Surviving sexual assault, stalking and dating violence can be extremely traumatic.Often, survivors feel very alone and isolated from help, understanding and support. LISTEN: Give your friend your undivided attention as she is talking with you. It has taken a great deal of strength and courage for her to tell you.includes verbal sexual abuse such as sexual slurs or attacks on the victim's gender or sexual orientation, unwanted sexual touching and kissing, intimidation to force the victim to engage in any kind of sexual activity, and rape In some relationships, dating violence may never move beyond emotional and verbal abuse.
It is important to understand what kinds of things you can do and say to help a friend or family member who is dealing with this type of pain and suffering. DO NOT JUDGE: Be careful not to make judgments about the situation she is in or the decisions she has made or appeared to make.
UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE IS SAYING: Devote your efforts to understanding the thoughts, feelings and experiences she has chosen to share with you - not to finding out things you want to know.
Remember, she has the right to make her own decisions. PROVIDE RESOURCE INFORMATION: Offer the telephone number of the local domestic violence or sexual assault program.
You can also provide the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)799-SAFE or the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (800)656-HOPE. EDUCATE YOURSELF: Work to understand the dynamics of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and the available options. It is not your place to tell others, with the exception of informing a teacher or another adult who will offer help and support. Both females and males can be survivors of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
BE SUPPORTIVE: Support her feelings as well as her choice to share them with you and acknowledge that it may have been difficult to do so.REPEAT THAT VIOLENCE, ABUSE OR ASSAULT ARE NOT HER FAULT: It is common for survivors to feel they have done something wrong.