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For Parents|How to Help

Contact Information

STOP Violence Program
Dean of Students Office
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Avenue
Department 3135
Knight Hall Room 118
Laramie, Wyoming 82071

(307) 766-3296
Office Hours: 8am-5pm

mselheim@uwyo.edu

Contact Us

STOP Violence Program
SAFE Project 24-hr HOTLINE:
307-745-3556
Walk-In Hours: 10am-4pm
Dean of Students Office
Department 3135
Knight Hall 118
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: 307-766-3296
Email: stopviolence@uwyo.edu

If your son or daughter confides in you that he/she has been sexually assaulted, there are many conflicting emotions that you may experience.  As a parent, it is normal to feel any or all of these emotions at once.  Your child has put a lot of trust in you to share their experience, as well as entrusting you with a lot of responsibility.studentparent

You may feel:

  • Concern for your child. You may not know how to help the survivor deal with the trauma.
  • Helplessness. Parents may wish they could have protected their child and want to fix the situation so life can go back to normal.
  • Out of Control. Just like your child, you may feel you have lost control of your life. The assault has changed the parent's relationship with the survivor, and it is out of the parent's control to change that.
  • Anger. You may want to harm the offender. While this is a natural reaction, it is not realistic and creates further crisis. In fact, in some cases, the survivor may feel the need to protect the offender.

How to Help Your Child:

Believe them!  The best thing you can do for your friend is to believe them when they tell you that they were sexually assaulted.

Give them control.  Sexual assault victims need the chance to re-establish a sense of personal control over what happens in their lives.  The victim needs to be heard, respected, to understand all of the options available to them, and to move at his/her own pace through the recovery process.

Time is of the essence.  Your child will be in crisis and in need of immediate support.  Also, the window for securing evidence for possible prosecution is short.  At the same time, the victim will need time and ongoing support to recover from the assault in a constructive manner.

Be a partner in healing.  In addition to the effects it has on the victim, rape profoundly affects the victim's loved ones.  Here are some helpful hints to be a good partner in healing.     

Direct your child to resources.  There are individuals on campus who are available to talk with a person accused of sexual assault.  They can help your child understand what might happen next.  This is a difficult, confusing, and emotional time for both of you.  Encourage your child to speak with the Dean of Students to learn more about what to expect.

Recommend that your child seek counseling.  There are a lot of emotions that can surface because of a sexual assault accusation.  A counselor can help your child sort through these emotions in a healthy way.  It may also be helpful for you to seek counseling to deal with the emotions you may be experiencing as a result of this situation.

Get educated on the issue of sexual assault.  The more information you know, the better you will understand what your child is going through.  The information on this website can be helpful in answering your questions.  You may also contact the STOP Violence office or the Dean of Students office.

Be available to listen.  Even though your child may be uncomfortable talking about the matter, let them know that you are available to listen to them.

Avoid judging. Remember, being a parent doesn't mean that you need to agree with everything your child does.  You can help your child without making a judgment as to whether or not a sexual assault occurred, or how they choose to handle it.

Check Out Additional Resources Here.

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