If someone tells you they have experienced sex- or gender-based violence, harassment, or discrimination, how you respond and offer support matters.
A student or employee may reach out to you because they want to:
- Share what is happening and feel less alone in their experience.
- Stop the violent or harassing behavior.
- Learn more about available resources and reporting options.
- Request academic or workplace adjustments/supportive measures.
- Seek support for injuries due to an assault.
When supporting a colleague, student, or friend who shares that they have experienced sex- and gender-based violence, harassment, or discrimination the Title IX Office can help you respond with care and provide access to information about support resources and rights.
All UW staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of the public, are encouraged to share Title IX-related concerns through the online Title IX reporting form.
How to respond with care:
Everyone responds differently to experiences of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Validate that any response is normal and assure them they’re doing the right thing by coming to you.
Try responding with, “Thank you for sharing. I know it can be hard to talk about this.”
You may have strong ideas about what this person needs to do. You might be tempted to start gathering more details about the situation or determine exactly what happened. Focus any questions on how they are doing and their current needs.
Try responding with, “I’m here to listen. What do you need right now? How can I help?”
The person sharing with you may feel isolated and unsure about what to do next.
- Try responding with, “You do not have to go through this alone; resources are available to support you.”
- If you are a student or an employee providing support, try asking, “Is it okay if I contact the Title IX Office to learn more about how I can support you? Do you prefer I share your name or would you rather remain anonymous?”
- If you are an Official Required to Report, remind the individual you are required to contact the Title IX Office and share names and details about the situation to ensure that there is an appropriate response.
It is important that we allow individuals experiencing violence and harassment to make their own decisions about what actions they want to take and how much information they want to share.
Review the Know Your Rights and Resources guide on the Survivor Resources page. The Office of the Title IX Coordinator developed the guide to assist members of the UW community who have experienced unwelcome conduct, violence, harassment, or discrimination.
Individuals are often best able to support others when they take care of themselves and are aware of their own reactions. You may also wish to reach out to resources for your own emotional support.