How to Help a Friend or Colleague

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

  • Let them know resources are available:
    • Let them know that their Campus CARE Advocate is available for confidential support and guidance. The advocate is a trained professional who can connect them with psychological counseling as well as explain medical, academic, legal and reporting options.
    • Let them know about community resources.
  • Listen. Offer support and compassion. Be patient and try to avoid interrupting or making statements that may be perceived as judgmental.
    • Don’t ask for details about what happened or why it happened. Let survivors share what they are comfortable sharing. Avoid “why” questions and other questions that suggest blame.
    • Challenge statements of self-blame. The responsibility for the assault lies with the perpetrator(s), regardless of what the survivor did leading up to, during or after what happened.It is never the survivor’s fault.
  • If the survivor wants to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany that person to the hospital, police station, campus security, etc.
  • Don’t tell them what to do. Ask how you can help.
  • Respect the survivor's privacy. Do not tell others about the survivor’s assault or reveal any names or details, without the survivor’s permission.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting a survivor can be an 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. The CARE Advocate is available to support you.