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Statistics show that we all know survivors of sexual assault and abuse, whether or not we’re aware of it. Importantly, research demosntartes that survivors who receive positive social support are less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse issues, meaning that we are in a special position to support our loved ones in their path to healing. “When a survivor of sexual violence chooses to disclose to a friend, this friend can help set the tone for the recovery process,” says Kelly Addington, founder of One Student, an advocacy organization addressing sexual assault in student communities. “Focusing on the survivor and how you can support them is much better than focusing on the attack.”
On campus: Consider discussing the situation with a counselor, Title IX coordinator, trusted dean, or RA. Before disclosing assault or abuse to campus faculty or staff, ask about the implications for confidentiality.
I believe you
It means a lot that you trusted me with this
You did not cause this
May I look for some resources that might help?
If you need someone to come with you, I will
I’m here for you
Tell me as much or as little as you want
I’ll support whatever you choose to do
How do you want me to act when I see [the perpetrator]?
The decision about what to do next is yours
It wasn’t your fault
What can I do to support you?
What would help you feel empowered and safe?
I won’t share this unless you ask me to*
*Or, if you are a mandated reporter, discuss up front the implications for confidentiality.
I’m sorry this happened to you
How are you doing?
Want to hang out or do something fun?