Sun Devils give peer-to-peer support for survivors of sexual violence

January 2, 2019

In the spring 2019 semester, ASU students and staff will raise awareness about various forms of sexual violence, from Stalking Awareness Month in January to Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. One student organization taking the lead is the for-students, by-students Sun Devil Support Network.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will experience sexual assault while in college. As part of ASU’s Movement for Violence Prevention, the Sun Devil Support Network was created in the spring of 2015 to serve as a peer-advocate network for those who have experienced sexual violence.

The SDSN trains students as advisors who can provide support to victims and survivors of sexual violence and equip them with resources that they can pass along to other students.

The fact that the advisors can offer support as students is key, said student coordinator Emma Wheatley, a justice studies and psychology major.

ASU students talk about healthy relationships on the Tempe campus

Students talk about healthy relationships at the October 2018 Wear Purple Day to raise awareness about domestic violence


“Oftentimes, a survivor may feel more comfortable speaking with their peers and thus through the SDSN we are hoping to provide survivors this support,” Wheatley said.

Currently there are more than 100 advisors on the contact list of students who are available to help fellow Sun Devils. Each advisor completes 12–16 hours of training, and they’re available across all four ASU campuses.  

There are many different resources available for victims and survivors on campus, but the Sun Devil Support Network advisors can help connect with ASU Counseling Services, ASU Police, the Dean of Students Office and much more.

“It is important that our students know about the SDSN, as we want everyone to be aware that there are a variety of resources available to survivors of sexual violence,” Wheatley said.

Interested in getting involved? Students can register for the SDSN’s training course and participate in upcoming events to raise awareness about stalking, sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. Follow the Sun Devil Movement for Violence Prevention for events and resources dedicated to healthy relationships, consent, self-care and much more.