I am a friend or partner

If a friend or loved one tells you they experienced harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, intimate partner violence, malicious dissuasion, or retaliation it can be very upsetting to you and may raise all sorts of questions about how you can support them. Some suggestions on how to provide that support:

  • Let them know there are free university resources that can help, but do not pressure them to take action.
  • Listen. Often people just need someone who will listen and offer support without judgment. Try to avoid interrupting or telling them what to do; try asking what they want to do.
  • Do not ask for details they have not volunteered. Do not ask why this happened. Your friend/loved one cannot explain someone else’s behavior and it suggests they are responsible for what someone else did.
  • If they want to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to help make appointments and offer to accompany them to provide support. See our resources page to learn about support options, and our reporting page to learn about reporting options.
  • Ask what they are doing to take care of themselves and offer helpful suggestions:
    • Reflective self-care examples: journaling, talking about feelings with a trusted friend or confidential counselor, meditation, etc.
    • Kind self-care examples: good sleep hygiene, regular exercise, getting a massage, etc.
  • Ask what you can do to support them
  • Respect their privacy. Do not tell anyone else what has been shared with you unless your friend/loved one specifically asks you to tell someone.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting someone who has experienced harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, intimate partner violence, malicious dissuasion, or retaliation can be very difficult for you. It is important to know that this is normal, and to take care of your needs too. Ask yourself what you are doing to take care of yourself, seek support from confidential counselors on campus, and/or consider setting boundaries with your friend/loved one so that you can be fully present when you are listening to their needs.