Help Someone Else
For faculty, staff and student employees
Explain that you must report what you are told to the college.
With the exception of confidential resources, all college employees (including student employees approached in the context of their student employment) must report to the college whenever they are told of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct – even if the person requests confidentiality. This enables the college to respond to the incident, both for the well-being of the affected person and for the well-being of the Concordia community.
This is not an easy thing to say early in a conversation, since the person who has approached you is probably expecting that whatever he/she shares with you will remain confidential, and may be expressing strong emotions as well. But the sooner you explain your obligation to report, the more control your friend, colleague, or mentee will have over the information that is reported to the college. You can provide immediate assurance that neither you nor the college will publicly identify him or her, and that you will share information only with the individual to whom you send the report. This person will reach out to offer interim measures and resources, and ensure that the person being affected understands all the options available.
It may be that the person who is coming to you for support is already planning to tell the college what happened, so identifying yourself as a non-confidential resource will not be a barrier to your conversation. But if your friend, colleague, or mentee is not sure, or is not ready to report, you can immediately refer her/him to a confidential resource who can listen to their story without being required to report it to the college. And you can certainly take all the other steps indicated below even without knowing the details of the person’s experience.
Listen and affirm: Different people respond in different ways to an experience of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other form of sexual misconduct. They may feel anger, fear, denial, embarrassment, confusion, or guilt – or all of those feelings at once. Some may appear calm and logical, while others may seem dazed or uncertain. People’s feelings and needs can also change over time. Because each person’s circumstance, needs, and wishes are different, your ability to listen with care and compassion is one of the most valuable forms of support you can offer.
Share where resources can be found. The Title IX webpage, the Student Affairs webpage and the Sexual Misconduct Policy list campus, local and national resources.
Encourage reporting: Concordia encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or some other form of sexual misconduct to report to the college. This will enable the collage to take measures to stop the behavior, prevent it from occurring in the future, and provide support, resources, and protection – including a no-contact order. A person may report to the college without initiating a formal complaint (which results in an investigation and, potentially, disciplinary action) or reporting to law enforcement. If your friend, colleague, or mentee has been harassed, assaulted, or affected in some other way by sexual misconduct, you can help her/him understand the benefits and process of reporting, and offer to assist in doing so.
Be available: The effects of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct may last a long time, and your friend’s needs and concerns may change along the way. While always respecting your friend’s needs and wishes, you can continue to offer to listen, support, and encourage her or him in the process of recovery, whatever that process may involve.
Supporting someone who has been harassed or assaulted is not easy. You may sometimes be at a loss for words, or worry that you will say or do the wrong thing. You may also have some of the same feelings that your friend is experiencing – anger, confusion, deep sadness, or anxiety. The support resources available to people who have been harassed, assaulted, or harmed in other ways are available to you as well.