Supporting Survivors

How to Support Survivors:
  • Listen and believe them
  • Validate their feelings about the assault
  • Respect their decision to report or not report their assault
  • Ask if they want help finding different options and resources available to them for support
  • Spend time with them; show them that you're there for them
  • Encourage them to have patience when trying to process their trauma
  • Understand that people react to trauma differently and there is no right or wrong way to behave after experiencing sexual violence
  • Remind them that they aren’t alone and have people in their life to support them
  • Ask if you can help them create a plan in the event that they see the perpetrator(s) again
  • Practice self-care and know your limits to avoid second-hand trauma
  • Suggest the available on-campus and off-campus resources
  • Ask if they'd like you to call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

When Speaking to a Survivor Do Not:

  • Invalidate their trauma or make them feel unsupported
  • Ask what they were wearing during their assault
  • Ask if they did anything to encourage or discourage the assault
  • Ask if they consumed alcohol or other drugs before the assault
  • Ask why they didn't tell you sooner
  • Make assumptions about the perpetrator’s gender
  • Force your friend to report their assault or go to the hospital
  • Tell others about their assault without their permission
  • Make threats or attempt to retaliate against the perpetrator(s)
  • Force the person do anything they do not want to do



Dean of Students Office
GC 211 (MMC) or WUC 325 (BBC)