Help a Friend

What do you do when a friend or peer comes to you for help or makes you aware they are being impacted by an experience of sexual assault, relationship violence, sexual harassment or stalking?

Listen and support: Listen with compassion and communicate without judgement. Rather than asking a lot of questions, just let your friend know that you believe them and will support them as best as you can.

Know the resources and offer options: It is important to let your friend decide what option they are most comfortable with. Sometimes victims of sexual assault or violence do not want to file a report or request any process, and it is important to know this is okay! You can help your friend explore their options by familiarizing yourself with on and off campus resources, and talking through what option feels best for your friend. Begin by asking if your friend is comfortable speaking with a private resource or if they would like to meet with a confidential resource:

  • Confidential Resources: These are places you or your friend can ask questions and consult with staff confidentially; no information will be shared with the University unless you give your permission.
  • Private Resources: These are places you or your friend can ask questions and consult with staff about reporting options and other supportive measures such as academic support, relocation, No Contact Orders; etc. Staff in these offices are Responsible Employees and are required to share information of reported sexual or relationship violence with the University.

Take care of yourself: It can be difficult to hear details of a friend’s experience. It is important that while you are supporting your friend or peer during this difficult experience, you are also taking care of your own physical and mental health.

Get help: It is important to recognize your limitations. If it seems your friend is in need of more help and support than you are able to provide, reach out for help from professional supports on campus. If you are worried your friend is in any immediate danger to themselves or to others, please call for help! You can call the Crisis Line through Barnes Center, Counseling 24/7 at 315-443-8000 or the Department of Public Safety 24/7 at 315-443-2224