Supporting a Friend

It can be hard to know how to react when someone shares with us that they have been affected by sexual assault, harassment, or inappropriate behavior. (Remember that there are many who are affected by a single instance of sexual misconduct—you may find yourself supporting a friend of a survivor, a potential respondent, or a concerned community member.) By visiting this website, you have already taken a meaningful first step. Here are some important tips and resources for supporting a friend.


  • CAASHA "Supporting a Friend"
    This piece, written by Carleton's peer advocacy group, shares advice for supporting a friend who has experienced sexual misconduct.
  • When you can't find the words
    This contains suggestions and examples of things you can say to a friend who has been affected by sexual misconduct. It is not meant to be a script of that difficult conversation, but may give you some ideas of how you can express your care and support.
  • Do's and Don'ts 
    Chapter 3 from "Rape at College: How to Help a Friend" by Gillian Greensite. Find the whole booklet in the GSC library.
    "RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery."
    • Help a Loved One—this page suggests ways you can help a friend who has experienced sexual assault, harassment, rape, etc.
    • Self Care for Friends and Family—Here are some feelings you may experience as you support your friend, and suggestions for how you can care for yourself.

Take care of yourself.

Supporting a friend or student who has been affected by sexual misconduct can be emotionally, socially, and intellectually demanding. Be sure to check in with your own emotional state and seek the support you need. All of Carleton's support resources are available to you too.