FAQ – How do I help a friend?

If you witness sexual assault, please see the following flow chart: What do to do if you witness sexual assault
If you are a Fleming employee and are receiving a disclosure, please see the following flow chart: Fleming employees receiving a disclosure

Listen without judgement and accept the disclosure as true.

Be supportive. It is not their fault. Avoid asking “blame” types of questions, like “why were you in their room?”

Communicate that sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor.

Recognize that disclosing can be traumatic and an individual’s ability to recall the events may be limited.

Respect the individual’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience. Never push them to tell you more, even if you are curious.

Let them know you care. Ask them how you can most help.

Let them make their own decisions and respect their right to privacy. However, let them know options: Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (1-866-298-7778), Fleming counsellor, Residence Life Staff.

They may need medical attention. This is important to check for injuries, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. They do not have to report to the police if they go to hospital for a medical exam.

Before going to the hospital they should not shower or clean themselves before going.

  • Acknowledge that this will likely be very difficult for them, they have just been violated and wanting to shower is a natural response. However, it will be difficult for the hospital to complete an evidence kit if the evidence was washed away.

If they or you suspect a drug was involved, notify the hospital staff of your suspicions. You can view pamphlets about “Was I drugged and Sexually Assaulted?”, “Sexual Assault and Drugs – Staying Safe” and “Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault – First Responders” by clicking on the links.

Offer to stay with them while they seek medical attention or go to the police. They may be experiencing a wide range of emotions, which can include shock, disbelief, embarrassment, fear, denial or anger. If this is something you cannot do, advise that the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre can and will accompany them if they would like.

If you have their permission, as soon as possible notify a Residence Life Staff, Security (8000 from a campus phone (24/7 service), or 705-749-5530 x8000 from an outside line) or the Information Booth. They have specific protocols in place [Link to protocol].

Do not confront the aggressor. Let the survivor, college and (potentially) police respond.

Hearing about sexual violence may be traumatic for you, too. You may consider discussing the situation with a counsellor, or sexual assault centre worker. If you have the survivors permission, speaking with Residence Life Staff, Security or another College Employee is encouraged.

Watch the How to Help a Friend video from Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre to learn more: