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PEAR Program Frequently Asked Questions

Updated  by kensminger
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PEAR Program Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the PEAR Program?

The PEAR Program is a resource at Salem State that focuses on reducing sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking on campus. The program provides trainings, prevention programming, education, advocacy, and support for the SSU community. PEAR offers confidential advocacy for all survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking who attend Salem State. This includes students of all identities, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. All of our services are free and confidential.

What training and workshop options are available?

  • General Training (definitions, understanding consent and relationships, policies, and resources)
  • Responding to Disclosures of Gender-Based Violence
  • How to Help a Friend
  • Vikings CARE Bystander Intervention Training (co-facilitated with LEAD)
  • Please email pear@salemstate.edu if you’re interested in planning a training or for additional options.

What is the best way and time to contact PEAR?

PEAR can provide advocacy via call, text, and in-person. The advocacy line is active from 8am-8pm during the academic year when the university is open. Please check the main page of the website for details on in-person drop-in office hours and updates about when the advocacy line is active.

Is PEAR confidential?

Yes, PEAR is a confidential resource on campus. To learn more about our confidentiality and privacy policy, please visit: PEAR Program (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, and Response) Informed Consent Information.

If my partner, parent, or anyone else calls to ask if I used your services, what do you tell them?

No one outside of the PEAR program will be informed of your call or the details of your communication with us without your permission. We will neither confirm nor deny that you called us if anyone asks.

What happens if I know the advocate who answers the phone?

The advocacy lined is staffed by the PEAR program coordinator or a graduate advocate. The advocate will not tell anyone in your residence hall, classes, or others that you called. If you know the advocate answering the phone, you may use a different name to protect your identity.

Can I remain completely anonymous?

Yes. We will give you an opportunity to give us your contact information, but you do not have to. You are welcome to give us your name, use an alias, or not give us any name at all. Sometimes providing a name or contact information can be helpful in getting someone follow up information that they’ve requested or finding a time to meet in person. The only instances that require us to ask for your information are if the circumstances fall under our limits of confidentiality, including if there is a clear and substantial risk of danger to self or others.

What if I’m not sure if what happened was domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking?

The line is open for you if you need assistance, support, and advocacy, whether or not the experience qualifies as a “sexual assault”, “stalking” or “domestic violence” as defined by you, Salem State University, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A PEAR advocate can talk through this with you.

Can I use this line even if I experienced dating violence, sexual assault or stalking before I was a Salem State Student or if it happened off campus?

Yes. We understand that each survivor deals with their experience differently. It is important to remember that there is no set timeline for healing or when you should be feeling better. The advocacy line is a resource for you regardless of when and where the incident took place.  We can still help you connect with both on and off campus resources.

What are common reactions to sexual assault and relationship violence?

Each survivor copes with sexual and relationship violence differently. It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way for a survivor to feel, and there is no set timeline for when a survivor should feel better. Each survivor has their own healing process. However, many survivors do share several common reactions to traumatic experiences. For more information, please visit: Common Reactions to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence.

How can I support my friend who has experienced sexual assault, an unhealthy relationship, or stalking?

Having a friend disclose to you about their experience or seeing a friend go through a difficult time may bring up many emotions. This is normal. There are several things that you can do for your friend, including but not limited to:

  • Thank them if they disclose to you and acknowledge their bravery for sharing.
  • Tell them that you believe them.
  • Help them recognize it was not their fault.
  • Listen to your friend. If they are not ready to talk, let the person know you will be ready to listen when they are.
  • Validate and acknowledge their feelings. It is normal for survivors to have a range of emotions.
  • Let them make choices and ask your friend how they want you to support them. Giving them the power to make their own decisions is important. Avoid telling a survivor what to do or what you would do.
  • Consider safety for yourself, your friend, or any other people who may be involved. Remember, if there is an immediate safety concern to call University Police or 911.
  • Talk to them about resources you think might be helpful and offer to help connect them.
  • Remember to take care of yourself. Seek out resources for yourself, if needed, and know it’s okay to set boundaries.

How does Salem State University define sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking?

Salem State University uses definitions from the Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Affirmative Action Plan. For more information on these definitions and the plan, please visit: What is sexual assault? consent? harassment? stalking? And more definitions.

How do I report an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, and/or stalking?

To learn more about reporting options, please visit: Where can I make a report of incidents of violence or harassment?

You can also talk with a confidential resource (PEAR Program and Counseling and Health Services) about your reporting options.

Where can I find resources off-campus?

Please visit this link for resources relating to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, stalking and additional resources. These include local and national resources. Where Can I Find Resources Off-Campus for Sexual Assault, Dating/Domestic Violence, and Stalking?

How does PEAR differ from community resources or counselors at counseling and health services?

Choosing where to seek support is a personal decision that is different for everyone. PEAR provides information about all of these options both on and off campus. Support is not one size fits all and this list is not every option available to you.

PEAR advocates are a Salem State employee and graduate advocate who have received extensive training and are designated as confidential resources on campus. PEAR is open to all survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking who attend Salem State. We can listen, support, and give you information on both campus and community resources and reporting options, but advocates are not able to provide counseling.

Staff at Counseling and Health Services are professionals who, by the nature of their professional licensures, hold confidentiality. These professionals are trained to support and respond to students who may be affected by any kind of trauma or troubling experience. There are limited circumstances where counseling and health services may have to share information. Learn more about counseling and health services' privacy policy (pdf).

The YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center is a community-based organization that is part of the YWCA of Greater Lawrence and provides services to all sexual assault survivors ages 12 and older and their non-offending family members and partners. They welcome all survivors regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic status, or legal status. All of their services are free and confidential.

HAWC provides services and support to victims of domestic violence residing in 23 cities and towns on Massachusetts’ North Shore in order that they may make informed, independent decisions about their futures. They welcome all survivors regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic status, or legal status. All of their services are free and confidential.

What are restraining orders and how do I apply for one?

There are two different types of restraining orders in MA:

Harassment prevention orders (also called 258E Orders) and Abuse prevention orders (also called 209A Orders). For more information about these orders and eligibility, please click here: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/vx/am-i-eligible.pdf

For more information about getting a restraining order and the process, please visit: How do I get a 209A Order?

Where should I go to get an evidence collection kit?

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) has received extensive training to perform an evidence collection kit, also referred to as a “rape kit.” There are several hospitals in Northeastern, MA and Greater Boston, MA that have SANE nurses. For a full list of SANE-designated hospitals in MA, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/designated-sane-site-hospitals.

What if I want to get more involved with these issues on campus?

PEAR encourages students who are interested in these issues to get involved. We have educational events and programs throughout the year, and we are looking for volunteers. Please email pear@salemstate.edu or call 978.542.2987 to get involved.