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When supporting a survivor

DO

  • Believe them
  • Listen without judgement
  • Respect their confidentiality
  • Empathize with them
  • Let them know about resources
  • Ask them what they need

DON’T

  • Pressure them
  • Minimize their experience
  • Ask if it was their fault
  • Ask what they were wearing
  • Force them to report
  • Share the survivor’s story without consent

If you receive a disclosure

  • Find a space where the survivor feels safe. Let them decide where this is.
  • Listen to their story. Give them space to talk and try not to interrupt. Show that you care and express your concern.
  • Believe them. It doesn’t matter what they did or did not do before, during, or after the event. Avoid asking “why” questions and simply state that you believe them.
  • Help the survivor explore options. Let them know what supports are available and if you have permission from the survivor, you help them to reach out. Empower the survivor by making sure to give them as much control back as possible.

For parents, friends, partners, and allies

Links and downloadable info:

  • A letter of advice for family, friends, and supporters of survivors

https://endrapeoncampus.org/eroc-blog/2015/11/23/dear-friends-family-members-and-other-loved-ones-of-college-students

  • Government of Ontario: Let’s stop sexual harassment and violence

https://www.ontario.ca/page/lets-stop-sexual-harassment-and-violence

  • A guide for friends and family of sexual violence survivors

https://www.pcar.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdfs/friends_and_family_guide_final.pdf

  • Tips for talking with survivors of sexual assault

https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

  • U of A Sexual Assault Centre: supporting a survivor of sexual assault

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV8BBHE1OuQ