How To Help

What do you do if your partner, friend, student, or peer experiences sexual assault? How do you support a loved one? How can you help prevent sexual assault? Click below for options and advice.  

We also offer workshops and presentations for your student organization, classroom, or department. Topics include: Bystander Intervention, Consent, Healthy Relationships, Supporting a Survivor of Violence, and What is the Women's Educational Center? Fill out this form for more information and to set up a workshop or presentation. 

Family & Friends

Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Violence
  1. Believe your friend. Tell your friend that you believe them and you want to support them in any way that you can. Do not judge your friend, regardless of the circumstances.
     
  2. Be a good listener. Listen non-judgmentally to what your friend is saying and accept the experience as your friend describes it. You may want to ask questions and get details about what happened, but remember that your role is to support your friend, and it is best to allow the survivor to decide what and how much they would like to tell you about the incident.
     
  3. Assure your friend that it is not their fault. Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence. It is important that, as their friend, you help the survivor understand that no matter what happened—it was not their fault.
     
  4. Do not make judgmental comments. Do not comment on what could have been done differently or make statements that imply that your friend could have avoided the assault.
     
  5. Give your friend control. Let them choose the next steps. You may provide advice, guidance, and information about their options, but allow your friend to decide if, when, and how they will pursue these resources.
     
  6. Provide resources.  Resources are available on campus and off that can give your friend the help and support needed. 
    The Women’s Educational Center and CAPS both are confidential reporting locations on campus.  The YWCA of Greater Flint provides free specialized counseling for survivors. 
     
  7. Offer continued support. If your friend is hesitant to get help, offer to accompany them in seeking medical attention, counseling, going to the police or to university resource personnel. Sometimes that's all it takes to help a friend begin to take action. Recognize that your friend’s needs may change over time, so keep “checking in” to renew your offer of help and support.
     
  8. Respect privacy. Do not share your friend's story with other people unless you have their permission to do so. 

Students

be an active bystander

Being an active bystander in a situation is one of the best ways to prevent sexual violence. We can prevent sexual violence in our communities by intervening and interrupting the problem behavior. Problem behavior can be obvious sexual misconduct, or more subtle like when someone looks like they’re uncomfortable with the person they’re sitting with, or when someone makes an inappropriate comment.

At UM-Flint, we encourage students to utilize the "3 Ds" when intervening in a situation:
Direct- Confront the person being inappropriate and tell them they need to stop.
Distract- Be creative in ways to interrupt what is happening by being a distraction. Ask for directions, “accidentally” spill a drink, pretend to know the person who needs help to get them out.
Delegate- If you’re unsure of what to do, or don’t feel safe intervening on your own, ask for help. On campus this could be DPS, an RA, Human Resources, WEC staff, or just someone who may have a better handle on the situation. 

um-flint peer educators

UM-Flint has a group of students called Peer Educators who are specifically trained to educate their peers about sexual assault, consent, and bystander intervention. Peer Educators are a group of diverse and passionate student leaders who engage their peers through trainings, workshops, and events. Check out our events page for upcoming Peer Educator events to get involved!

Faculty/Staff

The two most important things you can do when a student, faculty, or staff member tells you they’ve experienced sexual violence is: 
Listen and believe. Do not judge them for anything that has happened.
 

Know your role. Depending on your role within the institution, you may be mandated to report crimes of sexual violence to the Department of Public Safety and/or Human Resources. If you are unsure if you are a mandated reporter of these disclosures, ask! Reach out to these departments to find out what your obligations are.

Refer them to resources on campus. CAPS offers free counseling to currently enrolled students, the WEC offers support and advocacy, DPS & Human Resources offer reporting options to make formal complaints. See our resources page for more information.