Helping a Friend who has been Sexually Assaulted
- 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 share some of his or her feelings.
Assure your friend.
- Make sure she/he knows the violence is not her/his fault, that she/he is not alone, and that help is available.
- Put your own judgments and opinions on hold. Your friend needs to know that she/he will not be judged or rejected by you.
Be your friend’s advocate.
- Help your friend access information about medical care, reporting, and counseling by reviewing the "If You Are A Victim Of Sexual Violence" section.
- Obtain information about all available resources, such as Tennessee Tech's Counseling Center or Genesis House Sexual Assault Response Center, and give the details to your friend.
- Encourage your friend to obtain a medical examination if s/he has not done so, but in other respects resist your natural desire to give advice.
- Remember, survivors of sexual assault need to regain a sense of control over their lives. Allow your friend to make her/his own decisions about the next steps.
- Help your friend follow through with the decisions s/he makes. This may mean going to the hospital or police with him/her or providing a place to stay for a few nights.
- Seek emotional support for yourself. Call the Counseling Center, 931-372-3331, or Genesis House, 931-526-5197 or 800-707-5197, to debrief or to get tips on how to help your friend.