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How Do I Help My Friend or Loved One?

  • Listen to them and believe what they are telling you.
  • Be patient with them. Do not force them to tell you any details or specifics of what happened as it can be traumatizing for them.
  • Help them feel empowered. Do not tell them what they should do, but help them explore options and ask how you can support them.
  • You do not have to have all the answers, and you do not have to know all the “right” things to say. Being there for them, validating their emotions, and letting them know how much you care about them is how you can be helpful.
  • Rely on others in your life to process your reactions to what happened to your friend or loved one. If your friend or loved one has experienced interpersonal violence, you may feel incredibly angry or have other strong emotions about what happened. This is a natural response; however, it can be overwhelming for a survivor to be there for you in processing your reactions, so go to another friend or family member for support.
  • If they decide they want to talk to a professional, you may choose to walk with them to the Counseling Center or one of the other support resource centers.
  • Remember to take care of yourself!