Stepping up and supporting friends

When a mate tells you that someone is or has been doing sexual stuff to them that they didn’t want - what do you do?

Did you know?

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  • Lend an ear.
  • You don’t have to solve it: Your friend probably doesn’t expect you to solve the problem. They may just want support or someone to tell.
  • Don’t stress: You don’t need to be an expert, just a good mate who can listen and give support when needed. Make sure you get support for yourself too - it is a really good thing to support people through this stuff but it can also be tough on you.
  • Breathe, relax and listen: It might be awful. You may not want to hear what they have to say because it sounds so horrible, but just hang in there. Just by listening you are helping.
  • Support them: Often survivors will feel like no one will believe what’s happened to them, so they never tell anyone. If your friend trusts you enough to tell you, do them a favour – listen and support them.

What you can do:

Offer to go with them to talk to someone who can help, like a counsellor, teacher, a family member or caregiver. If your mate is unlikely to be hurt in the next day or so (or at all in the future), then there may be no need to rush to get them help. They may need some time before they are ready to get help. Respect their right to go at their own speed.

What if...?

What if sexual violenceSexual Violence
Is a general term that covers any sexual stuff a person does not consent to.
is still happening to your friend or to someone else – like a family member?

What if your friend was planning on hurting themself? Or hurting someone else?

If the answer to these questions is “yes, maybe”, or “yes, they are”, then you MUST talk to a trained professional (like a school counsellor, nurse, social worker or Police officer) or a trusted adult, EVEN if your friend has made you promise not to tell anyone it is really important that you do tell someone who can help them. The most important thing is keeping your mate safe.

If your mate is not in danger - Ask them what they want to do. People deal with this sort of thing in different ways so ask what they feel comfortable doing and how they want to be supported.

Did you know?

Virginity can not be taken, stolen or lost. Experiencing sexual violenceSexual Violence
Is a general term that covers any sexual stuff a person does not consent to.
does not mean virginity is “lost”.

If they want to see someone to get help, you can go with them. You could help them make the first couple of phone calls to look for the help they want get. It’s OK if you don’t know what you’re doing. Helping people deal with this stuff often takes specialist training and you’re doing great by just being there.

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Come on in to the Sex’N’Respect website!

Just a heads up, this website has some stuff about sexual violence which might be upsetting,
especially if you or someone close to you has experienced it.

If you find yourself getting upset, make sure you get support or take a few deep breaths
and think about something that makes you smile.

Some of the topics in here may also conflict with your beliefs.
We think that if a person is harming someone, or their human rights
IT IS NOT OK - no matter what your beliefs are.

Sweet As