By Lina Wolf
For many students, attending college is often stressful. A variety of new experiences and unfamiliar people can take a student well outside of their comfort zone. At a time in life when students must become independent and self-sufficient, possibly for the first time in their lives, adding a traumatic experience – such as sexual assault – into the mix can increase or deepen feelings of anxiety. It can impact the student’s sense of autonomy. It may lead them to question decisions that they have made and relationships that they hold. It is not uncommon for feelings of isolation to develop as these student survivors come to realize that their trauma and experiences may not be easily understood by their peers. This can be further complicated by peers who may actively blame or shame survivors.
Living in a college environment can become overwhelming for those who have been sexually assaulted, often making the survivor feel like they have nowhere to go and no one to talk to. Having access to Porchlight Counseling Services provides college students with security in the knowledge that there is somewhere to go- somewhere that the student is not going to be blamed for what happened to them. The existence of organizations like Porchlight empowers students through the journey of processing trauma. Porchlight counselors will not only withhold judgment but provide support for the student’s actions, which is in itself an empowering concept. Porchlight provides survivors a resource to regain their autonomy in a supportive environment.