Help a Friend
Knowing how to help a friend or a loved one who has experienced trauma can be difficult. Our first instinct to help might not always be what our friend or loved one needs. The most important thing you can do to help your friend is to believe them and offer support. This can be a very stressful and vulnerable time, and your reaction can influence whether they choose to share information with others, including the police or mental and physical health counseling services.
Here are some ways you can support someone who has asked for help:
- Listen empathetically with no judgment. This is not the time for you to share your opinions. Listen with the goal of helping your friend begin the next steps of help and/or healing.
- Share available campus resources. Your friend may be feeling very overwhelmed and unsure of how to process their feelings. Encourage them to seek help from the professionals at the Title IX coordinator's office or counseling services on campus to help guide them through the steps and make sure their rights are protected. Additionally, they may be feeling afraid and unease with being alone for medical testing or meeting with a stranger. If you can, offer to accompany them when you can to make them feel less alone.
- Learn more about sexual violence and the conduct process to help sort out your feelings as well as better support your friend. The more you know, the better you will be able to help others in need.
A note about retaliation: When injustice of any form touches those we know or love, we can feel the need to “fix” or correct the situation they (or you) are experiencing—possibly by retaliating against the accused individual. Please remember, LSU prohibits retaliation toward individuals (including respondents, or the accused individual) involved in any aspect of the reported incident. If you feel tempted to act out against the person you feel may have harmed your friend, take a step back and remember to let the investigation and legal process bear out. Retaliation is never okay.
Likewise, if you or a friend are fearful of retaliation from a respondent, there are resources available to help you seek a “no contact” or restraining order. If you have any questions or concerns about what constitutes retaliation or about restraining orders, please contact the Title IX coordinator.