Seeing someone you care about in pain is difficult.
Find out how you can help survivors that you care about:
- You can listen. Listening is one of the most important ways you can support a survivor of sexual assault. Some survivors will want to talk right away, and others will need some time. Let the person you care about know that you will be ready when (s)he is. Let them talk and talk while you simply listen.
- You can believe. Survivors of sexual assault often worry that they will not be believed. If someone wants to talk with you about something as personal as sexual assault, it means they trust you. Try not to ask questions that sound like you don’t believe the story. In fact, tell the survivor directly, “I believe you” When a survivor feels believed, you have helped the healing.
- You can let them make choices. Sexual assault takes away a person’s power and feeling of control. Respecting a survivor’s choices helps them get those feelings back. Making decisions is an important way to feel powerful. You can help get information and understand options, but a survivor needs to make his/her own decisions. You can empower the person you care about by supporting their decisions, even if you may not agree with them.
- You can get informed. Learn more about survivors’ common reactions to an assault. If you know more, you can better understand and support the survivor.
- You can take care of yourself.You are an important person in the survivor’s life if they chose to tell you about their assault. Take care of yourself and your feelings so that you will be better able to help them. All RARCC services are free, confidential and available to you.
What do I do if a friend was recently sexually assaulted?
There are many things you can do for a friend who is in immediate crisis.
- Listen: Often, a person in crisis just needs someone to hear her/his story. You can show you are really listening by not judging them or questioning what you are hearing.
Be supportive: It’s natural for you to have beliefs and attitudes that will be challenged by what your friend is telling you, but withhold your judgment. Show affection by listening, speaking calmly and gently, believing them and keeping an open mind.
Have your friend contact us about getting services.
Don’t give opinions. Right now your friend needs to be heard.
Let your friend decide what s/he wants to talk about: Don’t push your friend to talk about things s/he’s not ready to discuss. Don’t pry. Speak calmly and gently.
Respect your friend’s privacy. Don’t tell other people about what happened to your friend unless they tell you it is OK.
- Remind your friend that you care.
Call RARCC at (951) 686-7273 or toll free at 866-686-7273. All RARCC services are free, confidential and available to you.