Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Sexual Assault Information

Campus Life

How to Help a Friend

If the Assault Has Just Occurred:

WEB of SUPPORT - Options for Care and Reporting 

STUDENT GUIDE TO RESPONDING TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Make sure you and your friend are in a safe location.
  • Offer to stay with your friend or to call another caring friend to stay with him/her. In order to preserve evidence, remind your friend not to wash, eat, drink, douche, clean, use the bathroom (if possible), or change clothes. If your friend does change clothes, be sure to save what s/he was wearing in a brown paper bag.
  • Suggest medical treatment at Morton Hospital (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner on call) or Sturdy Memorial Hospital ER.
  • For confidential support and guidance, encourage your friend to call the Wheaton Counseling Center (508-286-3905) or the local crisis center hotline, New Hope (in-state calls contact: 800-323-4673; out-of-state calls contact: SafeLink at 877-785-2020 and ask to be transferred to New Hope's Hotline).
  • Suggest contacting the Norton Police and/or Wheaton Public Safety. Remember, it is your friend's decision whether to report the assault or not (your friend's identity will be protected to the maximum extent allowed by law and/or college policy).

How to Help Anytime:

PROVIDE SUPPORT AND COMFORT

  • Make sure you and your friend are in a safe location.
  • Believe your friend. Remember that your friend's behavior did not cause him/her to be raped.
  • Listen non-judgmentally and validate your friend's distress.
  • Don't ask your friend to tell you more than s/he wants.
  • Silence is acceptable - your friend may not want to talk but may simply not want to be alone.
  • Ask permission before touching or hugging.

LISTEN
Allow your friend the freedom to chose when, where, and how to talk about the assault. Avoid blaming questions or statements, such as "Why did you go there?", "Why didn't you tell me sooner?", "That wasn't a good idea."

OFFER OPTIONS
Remind your friend of the options available regarding medical care, counseling, and reporting. Remember, you can encourage (but not make) your friend report the assault or seek medical care.

RESIST ESCALATING VIOLENCE
Your friend has come to you for help.  Satisfying your desire for revenge isn't going to help him/her.

INFORM
Let your friend know that professional help is available through the Morton Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program (medical care and/or forensic evidence collection), the Wheaton College Counseling Center, a member of the Sexual Misconduct and Assault Resource Team (SMART - for resources and reporting options), and New Hope, the local rape crisis center.

GET HELP FOR YOURSELF
If you're feeling angry, helpless, confused or hurt, get help for yourself at the Wheaton Counseling Center.

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