Helping a Survivor
Believed: It is important that you communicate support and acceptance to someone who has disclosed a sexual assault to you. Allow the survivor to speak openly and freely. Let them decide what they want to tell you about the assault – don’t force them to talk about it if they aren’t ready. Here are some suggested responses that convey your support:
"I’m sorry this happened to you."
"You didn’t deserve for this to happen."
"This wasn’t your fault."
"I believe you."
"How can I help you?"
Know it was not her/his fault: Most victims of sexual assault feel as though they are some how to blame for their own assault. Especially, in acquaintance rape/date rape situations victims often feel as though they should have done something different or seen it coming. While this is a normal response, it’s important that as a support person you help the victim know that they are not to blame. No one wants or asks to be sexually assaulted.