How to Help Someone Else

If you have a friend who has been sexually assaulted, here are some tips for helping them through this trauma.

  • Believe them! The best thing you can do for your friend is to believe them when they tell you they were sexually assaulted.
  • Give them control. Sexual assault victims need the chance to re-establish a sense of personal control over what happens in their lives.  A victim may need to be heard, respected, process options available to them, and move at his/her own pace through the recovery process.
  • Time is of the essence. Your friend will be in crisis and in need of immediate support.  Also, the window for securing evidence for possible prosecution is short.  At the same time, the victim will need time and ongoing support to recover from the assault in a constructive manner.
  • Be a partner in healing. In addition to the effects it has on the victim, rape profoundly affects the victim's loved ones.       

Help a Friend who has been Accused of Sexual Assault:

If you have a friend who has been accused of sexual assault, here are some tips for helping them through this difficult time.

  • Direct your friend to resources. There are individuals on campus who are available to talk with a person accused of sexual assault.  They can help your friend understand what might happen next.  This is a difficult, confusing, and emotional time for both of you.  Encourage your friend to speak with the Title IX Coordinator to learn more about what to expect.
  • Recommend that your friend seek counseling. There are a lot of emotions that can surface because of a sexual assault accusation.  A counselor can help your friend sort through these emotions in a healthy way. It may also be helpful for you to seek counseling to deal with the emotions you may be experiencing as a result of this situation.
  • Get educated on the issue of sexual assault. The more information you know, the better you will understand what your friend is going through.  The information on this website can be helpful in answering your questions.  You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Judicial Affairs.
  • Be available to listen. Even though your friend may be uncomfortable talking about the matter, let them know that you are available to listen to them.
  • Avoid judging. Remember, being a friend does not mean that you need to agree with everything your friend does.  You can help your friend without making a judgment as to whether or not a sexual assault occurred.