Sexual Assault Response

The University of Mississippi

Support for a Friend

Believe your friend

Survivors of violence need the support of their community. Validate your friend’s experience by saying things like “I believe you” and “Thank you for sharing your story.”

It is important to allow your friend to finish sharing before interrupting or giving unsolicited advice. Sharing the experience of violence is difficult, and your friend needs a caring ear.

Do not blame

Most sexual assaults involve alcohol use, but that does not mean a survivor is in any way to blame for what happened. The accused committed the act of violence, not the survivor. Nothing the survivor did, said or wore made that accused commit the act.

Respect privacy

An experience of violence is an incredibly personal experience. Your friend sharing it with you does not mean that friend wants you to share with everyone you know. Keep the information private, and allow the survivor to control her or his own story. If you need to talk to someone, reach out to confidential resources.

Ask what you can do

It is important for a survivor to regain control of her or his life after an incident of violence. Ask first what the survivor would like from you, before telling or instructing the survivor on what next steps to take.

Offer resources

Check out the support section of this site to share local and national resources with your friend.

Get support yourself

As a secondary survivor of violence, you may need support. Please reach out to the Counseling Center (662-915-3784) or other resources to take care of yourself as you support your friend.

Do not retaliate against the accused or the survivor

It is important after incidents of violence to empower the survivor of violence to decide whether to engage the student conduct process or the criminal justice process. Retaliation against your friend or the accused in any form could result in conduct charges against you. Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person. Retaliation includes in-person or online harassment of any type; examples include intimidation, bullying, or posting on social media. Retaliation complaints are heard by the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct.