If a friend has experienced violence
If someone you know confides in you about an incident of sexual misconduct, you may be nervous or uncomfortable and not sure how to support them. Whether you are a friend, roommate, colleague, faculty or staff member, or parent, the most important things you can do are to listen and believe.
Attend to immediate needs
- If this is an emergency, call 911
- Does your friend need medical care?
- Does your friend have a safe place to stay?
Listen and support
- Listen without judging or giving advice.
- Everyone processes trauma differently. Don't criticize your friend's feelings.
- Don't push your friend to reveal details about the incident or ask questions just because you're curious.
- Don't criticize your friend's actions before, during or after the incident.
- Believe your friend. Understand that it has taken a lot of courage for your friend to confide in you.
- Important messages to tell your friend:
- "It's not your fault."
- "I'm sorry it happened."
- "I'm here to help and support you."
- Give support throughout the entire process. Recovery takes time and your friend will need support from trusted people.
- Don't try to take control of the situation. Let your friend control his or her own life and support your friend's decisions.
Refer for other support
- Help your friend get medical care, if needed.
- Let them know about confidential campus resources.
- Tell them how they can receive supportive measures or talk with someone about filing a complaint.
- Tell them how they can file a police report.
Take care of yourself
- Understand how this incident affects you. Any feelings you are experiencing are completely normal.
- You may want to talk with someone about your own feelings. Resources available to victims of sexual violence are also available to you.