When someone you care about tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, abused, stalked, or sexually harassed, you might feel a lot of emotions. We encourage you to offer support and brainstorm safety options, prioritizing their emotions above your own. Your supportive reaction can make all the difference, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy. Encouraging words and phrases can avoid judgment and show support for the victim/survivor. Power and control has been taken away from the victim/survivor of violence, and your ability to give some of that power and control back by giving them time and the ability to make their own choices can help with their long term healing. Safety looks differently for each person, so allow a victim/survivor to determine what will help them be safe. You can't help a victim/survivor heal by force. Forcing them to do something they aren't ready to do can hinder their long term recovery.
If you want help supporting a survivor in your life, contact The Aurora Center on our 24 hour Helpline at 612-626-9111 or during business hours to schedule a free and confidential appointment with an advocate.