As Kappa Deltas, we are committed to building confidence in one another every day. We encourage our sisters’ dreams, reassure them when they are nervous and support them when life is hard.
During Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are sharing specific ways you can support your sisters if one of them experiences sexual assault. The excerpt below is taken from the new Kappa Delta Social Essentials Guide, written by Aaron Boe of Prevention Culture. This list of things you can do to support a friend will better equip you to respond if and when a sister discloses to you an instance of sexual assault. While these scenarios are scary for all those involved, we can be there for our sisters and begin building their confidence back up if we have the right tools.
Six Concepts on Supporting a Friend:
- It is okay to not know how to handle things. Simply respond as a caring friend and listen without judgment.
- Offer to go with her for medical help and to talk with a counselor or rape crisis advocate on campus. Support her in any way that she may need.
- Honest and simple statements like, “I’m glad you told me” or “Thank you for telling me” or “I believe you” can be very helpful.
- Understand that you cannot understand. It is best to avoid saying that you do understand what another person is going through. It is better to be there for emotional support, to be a friend who listens and who encourages her to see that this is not her fault.
- Do not pressure them to report, and do not pressure them to not It is important for them to feel supported in their decisions, not pressured. A person whose wishes have been disregarded in a very disturbing way does not need anyone else neglecting to respect their wishes.
- Encourage your friend to talk with a professional counselor if she is not already seeing one. And, if she is willing to do so but is not sure where to go, help her find a counselor. Your campus should have a well-trained, caring professional for her to speak with. The counselor should also know of additional resources on campus or near it that can be very helpful. If, however, the first people you speak to do not seem to be as helpful or sensitive as they should be, keep looking. Do not assume one unhelpful experience means counseling is not the right thing. Keep looking until you find one who understands sexual assault and is good at working with survivors of it.
For additional content and an online forum, go to Pandora’s Project at pandys.org.
For more information on supporting your sisters, see the “Being a Supportive Sister” section of your Social Essentials Guide.