Sexual abuse hotline back in operation after hiatus
By Astrid Bradley, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2006
After a brief hiatus, the Sexual Abuse Peer Advisor hotline resumed operation this past Saturday. The hotline was created by Christine Kim '05 and kicked off Fall term 2004.
The hotline ran until Spring term 2005, when it was cut short by the resignation of Abby Tassel, former Sexual Abuse Awareness Program coordinator. The SAAP office spent this past fall adjusting to the transition of Leah Prescott, who replaced Tassel.
The hotline number is 650-1GEM (1436) and is open from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. The hotline is open to any student, whether he or she is a victim of assault or merely looking to get resources for a friend who might have been abused. The Service is offered by the SAAP office and Health Services.
"I think that the hotline is a great resource, because it is at the hours when sexual abuse occurs most often," said Jennifer Reiser '09.
"The hotline is to be used as another resource on campus where people can call anonymously at a time when most people are not reachable," said SAPA intern Aya Caldwell '06. The hotline is operated by Sexual Abuse Peer Advisors who, in addition to having completed the initial SAPA training, also have been trained specifically for operating the hotline.
Caldwell noted that there is a positive effect associated to talking with a real live person instead of receiving an BlitzMail response when dealing with difficult subjects such as sexual abuse. The hotline gives direct and immediate help to victims, unlike BlitzMail, which can cause delays in response. Caldwell expressed that the hotline offers certain advantages over BlitzMail -- Dartmouth students' favored method of communication. "I think that most people are used to the blitz culture, and not the phone," said Caldwell. "The hotline provides anonymity which is impossible with blitz and, for some victims, this may be an important component after an assault."
The hotline also has voicemail, which allows students to call whenever they need, regardless of the appointed hours of operation.
"I check the voicemail on a daily basis and if they leave their contact information I can blitz them or call them that day," Caldwell said.