A Letter from SHARE Advocates

Dear Survivors,

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult these last few days might have been for some of you. There has been a lot of public discourse regarding events that happened over the last fortnight, a lot of which has happened in ways that have been retraumatizing or triggering for many in our community. We want to make sure that you know that we, the SHARE advocates, are here for you: we want to talk to you, hold space for you to acknowledge and process thoughts and emotions that might be surfacing, help you find useful resources, and if relevant, help you figure out what your options are.

SHARE advocates are a group of students who have undergone extensive, professional training on trauma-informed, survivor-centered peer advocacy. We are certified confidential in the state of Oregon which means that we are legally not allowed to share any information about any conversation we have with you without your written permission. The only exception is if there is an immediate intent to physically harm others or if there is abuse of a child.

An important part of this confidentiality is that you have complete control over your story. We do not make reports to the college. What we talk about will stay entirely between us. We have witnessed with dismay the way in which some of our peers’ stories have been publicly discussed over the last week. We have witnessed with dismay how they have not been given control over their stories and how misinformation and gossip have infiltrated the discussions. We recognize that seeing this can be very taxing and retraumatizing for many of us. Please know that if you need someone to talk to, someone to listen to you, we are here for you as a safe, confidential resource. 

The events of the last week and the narratives that have emerged have also made it appear as if the college does not support survivors. Having helped many students through the various campus processes, we want to acknowledge that there are a multitude of ways in which we think that the college falls short or fails to support survivors. These are conversations we often end up having with administrators, faculty members and the student senate, to try and bring about the changes that would help improve Reed’s policies. While we continue to try and change some of these policies, we want you to know that there are options, resources and processes that Reed offers that do a good job of supporting survivors needs, privacy and requests. As advocates, we are happy to have conversations with you about the various options and the benefits and possible pitfalls of each. Rather than providing advice and opinions on what you should or should not be doing, we will try to work with you to empower you to make informed choices from the range of options available. The best option for each individual differs based on their situation and their needs. 

Finally, we want to affirm that it is okay to be feeling whatever you are feeling right now. Each of us has our own way of processing the campus climate we are currently experiencing. Whether it is anger, indifference, frustration, sadness, fear, emptiness or any other emotion under the sun; these are all perfectly valid emotions to feel! 

How can you contact us? You can email advocates@reed.edu and share your thoughts via email or set up a time to meet an advocate in person or online. If you want to remain anonymous but want to have a quick conversation in any case, you can use the anonymous chat feature on our website www.reed.edu/share. If you want to talk to and from community with other survivors, we can walk you through the next steps to join the Survivor Support Group.

With love and kindness,

The SHARE Advocates

Abby, Aditya, Anika B, Annika, Edi, Madison H, Paulina D, and Peri Joy

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