Washington Center

Help Someone

If you or someone you know is in danger or needs immediate help, call 911.

If your friend or colleague has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual harassment, here are some ways you can be supportive:

  • Let them know university resources are available:
  • If your friend is a student, faculty, or staff member, let them know that help is available for confidential support and guidance.
  • Listen. Offer support and compassion. Be patient and try to avoid interrupting them or making statements that may be judgmental.
  • Don’t ask for details about what happened or why it happened. Let your friend share what they are comfortable sharing. Avoid questions that suggest blame.
  • Challenge statements of self-blame. Let your friend know the responsibility for the violence or harassment does not lie with your friend, regardless of what they did leading up to, during, or after what happened.
  • If your friend wants to seek medical attention or report the incident, offer to accompany that person to the hospital, police station, campus security, etc.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Respect your friend's privacy. Do not tell others about your friend's incident or reveal any names or details, without permission.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting a friend who has experienced sexual violence and/or harassment can be a very emotional and challenging experience. Pay attention to your needs — this could mean setting boundaries, spending time on activities you enjoy, or talking to a friend or counselor if needed.