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How to Help a Loved One

If someone you know is the victim of sexual violence, stalking, hazing or hate crime, you can take steps to help them:

Listen

Listen with empathy and support your friend. Withold your judgment and refrain from giving advice. Your role as a loved one is not to question or figure out what happened.

Start by Believing

It takes enormous courage to tell others about a personal painful and traumatic experience. Victims who are believed and supported are more likely to report their experience to authorities and seek the resources they need to heal. If you question their account or placing blame on them could retraumatize them and make it harder to heal and seek help.

The two most important responses you can offer are:

"I believe you."

"I'm here for you."

Respect Your Loved One's Decisions

Your friend or loved one will likely feel that their sense of choice and control was stolen. You can help restore a sense of control by respecting his or her decision of who to tell about their experience. Your loved one can always choose to tell someone later. There is no time limit on reporting to USU. 

Note that if your loved one is under the age of 18, and was the victim of an assault or abuse, it is required by law that it be reported to the authorities.

Contact SAAVI

Even if your friend or loved one does not want to come see us or another advocate, you can still help them by learning about important information, options, and resources. Your loved one can always choose to see someone later.