What Can I Do?

Risk Reduction / Bystander Intervention / You're a Victim

How to Help a Friend that has been a victim of sexual assault or rape

  • Provide support by listening, being present and believing your friend. Don't judge or question the victim's choices. Do not give advice.
  • Expect a range of emotions, including lack of emotion and shock.
  • Be patient. Allow your friend to move through the recovery process at his/her own pace.
  • Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
  • Gather information on the campus, local and national resources that can help your friend. Talk to him/her about these resources and how they might be helpful. Realize that only your friend can make the decision to get help.
  • Be a friend, not a bystander. Get involved if you see someone at risk. You might save a friend from becoming a victim of sexual assault.
  • Respect your friends wishes for privacy and confidentiality
  • Acknowledge your own emotions about what happened to your friends and seek help processing your experience as a friend/bystander (*do NOT contact or confront the perpetrator)