1. Get acclimated to your new home. College is often the first time students are away from home for an extended period of time. With a new environment, such as a university campus, comes new risks. No one expects bad things to happen, but it can be comforting to know what to do if something goes differently than planned.
→ Find ways to immerse yourself in campus life. Identify programming and resources available on campus – like how to sign up for a club or where to get a health check-up. Ask specific questions such as, where should you go if you twist your ankle? Which phone numbers are important to have programmed into your cell phone?
2. Be a good friend in tough situations. The key to keeping your friends safe is learning how to intervene in a way that fits both the situation and your comfort level. Having this knowledge can give you the confidence to step in when something isn’t right. Stepping in can make all the difference, but it should never put your own safety at risk.
→ If you see someone at a party acting aggressively, find a non-confrontational way to step in. If something feels off, remember to CARE: create a distraction, ask directly, refer to an authority and enlist others. The goal is to interrupt the behavior that concerned you, before the situation escalates.
3. Know how to support survivors. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing the words to say, and being able to point your friend in the direction of someone who is trained to provide guidance. Most importantly, let your friend know that no matter what happened, it’s not their fault.
→ Something as simple as “I believe you” can have a profound impact on a survivor and their recovery process. Resources like the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) provide free support to survivors and their loved ones.
Take The Next Step:
Want to do even more? Check the links below for ways to take action against sexual violence on campus, and learn how you can support survivors:
1. Register for RAINN Day (September 17) and create an event for your campus.
2. Join the #TalkToRAINN conversation online (September 14th through 18th).
3. Sign up for the latest news about RAINN’s work to address sexual assault on campus.
4. Act with RAINN to support the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español:rainn.org/es.
This post is from rainn.org