• How to Help a Friend

    When your friend’s been sexually assaulted

    DO’s:

    • BELIEVE THEM. ¬†People rarely lie about rape or sexual assault
    • Listen to them and concentrate on their feelings
    • Allow your friend to be silent; you don’t have to talk every time they stop
    • Let your friend know you understand their feelings. For example, you might say, “You must have been very frightened”
    • Ask how you can help
    • Offer to accompany your friend if they want to seek medical attention or go to the police
    • Let your friend regain a sense of control. Support her in making decisions about who to tell and how to proceed
    • Remind them that rape is the rapist’s fault – not hers
    • Offer companionship
    • Help them learn about, recognize and seek support for signs of rape trauma – see Reactions to an Assault
    • Tell them about the Women’s Freedom Center

    DON’TS:

    • Don’t ask questions that imply the rape was your friend’s fault like, “Why did you go with him?”, “Did you fight back?”, “Why didn’t you scream?”
    • Don’t touch or hug your friend unless you’re sure they’re comfortable with physical contact
    • Don’t tell anyone about the assault without your friend’s permission
    • Don’t tell your friend what to do