How To Help A Friend
- 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.
- Put your own judgments and opinions on hold. Your friend needs to know that s/he will not be judged or rejected by you.
- Confirm the seriousness of the problem and let your friend know that she or he is not to blame. Many victims tend to blame themselves for the offender’s actions, especially if the perpetrator was an acquaintance.
- Obtain information about all available resources, such as Western’s CASAS help line, and give the details to your friend.
- Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if s/he 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 decisions about the next steps.
- Seek emotional support for yourself. Call CASAS to debrief or get tips on how to help your friend.