For Families & Friends

General Information

If someone close to you chooses to tell you about their experience of rape or abuse it is because they believe that you are trust-worthy and that you will believe them and not tell others without speaking to them about it first. As a ‘safe’ person to tell, you are a woman’s most important source of support.

In order for you to help a survivor it is important that you take care of yourself and your own needs.  Realistically, the survivor is not going to get over the trauma quickly, so you need to pace yourself in terms of how much time and energy you can offer her.  Consistency over a long period is more important that setting unrealistic expectations of you.

Similarly, she is not ‘rejecting’ you if she chooses to seek help elsewhere, such as from a counsellor.

Remember, you are not a miracle-worker.  The best you can do is let them know that you care about them and that you will be there if they want to talk.  You do not need to be an expert on sexual violence, if you are prepared to listen, the woman concerned will be able to guide you in what she needs.

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