supporting Young adult survivors
This website is intended to provide violence prevention-specific resources for youth in your life. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t include information about how to be supportive and respectful if a young person has been harassed, assaulted, or experienced dating violence. Here are some resources to help if you or someone you know needs them.
learn the signs.
This link helps people understand potential warning sexual assault signs in college-aged adults.
learn how to start the conversation.
Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem okay, it probably isn’t. You could use some of our young adult resources to start a conversation if you are not sure exactly how.
If they start to allude to possible sexual abuse/assault, you can say something like, “Can you tell me more about that?”
Remind the youth that no one should touch them without their consent. Let them know that if someone or something makes them feel uncomfortable, nervous, or scared, you're there for them.
If you aren’t sure how to navigate the situation, call your local sexual assault support line. In Iowa, you can call the Iowa Victim Services Call Center 24/7 at 1-800-770-1650 or text IOWAHELP TO 20121.
If needed, decide what actions you can take to help keep them safer. If you’re not sure, your local advocacy program can help talk through your options. Follow through on the decision you make.
Take care of yourself and seek support.
Learn how to respond.
If a young person discloses to you, it’s important to stay calm. Thank them for telling you. Make sure that they know that you believe them, that what happened was not their fault, and that you are there to help and listen. A part of survivors’ ability to heal is how people respond to the first disclosure. Be the person they need at that moment: calm, supportive, and kind.
Responding to disclosures is difficult any time, but it can feel overwhelming when the person disclosing is a youth that you care about. You are not alone. You can talk to an advocate. You can also take a look at these resources for help on what to do next.
These resources are for young adults in high school or college who experience sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, or dating violence. It is both helpful for individuals who need help, and is also full of helpful resources for people who want to change the culture on their campus.