Help a Friend
Supporting a friend through an incident can be challenging, but with the help of this page you can find out what to do and what not to do in your interactions in providing your friend support.
Your friendship may change through their healing process and there is no one correct way to support your friend. It is important to listen to what they need from you and to be patient. You should strive to remain approachable, and sensitive to their feelings. You may want to discuss the impact of the incident on your relationship and if you wish you may consider relationship counseling if things get too challenging.
Hopefully, the following Do’s and Do Not’s will make helping your friend go as smoothly as possible, but reaching out to the counseling center or other trained professionals for guidance is always encouraged.
- Believe them and show them unconditional acceptance. Others may question the validity of their report, so they need you to support them.
- Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Give them the option to choose the help that they want by sharing all the resources available to them both on and off campus.
- Communicate to your loved one that the incident was not their fault and that you do not equate the incident with an act of infidelity or immorality.
- Follow up with your friend regularly if they are considering suicide or harming themselves. Ask others for help and advice (counselor, resident advisor, professors, etc.). Call 9-1-1 if there is an emergency or if you are concerned for their safety.
- Let your friend be in control of who knows about the incident.
- Take care of yourself. Do not forget that this can be challenging for you to handle as well and that there are resources available on and off campus to support you too.
- Touch your friend without asking for their permission first, even if you are trying console them. They may be triggered by having someone else touch them.
- Attempt to contact the Respondent. It is a common reaction to want to seek revenge; however, calm and reasoned judgments are needed. This may cause legal problems and increase your friend's fears and anxiety.
- “Take charge.” Your friend must regain a sense of control over their life and should be encouraged to make their own decisions.
- Accuse or judge your friend in any way. How they feel needs to be your primary concern.
- Direct your feelings of anger and frustration (common reactions) towards your friend.
- Expect or demand immediate and open communication about what happened or how your friend feels until they are ready to share with you what happened.
With some incidents there are concerns regarding potential pregnancy, STIs, confidentiality, reporting, and a collection of evidence. The Wood County hospital can assist those type of incidents within 96 hours of an incident with the collection of evidence by a specially trained SANE nurse. After collecting the evidence, Wood County Hospital will release it to either the Campus Police or City police depending on the location of the incident. This collection of evidence by a SANE nurse will provide for more accurate reporting and will allow for the information to be properly stored to be used now or at a later time. Wood County Hospital, in addition to the Falcon Health Center, can provide treatment for STI’s, emergency contraceptives, toxicology screens, and referrals to counseling on or off campus. See below for the contact information for the Wood County Hospital and the Falcon Health Center.
Wood County Hospital
950 W. Wooster St.
Bowling Green, OH 43402
Falcon Health Center
838 E. Wooster St.
Bowling Green, OH 43402