The EmPOWER Center at the Claremont Colleges


By The Scripps Voice

In a previous issue, I went over the resources that can be accessed through Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services. Beyond MCAPS though, another alternative is also available to some students who would benefit from a more specific type of support.

While Monsour can address a broad spectrum of emotional and mental struggles, the EmPOWER center narrows its scope and tailors its treatment to 7C students impacted by sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Services are available for survivors and all those who are impacted to any degree by these forms of violence- regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. The Center works in collaboration with Project Sister, the foremost agency serving victims in the Eastern Los Angeles and Western San Bernardino counties. Not only are the EmPOWER’s services accredited by the consortium, but given their association with Project Sister, they are accredited by a significant part of SoCal area; if you need help, rest assured that the professionals at the center know exactly what they’re doing.

EmPOWER offers free confidential advocacy, counseling, emotional care, and outreach to all students within the 7Cs. Calling the center will provide a primary-account explanation of their services, but for anyone who might not be up to that task, especially in a time of need, here’s a peek at how EmPOWER operates.

Firstly, EmPOWER offers 1-2 initial support sessions with the center’s director Rima Shah or a confidential student advocate. In these, empathy and care are provided, as well as discussion of the further options and information available. These meetings help a student to determine what would be best for their healing process going forward. Some choices may include accessing academic accommodations, visiting a medical center, receiving therapy from EmPOWER, MCAPS, or an off-campus professional, reporting through a Title IX Coordinator and/or the police, and finally, reaching out to legal advocates.

A second key feature of the EmPOWER center is the ongoing counseling its offers through Project Sister, discussed above. The Consortium contracts with this agency such that one of their specialized counselors, Evelin Setaghian, works fulltime at the EmPOWER center. she provides confidential, one-on-one, ongoing counseling to 7C students; in English, as well as in Armenian and Farsi.

In addition to consistent individual counseling, EmPOWER also offers a group therapy session for those who have experienced sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, whether recently or long ago. In this group, facilitated by Evelin Setaghian, survivors can share their experiences and work through their feelings in a supportive and collaborative healing process. Groups open up anew every semester- for Spring 2018, group will run every Thursday from 4:30PM-6:00PM.

Finally, as part of their education and outreach initiative, EmPOWER conducts workshops and trainings such as Teal Dot, Healthy Relationships Lunchtime Talks, and Masculinity Mondays.

  • The Teal Dot workshops are 3-hour long sessions which train and qualify bystanders to engage in preventing sexual assault and dating violence. They are held a few times throughout the year; some workshops just finished this past September, and more will be scheduled for the upcoming semester.  
  • In Lunchtime Talks, the Scripps new student program partners with  Claremont-based-organization House of Ruth. On select Tuesdays, students meet from 12PM-1PM with their lunches to discuss relationship issues that affect them, their friends, and/or their peers. Free dessert for attendees, too!
  • Masculinity Mondays works to bring awareness to the impacts of representations and manifestations of unhealthy masculinity. Past topics have ranged from masculinity in the media and rape culture, to the past/present of toxic masculinity in society. These sessions run from 4PM-5PM on a bi-monthly basis, and all genders are welcome.

Once again, it is important to note that these supports are facilitated through either a licensed psychologist, who is professionally bound to confidentiality, or the center’s confidential advocate. Nothing discussed during treatment at EmPOWER can be reported to school or local authorities without the student’s explicit consent. However, if you choose to report, the EmPOWER center can certainly help you to do so. Working through issues like sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, is the furthest thing from easy, as is getting the help needed- but when you’re ready, the EmPOWER center is always there. You won’t have to do it alone.   

EmPOWER Center address:

1030 Dartmouth Ave., Claremont

EmPOWER director Rima Shah: 909-607-2689

Project Sister counselor Evelin Setaghian: 909-607-0690

Group therapy inquiries: 909-607-0690

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