Who is the Advocate?

Mayra Romo (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a first generation, bilingual Xicana college graduate. She has been a sexual assault and domestic violence counselor for over 10 years. Mayra works from the empowerment model of advocacy, which means that she believes everyone has the capability to advocate for themselves… she is simply there for support and guidance. She understands that every person is unique in how they respond and overcome instances of abuse and provides a non-judgmental space. For self-care, Mayra enjoys dance training and hanging out with her 12-year old pet cockatiel named Fluffy.

What are reasons a person may contact the Victim’s Advocate?
  • Someone has experienced sexual abuse, family and relationship abuse, stalking and/or harassment.
  • If someone isn’t sure but think they may have experienced sexual abuse, family and relationship abuse, stalking and/or harassment. (Sometimes experiences are hard to define, the Advocate is a good resource to talk it through)
  • A person witnessed or knows someone experiencing abuse and wants to learn how to help.
  • Someone attended a class/event, it reminded them of a past experience, and they need someone to talk to.
  • Staff (including student staff) or faculty members that had a student disclose information about abuse and want to learn how to support them.
  • Someone would like to report (police or Title IX) sexual abuse, family and relationship abuse, stalking and/or harassment and want to know how to do it. The Advocate can also go with someone to file reports (on and off campus). Filing a report can often be scary and intimidating; the Advocate has many years of experience supporting individuals during the reporting process.
  • Someone on campus is making you feel uncomfortable.
  • Someone feels that they may be in an unhealthy relationship and need someone to talk to.
Is the Advocate confidential?

The Advocate is confidential and privileged, which means that they do not share any information with anyone except:

  1. If there is current child abuse (under 17 years old).
  2. If the Advocate knows someone is a threat to themselves (suicidal) or they are a threat to someone else (for example, if the Advocate learns that someone plans to physically hurt another person).

The Advocate will not share information without the person’s consent including the Title IX Office and/or campus police.

What happens when someone meets with the Victim’s Advocate?

Once you make an appointment (online, email, or via phone) you will be provided with the confidential location of the Advocate. At the beginning of the meeting, the Advocate will explain their limitations to confidentiality and invite you to share what brings you to the office. You can speak at your own pace and share as much or as little as you want. The Advocate does not need details of incidents of abuse in order to support you. The Advocate will then provide information about any action you can take in order to overcome the situation. The Advocate will not tell you what to do; instead, they will support you in making informed decisions. Sometimes someone may decide to take no action, and that is completely acceptable.

How is the Advocate different from a psychologist?

The Advocate focuses on immediate needs and is action based; a psychologist focuses on long-term healing. People may choose to work with both: for example, someone may be seeing a psychologist for a few weeks regarding sexual abuse and then decide to report it. The Advocate will help with the reporting process.

Can the Victim’s Advocate provide services to non-CSUDH students/staff/faculty?

Unfortunately, the Advocate can only provide support for those that are part of the CSUDH community. However, the Advocate can provide information and referrals to off-campus agencies that offer similar support.

How is the Advocate different from the Title IX Officer?

The confidential Advocate provides support, information, and resources; the Title IX Officer takes reports or complaints, responds to stop the behavior from reoccurring on campus, and investigates incidents before referring them to student conduct or other offices for sanctioning. Although they both sometimes work together, they are entirely different offices.

I have a friend that needs help but does not want to meet with the Advocate. Can the Advocate reach out to my friend and convince them to get support?

The Advocate does not reach out to anyone without their consent. Your friend must initiate contact. You may meet with the Advocate to learn how you can support your friend as well.

How can I become an Advocate?

Advocates must complete a state-certified sexual assault and domestic violence counselor training at a community sexual assault and/or domestic violence agency.

If you are interested in becoming a sexual assault or domestic violence counselor, you may visit our off-campus partner agencies: