Background Image

Help A Friend

In this Section

These resources are here to help you understand who to reach out to and how to support your friend, family member, or colleague. Before reaching out to nonconfidential resources, please make sure the individual is aware you are making a report.

Experiencing discrimination and harassment can be a traumatic experience. As a result, the individual is likely to experience a wide range of emotional, physical, and behavioral reactions. While there is no “typical” response, some reactions may include: anger, anxiety, depression, fear, self-blame, numbness, increased vigilance, low self-esteem, appetite changes, suicidal thoughts, withdrawn social behaviors, lack of trust, and/or increased alcohol or drug consumption. 

Recovery is a process of acceptance and healing, which takes time — sometimes months or even longer. During this time an individual often confides in someone who knows about their experience. As a friend, family member, or colleague, you can help an individual by being BRAVE for them.


Believe 

Believe their experience without questioning or blaming them. Often an individual's worst fear is that the person they tell will not believe them. Remember that whatever the circumstances, the individual did NOT ask to be in the situation. Listen without judgement or blaming questions, take their concerns seriously, don't press for more information than they feel comfortable giving you, and affirm that they did the right thing by coming to you. An individual often blames themselves, but remind them that the blame rests solely with the perpetrator.

respect

Respect the fear that the individual can feel even after the events are over. Help them deal with their fear by finding ways to increase their safety. Express that you realize this is a difficult thing to share and you appreciate the courage it takes to make the first step toward recovery.

Accept & Advise

An individual may have strong feelings and they have the right to their emotions. They may feel numb, sad, angry, in denial, terrified, depressed, agitated, or withdrawn. Be supportive and accepting of their feeling with statements like: "It's not your fault," and, "No one deserves to be assaulted." Ask them if they need medical help and offer options for medical treatment if they do. If they do not want to go to a hospital then don't insist unless it is a true medical emergency as it is common to feel a loss of control over someone's body or life after they have been assaulted.

Value

Let your friend know you value them by listening and trying to understand what they are going through without interruptions. Listening is not: interrupting, yelling, injecting your feelings, changing the subject, making light of the situation, etc. Ask what your friend needs from you and know that it is okay to be quiet if you don't know what to say. Just make sure they feel valued and safe with you.

Embrace

Embrace the survivor by paying attention and validating the seriousness of their feelings and their need to work through those feelings. Provide an atmosphere of warmth and safety and do not assume that touch will be comforting (ask them before you hug them, hold their hand, etc.) Stay with them as long as they want you to and offer to accompany your friend to the emergency room,to the police, to report the incident to the college, or to any other available support services

 

*Special thanks to Capptivation for developing the BRAVE protocol.*

Quick Exit

Emergency Help

Contact US

“No person shall be discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, marital status, personal status, ancestry, source of income, or other classes protected by law.”

-Clarkson University’s Non-Discrimation Policy