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Parents of Survivors

It can be particularly hard to hear that your loved one has been sexually assaulted. Be prepared to be more closely involved with your family member’s recovery than others, as the survivor may need help financially for therapy, transportation, or someone to talk to regularly. However, also remember that for some survivors, it’s easier to talk to friends than family about sexual violence. Don’t take this as a judgment on your relationship. Respond to the survivor’s needs, but don’t impose your assistance.

It’s often especially hard for survivors to tell parents about violence because it often involves an acknowledgement of sexual relationships with others (since much violence happens between people in an existing sexual relationship). Do not victim-blame or tie the violence to other sexual choices.

For some families, discussing sex and sexuality at all is extremely difficult. Some families may have never discussed sex before. Be supportive and treat your loved one with respect and maturity.

If your child tells you about being sexually assaulted and asks for therapy, help them research therapists in your area. If you are concerned about money, many rape crisis centers offer free counseling.

If you find out from someone else that your child has been sexually assaulted, tread carefully. If you broach the subject, make sure you allow your child to define the experience in their own terms. Be careful about using words like “rape” or “sexual assault” in the conversation; try to use the same words they apply to their experience.

Remember that some survivors don’t choose to confide in their families — and for a variety of reasons.

WVU Peer Advocates

Family who wish to support a survivor can contact a student WVU Peer Advocate to discuss options and on- and off-campus resources while remaining anonymous. A WVU Peer Advocate can be reached by contacting one of the Title IX Education Specialists:

While the WVU Peer Advocates and Title IX Education Specialists serve as anonymous resources for all students, faculty and staff, please note that under most circumstances they cannot discuss specific cases with third parties – such as friends and family – due to the students’ rights under FERPA.


Students at West Virginia University and its divisional campuses (“WVU” or “University”) benefit from the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This Act, with which West Virginia University intends to comply fully, was designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. A more detailed explanation of rights afforded to students by FERPA can be found at

Other Resources


Seeking help?

If you are fearful for yourself or another person in your current environment or situation call 911 immediately.

Find an emergency contact

West Virginia University Campus Police: 304-293-3136.


An interactive bystander intervention training program that teaches students to realistically and effectively intervene in high-risk situations.

Learn more about WELLAWARE

File a complaint

File a complaint regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual & domestic misconduct (including sexual assault), stalking, or retaliation.

File now

Prevention Programs

Learn more about sexual assault and power-based personal violence prevention programs offered at West Virginia University.

View available programs.

WVU Peer Advocates

Get involved and make a difference

West Virginia University signed onto the national It’s On Us campaign in 2015 to continue violence prevention efforts and reinforce Mountaineers’ rights under Title IX.

Under the It’s On Us campaign, the University coordinates the WVU Peer Advocate program. Through this initiative, expertly trained students work to end sexual assault and power-based personal violence on campus through immediate crisis intervention and prevention awareness events.

Any student is welcome and encouraged to become a WVU Peer Advocate and can become involved by contacting a Title IX Education Specialist.

  • To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
  • To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
  • To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
  • To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Take the Pledge