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How to Give Support

How to Give Support

In some cases you might be the first person someone tells that they are in an unhealthy relationship or have been sexually assaulted. It's important to know how to respond and support the person.

The basics of communication are important in this situation. 

  • Give 100% of your attention
  • Be non-judgmental, believe the person and be supportive
  • Be aware of your body language and the body language of the person
  • Respect confidentiality. Let the person know that you may need to tell someone.
  • Take one step at a time. Most importantly, be there for that person.
  • Repeat and clarify that you understand what the person is telling you
  • Admit what you don't know
  • Keep in mind that each case is different.
  • Encourage the person to seek help - Offer to call the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator, Jessica Krohn or visit the Resources page for more help and guidance
  • Remember what the person encountered was traumatic and that they may have an array of emotions, including shock, denial, anger, hysteria, and sadness, etc.

It can be stressful and uncomfortable to listen to someone tell about being sexually assaulted or raped- remember to breathe and remain calm while being concerned. Most importantly, be there and don't judge.

Things to avoid when providing support:

  • Do not judge or blame.
  • Do not pry or ask for details.
  • Do not give your opinion or advice.
  • Do not talk about you (this is their time).
  • Do not pressure them to make a report.
  • Do not gossip.
  • Do not promise to keep the information confidential.

Helping someone through a traumatic event like a sexual assault or other act of interpersonal violence is difficult, so we've pulled together some information to help you. Our support guidelines will be useful; no matter what your relationship is to the victim.

Helpful Information

We have developed helpful information specifically for University faculty/staff members and family/friends.

Visit our Resources webpage for additional assistance.

Counseling at Binghamton University

Interpersonal Violence Prevention

New York State University Police

Decker Student Health Services Center

University Counseling Center

Harpur's Ferry

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Last Updated: 10/20/14