Emotional Support

Emotions & Self-Care

Seeking Support

  • Counselor / Therapist / Psychologist: It's okay to seek outside support, and you can talk to a professional therapist, counselor, or psychologist through USF or the local community. USF provides up to 10 free and confidential counseling sessions to students. Learn more about Support from USF.
  • Crisis Centers: Crisis centers are places dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault or abuse and often provide counseling, support programs, legal referrals, and access to advocates (also called Rape Crisis Centers). Find a center near you:  Support In the Bay Area.
  • Advocates: Sometimes called survivor advocates or victim advocates, these are compassionate allies who can support you by accompanying you to a medical or forensic exam, explaining your reporting options, helping you find psychological/emotional support and referring you to legal resources. Connect with the local crisis center in your area to talk to an advocate.

Common Emotional Responses

There is no right or wrong emotional response to an experience of unwanted sexual contact; each person will have their own reaction. It’s common to experience a mix of emotions and feelings, like sadness, anger, confusion, shame, or uncertainty of what to do next.

It can be useful to seek support and practice active self-care to aid the healing process.  Below are some tips and reminders for taking care of yourself throughout your process.


Self-care is an important part of healing. While you may feel pressure from others to respond in a certain way, your only obligation is to your own healing.  You are in the best position to know what you need.

  • Check in with yourself about your sleeping, eating, exercise, and substance use patterns. Your physical health is directly connected to your emotional well-being. If you feel tired or emotionally drained, consider incorporating meditation or other relaxation practices into your daily routine.
  • Processing what happened in a safe environment is important; if you do not feel safe in your school environment due to ongoing contact with the perpetrator, you have the right to change your housing accommodations or class schedule. Read more about USF Policies and Your Title IX Rights.
  • Remember that you are not alone, and it's okay to seek out support, whether through friends, an advocate, a crisis center, online communities, or a counselor or therapist.

Grounding exercises:

  • Place one hand on your abdomen and one over your heart. Gently apply pressure or hum. Focus on the feeling of your body under your hands.
  • Tap parts of your body and focus on the sensation this creates.
  • Allow water or air to run over your arms, legs, and/or face.
  • Feel your feet on the ground, your body against a chair, or your hand against a wall or floor.  It may also help to stomp your feet, shift your weight from one leg to another, and/or massage your legs.
  • If you're physically able to do so, stand up, walk, stretch, or raise your arms.
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Support from USF

USF Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Confidential Resource. CAPS is a confidential resource, meaning you can disclose a personal experience of unwanted sexual contact and they are required to NOT report it to the school or share your information with anyone else outside of CAPS.

USF has a 'mandated reporter' policy, meaning any USF staff, faculty, professors, or RA that you tell about an incident of nonconsensual sexual contact will be required to report it to the Title IX Coordinator.

USF Gender and Sexuality Center
This is not a confidential resource, meaning if you disclose a personal experience of unwanted sexual contact any faculty or student employed by USF will be required to report it to USF. Connect with your peers as part of a campus community dedicated to advocacy, education and activism related to gender and sexuality.

University Ministry
This is not a confidential resource (except Father Donal). This If you choose to speak with a staff member of University Ministry about an experience of unwanted sexual contact, they will be required by USF policy to report any disclosure of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. All UM staff are mandated reports with the exception of Fr. Donal Godfrey who can act in his capacity as clergy.

For a full list of support and information resources, visit USF’s website.

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In the Bay Area

The following places offer support, services, and information for survivors of abuse or assault in the Bay Area; this list includes locations nearest to USF Branch Campuses in Pleasanton, San Jose, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa.

Counseling Centers in the Bay Area

San Francisco General Hospital - Psychiatric Emergency Services
24-hour ER and psychiatric emergency room. Offers crisis intervention and short-term case management, then refers patients to long-term care in the area.

Mobile Crisis Treatment Team
Provides crisis intervention and links patients to long-term care. Offers services in Spanish, Russian, and Cantonese/Mandarin (schedules vary).

Westside Community Services Crisis Clinic
Drop-in clinic for adults aged 18 and older for short-term care and referrals.  

Crisis Centers

SFWAR is a peer counseling and advocacy organization that offers support, information, and resources to survivors and their friends and family via a 24 hour hotline, short-term counseling, and support groups. They also offer legal and medical advocacy and accompaniment (going with you to medical appointments or legal proceedings such meetings with police or prosecutors) and connect survivors to resources with their case management services.

Offers a 24/7 sexual assault crisis hotline, medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment (going with you to medical appointments or legal proceedings such meetings with police or prosecutors), support groups, bilingual in-person counseling for survivors and their significant others, and referrals.

Highland Sexual Assault Center (HSAC)
Offers medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment, follow-up counseling, and referrals to survivors ages 14 and up.

Rape Trauma Services
Offers a 24 hour crisis line, medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment, support groups, and family and individual counseling.

SafeQuest Solano
Offers a 24/7 crisis hotline, medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment, support groups, and individual counseling.

Napa Emergency Women’s Services, Sexual Assault Victims Services (SAVS)
Offers a 24 hour hotline, medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment, and individual counseling.

YWCA Rape Crisis Center
Offers a 24 hour crisis line, medical and legal advocacy and accompaniment, support groups, and crisis counseling.

Tri-Valley Haven
Offers a hotline, medical and legal advocacy, support groups, and individual and follow-up counseling.

Offers a 24/7 sexual assault hotline, medical and legal accompaniment, support groups, individual counseling, and referrals.

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Nationally & Globally

Nonconsensual or unwanted sexual contact is never okay, regardless of the state or country in which it occurs. Below are resources to find information and support nationally and internationally.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
RAINN is the largest US network supporting survivors of sexual assault and abuse, and offers a free, completely anonymous and confidential 24/7 online chat service that you can access from anywhere around the globe. Chat with a trained RAINN support specialist anytime at online.rainn.org. Learn more at the RAINN resources website.   

U.S. Department of State -  Office of Overseas Citizens Services
The State Department can help you contact family or friends, obtain medical care, address emergency needs, understand the local criminal justice process and connect with local and/or US-based resources for victims of crime, including local legal representation. The first step is often connecting with the local US consulate or embassy.

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