Resources for International Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Information about RSVP Services for International Students and DACA Students:

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center is dedicated to serving all students including international students, DACA students, and undocumented students. We recognize that there are particular challenges that you may face as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student here at Washington University in St. Louis that other students may not encounter when navigating resources. This landing page is here to provide you with some basic information about concepts of sexual violence and our confidential services through the RSVP Center, which will not affect your visa status, as well answer some common questions you may have about utilizing our services.

As a reminder, the RSVP Center has counselors that provide confidential counseling (meaning your situation will not be reported to anyone at the University without your consent) for issues or concerns related to relationship and sexual violence. This means you can utilize RSVP Center services if you have questions about relationship violence, you are experiencing violence, or someone close to you is experiencing violence. Our goal is to provide you with support, resources, and a safe space to talk through your experience and get the help you want.

Any service you receive from the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center will not be reported to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) or to the United States government. In addition to referrals to Student Health Services, the RSVP Center can refer you to community organizations and work with you to find long-term counseling care if needed through your student health insurance or other insurance plans.

If you or a friend has experienced sexual assault or relationship violence and you would like to speak with a confidential resource about how to process your experience or learn about University and non-University options you have, please consider setting up an appointment via telephone by calling our office at 314-935-3445.

 

University Definitions

  • Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual violence, whether committed on or off campus, when:
    • Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis or threatened to be used as the basis for employment or academic decisions or assessments affecting an individual; or
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating or hostile environment for work or learning
  • Additional Comments:
    • Acquiescence does not mean it is welcome
    • Use of the term sexual harassment includes sexual violence
  • Examples of possible sexual harassment
    • Requests for sexual favors
    • Hugging, rubbing, touching, patting, pinching, or brushing another’s body
    • Inappropriate whistling or staring
    • Veiled suggestions of sexual activities
    • Requests for private meetings outside of class or business hours for other than legitimate mentoring purposes
    • Use in the classroom of sexual jokes, stories, or images in no way germane to the subject of class
    • Remarks about a person’s body or sexual relationships, activities, or experience
    • Use of inappropriate body images to advertise events
    • Sexual violence (e.g. rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion)

Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where it would be apparent to a reasonable observer that a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs and/or alcohol or due to an intellectual or other disability.

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress
  • For the purposes of this definition:
    • ‘Course of Conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
    • ‘Reasonable person’ means a reasonable person under similar circumstances with similar identities to the victim.
    • ‘Substantial emotional distress’ means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • Stalking Examples:
    • Following, harassing, or threatening someone repeatedly
    • Telephoning and text messaging constantly
    • Waiting for someone outside or inside places
    • Watching someone from afar
    • Sending unwanted letters or e-mails

A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or
  • By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Confidential resources are campus professionals who can maintain legally-protected confidentiality within the University. This means that you can speak with Kim Webb or Jen Austin at the RSVP Center and that they will not inform any other persons within the University unless they have your consent. Our staff may need to report if they believe that you or someone near you is in imminent danger or if they become aware of child sexual abuse. In either of these situations, our staff will inform you of their reporting requirements and walk you through potential outcomes of that reporting process. Again, we hope that the RSVP Center can serve as a resource for you if you are processing an experience, concerned about a friend, or in need of emergency support.

  • 24/7 response services: The RSVP Center has staff on call 24 hours a day/7 days a week. In order to get in contact with Kim Webb and Jen Austin, you can call the Sexual Abuse and Rape Anonymous Helpline (SARAH) at 314-935-8080 during academic years, or Washington University Police Department (WUPD) at 314-935-5555 and they will get in contact with our staff so that we can call you back.
  • Counseling: In addition to counseling services at Student Health Services, we have counselors who are trained to specifically work with survivors or those currently experiencing relationship and sexual violence. To learn more about Kim Webb and Jen Austin, please visit here
  • Academic accommodations: In some situations, a change in course load or courses is vital to a survivor’s safety and academic success. Our office has the resources to work with your Academic department to ensure that reasonable accommodations will be made. This can include course switches, course drops, and deadline extensions. These options are also available to international students.
  • Housing accommodations: In some situations, a change in housing can provide a survivor with safety. Our office has the resources to work with Residential Life whether you live on the South 40 or in other Wash-U housing to accommodate a room change regardless of when in the semester you need this accommodation. In addition to making accommodations for WashU housing, our staff can also assist you with non-WashU housing accommodations. In the past, we have helped students move temporarily and break their lease in extenuating circumstances. These options are available to international students.
  • WashU Work Accommodations: In addition to housing and academic accommodations, our staff can support you by speaking with your employer directly to make adjustments to your work schedule or your need for time-off in a discrete and professional manner
  • Information on Reporting Options: As a confidential resource, the RSVP Center will not report any of your information or experience without your consent. There are non-confidential resources on campus including the Title IX office that can help you with reporting the experience either within the University or through criminal proceedings. Our staff are well versed in these reporting options and can speak with you about your options and the timelines of these different procedures.
  • Support for friends and family: At the RSVP Center, we recognize that relationship and sexual violence affects a survivor’s entire support system. Our staff are available to speak with friends and family in your support system (locally and abroad) and help them process their own emotions and how to best to support you.
  • Assistance: This includes accessing medical care and ongoing medical and mental health care, orders of protection, no contact orders, and no trespass orders
    • Orders of Protection: This is a court order signed by a judge that usually lasts for one year with very specific guidelines around contact and communication. Orders of Protection require some proof of imminent danger and direct threat. In order to enforce an Order of Protection, the police must be called.
    • No Contact Orders: This is WashU specific and administered through the Title IX office or the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The No Contact order lasts through the duration of academic career and can be extended under academic years. This order can be facilitated by RSVP Center and we can work with you through it.
    • No Trespass Order: This is WashU specific and administered via WashU Police Department (WUPD). This has primarily been used for individuals that are not a part of the WashU community though there are instances when a No Contact order has become a No Trespass order. This order can be facilitated by RSVP Center and we can work with you through it.

The RSVP Center staff can support you in reducing below full-time status if you are experiencing temporary illness or medical conditions. This temporary drop below full time is usually till the end of the semester. Because visa requirements are different for each visa, it is best to contact Kim Webb or Jen Austin for more specific information.

If you can be approved for temporary medical conditions, there is no negative consequence for dropping below full time. Our priority is your safety and well being and to make sure that your case is well documented and that it is documented before the semester in question is over to avoid affecting your visa status.

As an international student, you can request medical leave as long as you are able to document it and demonstrate need for medical leave. The request of your medical leave can be facilitated by RSVP Center and we will work with Habif Health Wellness Center to ensure optimal care for you. The appropriate Reduced Course Load (RCL) or Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) based on your condition will be coordinated with Dr. Thomas Brounk, director of Mental Health Services at Habif Health Wellness Center. Once you are approved to drop below full-time (either taking a reduced courseload or not taking any courses at all) with the notification from Habif Health Wellness Center, OISS can help you proceed with the RCL/MLOA. The medical leave is authorized on a semester basis by OISS. Once you are officially on medical leave, you do not need to do anything to extend it.

In the United States, there are two ways for us to support survivors that are experiencing abuse and are on a dependent or non-permanent visa status. VAWA and U Visas offer opportunities for legal residence in the United States. Each option has certain requirements and associated criteria. Find more information about VAWA. Find more information about U Visas. These measures should be taken in conjunction with support and feedback from OISS and the RSVP Center jointly.