How to help a student who shares that they have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, and/or relationship violence:
- Assess the survivor's immediate safety and medical needs. If the survivor is in danger or it is a medical emergency, call Public Safety (570.577.1111) immediately to respond to the situation and/or provide transportation to the hospital.
- Share information regarding the survivor's right to contact Public Safety (570.577.1111) and encourage the survivor to speak directly with an Advocate (570.850.6115). The Advocate can provide confidential support and advice on medical, academic, judicial or legal issues, counseling, and housing relocation. Offer to assist the survivor in making contacts as requested.
- Convey to the survivor that all reports of sexual assault will be handled in confidence to the extent appropriate and allowed by law.
- Because the University has a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment, you must share information concerning the incident with the University's Title IX Coordinator, who oversees all reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the survivor to assess the situation and provide information concerning resources and options. Talking with the Title IX Coordinator does not mean that the survivor is filing a formal complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will protect confidentiality to the extent appropriate and allowed by law.
- In accordance with Clery Act requirements, certain information will be shared with Public Safety for statistical and timely warning purposes.
- e.g., "I need to report that this incident occurred. The Title IX Coordinator will send you an email asking if you would be willing to talk with her about the incident, your options, resources, and any concerns or needs you may have. The University takes all reports very seriously and needs to make sure you're safe and supported."
- Promptly complete the Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Reporting Form. Please provide as much information as you have, including the names of the survivor and alleged perpetrator. You may skip any portion of the form for which you do not have information. If you have questions, please contact Barbara Martin, the Title IX Coordinator at 570.577.1554 or email@example.com.
- Provide online information to the survivor, showing them Bucknell's sexual misconduct website when possible (www.bucknell.edu/sexualmisconduct). Make the survivor aware that the resources remain available to them, even if the survivor prefers not to connect with resources in the short term.
If you have questions, please contact Barbara Martin, Title IX Coordinator, at 570.577.1554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information is also available as a "How to Help" pdf.
Supporting a Victim-Survivor
When victim-survivors disclose their sexually violent experience, it is important to serve as a positive bystander and source of support as they work through their reactions to the trauma. It is important to remember that a victim-survivor disclosed their assault because they trust you.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Fewer than 2-8%* of sexual assault reports are false reports. These numbers are similar to any other crime.
- Avoid victim-blaming language because it puts the responsibility of the assault on the victim, instead of the perpetrator who actually committed the assault (i.e. she shouldn't have been that drunk; look at what she's wearing; why didn't she just leave the situation?)
- Do not make decisions for the survivor. The assault took control away from the victim-survivor, and though well intentioned, making decisions for them may take control away again.
- Focus on the survivor's needs. Avoid talking about how hearing the story makes you feel, instead ask how the victim-survivor is doing and if they need anything.
- Let the survivor know you are there for support. Offer to accompany them to different appointments or stay in with them on the weekend if they do not want to go out.
- Ask before you do anything such as touching them or talking to their friends. Depending on the nature of the assault, doing any of these things may re-victimize them and hinder the healing process.
*source: The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women