No Upstate university immune to “rape epidemic” says therapist

The eyes of America are currently focused on the Stanford University rape case. A college athlete who sexually assaulted a young girl behind a dumpster received just 6 months of jail time. It is sparking national outrage, but this problem isn’t limited to Stanford.

“The statistical number is one in four and that’s true,” said licensed therapist, Chrystal Anderson, speaking to the number of women raped on a college campus.

Until this month, Anderson helped rape survivors on Clemson University’s campus through their trauma.

“For me, I was the confidential resource for those impacted by sexual assault or relationship violence,” Anderson explained.

Daily, she’d hear the horror stories in shocking number, bending, in her mind, even the most sobering of statistics.

“I don’t think anybody outside of doing that actual work in a University setting has any idea how serious this issue is. How prevalent it is. How common it is,” she said.

This week, after former Stanford student, Brock Turner was sentenced to 6 months in jail for raping an unconscious woman, Anderson was shocked and angry, but said it’s not common for many of these incidents to go to trial at all.

“I think there are probably a few people that have been through something similar that would say “well, at least something happened,” she said.

Fighting for greater action from campus leaders and that work falling on deaf ears is what ultimately led Anderson to leave Clemson for private practice. She continues to advocate for change on every campus, saying it starts with universities placing more worth on survivors than donors who might pull money over a smeared image.

“Those kinds of things absolutely play into the action that the university takes,” said Anderson.

She said to find a solution, it goes deeper.

“In order to deal with this issue, in order to improve it in any way, we’ve got to get in there and we’ve got to touch the people who are making these choices,” said Anderson. “Are we just going to keep helping people after they’ve been assaulted? After they’ve been harmed, victimized or traumatized? Or are we going to go to the core of the issue?”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, there is help for you.

Here’s a list of resources:

A. Rape Crisis Council of Pickens County: The mission of Rape Crisis Council of Pickens County is to provide optimum quality direct services to the victims of sexual assault and their families in Pickens County. The Rape Crisis Council of Pickens County aims to provide an advocate that can be there for any victim in their time of need, and to show each victim that someone does believe them and is on their side. 864-442-5500

B. Foothills Sexual Trauma Center (Anderson and Oconee Counties): Foothills Alliance is a nonprofit agency that encompasses three programs: Sexual Trauma Center, Child Advocacy Center, and Prevent Child Abuse. The Sexual Trauma Center is a multi-services program responding to the needs of child and adult sexual trauma survivors in Anderson and Oconee counties. The center provides support for survivors, family members and others involved in the survivor’s recovery. 1-800-585-8952

C. MARYS House (Domestic and Relationship Violence): MARYS House provides emergency shelter and services to families fleeing domestic violence. The MARYS House family (staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors) works toward the prevention and cessation of domestic violence through intervention, education, and outreach. 864-859-9191

D. Safe Harbor (Domestic and Relationship Violence): Safe Harbor is a organization that provides safe shelter, counseling and advocacy for victims of domestic violence as well as leadership for education and prevention efforts throughout its four-county area of Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens, South Carolina. Safe Harbor offers a continuum of services, providing safe emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and transitional housing, as well as community outreach and teen dating violence education. 1-800-291-2139

E. South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: SCCADVASA works to make the community aware of issues, problems, policy and legislation regarding Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. SCCADVASA supports domestic violence and sexual assault member programs, provides education, and advocates for social reform to eradicate interpersonal violence in South Carolina. 1-803-256-2900

F. RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network: RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE and RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. 1-800-656-4673

G. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: NCADV is comprised of people dealing with the concerns of battered women and their families. They represent both rural and urban areas. The Mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.
Anonymous and Confidential Help 24/7 – 1-800-799.Safe (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

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