Surviving Rape or Sexual Violence

Friends & Families of Victims

It is very difficult to watch someone you love go through the pain caused by sexual violence. Below are some things you can do:

  • Believe and listen. Make it clear that you believe her/him and that the abuser or rapist is to blame. Let the victim talk at her/his own pace.
  • Keep information the victim tells you CONFIDENTIAL. Let the victim decide whom to tell and when. It’s vital not to break the trust the victim has placed in you.
  • Be informed and call PAAR 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273) for more ways to provide support for your family and friends.

Things to Consider:

  • If the survivor is feeling afraid – “You are safe here. I know you’re afraid, and I’m here to help you.”
  • If the survivor is blaming her/himself – “He/she had no right to assault you and it’s not your fault.”
  • If the survivor is wondering “why me?” – “Anyone can be a victim. The rapist knew what he/she was doing.”
  • Ask before touching – You may want to hold and comfort your loved one, and it’s an understandable instinct. But the victim may be uncomfortable with any touching. Be respectful of personal space.
  • Counseling – The victim has been through a traumatic experience and PAAR can help. Encourage the victim to call PAAR at 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273).
  • PAAR offers support and counseling for families and friends.
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