If you know someone who has been affected by harassment, you are not alone, support is available. There are lots of things you can do to support someone who is, or has been, subjected to harassment.
If you are concerned about the wellbeing of another student and would like to talk to someone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Report and Support tool. It is important to ensure the person is aware of any details you are sharing about them, as in some instances actions taken could put someone at further risk from an abuser. You can also suggest that they contact specialist support services that feel the most comfortable for them, or if someone needs urgent assistance please contact the police by calling 999.
How Can I Respond?
Listen. If someone discloses they have, or are currently being harassed, then listening to what they say with compassion, empathy, and no judgement can be incredibly helpful. Just taking the time to listen to someone and allowing them to talk about what has happened can help.
Believe. Rather than asking a lot of questions, just let them know that you believe them and will support them as best as you can. Try not to skip ahead to what to do practically without first validating what you have heard and listening to what they have to say. It can be helpful to use phrases such as: “I believe you. It took a lot of courage to tell me about this. It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
Offer Choice. After making a disclosure they may or may not know what they want to do next. After listening and believing, making them aware of choices available to them can be a helpful next step. It is important that they are aware of the support available from the University as well as external support services. You can help them explore these options but avoid telling them what they should do. Only they can decide what is best for them. However, it is important to go at their pace If they do not want to discuss their options at this time, that is okay too.
Receiving disclosures and supporting others can be incredibly difficult and during this time it is important you also prioritise your own wellbeing. Now more than ever is the time to engage with any activities that help to maintain or improve your wellbeing.
Do not feel like you are not worthy of support, because the experience did not directly happen to you.
If you wish to access any support for your own wellbeing, then please do review the support options available to students.