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Sexual Harassment: What if someone I know is being sexually harassed?

Sexual Harassment

What can I do if someone I know is being sexually harassed?

It is not unusual for victims of sexual harassment to share what is happening with friends or family before they consider talking to a resource on campus. There are some important ways that you can help.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 harasser yourself.
  3. Know the 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.
  4. Encourage your friend, if they can, to write down what has occurred and gather any documentation of the harassment.
  5. 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.