Helping a Friend Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted
- BELIEVE the survivor.
- If she or he chooses to talk, then listen.
- Be open with your comfort level. You do not want your discomfort with the situation to be misinterpreted as a lack of concern.
- Offer options instead of unsolicited advice. It is important that the survivor continue to see you as a resource. If the survivor feels uncomfortable with your advice, she or he may not follow-up, may worry about disappointing you, and may not get any help at all.
- Encourage the survivor to speak with a trained professional, but remember that the final decision needs to be made by the survivor.
- Talk to a trained professional to clarify your own feelings and/or gather insight into what the survivor is experiencing.
- Reinforce the C.A.R.E. philosophy: Choice-Advocacy-Respect-Empowerment