If you have a friend who has been sexually assaulted, here's how to help.
How to Help
- Make sure you are in a safe location.
- Listen, and do not judge.
- Believe his or her story.
- Give comfort, if he or she wants it.
- Let him or her know that they are not to blame.
- Silence is acceptable as the individual may not want to talk. Your presence often speaks louder than words.
- Do not gossip about their situation to others.
- Care for yourself. If you're feeling angry, helpless, confused or hurt, get help for yourself at the Wheaton Counseling Center or another trusted location.
Resources and Options to Offer
- For confidential support and guidance, encourage your friend to call a Confidential Advisor: JoAnn Nishimoto, Psy.D, Wheaton College Counseling Center (630.752.5321 on Tue, Thur, Fri) and all other times (847.337.7892) or Travis Satterlee, LCPC, CADC with Heritage Professional Associates (630.653.9700) and after hours (847.421.7632); Wheaton’s Counseling Center (630.752.5321); Wheaton College Student Health Services (630.752.5072); or the local crisis center hotline (630.971.3927).
- Offer to stay with your friend or to call another friend to stay with him/her.
- In order to preserve evidence, remind your friend not to wash, eat, drink, douche, clean, use the bathroom (if possible), or change clothes. If your friend does change clothes, be sure to save what s/he was wearing in a clean paper bag.
- Suggest medical treatment at Central DuPage Hospital Emergency Department.
- Suggest contacting the Wheaton Police and/or Public Safety (630.752.5911). Remember, it is your friend's decision whether to report the assault or not (your friend's identity will be protected to the maximum extent allowed by law and/or College policy).
- Watch out. Keep an eye out for your friends and fellow students.
- Speak up. If someone says something offensive, derogatory, or abusive, let them know that behavior is wrong and not ok. Don’t laugh at racist, sexist, homophobic jokes. Challenge your peers to be respectful.
- Don’t stand by. Step in and prevent something bad from happening by yourself or with another friend.
- Battle the Bystander Effect. The Bystander Effect is a phenomenon in which the more people who witness an emergency event, the less likely anyone is to intervene. But silence and passivity are not neutral. They encourage attitudes and behaviors that promote sexual violence.
- Keep yourself safe. If you are not feeling safe, please call Public Safety or someone for help.