Samford University

Samford University

What Can a Friend Do to Help?

If the sexual assault occurred recently:

  • Make sure your friend is safe. If you perceive immediate danger, on campus call Public Safety at 2020; off-campus, call 911.
  • Encourage your friend to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as well as seeking professional counseling. The University’s Counseling Services offers confidential counseling and can be contacted at 205-726-2065.
  • Stay with your friend until the person is safe and with someone he trusts.
  • Provide your friend with information related to resources for help.
    • Crisis Center—Birmingham Rape Response 24-hour hotline—205-323-7273 or 888-323-7273
    • Counseling Services—205-726-2065, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    • Public Safety—205-726-2020

If the sexual assault occurred in the past:

  • Listen and demonstrate you believe your friend. Be sure your friend knows you will be supportive. It is important to let her know you are willing to listen when they are ready to talk. Being a real friend sometimes means you will listen without offering too much conversation. 
  • Be reassuring. Remind your friend anyone can be a victim of a sexual assault act and that it is not their fault. Your friend may be blaming herself about being a victim, and it is important to assure their actions did not cause the assault.
  • Let your friend lead the conversation and disclosure. Protect your friend’s privacy and confidence. Allow your friend to determine the pace and focus of the conversation and when they are willing to discuss the assault. Do not force the topic!
  • Be aware of your own feelings. You may feel hurt, angry, guilty, anxious or frightened. Such feelings are understandable, but your reactions may feel surprising, confusing or overwhelming. Seek counseling support for your feelings.
  • Know and respect your limitations. You can only do so much to help. You can only provide support and compassion. Know your limitations.