CofC Logo

How to Help a Friend

We all can play a role in working to end sexual violence and in eliminating the barriers to obtaining the help collegiate victims need to recover and remain in school. How? Be a great friend.

Learn about and discuss the issues with friends - both male and female

Most of us operate under a veil of innocence - we don't really consider ourselves as potential victims of any crime. Yet, the statistics indicate that 1 out of 4 young women will become a victim of sexual assault in her lifetime with 9% of all rape victims being male. The odds are that we know or will know someone who is a victim of this crime.

Bystander intervention

OK -it's not the most popular thing to do, but in the long run you may save your friend from being assaulted, or from being accused of assaulting another. If friends don't let friends drive drunk, then friends shouldn't want friends making alcohol-biased decisions that may spell tragedy for everyone.

Encourage the victim to seek medical attention

It is very important for a victim to be medically checked for internal injuries or possible sexually transmitted infections as soon after the incident as possible. Under South Carolina law, emergency contraception and a thorough medical exam are provided free if a report is filed with law enforcement within 120 hours of the rape. The decision to press charges does not have to be made at that time. For those who elect not to report and don't want to undergo a rape protocol exam, medical assistance is available at Student Health Services, the Charleston County Health Department, or through one's private physician.

Provide unconditional acceptance of her/his decision

Provide a safe zone for a victim. Listen, believe, remain non-judgmental and assure her/him that underage drinking/drug use, or any other behavior by the victim did not cause the crime of rape. Listen to what the victim is saying. Taking charge of what happens to the victim appears helpful...but isn't that what the accused already did? Words like "if I were you" - support your agenda and, frankly, it's not a victim's job to save the world, to make the community a safer place for others, or to speak up on behalf of those who can't. Give the gift of information and respect the choices that are made.

Listen and know what resources are available to meet the needs of a victim

While we strongly encourage victims of sexual assault to report the crime, the decision to file a report and undergo a rape protocol exam is the choice of the victim. So, whether a victim chooses to report or not, whether they live on or off campus, no matter where the crime occurs, GET HELP! There is a wealth of assistance available to you on the College of Charleston campus:

Office of Victim Services - a specially designed assistance program for any College of Charleston student offering help with missed classes, emergency needs, information, resources - addresses any disruption to the collegiate experience caused by the crime.

  • Office: days and evenings - 843.953.2273
    Please reserve calling after business hours for victimizations that occurred within the past 120 hours/five days. Thank you.
  • Counseling Center - 843.953.5640
  • Health Services - 843.953.5520
  • Public Safety - Emergency 843.953.5611
  • Public Safety - Non-emergency 843.953.5609