Changing the name of OVA to Office of Victory, Empowerment, and Recovery

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Subject: Changing the name of Office of Victims Assistance to Office of Victory, Empowerment, and Recovery

Reason for the proposed change: As students become involved with our office, either through counseling, advocacy, or attending a program, they repeatedly hear the word “victim.” The word “victim” often has negative and demeaning connotations attached to it, and we fail to empower our students and clients as the name of our office constantly labels them by and exposes them to this word. Our office seeks to support and empower students as they reclaim their voices, and we do not want the name of our office to becoming a belittling, demeaning, or discouraging barrier to receiving the services that we provide. 

Here are some students’ quotes on why they think the name should be changed:

“Because we are NOT victims.”

“Not victims. We need something more empowering and encouraging.”

“We are victors! We need a name that doesn’t have a negative connotation.”

“I avoided this office for years because of the name. A new name will allow a visit here to be shame free.”

“I NEED a less cringe-worthy name.”

“I want it changed because the name OVA makes me feel worthless. The name should make me feel empowered.”

“We are more than victims. We are human and deserve more than just the name ‘victims’.”

“A victim sounds helpless and the campus enabling learned helpless mindset and I feel stuck. It has such a negative connotation with it and I want something positive that attracts people and want to come. I am not a victim and I am not helpless, I am a fighter and I have a voice.”

“We are not victims, victims make us sound like we should be pitied. We are empowering people who are getting help for trauma that wasn’t our fault. I am not a victim – I am strong and not helpless.”

“Victim has a negative connotation to it, and all it does is give power to the people who gave us that title. It is important to recognize we are more than that.”

“Victim is a term that gives the perpetrator the power over us still.”



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