Support for survivors can be essential in their ability to recover. Here are some suggestions for how to help.
- Be a good listener by being attentive and not passing judgment on what this person shares with you.
- Respect the survivor’s need for privacy. Be sure to tell the survivor before they start sharing if you have a College role that prevents you from keeping information confidential. Tell the person that you want to support them, and this support may involve sharing this information with people who can help. Please note, the only truly confidential resources on campus are the counselors at the Emmons Wellness Center and the clergy at the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life.
- Believe the survivor. Reaffirm that trust by telling and showing the survivor that you believe what she/he told you.
- Remain patient with the survivor. Each person is different in how they cope and how much time it takes to heal.
- Help to empower the survivor. Instead of offering advice, ask how you can support her/him. Do your best to not pressure the survivor, and respect this person’s decisions. You may want to refer to this brochure, which has information about survivors' resources.
- Be there for the survivor. Having someone there as the survivor explores her/his medical, legal, and on-campus options can be comforting when faced with difficult decisions and interpreting processes and procedures. If the survivor has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) can help.
- Be mindful of your own needs and be sure to take care of yourself. People in supporting roles can benefit from professional assistance by speaking to a counselor or clergy member.
Reference: Help a loved one. Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.
Suggestions for Advisors
Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to bring an advisor to all phases of the investigation and campus conduct proceeding.
- Take time to talk to students about their expectations of an advisor.
- Discuss what you are able to provide for students throughout the conduct process. For instance, are you able to attend investigation meetings or just the hearing?
- Familiarize yourself with the sexual and interpersonal misconduct policy and conduct process.
- Consider meeting with students to help them think of questions they may have or points they should bring up throughout the process.
- Remind students of important tasks, deadlines, or items to submit to the Title IX Coordinator.
- Contact the Title IX Coordinator if you have any questions.
- Be sure to listen to students and be supportive of their needs, which may involve referring them to an on- or off-campus resource.
- Provide feedback to the Title IX Coordinator about the process. The office encourages all parties involved to provide feedback on their experience so that the process can continue to improve.
- Know your limits. Sometimes you may have to decline a student's request for a variety of reasons. By telling the student you're unable to be an advisor, you are ultimately helping them find someone who can best meet their needs.