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How To Help A Friend

If you or someone you know experiences violence, you're not alone. Help is available.

Family and friends who care about you often want to assist you after experiencing sexual violence. You may wish to share this information with them to help them during this process.

There are ways to communicate with someone in your life who has experienced sexual violence that can be healing for her/him and for you.


Someone affected by sexual assault needs to know that her/his friends and family believe her/him.


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


Acknowledge the survivor’s sadness, anger, fear, or confusion. Let her/him know that these feelings are normal.  


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 her/him realize that they are not only a survivor, 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.

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:

Last updated on January 29, 2015