| LIFE AT WSU | Title IX | How to Help A Friend
Sexual violence, relational and dating violence, gender based discrimination or harassment, stalking and retaliation can have an impact on all involved. Friends and family members have an important role in providing support and connection to resources.
The impact of sexual violence, relational violence, gender based discrimination or harassment, stalking or retaliation may significantly impact how a person feels about themself and those around them. Individual responses may differ but feelings of fear, anxiety, shame and guilt are common for individuals who are impacted by these situations and may be compounded by previous traumatic experiences or stressful events.
As a friend or family member you may have your own emotional response or questions about what happened. You may even be triggered by what happened due to events in your own life or experience. It’s important to listen with compassion and care, remain supportive and non-judgmental. Allow them to make choices about what is best for them. Offer to help connect your friend to resources and supports that can also aid in their mental well being. Remember that it may be important for you to seek out support as well to help you be there for those you care about during such a difficult time.
How to respond if a friend or family member has experienced sexual misconduct or relational violence:
Being a respondent to a Title IX or sexual misconduct complaint can be a stressful and triggering time, and may compound additional stressors that your friend or family member has been experiencing. You may have your own questions and emotional response. You may find you are angry about the accusation. You may not be in agreement with what may have occurred, or it may cause you to question your friend or family member’s behavior. Encourage your friend or family member to seek out support to aid their mental well being. Remember that it may be important for you to get support to give you suggestions on how to be supportive, as well to help process any emotional response that you may have.
How to support a friend or family member who is accused of sexual misconduct or relational violence:
Sexual Assault and Violence Education (SAVE) Common Reactions Following a Traumatic Experience We Speak Up Bystander Intervention
Jennifer Quinn M.Ed., CHES, CTTS
Director of Title IX
Drug and Alcohol Education Prevention
Worcester Police Department911