By: Marianna Bischoff (Loyola Senior)
Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent issues on college campuses with 1 in 4 college women getting harassed and/or assaulted per year according to Rainn.org. Additionally, 13% of students experience rape or sexual assault in their undergraduate years.
Gender-based violence is considered any violence directed toward a person’s gender or sexuality. Examples include stalking, physical violence, sexual violence, etc.
Loyola University provides students with a resource called The Line, which is a confidential advocacy hotline. Survivors and co-survivors of gender-based violence can call the hotline to speak to a professional health advocate. The advocate can answer questions and provide resources like methods of reporting, curating a safety plan, and emotional support.
The Line operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and 24 hours on weekends during the academic semester. Located in the wellness center on Lake Shore Campus, The Line advocates have received extensive training to speak about sexual assault and gender-based violence situations that students have experienced.
I sat down with a Line advocate, Mira Krivoshey, who is also the associate director of health promotion and sexual assault advocacy at Loyola. She oversees health education initiatives at Loyola, as well as health promotion like nutritional information, peer health education, and general wellness.
Mira has devoted her professional career to promoting positive social change. She has done this by speaking at schools about bullying and family and sexual violence and collaborating with organizations to create health programs. With 10 plus years of experience being an advocate, rest assured you are in good hands.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity
Bischoff: Could you tell me about The Line and some of its features?
Krivoshey: The Line is our hotline for sexual and relationship violence at Loyola, its number is 773-494-3810. I’m actually holding it right now! (referring to the iPhone on her desk). It is a confidential resource. Confidential means that if students give us a call we don’t have to notify the university about anything that’s been shared.
Bischoff: Who answers the phone for The Line?
Krivoshey: It is staffed by myself and McKenna Rogan (violence prevention and advocacy specialist). She is our primary advocate on campus. We also have a team of wonderful volunteers who staff The Line on the weekends, these are students who have taken a semester-long course for credit on sexual assault advocacy; I teach that course.
We answer the phone and support both students who have been survivors themselves but we also support co-survivors. Co-survivors are folks who know or love someone who has been impacted by gender-based violence and they want to know how to help support someone.
Bischoff: Walk me through what a conversation would sound like on the Line.
Krivoshey: Research indicates that the most helpful thing for someone who has experienced sexual or gender-based violence is to offer emotional support and tangible aid. Emotional support is just three phrases that are our go-to’s which are, “You are not alone, It’s not your fault, And I believe you.” Because we know that so many people who come forward when they share what’s happened to them, they’re blamed for what happened and that people don’t believe that they are telling the truth. It doesn’t matter if you were drinking or what you were wearing, no one deserves to be assaulted.
If you’re looking for therapy, we have tailored options for you, if you want to make a report to the police, here is how you do that. Validating what the other person is feeling, letting them know that they are not alone.
Bischoff: How can students raise awareness about gender-based violence on campus?
Krivoshey: We are talking about the Line and consent at orientation so all incoming students get that information. They also have to take an online module called sexual assault prevention for undergrads which talks about resources on campus but also about consent and healthy relationships. The Line resources are in newsletters across campus.
In terms of what students can do is promote The Line with stickers to put on their computers or water bottles. They can also save the number on their phone, so if they or someone they know needs support they can offer that as tangible aid right away.
Bischoff: What steps do you think are going to be made to improve The Line?
Krivoshey: In 2019 and 2020 we did a needs assessment of The Line. We interviewed folks on campus, we did focus groups with students. We collected data to rebrand, now we have an elevator pitch, and we do The Line awareness week. We try to promote it a lot more as a result and now our calls to The Line have increased by about 20 percent.
You can read about it by going to https://www.luc.edu/coalition/ . As for The Line, we have thought “could we make it 24 hours all the time.” We don’t have the staffing for that at the moment and we know that historically people in crisis, not immediate, tend to call more on the weekends, which is why the weekends operate 24 hours. There is always the opportunity to improve.
Loyola Wellness Center Resources:
The Line (773 494 3810)
Monday-Friday 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
24 hours on Weekends.