How can I support someone who was sexually assaulted?
It is not unusual for victims of sexual assault to share what is happening with a friend before they consider talking to a resource on campus. There are some important ways that you can help.
- Review the suggestions for steps that victims of sexual assault can take following an assault. (See: What can I do if I think I was assaulted?)
- Start by believing. It is very important for you to listen without feeling pressured to have all the answers or to say the “right” thing. It is very helpful for victims to have someone to talk the situation through with who believes and supports them.
- Try to stay calm. When someone we care about is being hurt it is easy for us to become protective and angry. Your calm presence however will help the victim be able to more clearly think through their options. Do not confront the perpetrator yourself.
- Know the resources.(See: Sexual Assault Resources ) Sometimes victims have a hard time taking the initial steps needed to address the problem. You can help explain the resources to them or you can offer to go with them to talk to someone. You can also call one of the resources anonymously and explain the circumstances to gain a better understanding of the options available to your friend.
- Encourage your friend, if they can, to consider taking some of the steps listed for victims to address any medical, safety or psychological issues they may be facing. (See: What Can I Do if I Think I Was Assaulted?)
- Take good care of yourself. Supporting a friend in this situation can be stressful for you as well. Please keep this in mind and utilize a network of support for yourself that could include SU Counseling Services, 304-876-5161.