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Family & Friends

Talking with Young People:

As a parent or mentor, talking with the young people in your lives about sexual assault can be difficult.  Having these conversations with them early, however, will only benefit you both.  Start now and help equip your young person(s) with strategies on engaging in healthy sexual behaviors and encouraging them to seek help if they are ever victimized.  Encourage ongoing conversations with them and let them know that you are there to support them in any way.
Visit the following sites to learn more about how to have these conversations with your young person and keep the door open for continued conversations:
The Rape, Abuse,  and Incest National Network (RAINN) outlines general guidelines for parents of college-bound students.
Culture of Respect, an independent information portal to strengthen sexual assault prevention efforts on college campuses, has developed specific talking points for parents.

Supporting Victims:

When someone that you care about tells you that they have been a victim of sexual assault, that too can be difficult. You may have a range of reactions that could include…


  • You may be very surprised to hear what has happened.
  • You might have difficulty figuring out how to respond.


  • You might feel angry at the perpetrator for hurting your loved one.
  • You might also feel angry at your loved one for not telling you sooner or for telling you something that is hard for you to hear.
  • This can be especially true if the assault was committed by someone that you know.


  • You might feel sad for your loved one, for her or his family, or for what this assault may change about both of your lives.


  • You might feel anxiety about responding the “right” way to your loved one.
  • You might feel anxiety about how this will impact your relationship.


  • Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s assault, you might be concerned that something similar could happen to you.
  • Everyone has a different reaction when they find out that someone they care for has been sexually assaulted.
  • There is no right or wrong way to feel. What is important is that you show the victim that you care and that you can help support her or him.

Here are some suggestions on how you can support your loved one as they cope with the assault:


  • Be Supportive
  • Listen
  • Offer to Transport a Victim to a Hospital for a Health/Forensic Examination
  • Encourage Victims to Talk with a Counselor and a Title IX Coordinator


  • Judge Victims
  • Ask Probing Details about Whether the Victim and/or Accused were Drinking at the Time of the Reported Assault
  • Predict the Outcome if the Victim presses charges thorough Local Law Enforcement
  • Dissuade the Victim from Reporting
  • Ask the Victim to Repeat Her or His Story More than Once unless She or He wants to
Content support from RAINN, Rape Abuse & Incest National Network