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The way we respond to a survivor matters—our response can influence the survivor’s decision to seek out further help and can affect their healing process.

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) has provided tips and information on how to support those impacted by sexual assault.


Sexual assault is unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact ranging from unwanted sexual touching to unwanted penetration. When someone is sexually assaulted, it is often by someone they know. Friends and family members are usually the first people that survivors open up to about their experience.


If someone shares that they have been sexually assaulted:

  • Remain calm.
  • Listen.
  • Take the situation seriously.
  • Avoid questioning and judging the survivor.
  • Address safety.
  • Validate their feelings.
  • Inform your friend they have rights and options.
  • Support the survivor in doing what they decide is best for them.

For a full list of ways to support a survivor, visit OVA’s website.

Reach out

The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) provides free, confidential counseling, advocacy, information and referrals for all CU community members, including undergrad and graduate students, staff and faculty. They specialize in addressing current and past life-disruptive events, including but not limited to, crime, trauma, gender-based violence, experiences of bias, harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence.

For 24/7 support, same-day appointments and consultation services, please call 303-492-8855. OVA also provides free and confidential drop-in services virtually through their e-Ask an Advocate program.

Learn more about reporting options: Don’t Ignore It.