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Sexual Misconduct Help - How to Help a Friend

When someone you care about experiences sexual misconduct, you may feel powerless, angry, and unsure of what to do next. The following suggestions may help:

  • Listen to your friend. They may try to go over and over the incident, replaying it in their mind. Listen without judgement as often as your friend would like.
  • Assure your friend that they are not to blame.
  • Remind your friend that there is no right or wrong response; everyone copes differently with trauma.
  • Offer resources and information but do not tell your friend what they should do; ask how you can help.
  • Accompany your friend if they seek medical attention or law enforcement assistance.
  • Don’t question or press your friend for details.
  • Take time for yourself - It is a big job to be supportive of a friend going through a difficult time. Make sure that you give yourself enough space so that you can be mentally available for your friend.
  • Get help if you need it - Sometimes it’s worth recognizing that we don’t have all the answers. You’re not expected to be an expert. If you or your friend need additional help or resources, scout those out and get the help you need too.
  • Be there - Sometimes just being there is enough. Your friend is likely looking for a safe space to share, not for a fixer or a solution.

If you are in an emergency situation, dial 911 for local, non-college law enforcement and medical assistance. You may also dial the College’s Public Safety Department at 847.735.5555 (on-campus at 5555) to connect you to the local police.