How to Help a Friend
Click here to fill out an anonymous sexual assault report form.
NOTE: This report form is operated by the UO Police Department. Anonymity can only be guaranteed if no identifying information is provided. If persons involved in a sexual assault are identified, a report made to appropriate authorities may be required. If you or a friend has experienced sexual assault and are looking for support, options, or information about reporting visit safe.uoregon.edu.
What is Rape
Sexual assault is unwanted contact or touch of a sexual nature. Rape is forced vaginal or anal intercourse. Rape by instrumentation is vaginal or anal penetration with an object. Rape and sexual assault can be committed by anyone -- a stranger, a date, an acquaintance or even a friend. Assaults happened to both women and men.
Sexual assault and rape are violent crimes. Neither is motivated by sex or sexual desire; rather they are motivated by anger and aggression. Sexual assault is not uncontrolled passion - it is a hostile attack, an attempt to hurt, dominate and humiliate the victim. If someone you know has been assaulted or raped you can help them in the following ways.
If the Assault Just Occurred...
- Make sure they are safe.
- Help them get the medical attention they need.
- Offer to be with them or call someone they want to stay with them.
- Offer to call the police to report the rape. Reporting the assault does not mean you must prosecute, but it will ensure the availability of that option in the future, should the survivor so decide.
- Offer to call for rape advocate services. This will allow an objective, supportive person to assist her in dealing with the immediate issues of the trauma.
At Any Time--Immediately Or Much Later...
- As a friend, it is important that you LISTEN to what the survivor tells you. Sometimes assault victims need to talk about the attack.
- Allow the survivor the freedom to choose when, where and how to talk about the trauma.
- Be supportive: BELIEVE the survivor. People rarely make up stories about being sexual assault survivors. Reinforce that the survivor is not to blame. Avoid using words that imply blame.
- Be sensitive: Let the person know that you do not subscribe to any of the common myths about sexual assault. Understand that the person has suffered extreme humiliation. Let them know that you do not see them as defiled or immoral.
- Be patient. Recovery from rape trauma is slow. Let the person proceed at their own pace. Realize that you have strong feelings about the trauma. If needed, seek counseling for yourself. Avoid communicating your biases and negative emotions to the survivor.
- Remember that whatever the rape victim did to survive the attack was exactly what he or she needed to do. The victim did not cause the attack and is not at fault.
There following are excellent resources for both survivors and family or friends trying to support survivors:
University Counseling & Testing Center
UO SAFE Website
University Health Center Building
1590 E. 13th, Eugene, OR 97403
When you are accessing confidential therapy services at the Counseling Center your therapist is NOT a required reporter under Title IX regulations. Learn more about the Counseling Center’s confidentiality policy here, and learn more about what required reporting means at safe.uoregon.edu.
Sexual Assault Support Services
Business Line 541-484-9791, 1-800-788-4727
UO Police Department
300 Country Club Rd., Eugene, OR