You can help a Survivor of Sexual Assault by:
- Listening, not judging. It is not your place to play prosecutor and make a victim prove their story. Accept their version of the facts and be supportive.
- Offering shelter. If it is at all possible, stay with them at their place or let them at least spend one night at your place. This is not the time for them to be alone.
- Being available. Victims may need to talk at strange hours, or could use your help to run errands or screen calls.
- Giving comfort.
- Letting them know that they are not to blame.
- Being patient and understanding.
- Encouraging action. For example, suggest they call a hotline, go to a hospital or health center, and/or call the police. Respect their decision if they decide not to file charges.
- Not being overly protective. Encourage them to make their own decisions. A victim needs to feel in control of their life and this will not be possible if you do everything for them.
- Accept their decisions – even if you disagree with what they are doing. It is more important that a victim makes their own decisions and you respect them. What you think is the “right” decision may not be for them.
Put your feelings aside. Although it is supportive for a rape survivor to know that others are equally upset with what happened, it does them no good if on top of their own feelings, they also have to deal with your feelings of rage and anger. Seek help for yourself if needed