Counseling Services

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Campus/Community Support and Assistance Resources

Penn College Counseling Services
Confidential personal counseling
Bush Campus Center, Room 204

College Health Services
Confidential advice and referrals
Bush Campus Center, Room 150

Student Affairs
Student & Administrative Services Center (SASC), Room 3009

Penn College Police
Penn's Loft

Academic Success Center
Academic programming, resources, and services
Klump Academic Center (ACC), Room 141

Legal Assistance
North Penn Legal Services
329 Market Street Williamsport, PA 17701

Wise Options
Crisis Hotline: On call 24 hours; All calls free and confidential
Services: Legal advocacy, PFA's, counseling
815 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701


Risk Reduction Tips

Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who engage in sexual misconduct are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:

  1. If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
  2. Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  3. Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  4. Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  5. Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
  6. Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake.  Respect them when they do.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  1. Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  2. Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  3. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone's sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent.  If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  4. Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  5. Don't take advantage of someone's drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
  6. Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don't abuse that power.
  7. Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
  8. Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.

Bystander Intervention

Bystanders are people who witness an incident such as bullying, drug abuse, or sexual assault, or the potential for these to occur, and have the opportunity to intervene and make a difference.

Responsibilities (What Can Bystanders Do)

  • Trust Your Instincts – If you witness an incident, take action, whether that means (safely) intervening, getting help, or reporting the incident.
  • You Have Options – Intervene in a way that makes sense for you:
    • Direct: Check in with the people involved (if safe).
    • Distract: Create a distraction to keep the situation from escalating.
    • Delegate: Have someone more appropriate intervene (call 911, etc.).
  • Prevention is Key – If the alleged perpetrator knows other bystanders are aware of the situation, the chance of violence occurring is greatly reduced. Plus, you are showing your friends and family that they can do something, too.

Helping a Friend Who Is In An Unhealthy Relationship

Talking to a friend who is being abused – You might think that something as simple as talking to a friend about abuse couldn't possibly make a difference. But it really does.

Reach out. Just knowing that someone cares enough to ask about the abuse can break through the wall of isolation that can exist around victims of relationship abuse. If you think a friend or loved one is being abused, talk to them about it. Listen to them. Let them know you care. You don't have to be an expert. You just need to be a friend.

Listen, without judging. Often a victim believes the abuser's negative messages about themselves. They may feel responsible, ashamed, inadequate and afraid of being judged by you.

Tell them the abuse is not their fault. Explain that physical violence in a relationship is never acceptable. There's no excuse for it – not alcohol or drugs, financial pressure, depression, jealousy, or any behavior of theirs.

Let them know they are not alone. Millions of people of every age, race, and religion face abuse, and many find it extremely difficult to deal with the violence. Emphasize that when they want help, it is available. Let them know that partner abuse tends to get worse and become more frequent with time and that it rarely goes away on its own.

Explain that relationship abuse is a crime, and that they can seek protection from the police or courts, and help from our local agency supporting survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence (Wise Options, 800-326-8483).

Suggest developing a safety plan in case of emergency. It's a good idea to keep money, important documents, a change of clothes, and an extra set of keys in a safe place, such as at a friend or neighbor's house.

Think about ways you would feel comfortable helping. Get advice.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  • Exerting strict control (financial, social and/or appearance)
  • Needing constant contact including excessive texts and calls
  • Insulting a partner in front of other people
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Showing fear around a partner
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Frequent canceling of plans at the last minute
  • Unexplained injuries or explanations that don't quite add up

Be an Active Bystander

  • Challenge your friends when they say or do something abusive and tell them what you think
  • “I'm surprised to see you act that way. You're better than that.”
  • “I care about you, but I won't tolerate you being abusive.”
  • “This makes me really uncomfortable. What you're doing is not right.”
  • “Loving someone doesn't mean abusing them.”
  • “Good partners don't say or do those kinds of things.”

External Contact

Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline: (800) 421-3481


Counseling Services

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