How to Support
Click here to see a short video on how to help
The first step to helping a friend or someone that has reported sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence or stalking is to believe them, listen carefully to them and provide support. Your friend has taken an important step in seeking help and your response to their disclosure may determine the next step for your friend.
- Believe the person.
- Listen without judging and avoid assumptions.
- Let the person know you support and care about them. Let the person know they are not responsible for the incident.
- Emphasize there is help available.
- Let the person know they are not alone.
- Let the person know about available services and counseling
- Take care of yourself
What a Friend May Be Feeling If A Sexual Assault is Disclosed
Although there is no universal reaction, many individuals feel guilty or often blame themselves instead of the accused. Complainants sometimes feel they could or should have done something differently that would have prevented the incident and common feelings include fear, embarrassment, and confusion. It is important that as a friend, you understand that the incident is something which they had no control. Simply telling your friend that is was not their fault can help to alleviate some of the confusion and overwhelming emotions they may be experiencing. These feelings along with denial may be why it takes days, weeks, months or years for an individual to tell anyone.
This can also be a very difficult experience for you. You may be having some of the same feelings of guilt, anger, helplessness, and confusion. Do not be afraid to get help for yourself by setting up an appointment at the Counseling Center.