Healing and studying: an impossible task ?

TW: Sexual assault.

Sexual assault has always been an issue lurking in universities, but it only has been ten or fifteen years since people began discussing this issue. According to a study led by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network in the United States, college women aged between 18 and 24 are three times more exposed to sexual assault or rape.[1]

In November 2021, the French newspaper Le Monde published an article discussing a study led by the University of Lille showing that among 1215 students, 64% of women and 24% of men had declared having been sexually abused.[2] Both studies demonstrate that sexual violence is an international issue that needs further consideration.

Nonetheless, victims not being taken seriously is one of many problems surrounding sexual assault and rape, which leads to their suffering, as they feel diminished by others. It may be difficult for some people to understand the trauma that these events can cause. Indeed, survivors can suffer from depression, post-traumatic disorders, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders. Trying to heal from the trauma while one is studying at University, may be seen as something impossible to achieve. Having been myself in this position, and being now a second year MA student, I can declare that it is a difficult path, but not an impossible one.



In order to combine both healing and university life, survivors need to find the type of healing that suits them best as well as an appropriate support system. It is important to keep in mind that healing is different for everyone. For instance, a survivor can decide to look for a classic therapeutic work. In this case, you can contact the CMP (Centro Médico Psychologique) of the area in which you are living. All sessions are entirely free. Another option could be to contact a specific organisation dedicated to helping  rape and sexual abuse survivors. For instance, in Aix-en-Provence, PACTeS[3] offers two free sessions to help victims finding which psychologic support is best suited to them. In my case, they advised me to pursue an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. This kind of therapy is really helpful for those who do not want to talk for hours about their traumatic event. This therapeutic work is more focused on the emotions and feelings accompanied by eyes movement. If you want to learn more about it, you can visit their website here: https://www.emdr-france.org/lemdr-cest-quoi/la-therapie-emdr/.

Furthermore, at University there is always a professor, whom can be trusted, to talk to. It is also important not to shut down from the world: joining a sports club, a theatre club, or danse club can be beneficial for the healing process as it enables the victims to make new acquaintances, to think about something else and most importantly to feel comfortable again with, and in, their bodies. You can also check if your university offers any kind of medical assistance. For instance, AMU offers this kind of assistance at the SIUMPPS (Service Inter Universitaire de Médecine Preventive et de la Promotion de la Santé)[4]. The SIUMPPS allows one to make an appointment with a doctor, or a psychologist, who will listen to the victim for free. Another option could be to consult one of the psychologists at the CROUS (Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires). In order to make an appointment, you need to log in to https://www.messervices.etudiant.gouv.fr/envole/ then, in the section “Prendre RDV avec le CROUS”, chose the option “psychologue”. These consultations are also entirely free for students.

Moreover, in 2016, AMU began to develop the “Service pour le Respect et l’Égalité”[5] which aims to prevent and fight against sexual violence, harassment, and any kind of discrimination. If you have been a victim or witnessed one of these offenses, you can find help by contacting this service by email (respect-egalite@univ-amu.fr) or by phone (04 13 550 550). Their website also gathers phone numbers and websites that could be useful if you want to ask for help or to denounce an offense such as CLASHES (Collectif anti-sexiste de lutte contre le harcèlement sexuel dans l’enseignements supérieur)[6], a society founded in 2002 which goal is to fight against any kind of sexual violence in the academic world. In its fight against sexual violence, AMU also organizes conferences to discuss this issue. In 2021, the organizers of the conference did a poll at the beginning of the presentation asking how many people have suffered or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual violence : 39% of the audience gave a positive answer. However, once it has been explained what the diverse forms of sexual harassment and violence could be, 67% of the audience gave a positive answer to the initial question. This shows that many people are not truly aware of what sexual harassment or sexual violence really is. Nowadays there are more and more universities engaged in the prevention of sexual violence and AMU is one of them. In 2022, the university organized a new conference[7] as part of its campaign against sexual violence. Thus, AMU has shown, through its different engagements, its desire to create a public space where everyone can feel safe. Furthermore, the university has also demonstrated its wish to support victims of sexual abuse by offering them the help they need. Therefore, AMU is making it more and more possible for students to accomplish, as well as conciliating, both healing and studying.

Today, universities are making it possible for victims to succeed in their studies as well as healing from their trauma during their university years. So you shall not hesitate to use the tools provided by your university to start your healing journey. Also, do not forget that you are not alone in this path, that there will always be people present to help you, you just need to take it one step after the other. 




[1] “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics,” RAINN, accessed December 1, 2022, https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence.

[2] Lorraine de Foucher, “Violences Sexuelles : Des Chiffres ” Édifiants ” Dans Une Étude De L’université De Lille,” Le Monde.fr (Le Monde, November 25, 2021), https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2021/11/25/violences-sexuelles-des-chiffres-edifiants-dans-une-etude-de-l-universite-de-lille_6103571_3224.html.

[3] http://associationpactes.fr/soutien-et-accompagnements/

[4]“SIUMPPS – Service Inter Universitaire de Médecine Prévention et de Promotion de La Santé | Aix-Marseille Université,” accessed May 21, 2023, https://www.univ-amu.fr/fr/public/siumpps-service-inter-universitaire-de-medecine-prevention-et-de-promotion-de-la-sante.

[5] “Victimes, Témoins ? Aide et Ressources | Aix-Marseille Université,” accessed June 22, 2023, https://www.univ-amu.fr/fr/public/dispositif-damu-pour-lutter-contre-le-harcelement-les-violences-sexistes-sexuelles-et.

[6] “accueil,” April 17, 2023, https://clasches.fr/.

[7] “25 Novembre, Colloque Prise En Charge Des Violences Faites Aux Femmes, Où En Sommes-Nous En 2022? | Aix-Marseille Université,” accessed June 22, 2023, https://www.univ-amu.fr/fr/public/actualites/25-novembre-journee-internationale-de-lutte-contre-les-violences-faites-aux.


Photo Credits: Site: https://pxhere.com/fr/photo/789092 

Licence: Creative Commons.

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
lriveradenninger (28 juin 2023). Healing and studying: an impossible task ? EN-globe. Consulté le 24 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/oe7p

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