Believe their story
Survivors of violence need the support of their community. Validate their experience by saying things like “I believe you” and “Thank you for sharing your story.”
It is important to allow them to finish sharing before interrupting or giving unsolicited advice. Sharing the experience of violence is difficult and they need a caring ear.
Do not blame
Most sexual assaults involve alcohol use, but that does not mean a survivor is in any way to blame for what happened. The person accused committed an act of violence, not the reporting person. Nothing the reporting person did, said or wore made the accused person commit the act.
An experience of violence is an incredibly personal experience. Someone sharing it with you does not mean that person wants you to share with everyone you know. Allow the reporting person to control her or his own story. If you need to talk to someone, reach out to confidential resources.
Ask what you can do
It is important for the reporting person to regain control of her or his life after an incident of violence. Ask first what the reporting person would like from you, before telling or instructing the survivor on what next steps to take.
Share campus and local resources.
Get support yourself
As a secondary person experiencing the effects of violence, you may need support. Please reach out to the Oglethorpe Counseling Center or other resources to take care of yourself as you support your friend.
Do not retaliate against the person accused or the person reporting
It is important after incidents of violence to empower the reporting person to decide whether to engage the student conduct process or the criminal justice process. The University does not tolerate retaliation or discrimination against any person, and/or their family and friends, who brings forward a complaint, who cooperates in the investigation of a complaint, or who participates in the discipline process for an alleged violation of this policy. The University will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, it will also take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs. Anyone who believes they have been retaliated against as a result of their involvement with an investigation and/or discipline process for an alleged violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct should immediately report the alleged retaliation to the hearing coordinator or Title IX Coordinator.