Many victims of sexual violence and assault may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame and sadness.
Providing comfort and support to victims can often mean just listening without judgment and without asking questions. Knowing what to say can help reassure victims that their feelings and reactions are appropriate and expected. Reassuring things that you can say to a victim of sexual assault include things like, “I am so sorry to hear what happened to you,” and “I believe you and want to help.”
My roommate is in a relationship with someone who sexually attacked them. They often argue and I’m concerned for their safety. What can I do?
It is always difficult to know what to do when we see a friend, roommate, or another student having difficulties in their relationships. What is most important is our own and each other’s safety. If you have any concern of this nature, you may want to discuss it with your roommate. If you still believe that their safety may be at risk, or they are placing someone else in unsafe situation, you can contact the Title IX Office or University Police if you believe intervention may be necessary.
What if I see someone who I think is trying to set someone up to sexually assault them?
As Warriors, we want to look out for each other. Bystander intervention is highly encouraged through safe and positive intervention techniques and by empowering third-party intervention and prevention such as calling for help, identifying allies, and/or creating distractions. It’s important that we look out for each other -- your actions matter.
How do I speak to my roommate if they were subjected to sexual assault?
During such a difficult time, being a source of support to your roommate would be the most beneficial actions you can take. This can come in the form of being a good listener to them, making sure they are taking care of themselves, and showing empathy for them in their situation. Remember, we are Warriors and we look out for each other. If you believe that they may need counseling or someone specialized to speak with, you can contact our CAPS Office and discuss the situation with counseling personnel. If it is after hours, you can contact Women’s Resources of Monroe County 24-hour hotline at (570) 421-4200 or contact the University Police at (570) 422-3064.
Here are a few good ideas:
- Listen, be there, and communicate with them without judgment.
- If they want you to be there for them during any Title IX process, be there for them.
- Encourage them to get support, possibly through CAPS.
- Be patient with them as there is no timetable for recovering from trauma.
- Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.