If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, or stalking, here are some ways you can be supportive.
First, ensure the immediate safety of this person.
Second, let them know that campus and community resources are available:
If the victim or survivor is an undergraduate or graduate student, the CARE Advocate is available for confidential, free support and guidance. The Advocate is a trained professional who can connect you with psychological counseling as well as explain various accommodations and reporting options on and off campus.
If the victim or survivor is a UC faculty member, other academic appointee, or staff employee, the experienced staff at the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center can provide confidential support and referrals to available resources.
Additionally, the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica is available for all survivors, whether or not they are a UCLA student, faculty member, or staff.
Third, keep in mind these general tips when helping and supporting a survivor:
- Listen. Offer support and compassion. Be patient and try to avoid interrupting them or making statements that may be judgmental.
- Don’t ask for details about what happened or why it happened. Let survivors share what they are comfortable sharing. Avoid questions that suggest blame.
- Challenge statements of self-blame. The responsibility for the assault lies with the perpetrator(s), regardless of what the survivor did leading up to, during or after what happened.
- If the survivor wants to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany that person to the hospital, police station, etc. if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Respect the survivor's privacy. Do not tell others about the survivor’s assault or reveal any names or details, without the survivor’s permission.
- Referrals to the CARE Advocate and to the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica
- Take care of yourself. Supporting a survivor can be a very emotional and challenging experience. Pay attention to your needs — this could mean setting boundaries, spending time on activities you enjoy, or talking to a friend or counselor if needed. Click here for a link to a “Self-Care Wheel” that can be beneficial for both you and the survivor.
Know that your supportive, caring presence is help in and of itself. Survivors who receive positive support and validating reactions when sharing their experiences have better psychological outcomes and heal faster.