How to Help a Friend (EverSafe Project)
There are ways to communicate with someone in your life who has experienced sexual violence that can be healing for them and for you.
- Believe. People affected by sexual assault need to know that their support system (i.e. friends and family) believes them.
- Listen. Some survivors will want to talk about their experiences and some will not. Be sure not to share information with others unless given permission.
- Validate Feelings. Acknowledge their sadness, anger, fear or confusion. Let them know that their feelings are normal. Assure them that they are not alone.
- Support the Healing Process. Healing takes time. Assure the survivor that this experience will cause some disruption in her/his life, but she/he can heal. Do talk about other aspects of her/his life; help the survivor realize that she/he is not only a victim but she/he will get through this and it won’t ruin their life. Encourage the survivor to seek help at SU’s Counseling Center.
- Find Support for Yourself. Talk to someone about your feelings. Remember; you’re an important person in the survivor’s life. Call SU’s Counseling Center for support for you.
If you or someone you know experiences violence, you’re not alone. Help is available by reviewing our list of Sexual Assault Awareness Resources and Contacts or by contacting the EverSafe Project at 530-226-4667.
Content for this section was adapted from “Helping a Friend or Family Member who is Being Abused,” Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence, breakthecycle.org.