If your friend or loved one has experienced sexual misconduct, you may be wondering what to do. The most important thing you can do is listen to them. As they talk, be careful not to judge them. Ask them how you can help. You can encourage them to seek assistance, but let them have control over what happens next, such as filing a report.
Don't try to rationalize what happened. Never make excuses for the offender.
Don't avoid your friend. They may worry that people are scared of them. If you avoid them, you may reinforce their shame and fear.
Help your friend with tasks like running errands, child care, laundry, etc.
Educate yourself about sexual violence and the trauma associated with it.
Take it seriously if your friend mentions thoughts of suicide. Get them support from appropriate resources.
If You're an NIU Employee
Some NIU employees are considered responsible employees. If a responsible employee becomes aware of sexual misconduct, they must report it to the Title IX coordinator. If you're not sure if you're a responsible employee, contact the Title IX coordinator at 815-753-5560 or email@example.com.
If you're a responsible employee, here's what to do if a student or employee tells you about sexual misconduct:
Listen to them without interrupting. Try to be in the moment with them, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Tell them about your reporting obligation. Make sure they understand before they tell you something they may want to keep confidential.