Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

How To Help A Friend

If you or someone you know experiences violence, you're not alone. Help is available. 
There are ways to communicate with someone in your life who has experienced violence that can be healing for them and for you.

Believe: help others

People affected by sexual assault need to know that their support system (i.e., friends and family) believes them.


Some survivors will want to talk about their experiences and some will not. Be sure not to share information with others unless given permission.

Validate Feelings:

Acknowledge their sadness, anger, fear, or confusion. Let them know that their feelings are normal. Assure them that they are not alone.

Support the Healing Process: 

Healing takes time. Assure the survivor that this experience will cause some disruption in her/his life, but she/he can heal. Do talk about other aspects of her/his life; help the survivor realize that she/he is not only a victim, but also an important part of your life. Encourage the survivor to seek help at IUP’s Counseling Center, located in the Center for Health and Well-Being.

Find Support for Yourself:

Talk to someone about your feelings.  Remember; you’re an important person in the survivor’s life.  Call IUP’s Counseling Center, or your local crisis hotline, for support for you.

From “Helping a Friend or Family Member who is Being Abused,” Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence,

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about how to help a survivor, contact the Haven Project at (724) 357-4799 or the Counseling Center at (724) 357-2621. Both services are provided by the Center for Health and Well-Being, located in the Suites on Maple East.

You may also contact your local crisis hotline:

IUP at Indiana

IUP Punxsutawney

IUP at Northpointe

IUP at Monroeville