There are numerous ways you can support victims of sexual assault. These are just five practical ways to do that.
1. Be A Listener
Be an active listener. Listening to someone can give someone the courage to continue to share their story. Sometimes, it just gives them a little bit of peace to know that someone can share their story and that they will be believed.
2. Know That There Is Not A One Size Fits All Reaction
No reaction to trauma is going to be the same. One person may cry, but another might have a completely different reaction. That is okay and it is important to validate what they are feeling.
3. Honor Their Privacy
If someone confides in you, don't share that information unless you are in a position that requires you to report it. Their privacy is important and if they are confiding in you, there must be some level of trust between the two, so don't screw that up by sharing their private information with others.
4. Allow Them To Be In Control
They've had so much stolen from them already. They need to be in control of what happens next. You need to be supportive of what they are going to do next (unless they are going to bring harm to themselves or someone else).
5. Ask Them What They Need
The most important thing is to ask them what they need. Don't make assumptions about what they need. This should be the first thing anyone does when trying to support victims.
Do your part. Be a support.