How to Support A Friend Who...

How to support a friend who...

...has been sexually assaulted:

1.  Listen to them.

2.  Tell them it’s not their fault, no matter what. 

3.  Validate whatever it is that they are feeling.  Feelings after a sexual assault are varied, but they are all normal. 

4.  Offer them resources, like phone numbers or websites.

5.  Do not encourage them to report…list it as an option, but do not pressure them to make a report, they may not feel ready to do so.  A good way to look at it from all sides is to ask them if they’d like to make a pros and cons list about reporting and not reporting. 

6.  Offer to go with them to talk to someone else, make a report (if they decide to), or just to look for more information.  It will help them to know that they have such non-judgmental support from you. 

7.  Do not say antagonistic things about the attacker.  In most cases, the attacker was someone close to your friend, and it may feel confusing for them to hear you talking in a harsh way about that person. 

 

...has been in or is currently in an abusive relationship:

1.  Listen to them.

2.  Tell them it’s not their fault, no matter what. 

3.  Validate whatever it is that they are feeling.  Feelings around a DV relationship are varied, but they are all normal. 

4.  Offer them resources, like phone numbers or websites.

5.  Offer to go with them to talk to someone else or just to look for more information.  It will help them to know that they have such non-judgmental support from you. 

6.  Do not say antagonistic things about the abuser.  In most cases, the abuser was someone your friend cared about a lot, and it may feel confusing for them to hear you talking in a harsh way about that person. 

7.  Do not tell them to leave.  Abusive relationships are very complicated, and often staying in an abusive relationship may seem like the safest option for your friend.  Statistics show that when people are most at risk for violence during a break-up and immediately after leaving, so help your friend to safety plan if they do decide to leave.