If Someone You Know Has Been Raped... Here is How to Help
Believe Her/Him: There may be some confusion about details, but that doesn’t mean the person isn’t telling the truth. The assault is a traumatic situation and details can become confused.
Let Her/Him Know that the Assault is Not Her/His fault: No one asks or deserves to be assaulted. A person may have made some poor choices about her/his own behavior, but even so, no one ever deserves to be assaulted.
Listen Carefully: You may feel awkward, embarrassed or nervous; these are normal reactions. Let her/him know how you feel, but also express your willingness to help.
Let Her/Him Know that You Care: Continue to give support for making the decision to tell you, but help empower the person by letting her/him make decisions for her/himself.
Let Her/Him Know that Their Feelings are Normal: Having intense mood swings or changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns can be a result of an assault. This is called Rape Trauma Syndrome. She/he may feel distrustful of everyone, may have a lot of fears or feel crazy. She/he isn’t going crazy. These are all normal reactions to an assault. Encourage her/him to seek help; one way is by calling STAR.
Support Her/Him for Talking about the Assault: Tell her/her that healing begins when she/he talks about the experience and the feelings surrounding the experience.
Be Confidential and Respect Her/His Privacy:
Remember that she/he trusts you. Often it is difficult to listen to someone elses pain. It can cause strong feelings or reactions in you. If you want to talk about what you are feeling, contact a counselor or call STAR. Don’t talk to other friends or people who may not respect
Don’t Pry or Ask Questions: Allow her/him to share the experience, as she/he is ready. She/he may not want to share specific information with you. Respect this boundary and don’t take it personally.
Respect Her/His decisions: Support any and all decisions she/he makes about reporting the assault. She/he may have felt powerless during the assault and will need to choose for herself/himself to regain a sense of control.
Let Her/Him Know About Other People Who Can Help: Encourage your friend to seek help for her/himself. STAR is available 24 hours a day.