone calls, controlling where victim goes, or taking car keys.
- Coercion-making the victim feel guilty, manipulating family members, or making up impossible "rules" and punishing victim for breaking them.
- Harassment-following or stalking, embarrassing victim in public, constantly checking up on victim, or refusing to leave when asked.
- Economic control-refusing to give victim money or giving a small "allowance," not letting the victim work, interfering with the victim's work, or refusing to work.
- Abusing trust-lying, breaking promises, being unfaithful, or being overly jealous.
- Threats and Intimidation-threatening to harm the victim, family members, pets, shouting, or using physical size.
- Emotional Withholding-not expressing feelings, not taking victim's concerns seriously, or not respecting victim's feelings.
- Destruction of Property-destroying furniture, punching walls, breaking dishes, or destroying victim's personal belongings.
- Self-Destructive Behavior-abusing drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly, or threatening suicide or self-harm.
(Source: The Idaho Coalition's publication "It shouldn't hurt to go home.")
Developing a safety plan can help you when you are put in a situation of domestic violence. After developing your plan, review it as often as possible.
- If you have an order of protection, keep it with you at all times.
- Inform people that you trust of your situation.
- Develop a code word, phrase, or signal of some kind that will let friends, neighbors, or classmates know that you are in trouble and the police should be called.
- Plan what to do in various situations if the abuser confronts you.
- If an argument seems unavoidable, move to a room with easy access to an exit – not a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Identify the quickest exit from your home and practice your route.
- Have a bag packed in an undisclosed but accessible location so you can take it with you if you do not have a lot of time.
- Inform neighbors to call the police if they become alerted of a disturbance.
- Decide where you will go if you have to leave.
- Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Include the numbers of friends, family members, shelters, and domestic violence hotlines.
Use your instincts and judgment, you have a right to protect yourself when you are in danger, you do not deserve to be battered or threatened.
According to the Stalking Resource Center, "stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time."
There are many other actions stalkers may use to intimidate you or to monitor your behavior. Stalkers may follow students, wait outside of their classroom, by their car, or frequently drive by their workplace, residence hall, or home. Cyberstalking is another form of stalking and may include harassment online; frequent texting, voicemails, or picture messages; installing programs to track internet use; or using GPS to track your location. Stalkers may also call and hang up, deliver unwanted notes or gifts, or damage a student's belongings.
People may struggle to recognize stalking as a crime, because it is often a series of non-criminal offenses; however, stalking is, against the student code of conduct, and very serious. Stalking may also be perpetrated in combination with sexual violence and/or relationship violence.
Stalkers act in ways to monitor, track, harass, or intimidate. A stalker may:
- follow you
- purposely show up at places you frequent, such as the grocery store, a place of worship, or a favorite hangout
- wait for you at work, at your classroom, or your home
- drive by your home or place of employment
- repeatedly call and hang up or make otherwise harassing calls
- post unwanted messages on your MySpace or Facebook pages
- track your internet or phone use
- speak with friends, family, roommates, coworkers, conduct internet searches, hire investigators, or otherwise gather information to track you
- use GPS to track your location
- send unwanted notes, letters, e-mails, text or picture messages, or gifts
- damage your belongings
Common Responses to Stalking
Stalking is a serious crime, and victimization can cause serious trauma. There is no "normal" response to trauma; however, some common responses are listed below:
- terror, fear
- distraction or inability to concentrate
- nightmares/sleep disorders
- somatic and physical aftereffects
- long-term depression
- hypervigilance or PTSD
Some students may fear for their life or feel suicide is the only way to escape. There is help available!
Every stalker is different, so there is no single solution. However, there are some general guidelines:
- Trust your instincts about a situation and take threats seriously.
- Take precautions to ensure your safety.
- Consider cutting off contact with the stalker, including refraining from emails, text messages, phone calls, and third-party communication — even if it seems like it might be a way to convince the stalker to stop. Continued contact may encourage a stalker to keep stalking.
- Stalking is sometimes viewed as a series of non-criminal offenses which collectively constitutes a crime. For this reason, it is important to document and report all of the stalker's harassing actions or attempts to contact or monitor you. This includes any voicemails, e-mails, text messages, letters, gifts, sightings, or attempts to contact or give messages to you through another person.
- Consider informing roommates, co-workers, or supervisors of the situation so they may be supportive and help keep you safe by notifying you or the police if the stalker contacts them.
- Consider reporting to the police.
- Believe your friends or family members.
- Thank your friends or family members for sharing this information, and let them know you care about their wellbeing.
- Encourage your friends or family members to call 911 or campus police if they feel they are in immediate danger
- Help your friends or family members to identify campus and community resources such as the Women's Center, Counseling Center, local police, the Women's and Children's Alliance, and FACES.
- Encourage them to develop a safety plan.
- Encourage your friends or family members to keep evidence or document unwanted or intimidating behaviors or contact.
Often legal cases are built based on documentation completed by a victim. Stalking documentation kits are available at the Women's Center.
- Encourage your friends or family members to notify friends, family, roommates, and co-workers about the stalker and to ask them to help watch out for their safety.
Respect your friends or family members' decisions about who to share this information with; do not share this information with your friends or family members' permission.
- Refrain from revealing any information about them to the stalker. Know that stalkers may attempt to collect information from a third party (you) in order to harm or continue stalking your friends or family members.
This information-seeking behavior may be especially present when your friends or family members have cut off contact or made changes to their phone numbers, places of employment, or routines.
- Dismissing or minimizing the seriousness of this crime victims often legitimately fear for their life and do not feel safe to complete daily activities or even sleep.
- Blaming your friends or family members--perpetrators, NOT victims, are responsible for their crimes.
- Breaking confidence of your friends or family members to tell others about the crime--they should always have the right to tell who they choose.
- Advising your friends or family members--they are most familiar with the stalker's behavior and they may have the ability to most accurately assess what might escalate the stalker's behavior.