It can be hard to know what to do to help a friend or a family member who has experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment.
A survivor has experienced a violation and/or crime (or crimes) where they have lost control over the situation. It is natural to feel a tremendous loss of power and control over life during these times. Surviving sexual violence or sexual harassment is a testament of the individual’s strength; however, they may not feel strong. Below are some suggestions about how you can help.
DO respect the survivor enough not to pity them.
DON'T assume he/she does/does not want to be touched. Some people can't stand a hug at this point. Others can't make it without one. Ask before touching.
DO comfort them. Make the environment comfortable.
DON'T try to solve all of their problems for them. They have had their control taken away. Try to avoid doing that again.
DO allow them to tell them as much or as little as they need.
DON'T assume you know how the survivor feels.