Sexual Assault Response

The University of Mississippi

Support for a Family Member

Parent(s)

Believe your daughter or son

Survivors of violence need the support of their parents and often look to them first. Validate your child’s experience by saying things like “I believe you” and “Thank you for sharing your story.” When a parent reacts poorly, the survivor may decide not to share with anyone else or decide not to move forward with the conduct or criminal justice process.

Allow your child to share her or his story completely

Avoid interrupting or giving unsolicited advice. The story is difficult to hear, but it is more difficult for the survivor to share with the individual(s) she or he trusts so much.

Tell your daughter or son it was not her or his fault

The reaction of a parent is important to any survivor’s healing process. Your child may interpret her or his experience based on what you share.

Ask what you can do; don’t tell her or him what to do

Children respect what their parents tell them to do and may interpret your advice as a command or something necessary to do to retain your support.

Respect privacy

An experience of violence is an incredibly personal experience. Your daughter or son sharing it with you does not mean that she or he wants you to share with anyone else. Keep the information private, and allow the survivor to control her or his own story. If you contact anyone on campus, review the confidentiality page to understand who may share information.

Offer resources

Check out the support section of the site to share local and national resources with your child. Feel free to call the Counseling Center (662-915-3784) or Violence Prevention Office (662-915-1059) if you have questions.

Get support for yourself.