Sexual Assault: Supporting Someone You Care About

If someone confides in you, let them know that what they are experiencing is normal. You can help them find resources to deal with the trauma. We provide support and resources to help someone heal no matter how long ago the assault or abuse took place. 

What you can do:Holding hands

There are a few things that you can do to support a survivor:

  • Let them know that getting assaulted or abused is not their fault. 
  • Avoid asking them questions that imply blame, such as:  How much did you have to drink? Why did you leave with that person?
  • Refer them to a confidential resource, like ours, for further support.
  • Listen to all survivors without making judgments or questioning the truth of their experience.
  • Call our hotline yourself if you need help figuring out how to support a friend.

It can take a long time for someone to end an abusive relationship.  If you are supporting someone experiencing dating or relationship violence, remember that there are many barriers to leaving – like emotional bonds, fear, or financial dependency.  Survivors need understanding and patience as they process their experience and their options.

Supporting Someone You Care About....While Also Supporting Yourself

Supporting someone you care for can be challenging. Our hotline is available to friends and family who would like support with their own emotions as they provide support to someone else.

People of all genders and sexual orientations can experience or perpetrate violence.

What Can You Do for Male Survivors?

  • Believe male survivors if they share their story with you.
  • Use  gender inclusive language such as  saying “sexual violence” instead of “violence against women.”
  • Understand the difference between arousal and consent – just because someone’s body has a physical response (like an erection)  does not mean they are consenting.

Additional Considerations for LGBTQ Survivors:

  • Perpetrator may threaten to “out” the person they assaulted to people who do not know about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Survivors might feel pressure to stay silent to avoid supporting negative stereotypes about LGBTQ people.
  • People who want to help might struggle to understand how a person can be abused by a partner who seems physically smaller.