How to Support a Survivor

of Sexual Assault

It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially when that person is a family member, friend, or loved one. If you’re looking for information on how to support a child, click here. Consider the following ways of showing support:

  • Listen.  Be there.  Communicate without judgment.
  • If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there.  Your presence can offer the support they need.
  • Encourage the survivor to get support.  Share resources, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.
  • Be patient.  Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma.  Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
  • Encourage them to practice good self-care during this difficult time.
  • If someone you care about is considering suicide, learn the warning signs, and offer help and support.  For more information about suicide prevention please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.TALK (8255) any time, day or night.
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