Published on RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (http://www.rainn.org)
Help a Loved One
There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been a victim of rape or sexual violence:
- Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
- Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
- Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
- If you are dealing with an issue involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them.
- If you are the non-abusing parent in a case of incest, it is important to support your child and help them through this situation without blaming them. This is also true if you are not a parent but still an observer of incest.
- If your loved one is considering suicide, follow-up with them on a regular basis.
- Encourage your loved one to report the rape or sexual violence to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas). If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, can help.
- Let your loved one know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.
- If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany him or her wherever s/he needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
- Encourage him or her to contact one of the hotlines, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.
It is also important to note that having a friend or family member who is raped or assaulted can be a very upsetting experience. For this reason it is also important that you take care of yourself. Even if your friend and family member isn’t ready to talk to a hotline specialist, you can get support for yourself. You can also get ideas about ways to help your friend or family member through the recovery process.
To search for your local counseling center, click here
If you care to make a donation in honor of your loved one, please visit RAINN's donation page and demonstrate your commitment to the fight against sexual violence!