A survivor often confides in someone they know and trust before they contact a campus resource. As a friend or family member, you can provide valuable information about resources and offer emotional support. You can find detailed information about on- and off-campus resources and reporting options on Seattle University's Get Help website.
How to Help A Survivor
1. Listen Non-Judgmentally
Listening empathetically and without judgment establishes a feeling of trust and safety. Take the assault seriously and give the survivor every consideration you would for anyone facing a serious trauma.
Each person will react to assault, abuse or harassment in their own way. You can tell them that although the experience was traumatic, recovery and healing are possible; help is available and can make a difference.
Listening is not: Interrupting, yelling, injecting your feelings, changing the subject, making light of the situation, etc.
2. Give Emotional Support
Things you can say:
Things not to say:
Another Note: If you have personal issues that might interfere with your response to this person, it would be better if you expressed your thanks for their trust in you, but let them know that you need to get someone else to help them. Please honor your boundaries while making sure the survivor receives appropriate assistance.
3. Offer Information and Resources
A survivor of sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking is faced with many decisions in dealing with their experience such as:
Seeking assistance from any resource must always be the survivors’ choice. There is no one “right” way for a person to respond after they have been assaulted.
To consult about how to support a survivor, consider contacting the Office of Institutional Equity or Counseling & Psychological Services. Resources are also available at the Seattle University Support a Survivor website.