Pitt Supports Survivors

Student holding a sign of supportApril is Sexual Assault Awareness (SAAM) month.  SAAM is about creating a movement to eradicate sexual assault and harassment, while providing support to survivors.  While we are not able to gather in person this April, we can still support the survivors on campus and in our lives.  Below are messages of support from community members all over campus to survivors of sexual misconduct. 

To the survivors visiting this page: we see you, we support you and you are not alone.      

Submit a Message of Support

Amy, Undergraduate Student

I believe you no matter what. Your stories, bravery, and resilience inspire me everyday.

Paula K. Davis, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Diversity

I stand with survivors because no one deserves abuse and no one should ever feel alone. Know that there are allies all around you with open hearts and open arms.

Hannah Brenize, Receptionist of Disability Resources and Services

I believe you. You are so strong and courageous. Please know that you are not alone and this is not your fault. We, as an office and University community, are here for you and will support you the best we can.

Danielle Brown, OEDI Inclusion and Interim Measures Specialist

You are STRONG! You are BRAVE! I am here to provide support whenever needed!

Emiola Oriola, Office of Interfaith

You matter; your story matters; your well-being matters to more people than you know! We're here!

Susie B, MSW Student

You don't owe your experience to anyone, ever. It is not your job to gain justice or protect others. Your only job is to take care of yourself, however that looks. The only job of others is to support you however you want them to.

Nick Bibby, Student Rep, Office of Civil Rights and Title IX

You are strong and brave. I will always have your back.

Michele Welker, SHARE coordinator, Pitt UCC

We are here for you during this time of uncertainty. The counseling center supports survivors wholeheartedly. Know that if you are feeling triggered right now by certain aspects of your trauma, it does not mean that you have went backwards or are broken. Healing is a process and is not a linear one. It is ok to not be ok at times. Take time for yourself to get grounded and engage in meaningful self-care. Move your body, eat healthy food, and sleep when you can. Reach out to trusted support people and connect to things that nourish your spirit. We are here for you! The counseling center is open and clinicians are available 24/7. We have a variety of workshops up on the UCC website and will soon have one focused on trauma and grounding techniques. We believe in your ability to heal. You are never alone.

Nathan Urban - Vice Provost for Graduate Studies

I stand with you. You are strong and brave even if you don't always feel that way. You are not alone. Your community is here to support you.

Travon, Pitt Community Member

Continue to speak if you can and share your voice so others may not feel isolated, alone or dependent on themselves. A minute of inspiration can truly help and make a difference for others. I encourage you to find your voices in this time and always know there are people in your life to assist in this. I have seen loved ones deal with this horror. Always find the beauty in rediscovery of yourself and of other possibilities in your life. You are loved, you are cherished, and you are a hero for others.

Amanda Ritchie, School of Social Work

As a survivor of sexual harrassment and misconduct in the professional sphere, I know how lonely and guilty you may feel. It is NOT your fault and you are never alone.

Emma, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) Advocate

I believe you. What happened is not your fault and there are people to listen and support you. PAAR's helpline is 24 hours, we are always here for you; 1-866-363-7273

Chris Prouty, Faculty, English & Film Studies

To all survivors, know that you are loved and valued. Fight back the darkest of your days with the knowledge that your voice and your life has meaning. We want to hear your stories and lift you up whenever you stumble. Know that every new day you spend with us is important. You have purpose and have our undying support. Please reach out to Pitt faculty and staff for emotional, holistic and academic support. Be safe, healthy, and well. You are loved.

Lynne, Pitt Community Member

No one wants to belong to this club, but we are millions strong. In the darkest night, when it seems that no one cares or could understand what you are going through, there are others who are thinking of you, praying for you, sending out a warm blanket of love and acceptance for you, just as you are. No matter what, you are worthy and you are loved.

Dr. Daniel Jacobson López, Postdoctoral Associate, Graduate School of Public Health, and Founder of the Latin American Graduate Organization of Students (LAGOS)

I write this message to you: to validate, support, and stand with you. Te creo.  I cannot express everything in this message to you but know at the very least that : I believe you, you are not to blame for anything that happened to you, and that is entirely your choice on how you heal. I especially want to make sure that everyone – men, women, LGBT and students of color – that you are not forgotten in our fight for justice.  For students of color and/or LGBT students - I know your challenges may be even more difficult and that you may feel that you are overlooked; know that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you.  You are equally deserving of justice and peace, regardless of your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  When you are ready, and if you decide to disclose your truth to someone, know that I (and many others) will be here to believe, support and advocate for you. This month we make special note to honor and advocate for you but know that we will throughout the year. You are valued. Working with sexual assault survivors, is the motivation for my research and practice.   Your stories, strength and bravery constantly inspire me.  I thank you for your strength and for being a fighter.  I will always be here if you ever need. With compassion, empathy, respect and strength, I stand by you and commend you for your individual value and fortitude. Continue to find your happiness and peace.  I know you will.

Chad Jurica, Disability Specialist

I stand with survivors because everyone should feel safe and respected.

Katie Stumpp, Director of Sports Camps

I believe you and your story matters. You are loved and you are incredibly strong. Every day you fight a battle, and we are here to support you in whatever you need.

Cheryl Ruffin, Institutional Equity Manager

There is a saying, "Once you choose hope, anything is possible." Choose hope and make the impossible possible. I stand with you.

The Writing Center

All students have the right to an education that is free from harassment and violence. Please know that our staff and faculty are committed to supporting you as you reclaim your education, and to doing what we can to ensure a safer and more equitable learning environment for all.

Ryan - Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Educator

It wasn't your fault. Nothing you did caused this to happen to you. Nothing that person says to you makes it your fault. You are the strongest person on the planet.

Pitt Student

Healing is not linear. It is okay to have bad days, as long as you ride the wave to get to the good ones. None of this was your fault.


Do not be afraid to reach out for help!

Kirsten, Undergrad Student

I see you. I believe you. You are more than that experience or those experiences. There is a strong community of survivors at Pitt, and we're here for you.

Kevin Kerr, Class of '14

You are believed & appreciated. There are so many people in our community that care about you. Your story matters.

Angie Bedford-Jack, Digital Accessibility Coordinator

I stand with survivors because what hurts one of us, impacts all of us.

Pitt Graduate Student

We believe you.

Ron Idoko, Diversity and Multicultural Programs Manager

I stand with survivors because no one should have to sit in silence alone.

Katie Pope

We are here to support you.

April Flynn, English Department

You are not alone. You matter. What happened to you matters. Your voice matters. You story matters. Your justice matters. Your health matters. You matter. You matter. You are not alone.

Michele Montag, Dietrich School Staff Member

You matter, your voice matters, and I support you.

Maggie Benson, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine

Sending great support to the brave and resilient survivors of sexual harrassment and assault. Know that there are allies all around you. 

Amy, Disability Specialist, DRS

I believe you. I believe you. I believe you. I honor your truth. Thank you for your courage to come forward.

Lexie Elliott, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life

You are brave. You are strong. I believe you. Sexual violence has no place on campus or in our community.

Jesse Sossong, Undergraduate Sur-thriv-or

Don't blame yourself. Be strong and remember that Pittsburgh is as strong as steel, like you. Reach out for help! There are loving and helpful arms in many offices around campus waiting for you!

Chaz Kellem, Director, Office of Pitt Serves

You are STRONG! I hear you, see you and believe you! I/We support you. I am with you because no one should ever feel alone. Everyone should feel supported and safe. 

April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring

You are not alone. You are brave and strong. Believe in your voice and your story. Your Pitt community stands beside you.

Pitt Student

You are so strong. I know this sounds cheesy because at some point we question what strength truly is. Society has a misconstrued meaning of strength that aligns with stereotypical male gender roles. This is absolutely 100% false. Survivorship is strength. Supporting a survivor takes strength. It is so easy for someone to blame the victim/survivor because of how ingrained victim blaming is. I know what it is like to walk around and feel so isolated from the world because of the weight of sexual assault. You are not alone. There are student groups that are here for you to share your story, listen to others, learn about issues, make a change, or just grieve. There is no "right" and "wrong" way to survive. Just keep surviving. #MeToo 

Rachael Schirato, SAFE Student Leader

You are powerful, resilient, courageous. More than you may know right now, you are not alone. We are always here for you, and will always stand with you. Lots of love.

Sarah Leavens, English Department Faculty

I am listening, I believe you, and I stand with you. You are heard, you matter, and you are not alone. 

Lt Col Diana Bishop, Air Force ROTC

Telling your story takes courage -- you are courageous! And strong! I stand with you because what hurt you hurts all of us. You are not alone. You are important, you matter and your story matters! You are giving strength to others to come forward and be heard. I have your back! There will be a time in your life when you will trust again, I promise. 

Carolina Rosario Mozee, Resident Director

It is never your fault, and your only responsibility is to heal.

Danielle Dudak, Student

As a fellow survivor, please know - you will heal. Give yourself time, show yourself compassion, and always remember you are not to blame.

Stephanie Hoogendoorn, Director of Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost

I see you. I hear you. You are not alone. You are strong - stronger than you may realize. I support you and am here for you always.

Sheila Conway School of Education

Please know that there are caring people who want to help you. Ask for help. I want you to feel supported and less alone.

Corinne, Undergraduate Student

Stay strong, and stay proud of who you are! Even in these times you are not alone, and there are many people who love and support you! Don’t ever forget that! 


You are not alone!


Some people say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but they forget about all the scars that are left behind. They say justice is important, but they forget that justice doesn't erase what had happened. They say time heals all wounds, but they forget that time stops when your living in a single memory. This message isn't to tell you that you are strong and brave, because you already know that. This message is to tell you that you might not be okay, you might be having more trouble now that your stuck inside, but that's okay. It is alright to not feel okay. Its alright to be sad and cry, and its alright to be angry about the circumstance. You may have lost something, but there is a lot left to gain. 

Someone Who Supports You

Keep your chin up! You are strong a resilient, know that we are here for you and we support you. Don't ever think of getting help as a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.

Carly F., MSW Student and Pitt Staff Member

You are powerful. You are brave. You are strong. You are beautiful. And most importantly: You are enough. Don't ever forget that or let anyone take your power away from you. I am always here for you and will be your champion when you feel weak and your voice when you are unable to speak. You are never alone.

Catherine, Student

Keep your chin up! You are strong a resilient, know that we are here for you and we support you. Don't ever think of getting help as a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.


I don't know what you have gone through but I know that this will pass. You will smile and laugh again. Don't let what happened define you but get help and support from those you care about. You are loved dearly.

Pitt Undergraduate Student

You have been, are, and always will be loved.