How to Help a Sexual Assault Victim
When dealing with a person who has encountered any form of sexual violence
- ASSUME that what s/he tells you did happen. Don't suggest or guess why it happened.
- LISTEN without making judgments. Do not criticize his/her actions or feelings.
- DO NOT press for details or conduct an investigation.
- Offer COMFORT, but do not touch the person unless invited to do so.
- REASSURE her/him that what happened is NOT okay and that s/he is not at fault nor alone.
- Remind the student that s/he has OPTIONS. Offer information regarding available RESOURCES. Encourage her/him to get help, but leave the choices up to her/him.
- Allow the person to take CONTROL her/himself – do not make decisions for her/him. Accept her/his decisions, even if you don't agree.
- Offer SUPPORT – Remember that you are not serving in the role of a therapist; however, the person may need your continued support.
Realize and Understand Your Limitations
If you’re not the expert, stay within your limits but be sure to help the person find someone who is. You may need to cope with some difficult emotions of your own. The person needs your calm strength at this time. Don't talk to the person about your own feelings, but rather consider seeking counseling for yourself to work through these feelings.
KNOW the University’s protocol for reporting a sexual assault.
Susan Owens, Title IX Coordinator
900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513
firstname.lastname@example.org • (254) 295-4527
Page last updated January 12, 2018