Carnegie Mellon University

Ways to Support

Some tips and strategies to help a friend who has been affected by sexual misconduct include:

  • Learn more about the types of sexual misconduct and resources available.
  • Listen to your friend. 
  • Believe what your friend tells you.
  • Tell your friend that what happened was not their fault.
  • Ask how you can help. Examples might include offering to walk the friend to Health Services or CAPS, or helping to contact the Office of Title IX Initiatives or University Police.
  • Respect your friend's privacy.  Only tell people who need to know in order to help your friend. 
  • Don't ask for details.  Accept what your friend feels comfortable telling you.
  • Don't try to "fix" everything.
  • Don't minimize the friend's experience; avoid saying things like "everything will be alright" or "it could have been worse."
  • Don't ask "why" questions, which might make your friend feel like they are being blamed for what happened.
  • Don't promise not to tell anyone.  You might need to tell someone to get your friend the help they need.
  • Consider contacting the Office of Title IX Initiatives for support, information, resources and referrals.