What if I need help?

How can I help a friend?


If you have a friend in an abusive relationship, the only way your friend will be safe will be by breaking off the relationship. However, he/she will not be able to follow through on this unless he/she receives support from friends and family.


Let your friend know that he/she did not deserve to be treated badly.

Let your friend know “it is not your fault.” NEVER blame your friend. Don’t let your friend blame him/herself. Reassure your friend that he/she is still the same worthwhile person that he/she was before the rape. Rape is never the victim’s fault even if the person assaulted did not yell for help, fight back, or was drinking.


Tell your friend that “Your survival is what really matters”

It will be reassuring to your friend to hear that what is most important is that he/she is alive and got through the experience as best that he/she could. Questions like why did you go there alone are blaming not reassuring.


Tell your friend “I believe you”

Victims often have self-doubts. It will be a big relief to your friend if you believe the assault really happened. If your friend says he/she was raped then that’s enough even if your friend didn’t scream, fight back or there was no evidence of harm


Tell your friend you will be supportive by listening.

Be supportive by listening not judging. Be supportive by listening not prying. Let your friend take his/her time to share the details and share only what he/she is able to. Show interest by nodding and encouraging him/her to go on, sit with your friends silences, show patience and caring by giving your attention.


Ask your friend what they need from you instead of telling them how to handle the situation.

Let your friend be in control of who knows about the assault and how he/she manages their life. This will help your friend feel he/she is regaining the control he/she lost by being victimized.


Tell your friend that it’s O.K to talk about his/her feeling for as long as he/she needs

It’s normal to feel angry, afraid, anxious and depressed. If your friend’s feelings intensify and seem to overwhelm him/her and your friend is not getting help, support your friend in getting help


Learn about who at Purchase College helps students with problems of violence.

Encourage your friend to seek professional, confidential help, either on or off campus. Walk with your friend to the Counseling Center, if she/he wants.


Be sure to take care of yourself, too

Being a friend of a victim/survivor can be draining and can distract you from your studies and other important commitments. Keep in mind that professionals trained in this kind of problem are available and that you can be a friend but not a therapist. Don’t forget to seek support for yourself, as well.