The Lakeland Mirror

Stopping Violence on Campus: Safe Harbor Advocate

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Stopping Violence on Campus: Safe Harbor Advocate

Aaliyah Lewis McCollum, Staff Reporter

Britta West is a Safe Harbor advocate for survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence in all types of relationships. West helps “victims develop safety plans, discuss options for change and provide emotional support and resources.” Despite being experienced and qualified, many students on Lakeland’s campus are unaware that her services have been available on campus for six months. Her office is located in the Health and Counseling Services Office in Brotz Hall. 

Safe Harbor is a “domestic violence and sexual assault agency in Sheboygan, located on Ninth Street and Niagara. According to Safe Harbor’s informational brochure, “Safe Harbor provides prevention, intervention, education, and outreach services to empower individuals, families, and the community to end all forms of domestic violence and sexual assault.” Safe Harbor typically works with adults. However, we have two youth specialists that help with high school or even middle school students and elementary school students. 

West states, “Safe Harbor provides emergency, temporary shelters for people who have been experiencing either sexual assault or domestic violence and are looking to get out of that situation. We work with our clients to have a plan on their transition out of shelter and what that’ll look like. Something that people tend to utilize the most is our 24hour crisis line. There’s someone on staff all day and all night, every day of the year, meaning there’s no automated person. You’re going to get someone who actually wants to talk with you, listen to you, and offer resources/suggestions on how to ease the crisis that you’re going through.” 

Safe Harbor also has a legal advocate that helps with temporary restraining orders, divorcee hearings, and other legal situations. West states, “We aren’t lawyers, but we have people that will help to navigate the system. We have a therapist who’s been with Safe Harbor for about 20 years and she is very helpful.” 

West is available Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 am to 4 pm. West continues to work on new ideas and projects for next year, such as collaborating with student organizations to educate students about interpersonal violence. 

“I have a lot of ideas,” West says, “Putting them into motion is a little bit of a challenge at this point of time. We’re hoping to restructure my position to be an advocate on campus here as well as the prevention and education on sexual assault topics. I plan to bring events to campus as well as convocations. My plan also is to speak with students on what they’re interested in talking and learning about.” 

For more information, students can visit Safe Harbor’s website, www.sheboygansafeharbor.org, or visit Britta West in the Health and Counseling Services Office. If you or someone you know is experiencing interpersonal violence, feel free to call the 24-Hour Crisis and Crisis Intervention Line at 800-499-7640.  

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