Meet the Advocate

COVID-19 Update

Victim Advocacy services are still available to students. Please call (616) 331-2742. 

Meetings can be held in-person on campus or via Zoom.

This can be an incredibly difficult and isolating time for victim/survivors. We are here to support you.

Woman smiling in front of brick wall

Victim Advocacy at Grand Valley State University

Victim Advocate: Rachel Dziabuda (she/her/hers)
Office Address: 1201 Kirkhof Center - located in the Center for Women & Gender Equity
Phone: (616) 331-2742

As the victim advocate, I am here to support you. Experiencing violence, whether it is sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and/or harassment can be incredibly difficult. Victim/Survivors are of all backgrounds: ages, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, faiths, ages, abilities, etc. Know that I believe you and that you are not alone. On this website, you will find a plethora of resources and options. It is ALWAYS your choice to choose what options are best for you. You are the expert on your story. My job is to listen to your story, provide you with options and resources, and support you with whatever choices you make. As a private resource on campus, you do not have to report to law enforcement to meet with me. My door is always open and I am here for you.

What is An Advocate?

The victim advocate at Grand Valley State University is a professional staff person who has participated in extensive training on trauma informed care and on supporting victim/survivors. Their role is to provide nonjudgmental, private support to student survivors of gender-based violence.  Advocates will not release personally identifiable information without consent. Their role is to help students navigate options and services on campus and in the community.  Access to an advocate after gender-based violence can play a critical role in the healing process of a victim/survivor. 

What does an advocate do?

Advocates are available to respond to student survivors of gender-based violence with empathetic support and options.  As an advocate, they can provide private support over the phone or in person. Available support includes:

  • Referrals to counseling and other supportive services on campus and in the community
  • Education about medical options, including evidence collection
  • Support with Personal Protection Orders
  • Assistance in reporting to the police, if you choose
  • Navigating university resolution processes, if you choose
  • Support with academic and housing options
  • Assistance for friends of victim/survivors

How Can I Reach the Advocate?

Services through the campus advocate are available Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  To set up a time to speak with an advocate, call the Center for Women & Gender Equity at (616) 331-2748.  If the Center is closed and you need to speak to someone right away, please call GVSU Counseling Center at (616) 331-3266,  YWCA private 24-hour Helpline at (616) 454-YWCA (9922), GVSU Police at (616) 331-3255 or for an emergency dial 911.

Who can call an advocate?

Any Grand Valley State University community member can call an advocate. Victim/survivors can call on their own, or someone can call on their behalf. 

What Can I Expect?

Advocates provide private support. This means that talking with an advocate DOES NOT start a formal judicial or criminal process unless you want to access those options. To set up a time to speak with an advocate,  you can expect the following:

  1. Call the Center for Women & Gender Equity at (616) 331-2748. A student worker will the answer the phone. 
  2. Inform the student worker that you are a GVSU student and that you would like to set up a time to meet with an advocate to discuss a "private matter." You have control over whether or not you share your name or any other information. 
  3. Based on your availability you will work with the student worker to be scheduled to meet with an advocate as soon as they are available Monday-Friday between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 
  4. When you arrive at the Center for Women & Gender Equity for your meeting with the advocate check in with the student worker at the front desk informing them that you have a meeting schedule with an advocate - You may bring a friend/partner with you. 
  5. You will be asked to take a seat and the advocate will be notified that you have arrived.
  6. An advocate will show you back to their office where you are able to share with an advocate as they are a private resource.