It can be difficult to know how to respond when someone tells you they have been impacted by sexual misconduct, especially when that person is a friend or family member. When responding to the individual, maintain a posture of sensitivity and respect during this challenging time.
Ensure the individual is safe. If needed, help the individual get to a safe place. If there are immediate concerns, call 911.
Listen non-judgmentally and take the information seriously. Avoid questions and demonstrate empathy. The individual will share with you to the extent they feel comfortable. Recognize your reaction may influence their next steps if they don’t feel believed or judged.
Provide resources to empower the survivor to make an informed decision on the next steps. That may include medical care, evidence collection, reporting, and counseling options. It is important for the individual to make the decisions for themselves since they lost that power during the incident.
Don’t guarantee confidentiality. Employees of Keuka College are responsible employees and must report incidents of gender and sex-based harassment and sexual misconduct.
Take care of yourself. It is also crucial for you to continue to take care of yourself while helping connect your friend or family member to support resources.
- Only general investigation process and office services can be discussed with family members or friends. Specifics about an investigation or complaint can not be discussed without explicit written permission from the individual involved, due to FERPA (Family Rights and Privacy Act) regulations.
- Do not try to gather information or investigate the situation on behalf of your friend or family member.
- Avoid contacting other involved parties, as efforts to do so may appear retaliatory even if that is not your intent.
- Your friend or family member may choose to simultaneously pursue Keuka College’s investigation process for an alleged violation of the Gender and Sex-based Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy AND a criminal, law-enforcement process. Note that the College’s process and procedures for determining if the College policy has been violated are not, in and of themselves, a criminal proceeding.