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Supporting Others

How can I support a friend who has experienced sexual assault?

  • Remain Calm. While you may be experiencing shock, outrage, or fear for your friend, it is important to keep your feelings in check and remain a calm presence for the victim.
  • Believe the Victim. Make it clear that you believe that the assault happened and that the assault is not the victim's fault. Do not ask questions such as "why were you alone with her/him?" or "why were you drinking?" which may put the victim on the defensive. Remember that no matter what the circumstances, the victim is not to blame for the assault.
  • Give the Victim Control. Allow him or her to make decisions about what to do next. Offer alternatives, but don't tell him or her what to do.
  • Let the Victim Express Feelings. Allow the survivor to express whatever he or she needs to express. There may be anger, sadness, or even silence. Just be there to listen.
  • Assure the Victim of Your Friendship. The victim needs to know that whatever happened, your friendship will remain intact.
  • Maintain Confidentiality. Let the victim decide who will know about the assault.
  • Encourage Counseling. Give the victim information about the University Counseling Center and other resources. Let the victim decide whether or not to go.
  • Be Patient. Individuals recover from trauma at their own pace and in their own way. Never tell a victim to "get over it."

Be Safe!

BE SAFE! This link lists for you tons of contact information for University and Community Resources. You can also pick up pocket-sized copies of these cards in any Student Life office or the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.