The Importance of Counseling for College Sexual Assault Survivors

One in four women and one in seven men experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their college career. The #MeToo movement empowered many individuals to speak up and report these assaults, but reporting is only the first step. Counseling helps college sexual assault survivors achieve healing and wholeness and helps to create a world in which a person’s life is not defined by the devastating experience of sexual assault. “I was absolutely hopeless about ever feeling like I could get over what had happened to me, but at some point it was all out there. That’s when I began to gain control of my life again,” stated Shannon, a former Porchlight Counseling Services client.


Since Porchlight began in 2004, hundreds of students have found healing through meeting with a therapist for free counseling services and talking on a regular basis about what they had experienced, recurring symptoms, and what their goals were moving forward. While talking through these experiences can be extremely difficult at times, our therapists are trained to talk with the students about their past and present thoughts so that the student can reprogram those memories in their mind and find healing and empowerment to move forward in school and in their lives. As former Porchlight client Emagin stated, “The more you talk about it and literally get it out of your body, those thoughts and negativity lose most of their power.” At Porchlight, we agree that talking with a trusted individual can be one of the best ways to heal from pain and deep hurt.


Porchlight provides college and graduate students who have experienced sexual violence at campuses in the Chicagoland area the opportunity to seek deep healing through free specialized counseling services. Porchlight’s model is unique because students can complete an online intake form in the privacy of their own dorm room and then get connected with a therapist in an area of Chicago convenient to them. None of the students will ever be required to travel to a central office. All of Porchlight’s therapists work out of their own private practices and specialize in working with students who have experienced sexual violence and the frequent accompanying symptomologies present after such an experience. At Porchlight, our hope is that any college or graduate student reading this post who has experienced sexual assault will contact us and begin the 20 free therapy sessions. While there is no commitment to finish all 20 sessions, talking with someone who is experienced, confidential, and unbiased regarding your situation could be the next step in the healing journey. “Porchlight understood what I needed as a survivor, as a student, and as a self-identified woman – regardless of my ethnicity, cultural practices, or sexual orientation,” stated former Porchlight client, Hannah M. Porchlight is here to support you in the process.