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How to Help a Friend

Helping a Friend or Student Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

  1. BELIEVE the survivor.
  2. If she or he chooses to talk, then listen.
  3. Be open with your comfort level. You do not want your discomfort with the situation to be misinterpreted as a lack of concern.
  4. Offer options instead of unsolicited advice. It is important that the survivor continue to see you as a resource. If the survivor feels uncomfortable with your advice, she or he may not follow-up, may worry about disappointing you, and may not get any help at all.
  5. Encourage the survivor to speak with a trained professional, but remember that the final decision needs to be made by the survivor.
  6. Talk to a trained professional to clarify your own feelings and/or gather insight into what the survivor is experiencing.
  7. Reinforce the C.A.R.E. philosophy: Choice-Advocacy-Respect-Empowerment

Click the link to view a power point presentation about how to respond to a disclosure: Responding to Power-Based Personal Violence Disclosure at TCNJ.