Help a college student

  • Be a good listener. Listening is one of the most important ways you can support a survivor of sexual assault. Some survivors will want to talk right away, and others will need some time. Let the person you care about know that you will be ready when (s)he is.  Let them talk and talk while you simply listen.
  • Be aware of the survivor’s need for privacy. A college campus can feel like a very small community. Always ask for permission from the survivor before you tell someone who is part of the survivor’s family or school group. By asking first, you are helping to give control to the survivor which is one of the most important parts of their healing process. 
    You may want to talk to other people about what is going on so you don’t feel like you are carrying it all alone. All BARCC services are available to you. We can give you the help and support you need without compromising the privacy of the survivor.

  • Allow the survivor to consider all options.  This can be challenging when you may be impacted by their choices. For example:
    • The survivor is your best friend, the idea that they would transfer schools is distressing.
    • You are a parent with high hopes and aspirations for your child, the idea of them taking a semester off is understandable but upsetting.

    These are just two examples of the many ways that you may be challenged in offering the unconditional support to the survivor.  Respecting and supporting survivors’ choices is important to help them feel in control of their lives again.

  • Get informed. Learn more about survivor’s common reactions to an assault and concerns specific to college students. Learn more about resources on their college campus. We can help the survivor navigate the resources on their campus, or they can come to BARCC directly for services.
  • Take care of yourself. You are an important person in the survivor’s life if they chose to tell you about their assault. Take care of yourself and your feelings so that you will be better able to help your friend.

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