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Tips for Family & Friends

  • Do Listen.
  • Do be supportive.
  • Do say, "I'm glad you're alive."
  • Do say, "I'm sorry this happened."
  • Do say, "It's not your fault."
  • Do say, "You did the best you could to survive."
  • Do say, "I'm here for you."
  • Do ask the survivor's permission when you want to provide physical comfort.
  • Do provide information and options about resources.
  • Do realize that sexual assault affects survivors in many ways and that almost any reaction is possible.
  • Don't project your own feelings onto the victim.
  • Don't say what he or she should have done differently.
  • Don't say what you would have done differently.
  • Don't ask, "Why didn't you run, scream, fight, leave?"
  • Don't ask for specifics about the assault. But do listen if he or she want to reveal that information.
  • Don't ask blaming questions such as, "Why were you wearing that? Why were you there? Did you lead him on?"
  • Don't ask irrelevant questions such as, "Was he good looking?"
  • Don't take control away from survivors. Allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Don't forget that recovery from sexual assault is an ongoing process that takes months, years or a lifetime.
  • Don't forget to take care of yourself. You can't support anyone if you don't support yourself.

ICASA Resource Manual