Helping A Loved One

Helping a loved one


    • There are many ways that you can help a loved one who has been a victim of sexual violence:

      •  Listen. Above all, truly hear what your loved one is saying.
      • Comfort your loved one with supportive phrases such as, “You must have been incredibly scared. You did the right thing because you survived”.
      • Don’t be judgmental. Don’t victim blame. Accept that despite any societal messages your loved one may have been given (“don’t go out alone”, “don’t wear short skirts”, etc), the assault happened and it was NOT your loved one’s fault.
      •  Be patient. It is going to take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
      • Understand that there is no right way for your loved one to feel. She may feel many things, one thing, or nothing. None of that is uncommon in survivors of sexual assault.
      • Sexual violence is a crime that takes away your loved one’s power. Let your loved one know that even though she wasn’t in control at the time of the assault, she is in control now.
      •  If your loved one is considering suicide, talk to them. Ask them if they have a plan. Suicidal thoughts are a normal reaction to sexual assault, and should be handled carefully. Make sure your loved one can talk to you without your interruption. Listening is key.
      •  If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, a SAAFE Advocate is highly trained and qualified to assist you and your loved one wherever she needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
      • Encourage her to contact the SAAFE Center, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.
    •  Having a friend or family member who is sexually assaulted can be a very upsetting experience. Your loved one may be your #1 concern, but it is also important to take care of yourself. Even if your friend or family member isn’t ready to talk to an advocate, you can get support for yourself. SAAFE Advocates can help victims, their family members, and close frineds.

 loved one


  • Disclosure

    • You may be tempted to share your loved one’s story with others. It is natural that you want someone to talk to. Don’t. Sharing your loved one’s story would be a betrayal of her trust in you as a confidant. Do not abuse her trust. The only person it is completely safe to tell is an advocate – they are required under law to keep all cases confidential.
    • DO: say “I’m glad you shared this with me; it must have been difficult. Thank you for trusting me with something so personal.”