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How You Can Help

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Be aware of ways in which your biases about sexual violence and victims may affect your ability to support and assist the survivor. If you cannot be objective, refer the individual to another support person.

Reassure the survivor that you believe them (it is not your place to decide if they are telling the truth) and tell them that you will be supportive and help consider options. Do not pressure them to take steps that they are not comfortable with.

Familiarize yourself with the usual emotional and physical reactions to victimization and help normalize these reactions for the survivor.

Reactions to Victimization


  • Feelings of vulnerability
  • Helplessness. self-blame, and criticism
  • Loss of trust in relationships
  • Anxiety/Phobias
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with anger and aggression
  • Fear of revictimization


  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Loss of appetite
  • Generally feeling poorly
  • Inability to concentrate, class work may suffer

The following list provides a brief summary of things that may need to be addressed:

  • Calling 911 and sharing the location of the crime.
  • Establishing personal safety.
  • Seeking medical attention at the emergency department at Ruby Memorial Hospital or Student Health Services. Test/treat for STI's or pregnancy. SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) are available at both locations.
  • Collection of evidence (Do not shower, change clothes, eat or drink anything, or brush your hair). There is no cost to the student/survivor for treatment and evidence collection.
  • Reporting to Title IX or speaking with them anonymously via their On-Call Line to discuss your options. You can also file a complaint online.
  • Reporting to Police, if you choose to do so.
  • Counseling on-campus or off-campus. You can contact Carruth center at (304) 293-4431 or RDVIC at (304) 292-5100 at any time or day.
  • Seeking financial support
  • Academic considerations via Student Life.

Be aware of local resources for each of the options for medical, legal, and support services. Stop any rumors or discussions of the incident as you become aware of them. Be available to listen to the victim as much as you feel comfortable. Should you have questions or personal concerns about this role you can call the Carruth Center at 304-293-4431 or the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center at (304) 292-5100 . Both of these numbers are active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Know that you may reach a point at which you feel uncomfortable in continuing to support the survivor. Your feelings are important and should be acknowledged. You are encouraged to call the Carruth Center to request support for yourself as you work through the process of assisting the survivor.

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