Do you know someone who has been sexually assaulted? How can you help? Here are some guidelines:
- Believe your friend. Not being believed is what victims fear most. The FBI estimates that less than 2% of rape reports are false. This is less than for any other felony.
- Listen to your friend and concentrate on understanding her or his feelings.
- Allow her or him to be silent; you don't have to talk every time s/he stops talking.
- Make it clear that the survivor is not to blame for the assault. Don't ask questions that imply that the rape was your friend's fault such as "why did you go to his room?" or "why didn't you scream?" Poor judgements do not make a crime the victim's fault.
- In date or acquaintance rape situations, the victim may continue to have contact with the assailant. This does not mean that the rape did not happen or that it was not traumatic.If the assault occurred within the past 72 hours, encourage your friend to go to the Rape Treatment Center to have a rape exam and to have evidence gathered. Ask how you can help, but don't be discouraged if your friend isn't sure. Offer to provide concrete support such as going with your friend to get medical help, calling S.A.R.T. (305) 798-6666, the police (305) 284-6666 or 911, or other helping people.Offer to stay with your friend so s/he doesn't have to be alone.Regaining a sense of control is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Help your friend to do this by supporting her or his decisions about how to proceed. Do not tell her or him what to do.Do not tell anyone about the assault without your friend's permission. Encourage your friend to seek professional help too.
- Click on Who Can Help? for details about helping resources on campus