If your friend is the victim of power-based personal violence, you most likely want to offer support and help them as much as you can. This is not always possible, but under the right circumstances a friend can help cope, find help, or even heal. It is important to remember that everyone deals with circumstances, especially traumatic ones, differently. They may want to vent to you or even completely shut you out, but it is important to understand that there are ways to support your friend in any scenario. It is hard to know what to say or do when a friend has experienced a traumatic event, so here are some healthy ways to support your friend.
- It is important to believe your friend because it does take a lot of courage to speak up and share their experience.
- Make sure to actively listen and stay engaged in the conversation. Try to withhold judgement and don’t ask too many questions. Your job is to listen and offer support.
- Assure your friend that it is not their fault. As a friend, you can assure them that no invites a violation.
- Make sure to respect their privacy and do not share their experience unless they give you permission.
- Let your friend make their own decisions and take the lead. You can suggest a variety of resources available to them, but ultimately let them decide the route they want to take.
- If your friend is considering reporting, advise them to not shower or wash their clothes because evidence is very time sensitive.
Some helpful things to say are:
- How can I help you?
- Would you like to talk about?
- This must be very painful and difficult for you.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out to campus resources with any questions or concerns.
- Complete the Kognito online training through the UF CWC to learn effective techniques to help and refer
- Make sure to get help for yourself too because the incident has also stirred up feelings in you as well.