OAS Statements

Please read our statements to the GW Community below. This page will be updated periodically. 

OAS Statement on Social Media Disclosures - Updated July 13th, 2020

The Office of Advocacy and Support is a confidential resource who supports those who have been impacted by trauma or violence, whether or not it happened on-campus. This includes experiences of sexual assault, harassment, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and identity or perceived identity-based threats.

There has been some recent activity on social media accounts that specifically feature posts disclosing incidents of sexual misconduct, racism, and bias within the George Washington University community. We recognize why some survivors are sharing their stories via social media platforms instead of or in addition to formal reporting mechanisms. For some survivors, this may be their preferred form of healing and justice. As an Office we see this and any other form of healing and justice as valid, important, and meaningful.

Our office is dedicated to serving survivors and those impacted by trauma or violence. We believe you and we support you. We are making this statement to share resources and options.

Social Media Safety Tips

  • If you are considering sharing your story via social media, we have provided some potential tips below that may help you to feel safe and empowered as you make the choice to share your experience. You can choose to utilize these or not. It takes courage to speak out, and it also takes courage to decide not to.
  • Please do not share anyone else’s story without their consent, even if it is anonymous. By doing this, you are taking away their voice and autonomy.
  • Posts can be triggering or difficult to read. Make sure you are taking care of yourself too as you read through this media.

Confidential advocates from The Office of Advocacy and Support are here to listen and provide free assistance in accessing resources for mental health, physical health, academics, finances, safety planning, and healing. We recognize that healing is a unique and non-linear process for everyone, and we work collaboratively with our community members to provide support and information so they can make fully-informed decisions. Listed below this statement are links to other resources both on and off-campus.

If you are interested, there are several different reporting options available to you, including Title IX, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and GWPD. The Office of Advocacy and Support can help you to navigate these options if that is something you would like to explore. However, you do not have to participate in these processes. Your experience and your voice is valid, whether or not you choose toengage in formal disclosure and reporting measures.

GW Resources

Resources About Sharing Your Story

If you are interested in connecting with an advocate to discuss social media safety tips, you can connect with a confidential advocate by calling (202) 994 -0443 or emailing [email protected] Additionally, there are a number of online resources with potential tips available to the public. Here is one that our staff found helpful:

Survivor Speaking Tips from the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault 

National Hotlines

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)
  • RAINN: 1-800-656-4673 or Online Chat

Past Statements

The Office of Advocacy and Support would like to acknowledge and create space for the loss of DC community members Olga Ooro and Tamika Jones who were killed by their intimate partners in Washington D.C in July 2020. Given the space and community that GW as an institution occupies, when a DC community member experiences power based violence, our GW community is impacted too.

We cannot truly pursue our goals as advocates, who aim to create effective safety options (not just a protection order or a police report) and healing for survivors, without analyzing the failures of traditional advocacy options and systems. When we don’t acknowledge the shortcomings and pain often caused by these carceral systems, we are cosigning suffering and perpetuating harm. 

The deaths of Olga Ooro and Tamika Jones are the direct result of the choices made by their  intimate partners to cause harm as well as systems, organizations and processes failing.

OAS is here to confidentially support you and want to offer you the space to feel whatever you may be feeling given the passing of these two DC community members. We care about you. If you would like to connect to the Office of Advocacy and Support, please email us at [email protected] or call 202-994-0443.

The Office of Advocacy and Support is reaching out to our military affiliated community at GW in solidarity, given the news surrounding the death of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen. Pfc. Guillen previously sharedexperiences of sexual harassment at the Fort Hood basewith friends and family members. We recognize the potential impactsthis news may have on you and your families and friends. OAS advocates against and denounces trauma and violence of all forms and aims to dismantle systems and processes that perpetuate harm. Our office works to support all GW community members who have experienced trauma or violence. We are here to confidentially support you and want to offer you the space to feel whatever you may be feeling given Specialist Guillen’s murder. We care about you. If you would like to connect to the Office of Advocacy and Support, please email us at [email protected] or call 202-994-0443.

On May 6th, 2020 the Department of Education, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, released new regulations regarding Title IX. We recognize that these changes could have disproportionate implications on the experiences of survivors in higher education nationwide. As a result, the Office of Advocacy & Support (OAS) is working alongside university stakeholders to make certain the voices of survivors are considered.

The Office of Advocacy and Support has been working diligently to read through and analyze all 2000+ pages of the new regulations, as well as supplementary material. 

The university is currently reviewing our policies for compliance with the new regulations. Whether or not the policies change, OAS’s work and our commitment to survivors will not change. We remain committed to building a culture of care that empathetically supports, empowers, and respects the autonomy of survivors. If you have thoughts, concerns, and questions about the new Title IX Regulations or new University Policy that you would like to share with the Office of Advocacy and Support, please fill out our Webform. We will be using this information to  inform the ways our office responds to the regulations, as well as to advocate for our GW community.

Regardless of any policy changes that may or may not occur, The Office of Advocacy and Support will continue to provide the same assistance and resources to survivors of all types of trauma, crime, and violence. Whether or not the incident happened before your time at GW. Whether or not the incident happened on-campus. Whether or not your experience matches the definitions in the regulations or university policy. We are here for you and we care.

You can schedule a time to speak to a confidential advocate by calling 202-994-0443 or sending an email to [email protected] We will also continue to host our virtual office hours on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m., which you can access here.