If a survivor confides in you, you can be an integral part of their healing process in obtaining support. Here are tips and strategies for supporters.
- Listen fully. Be completely present and actively listening. Use eye contact.
- Give 100% focus. Avoid doing anything that might give the impression that they don’t have your full attention, like looking at your phone or watch.
- Do not be judgmental. Help them remain calm and in control.
- Believe. The majority of reported rapes and sexual assaults happened. It is not your job to question someone’s truth.
- Offer to help with reporting. Legal help is available for free at 567-SHATTER. Local district attorneys and police departments can also often provide the information the person needs to make an informed decision. Ultimately, reporting is up to the survivor.
- Be patient. The healing process is unique for every survivor and can take years.
- Offer emotional support options. Include local rape crisis centers, campus resources, or sexual assault hotlines.
- Offer medical attention options. Evidence can often be collected within the first 5 days after an assault. Hospitals or clinics can address other medical concerns.
- Take care of yourself. Helping others is difficult, so reach out for support for your own mental health as needed.