It can seem overwhelming to support someone who has experienced sexual violence. At Langara we believe sexual violence response is everyone's issue and it's important for us to take care of each other.
When a student discloses an incident of sexual violence to a member of the College community, respond in a way that supports the individual needs of the survivors, and show compassion and empathy. This is referred to as a trauma-informed approach. Below are ways to use a trauma-informed approach:
- Listen empathically and without judgement or interruption
- Validate the individual's experience or reactions (show respect and compassion)
- Reassure the individual that it is not their fault
- Ask them if they feel safe
- Help the person identify safe individuals within their existing support system
- Provide information about on- and off campus resources and help them connect to supports if they choose
- Avoid giving personal advice
- Do not call the police, unless you are specifically asked to do so – many people choose not to report and that's ok
- Ask the individual what you can do to be supportive.
Know your own limitations and boundaries. If you feel unable to assist someone, try to direct them to resources that can help. Know that you can access help too and we encourage you to talk to someone while maintaining confidentiality.