Help For Family and Friends of Survivors
How to Help Yourself:
- Do not blame the survivor... even when you feel poor judgments were made by the survivor. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
- Talk to a counselor or call a rape crisis hotline. It is hard to witness someone in emotional pain. Take care of yourself as you help the survivor.
- Educate yourself about rape and rape prevention.
- Do not expect to make the survivor feel better all of the time.
- Talk with people you can trust. You, too, need support from others.
- Do not blame yourself. The only person who is at fault is the person who committed the crime.
Suggestions For The Romantic Partner Of The Survivor
- Ask for permission before touching or holding the survivor.
- Do not rush sexual contact. The survivor needs to decide when it is right to have sexual contact, and to pace the intensity of involvement.
- Accept the fact that the survivor's renewal of sexual interest may occur at a slow pace.
In Helping the Survivor, Here Are Some Feelings You May Experience:
You may feel guilty that you did not prevent the assault. It is neither your fault, nor the survivor's fault. The perpetrator committed the crime... not you.
The survivor's dependence on you may feel overwhelming.
Recovery can be a long, slow process that may take years. You may fear that the survivor will never be the same again.
Your closeness to the survivor's experience may underline the vulnerability to violence that we are all subject to. You may feel vulnerable because you realize that it could happen to you.