Help a Friend

Helping someone can be a frightening experience, but it is important for you to know what to do to help someone in need.

To help a friend, these are steps you can take:

  1. Believe them. Statements such as “I believe you” and “It wasn’t your fault” can be extremely helpful.
  2. Make sure they feel safe in their current location.
  3. Listen and be available.
  4. Don’t judge or blame your friend for what happened.
  5. Encourage action, but allow your friend to decide what actions to take.
  6. Encourage your friend to seek medical attention, but don't force them to do so. Making choices helps your friend to regain control lost during the assault.
  7. If they’d like to speak to someone confidentially, students can call a confidential advocate at 507.457.2956. Or, encourage them to call the Advocacy Center of Winona at 507.452.4453 any time, any day.
  8. Be patient. Healing from a sexual assault takes time.
  9. Consider getting help for yourself. Supporting a friend can be stressful. You can use mental health resources such as WSU Counseling Services as well.

Remember, sexual violence is never the survivor's fault!