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Counseling & Health Center

How to Help a Friend

Keep what is said confidential.

Provide a safe environment. If possible stay with your friend.

Listen and accept what you hear. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to reflect on what has happened and to share some of her or his feelings.

Validate the survivor's feelings by using his or her words.

Confirm the seriousness of the problem and let your friend know that she or he is not to blame. Many victims tend to blame them selves for the offenders actions, especially if the perpetrator was an acquaintance.

Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if she has not done so already, but in other respects resist your natural desire to give advice. Survivors of sexual assault need to regain a sense of control over their lives. Allow your friend to make their own decision about their next steps.

Seek emotional support for yourself. Call or stop in the Counseling and Health Center 465-2380 located in 1400 Student Services or contact the Sexual Assault Center 436-8899. Be patient and understanding. Survivors have their own time table for recovery.

Accept their choice of solution to the assault even if you disagree with what they have chosen to do. It is more important that they feel empowered to make choices and take back control than it is for you to impose what you feel you think is the correct decision.