Listen and Support
- Being there to listen, believe and support a victim-survivor in a positive has a huge influence on their healing process. A 2014 study of 1,863 survivors of sexual assault published in the Journal of Community Psychology found that those who received more social support experienced fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Be non-judgmental and offer emotional comfort.
- Listen and let them go at their own pace.
- Don’t rush to provide solutions.
Believe Your Friend
- Believe what your friend tells you. It may have been difficult to talk to you and trust you.
- Don’t ask questions that imply you don’t believe them or that it is their fault like how much they were drinking or why they did or did not do something.
Have you experienced sexual violence or have questions related to victim-survivor support, referrals, accommodations, and reporting options and need to speak to a VOICE Advocate?
For confidential support contact us at 404.894.9000 24 hours per day.
Appointments are available for individuals affiliated with Georgia Tech.
- Reassure the survivor that what happened was not their fault.
- The survivor needs to hear that it is normal to feel afraid, anxious, guilty, angry, sad, confused and even numb. A survivor’s feelings can feel like a roller coaster and there is no right or wrong way to react.
- Don’t press for details or pressure them about what to do. Ask them how you can help.
- Help your friend explore their options and decide what is right for them.
- Continue to follow up. Recovery is a process and each individual heals at their own pace.
- Encourage the survivor to seek medical attention and to contact VOICE but let them decide.
- Offer to help them contact a VOICE Advocate or to seek other services. Reaching out for help can be hard. You can also go with them to meet with a VOICE Advocate.
- Don’t tell others what the survivor tells you. One exception involves suicide. Seek support immediately.
- Don’t confront the perpetrator. Though you might want to fix the situation or get back at the perpetrator, this could make things worse, for you and your friend.
Things You Can Say
- It’s wasn't your fault
- I’m so sorry this happened
- How can I support you?
- I am here for you no matter what you decide to do
- You're not alone.
- I believe you.
- What do you want to do?
Get Support For Yourself
- Hearing about sexual violence can be upsetting and bring up situations from your past too.
- You too can contact VOICE and speak to an advocate confidentially to get help for yourself.
- Contact VOICE to learn more about sexual violence and bystander intervention.