How to support a loved one who has been sexually assaulted

BBC: Things not to say to someone who has been sexually assaulted

It takes a lot of courage for someone to talk about being sexually assaulted or abused. They may feel really scared to tell and it takes a lot of energy to keep such a heavy secret so for them to be able to tell someone they trust will probably be a big relief. If a loved one tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted then it means they trust you and have taken the first step to getting help.

How you respond is very important to the person and you will also have your own feelings to deal with. Such as feeling: angry, sad, confused or uncomfortable. You might not know what to say and most certainly try to avoid nervous laughter.

You might be worried about what is the “right thing” to do to give them enough support with their healing process or you may feel you need to become more informed about where to get help and more information.

See South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence: How family & friends can help, My friend has been sexually assaulted, If your partner has recently been sexually assaulted for guidance of what to you can do as a supporter immediately after a sexual assault.

You could accompany your friend/family member calling or visiting the support services.

Check out the links below as your support can make a huge difference for the survivor of sexual assault.