Dos & Don'ts for Providing Support
You can be an important part in your loved one's healing process. There are several things you can do to help.
- Let your loved one know they are not to blame for what happened and there is nothing that justifies sexual assault. Continue telling your loved one, “It was not your fault.”
- Let your loved one lead you and tell you what they need.
- Let your loved one decide whether or not to report to the police and participate in an investigation.
- Help your loved one regain a sense of control over their life that was lost during the sexual assault. One way to do this is to let your loved one make decisions and choices without being judged.
- Let your loved one know you care and that it is OK to talk about the assault whenever they are ready.
- Watch for warning signs. Encourage talking with someone at a mental health agency for help if your loved one might be a danger to himself, herself or to other people. In extreme cases, you might have to make the contact yourself. >> Click here to learn about SACASA's Therapy Services.
- Don't place blame on your loved one. Sexual assault/abuse is never the victim's fault!
- Don't ask “why” questions (for example, “Why were you out so late?” “Why” questions suggest blame).
- Don't assume you already know what will help.
- Don't second guess your loved one’s decision. Your loved one needs to put control back into her or his life.
- Don't take away choices or options (for example, “I’ll take care of everything because I know what’s best for you.”).
- Don't make decisions for your loved one unless you are asked to. Even then, keep them informed of what decisions are made and what is going on.
- Don't assume you know what your loved one is feeling.
- Don't pressure your loved one to talk. Opening up takes time and feeling safe.