COVID-19 and Survivors of Sexual Violence

The COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) pandemic has changed billions of lives in the past few months, and for some of us within the last week. Survivors of sexual violence and sexual abuse might be especially struggling in the new circumstances - and way of life - we find ourselves. Sexual violence and abuse include a range of behaviors that ultimately seek power and control over victims: harassment, groping, intimate partner violence (domestic violence), stalking, rape, and more. Already vulnerable to the machinations of modern life lacking in social supports and empathy, the pandemic may exacerbate the inequities and harm survivors were already experiencing. People who are surviving violence in their relationships and families may be experiencing increased isolation and danger caused by confinement during Coronavirus pandemic. Some survivors are in the midst of healing and may find themselves in an unhealthy environment that inhibits their continued healing and healthy coping habits.

Whatever is happening, survivors deserve help and support. If you are currently dealing with an abuser and need a safety plan (a personalized plan to stay safe tailored to your needs), if you are in the midst of healing, or you are struggling in any way, there are campus, local, and national resources and support available to you! Check out the resources below. Further ideas for self-care and information about how COVID-19 may uniquely impact people in abusive relationships can be found below the resources.

CC & Local Resources:

SARC: Confidential resource available 24/7 for all students, faculty, and staff. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is the campus advocate for anyone harmed or affected by sexual and other gender-based violence. The SARC can be reached at sarc@coloradocollege.edu, 719-227-8101 (office), and 719-602-0960 (on-call).

Wellness Resource Center : The WRC staff remains active and working to support students on campus! Check out the website and social media for updates on virtual events and passive programming.

Chaplain Kate Holbrook: Confidential care for support and resources - 719-389-7986 and kholbrook@coloradocollege.edu

The Counseling Center: The Counseling Center staff remain available to support students. Appointments already scheduled with counselors or the psychiatrist will be conducted via phone, and students can schedule appointments by calling 719-389-6093 or emailing counselingcenter@coloradocollege.edu

Student Led Survivor Only Space:  We do art workshops, present journaling prompts, and lead conversations around certain aspects of survivorship and our healing processes.  Email SOS@coloradocollege.edu if you have any questions about the space/ are unsure if it is for you, or if you want to be added to the survivor-only group me! Be sure to read the confidentiality agreement before emailing to make sure you are comfortable with the requirements of the space.

Haseya Advocate Program : for Native survivors of sexual and domestic violence - 719-600-3939

TESSA : Confidential, 24/7 community based advocacy for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Safe Line: 719-633-3819

Colorado Springs Police Department : CSPD has a victim advocacy department for those involved in the criminal justice system. Always call 9-1-1 if in immediate danger.

National Resources:

RAINN (National Sexual Violence Hotline):24/7, confidential and free - 800.656.HOPE (4673) and through chat.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7, confidential and free - 1-800-799-7233 and through chat.

Trans Lifeline:Peer support for trans folks 8am-2am Mountain Time - 1-877-565-8860

The Trevor Project: 24/7suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth - 866-488-7386

Self-care, healing, and coping

Healing, coping, and self-care are everyday concerns for survivors, but they become especially important in times of crises. Since crises strain different parts of our lives, it is important to prioritize things like physical and emotional health even more to help us endure. Continuing or developing healthy habits now will benefit us through this hard time and afterwards. Here are some suggestions, tips, and ideas in this trying time:

  • While we are physically distanced from each other, remain connected to your social supports! Connect to your communities. Use social media, phone calls, and other ways to stay connected to friends and family. If you are struggling and need more specialized support, refer to the resources above for hotlines and other services available to you.
  • Routine. A lot is out of our control right now, but we can still control our daily routines. Stick to your daily routines of meals, skincare, physical activity, schoolwork, sleep, and down time. Routines help keep us grounded and balanced.
  • Limit your news intake. Every hour there are new updates on what's happening with coronavirus. Allow yourself one time in the day to get caught up. There is no need to check constantly, which will only serve to accelerate worry and stress throughout the day.
  • Self-care activities
    • Journaling
    • Yoga - there are tons of sessions on Youtube you can do at home!
    • Meditation and breathing exercises
    • Baking and cooking - try new recipes or a tried and true comforting dish!
    • Work out
    • Watch a funny movie or TV show
    • Read a good book
    • Coloring, crafts, making art
    • Learn a new skill such as knitting
    • Spend time with your pets
    • Get out in nature - go for a hike
    • Ask how you can support someone else
    • An activity that makes you feel good and reduces stress
    • Call the SARC or WRC for more ideas

How the Coronavirus response can increase risk for interpersonal violence (domestic violence, child abuse, family violence, sexual abuse)


Schools, libraries, churches close

Much more time spent inside the home with abusive partners or family members

Bars and restaurants close17

Alcohol and substance abuse increase risk of perpetrating violence. Now more alcohol and substance intake may take place at the home.

Social distancing widely encouraged

Common isolation tactic used by domestic abusers, now further compounded

Limited resources and services, layoffs

Known risk factors for abuse and likely to compound stress and spike risk in home

Instructed to self-quarantine

Inhibits ability to seek out support and emergency services if stuck at home with abuser all day

Campbell, A. M., Thompson, S. L., Harris, T. L., & Wiehe, S. E. (2018). Intimate Partner Violence and Pet Abuse: Responding Law Enforcement Officers' Observations and Victim Reports From the Scene. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 088626051875965. doi: 10.1177/0886260518759653

Sexual Assault Response & Prevention

The Sexual Assault Response & Prevention (SARP) Program was created in 2004 as a response to student, faculty, and staff perceptions and needs, and the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator position moved into the Wellness Resource Center in the spring of 2019. The SARC provides confidential support, information, and referrals to survivors and others whose lives have been affected by sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other forms of gender and sexuality bias-motivated acts.

We believe that gender-based violence is a community problem that will only be solved through community effort. Our vision is to help create an environment where sexual and interpersonal violence are not tolerated, and we strive to reduce the incidents and consequences of sexual misconduct on the Colorado College campus through education, outreach, dialogue, and supportive services.

Feelings of confusion, self-blame, or self-doubt are not uncommon in people who have experienced unwanted sexual contact, especially if the perpetrator was a friend, or if drugs and/or alcohol were involved. Trust your instincts and seek help.

What to do

If you or a friend has experienced sexual violence, the college has a range of resources that can assist you in understanding your reporting and support options, including obtaining medical attention, survivor-centered emotional support, safety planning options, and information regarding judicial options. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is a good first contact and can provide support as a confidential resource while also helping you navigate any medical, legal, or Title IX processes.

View the Support and Reporting Options and Procedures and Medical and Legal Options pages for more information.

Remember that aside from designated confidential resources, all CC employees are mandatory reporters (including RAs). This means that if you mention identifying details to an employee who isn't a confidential resource, they are legally obligated to report to the Title IX coordinator. If you don't want to start a Title IX process or aren't sure yet, speak to confidential resources like the SARC, a Chaplain, or the Counseling Center.

Report an issue - Last updated: 03/14/2022

Support is Always Available

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
Phone (Monday-Friday 9-5): (719) 227-8101

After Hours
SARC Advocate On-Call: (719) 602-0960
Counselor On-Call: (719) 389-6093, press 2




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