Emotional Support

Emotions & Self-Care

Seeking Support

  • Counselor / Therapist / Psychologist: It's okay to seek outside support, and you can talk to a professional therapist, counselor, or psychologist through Coe College or the local community. The College provides a minimum of five free counseling sessions to students. Learn more about Support from Coe.
  • Crisis Centers: Crisis centers are places dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault or abuse and often provide counseling, support programs, legal referrals, and access to advocates (also called Rape Crisis Centers). Find a center near you:  Support In the Area.
  • Advocates: Sometimes called survivor advocates or victim advocates, these are compassionate allies who can support you by accompanying you to a medical or forensic exam, explaining your reporting options, helping you find psychological/emotional support and referring you to legal resources. Connect with the local crisis center in your area to talk to an advocate.

Common Emotional Responses

There is no right or wrong emotional response to an experience of unwanted sexual contact; each person will have their own reaction. It’s common to experience a mix of emotions and feelings, like sadness, anger, confusion, shame, or uncertainty of what to do next. It can be useful to seek support and practice active self-care to aid the healing process.  Below are some tips and reminders for taking care of yourself throughout your process.


Self-care is an important part of healing. While you may feel pressure from others to respond in a certain way, your only obligation is to your own healing.  You are in the best position to know what you need.

  • Check in with yourself about your sleeping, eating, exercise, and substance use patterns. Your physical health is directly connected to your emotional well-being. If you feel tired or emotionally drained, consider incorporating meditation or other relaxation practices into your daily routine.
  • Processing what happened in a safe environment is important; if you do not feel safe in your school environment due to ongoing contact with the perpetrator, you have the right to change your housing accommodations or class schedule.
  • Remember that you are not alone, and it's okay to seek out support, whether through friends, an advocate, a crisis center, online communities, or a counselor or therapist.
  • Practice grounding exercises, such as;
    • Place one hand on your abdomen and one over your heart. Gently apply pressure or hum. Focus on the feeling of your body under your hands.
    • Tap parts of your body and focus on the sensation this creates.
    • Allow water or air to run over your arms, legs, and/or face.
    • Feel your feet on the ground, your body against a chair, or your hand against a wall or floor.  It may also help to stomp your feet, shift your weight from one leg to another, and/or massage your legs.
    • If you're physically able to do so, stand up, walk, stretch, or raise your arms.
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Support from Coe

Coe College has three counselors who you can talk to about what happened. Your first five sessions are free. After the fifth session, you will be asked if you are able to transition payment to another source, such as cash or insurance. If you are unable to do so, Coe College will continue to pay for additional sessions.

Contact the Director of Wellness and Counseling for more information.

Emily Barnard
Director of Wellness and Counseling
Student Development Office in Upper Gage
[email protected]

You may be referred to a community counseling center if your needs could be better met through another agency or clinic after an initial evaluation.

For peer support, you can contact the following student organizations:

  • Coe Alliance, [email protected]: Coe Alliance aims to promote the education, awareness, and respect for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
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In the Area

St. Luke’s Counseling Center
1026 A Ave. NE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402

Olson Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic
1650 Matterhorn Drive NE
Cedar Rapids, IA  52402

The Olson Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic connects Marriage and Family Therapy graduate students at Mount Mercy University's CRST Graduate Center with individuals, couples, and families in the Cedar Rapids area seeking therapeutic mental health services. Appointments are on a sliding scale rate of between $10 and $30 per session.

Riverview Center
685 9th Ave
Marion, IA 52302

If you want immediate support, you can contact the Riverview Center, a nonprofit agency committed to providing compassionate, client-centered care for individuals affected by sexual assault in Iowa. Riverview Center’s free services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, legal and medical advocacy, and long and short-term counseling.

You can also call any of the below resources to speak with someone anonymously:

  • Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline, 1-800-284-7821
  • Iowa Crime Victim Assistance Division, 1-800-373-5044
  • Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 515-244-7424
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Nationally & Globally

Nonconsensual or unwanted sexual contact is never okay, regardless of the state or country in which it occurs. Below are resources to find information and support nationally and internationally.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)

RAINN is the largest US network supporting survivors of sexual assault and abuse, and offers a free, completely anonymous and confidential 24/7 online chat service that you can access from anywhere around the globe. Chat with a trained RAINN support specialist anytime at online.rainn.org.

Learn more at the RAINN resources website

U.S. Department of State -  Office of Overseas Citizens Services

The State Department can help you contact family or friends, obtain medical care, address emergency needs, understand the local criminal justice process and connect with local and/or US-based resources for victims of crime, including local legal representation. The first step is often connecting with the local US consulate or embassy.

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