Denim Day at Marquette

Sexual Violence is a Continuum

Each year, the Wellness and Prevention Peer Educators deliver bystander training to second year and transfer students. In this year’s presentation, we included the following image.

Sexual Violence Continuum

Victim Blaming

Generally speaking, victims who experience violent events on the low end of the recognition continuum are more likely to experience victim blaming, while those who are on the high recognition end of the continuum experience less victim blaming. Victim blaming can be defined as assigning responsibility for the violence on the victim, whether it is for drinking alcohol, engaging in a certain behavior, wearing certain clothing, etc. It is important for us to be aware of the frequency and recognition continuum because whether we recognize or don’t recognize a situation as violent has very real and harmful consequences. Victim-blaming is the attitude which suggests that the victim rather than the perpetrator bears responsibility for the assault [1]. Violence is more likely to occur in communities with low levels of recognition and high levels of victim blaming. Low recognition and victim blaming make it less likely that a victim will seek help, which makes it less likely for the police to be notified. This, in turn, increases the chances that an offender may go undetected, which may lead to them re-offending.

Supporting a Significant Other Who is a Survivor

Someone who has experienced sexual violence or relationship violence may also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of the event(s). “PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a traumatic event or series of events that a person experiences or witnesses. Symptoms may include flashbacks and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about their experience” [2] Even if a significant other suffers from PTSD, that does not give them the excuse to be abusive toward you. It can be hard for a survivor to revert back to the feeling of normalcy after an assault and there can be triggers that you can keep in mind to keep the PTSD reactions to a minimum. Being mindful of these triggers can make it easier to show respect and receive respect from your partner. Some suggestions from the National Domestic Violence Hotline are to communicate, encourage personal wellness, and build support systems.

How to be a Survivor in a Relationship

Putting yourself out there after any instance(s) of sexual violence can be overwhelming. The time it takes to trust another person can feel impossible, but there are tips for dating as a survivor that can make the transition easier. You DESERVE a shot at happiness, no matter what happened in your past. It wasn’t your fault, as hard as that may be to believe. The methods are similar to the previously listed actions.

Nicabm “How Trauma Can Affect Your Window of Tolerance”


On Campus Resources

  1. “How to Avoid Victim Blaming.” Harvard Law School HALT,
  2. “Supporting Your New Partner If They Are A Survivor.” The Hotline,
  3. “Supporting Your Partner: Where to Start.” Love Is Respect, 24 Sept. 2020,
  4. Der, Kolk Bessel van. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Penguin, 2015.
  5. “Coping With Trauma: How To Stay Within Your Window Of Tolerance.” The Awareness Centre, 1 Oct. 2019,
  6. “Expanding the ‘Window of Tolerance.’” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 Apr. 2020,,own%20interpretations%20of%20their%20experience.



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Marquette University Student Wellness Center

Marquette University Student Wellness Center

We are committed to advancing the overall health and wellbeing of the students at Marquette University through comprehensive wellness services and programming.