If a friend or family member discloses that they have experienced sexual harassment (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking), sexual exploitation, or retaliation (prohibited conduct), there are a number of ways in which you can support them.
Individuals who experience prohibited conduct fear that they will not be believed. As a friend, your ability to say “I believe you” shows them that you are on their side.
Let them decide what information they would like to share. It’s important not to push someone who has experienced prohibited conduct for details. Focus on being supportive and present for them as they share information with you.
Let them know that experiencing prohibited conduct was not their fault. Provide support, and help them seek out resources.
If your friend or family member chooses to report to the Office of Title IX, staff will be able to provide them with supportive resources and filing a formal complainant with the university or reporting the incident to the police.
Respect the decisions they make about pursuing a university or criminal process.
Respect that it is going to take time for them to heal, and encourage them to take steps that are positive for them in their recovery.
Take care of yourself.
Don’t be afraid to seek support for what you have experienced through the process of helping a friend.