How A Friend Can Help
We asked young people how a friend can help if someone has been assaulted. Here are some of their suggestions:
LISTEN . . .
"I think a friend should listen without asking a lot of questions or giving a lot of advice right away."
"My friends wouldn't have to say anything just being there would be helpful."
BELIEVE . . .
"Friends should believe what the person tells you."
"Friends shouldn't ask "Why" questions like, "Why did you?" or "Why didn't you ?" "Why" questions can make you feel guilty about what happened when you aren't at fault."
"Friends don't make excuses for the offender."
BE SUPPORTIVE . . .
"You should stick up for your friend if other people are talking about what happened and blaming your friend they need your support."
"You should offer to go with your friend to tell their parents, a school counsellor or the police."
BE UNDERSTANDING . . .
"Be sure you tell your friend that what happened wasn't their fault. Sometimes it takes a long time for someone to believe it, so it's good to keep telling them."
"Let them know that they won't always feel this bad. Things will get better in time."
"Show them that the assault does not change your friendship or how you feel about them."
ENCOURAGE . . .
"Remember your friend may need more help than you can give by yourself. Encourage them to reach out to others who may be able to help, such as other friends and adults like a teacher or counsellor."
"Let the person make their own decisions and choices. Respect what she/he wants to do even if you have a different opinion."