Help Someone

How to Help Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

When someone tells you about their recent sexual assault, you may not know what to do, what to say or how to respond. You may experience a range of feelings including anger, fear, sadness and anxiety about how to best help them.  

The following suggestions may help you to support the survivor:

  • Let them know university resources are available:

    Let them know that the CARE Advocate is available for confidential support and guidance. The CARE Advocate is a trained professional who can connect you with psychological counseling, as well as explain medical, academic and reporting options.

    If the survivor is a UC faculty member, other academic appointee or staff employee, additional confidential resources are available through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).

  • Listen -  Listening is one of the most important ways to help. Some survivors will open up right away, while others may need more time. Often they just need someone to hear their story. Let them talk, and simply listen without interrupting.
  • Believe - Tell the survivor you believe them. When a survivor feels that you believe them, you have already facilitated the healing process.
  • Let them make choices - Try not to tell the survivor what to do. Be there to help get information and understand options, but give the survivor the time and space to make their own decisions. You can help by supporting their decisions, even if you may not agree with them.
  • Be supportive - Show affection by speaking calmly and gently. If the survivor chooses to seek medical attention or make a report, offer to accompany them to wherever they need to go (hospital, police department, etc).
  • 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.
  • Take care of yourself - Supporting a survivor may 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. 






If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you have experienced sexual violence but are not in immediate danger, learn how to get support and contact a CARE advocate at (951) 827-6225 or the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center (951) 686-7273.



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