Survivor Support Network

Survivor Support Network seeks to build a community among survivors by creating a space to gather with other students who share these experiences. In the larger community, our focus is on creating a compassionate student body who knows what it means to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Survivor Support Network (SSN) is a survivor led organization that supports college and university students who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. Their primary audience is survivors, so this is centralized in everything they do. Survivors are the ones who know the most about their own experiences, and as such, SSN puts this at the heart of their work. Originally, SSN started as a group of students at Seattle University working to fill a need that arose from a gap in services for those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. This gap exists due to the overemphasis higher education places on prevention work and formal counseling. Building community among those who have these experiences is essential to creating an environment where survivors are believed and supported. Now, SSN works to bring this programming to other colleges and universities in the Seattle area.

Survivor Support Network was founded by a group of survivors and their allies in response to demonstrated gaps in services for those navigating the realities of sexual assault and domestic violence on campus. Universities have turned their attention to peer education programming and other prevention efforts, while failing to respond to the needs of those who are already survivors. The current approach to sexual assault and domestic violence on campus is structured with few options for survivors beyond formal reporting and general counseling services, and as a result, has proven to be ineffective. Few survivors choose to report because of how the current reporting system is structured and carried out, so to only focus on funneling people through this system is not appropriate as a means of accommodating diverse needs and experiences. We created this organization in August of 2016 to meet the demonstrated need for services outside the system to support survivors and create community. Throughout this year we have done the following: begun community building through our weekly survivor meetings; hosted quarterly panels where survivors speak to their experiences; facilitated engagement with Seattle University policies surrounding sexual assault and domestic violence; and hosted other community events to teach people about the realities of sexual assault and domestic violence.