Sexual assault is an all too common occurrence - particularly on university and college campuses. While ending sexual assault for good remains a top priority, it is also important to learn about properly supporting survivors of sexual assault. You want to offer your help to anyone that is able to come forward as a survivor. It's important to be supportive and to be there for your friends or acquaintances, or anyone who is trying to work through a painful or traumatic experience.
Of course, everyone reacts differently to this kind of trauma, but here is a great list of suggestions to guide your actions. While it may be a bit ironic that the guide comes from a large U.S. university known for its sports and football culture, these are nonetheless extremely valuable tips.
Here's an idea of what you'll find:
Above all else - believe the survivor
Provide contact info for support services
Ask how to help, don't take over - it can disempower
Don't minimize their pain - avoid "it's going to be ok" or statements like "it could have been a lot worse"
Remember recovery is a long process - be available in the future to act as a support
Give the survivor space
Remind the survivor you care