By Amber Hunsicker
Samantha Smith, a second-semester freshman at KU, created a new club on campus, Survivor Chat.
As a member of “It’s on us” and after seeing a presentation by Safe Berks advocate Stacey Jordan, not affiliated with KU, Smith was motivated to find an outlet for student survivors. With encouragement from her director at It’s On Us, Smith proposed her idea, and a month later Survivor Chat was open for students to join.
Officially up and running by February 2021, the group meets weekly, on Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m., providing an outlet for students who are survivors of incidents such as domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault.
This club is run by Smith, and she has become an advocate against violence as she speaks from her own experiences. Smith puts much of her own time into the club and wants to help whoever she can. She has provided the following information about Survivor Chat:
- If you cannot make the weekly meetings, feel free to email Samantha Smith at email@example.com, and she will schedule a one-on-one meeting with anyone who needs the accommodation.
- Survivor Chat ensures confidentiality for each member and also includes options for those who would like to stay anonymous to the group.
- New links are sent out by Smith each week to ensure that the only people joining the call are those she invites, making the call private.
- One-on-one meetings are optional for all members. If someone does not feel comfortable sharing something with a group, they can speak to Smith privately— they just need to schedule a meeting with her through email.
- Headphones are required, to ensure that the only people hearing the conversation are those who were welcome through the group invite.
- All things discussed in the meetings stay in the meetings. This club is made to be a safety zone for students, so the club does not report all incidents. However, they will guide you to any proper resources that you may need.
- If you want more privacy, you can gladly change your name on the zoom call and turn your camera off for the meeting, and then no one in the group other than Smith will have information and identification of members.
- Smith and the Survivor Chat are not a legal avenue, but they both can provide you with sources for legal avenues and/or any other needs.
If you are interested in joining Survivor Chat please email Samantha Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.