Helping a Friend

**If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate help, call 911**

If your friend or colleague has experienced sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence or stalking, here are some ways you can be supportive:

  • Let them know university resources are available.
  • If your friend is a student, faculty, or staff member, let them know that the University CARE advocate is available for confidential support and guidance. The advocate is a trained professional who can connect you or your friend with psychological counseling as well as explain medical, academic, legal and reporting options.
  • Listen. Offer support and compassion. Be patient and try to avoid interrupting them or making statements that may be judgmental.
  • Don’t ask for details about what happened or why it happened. Let your friend share what they are comfortable sharing. Avoid questions that suggest blame.
  • Challenge statements of self-blame. Let your friend know the responsibility for the assault does not lie with your friend, regardless of what they did leading up to, during or after what happened.
  • If your friend wants to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany that person to the hospital, police station, campus security, etc.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Respect your friend's privacy. Do not tell others about your friend's assault or reveal any names or details, without permission.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting a friend who has experienced sexual violence can be a very emotional and challenging experience. Pay attention to your needs — this could mean setting boundaries, spending time on activities you enjoy, or talking to a friend or counselor if needed.
  • The Center for Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) provides additional information on how you can help a friend who has been a victim of stalking, intimate partner violence, or sexual assault.