If a friend tells you they have been sexually assaulted:
Listen and support
It takes a lot of courage for someone to share their experience and this person likely sees you as a safe person. Try to provide a safe, non-judgemental space, emotional comfort, and support as they share. Try to refrain from asking questions about what happened and instead let them lead the conversation. Validate their feelings.
A common reason people choose not get help or reach out for support is because they may fear that the listener may not believe them. In this moment, it is your role as a support person to believe them. It is also important to know that every person responds to trauma differently.
Reassure them it was not their fault
Many survivors blame themselves for what happened, will try to rationalize the assault, and may try to minimize what happened. Let them know it not was their fault and no matter what, they need to know that you believe them and the blame is not on them.
Encourage them to seek care
Ultimately, it is up to your friend on if they want to seek help but the more informed you are on resources, the more helpful you can be when they are ready to start their healing journey. Our Hotline is available 24/7 to discuss options, resources, and to provide advocacy for the survivor.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself and practice self-care
All of our services are free, you are welcome to call our 24/7 hotline at 843-745-0144 to speak with an advocate about talking to a friend.
We also offer a support group specifically for loved ones of survivors of sexual assault. This free group is held on the fourth Monday of every month from 6:30pm-7:30pm.