Welcome to the Student Survivor Toolkit. This is for you.
We get it: figuring out what to do if you have experienced sexual violence as a student can be completely overwhelming. You might be asking yourself: How can I keep myself safe now? Will this disrupt my education? Should I report, and what happens if I do? What are my options if I don’t? How does a Title IX investigation work? And how do I know which path forward I should take?
If you’re feeling this way, we’re here to help you figure out what’s next.
This Toolkit was created by survivors for survivors like you. It’s the resource we wish we had when we were in your shoes. It is designed to empower you with the information you need to make the choices you want. It’s here to support you in deciding what to do next and give you the tools you need to make that happen. Most importantly, it’s here to let you know you aren’t alone in this experience. You are now part of a strong community of survivors and supporters who are always there for each other. No matter who you are or what you want to do next, we have your back.
What information will you find in the Survivor Toolkit?
The following pages cover a broad range of topics related to campus reporting options, activism and advocacy, and self care. You’ll find advice from other survivors, information from lawyers about your rights and how to navigate an investigation, and insight from campus activists about how to share your story and connect with other survivors. We will walk you through the campus Title IX complaint process from beginning to end, and offer solutions outside or in addition to that process. (Title IX has its own confusing legal language, so consult the glossary when needed.) You’ll also find culturally-specific advice for survivors who may have unique concerns about coming forward because of your identity, including members of the LGBTQIA+ and Muslim communities.
How should you use the Survivor Toolkit?
In short, it’s up to you. We invite you to take the information you need and leave the information you don’t. You can read it from cover to cover, skip through to the sections that feel most relevant for you, or let it sit in a drawer until you’re ready to dig in. Maybe the Toolkit will make you feel empowered to move forward with an investigation, speak out about your experiences, or become an activist; maybe it will help you decide that the best way forward for you is to not take any action at all. Whatever you decide is okay. You have the backing of this community, no matter what.
We see you. We believe you.
Equal Rights Advocates, and the survivors who created this toolkit
This Toolkit was created by Equal Rights Advocates and the student survivor clients we assist through their Title IX cases. Equal Rights Advocates is a gender justice nonprofit organization focused on creating equitable schools and workplaces.
Thanks to the ERA law clerks and interns who contributed to this toolkit: Lindsay Campbell, Jessica Dean, Julia DiMartino, Emma Hyndman, Melissa Padilla, and Ruby Rawlinson.
Thanks to the ERA staff members who dedicated many hours, thoughtful energy, expertise, and survivor-centered compassion to this project: Brenda Star Adams, Jess Eagle, Maha Ibrahim, Harjit Kaur, Kel O’Hara, Katie Sexton, and Rebecca Sheff.
Most of all, thanks to the student survivors who contributed to their wisdom, courage, and powerful hearts to this toolkit: Mia Doe,* Isha K., Virginia M., Samar R., and Sobia S. Your determination to make the world better for other survivors — and safer for all students — is the reason this toolkit exists. Thank you for leading our movement.