How to be supportive
The importance of family members, friends and partners for a sexual abuse survivor cannot be overstated.
HELP outlines some practical ways to be supportive in times of need:
Acknowledge the experience by talking. Offer support and leave your views to one side
Show her you are supporting her through your actions and behaviours
Be patient and an effective listener. Allow her to express her feelings. Do not pressure her into talking
Ask her about her own reactions. She is the expert at this time. Understand that she may not want to talk
Avoid attempts to over protect or distract her from the reality of the assault
Let her know you care and are hurting with her; though don’t expect her to look after you.
After being raped, many people feel totally exposed. One reaction to this is the need to keep total control over who knows and who doesn’t. Check with her before you tell someone what has happened to her
What she wants might seem to change from one minute to the next – try not to take offence if she seems ungrateful for your support.
For more information or to seek support for sexual assault visit HELP at helpauckland.org.nz or call the 24-hour helpline on 623 1700.