By ROMAE BISNOTT
KENNESAW, Ga. — The Office of Victims Services at Kennesaw State University provides a one stop shop for students who have been victims of crimes by promoting healing and well-being.
Created in June 2014, the office is located next to the north parking deck. Tucked inside of University Village, victims can find a confidential safe haven.
“OVS tailors its services to each victim we are assisting by providing them with all the necessary resources the victim needs to heal,” said director Tanya Smith.
Victims who have questions or concerns regarding intimate partner violence, sexual assault, domestic violence or any other crime can find assistances at the office.
“Sexual assault is not a huge problem at Kennesaw State, but it is helpful to have a place to start if it happens,” Smith said.
It offers services that include assistance with counseling and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, on campus as well as off campus group counseling. It also helps the family and friends of the victim by offering them advice on how to best support the victim.
Victims can expect the upmost confidentiality and personalized attention to their case and healing process: “OVS provides a place for victims to receive help and options without re-traumatizing them,” Smith said.
Victimization is a personal experience and it is different for each victim. The office does not treat any two cases the same. Each case and victim is given the attention they need until the victim feels they have reached a successful healing point.
“The faculty and staff at Kennesaw have made it more comfortable for victims to come forward and help them look for those resources to mitigate the trauma they have been through,” Smith said
Oftentimes, victims may be afraid to come forward once they have been assaulted. Common reasons include shame or fear of backlash from peers and the community, or fear of the assailant because they know them personally.
Kennesaw State is committed to being a proactive campus when it is concerning the safety of the Kennesaw community.
“Since I have been here Kennesaw has taken many steps to promote a safe campus such as the LIVE Safe App that a student contacted me on for assistance from OVS,” Smith said. “Kennesaw takes the initiative in getting a timely warning out if there is a threat to campus and with that warning also follows tips on how to keep you safe.”
The university offers before and after education awareness and prevention for victims.
The Office of Victim Services is committed to being an advocate for victims and letting students know it is there if and when they may need it. The office can be found on social media as well as on the Kennesaw State website and in The Sentinel Newspaper and Owl Radio. It also partners with other divisions on the Kennesaw State campus including the Student Health Center and the Registers Office. Victim Services has new marketing plans involving a moving logo on BOB and passing out treats to the students with its contact information.
Should a student be assaulted, Smith advises them: “Reach out to someone that you trust to get that weight off your shoulders and to begin restoring yourself. Don’t keep it inside and you are not alone.”