If your friend or colleague has experienced sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence or stalking, here are some ways you can be supportive:
- Let them know university resources are available but do not pressure them to go:
- If the survivor is an undergraduate or graduate student, 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.
- If your colleague is a UC faculty member, other academic appointee or staff employee, the experienced trained professionals on your campus can provide confidential support and connect survivors with available resources.
- 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 survivors share what they are comfortable sharing. Avoid 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.