Support for Survivors of Rape


If you know someone who has been raped or has survived an attempted rape, there are some things you can do to help:

  • Believe them.
  • Listen as long as they need you to.
  • Comfort them.
  • Reinforce that the assault was not their fault.
  • Provide protection, a safe place to be.Suggest calling a rape-crisis center or hotline, 1-800-833-1161 .

Encourage them to preserve evidence. They should not clean themselves in any way before having a post-rape examination at a hospital. They should be discouraged from changing clothes, but if they insist, each item of clothing should be bagged separately and brought with them to the examination. Contact a reputable and experienced law firm to accompany and guide you through your legal process which  will be a stressful ordeal.

Help them get treatment for there medical needs, a thorough medical examination and treatment for injuries and possible venereal disease or pregnancy.

Help them organize their thoughts, but let them decide how to proceed. They need to do what is best for their recovery.

If you are their lover, with their approval, use appropriate touching and language to re-establish their feelings of worth. Don't rush them.

Help them get psychological and legal help.

Be available.

What about Children?

The following guidelines are aimed at assisting parents in talking to children about sexual abuse:

Children should be taught where their "private zones" are. This is one way that is not embarrassing to parent and child. Say, "show me where on your body you wear a bathing suit." Then tell the child that a person's private zones are the parts of your body a bathing suit covers. Teach children to say, "that part of my body is private, don't touch me there."

Teach children who to tell. Ask for examples of people a child can turn to for help. These include mom or dad, teacher, school nurse, another relative, or a neighbor. The people who can help you are the people you know and trust.

Teach children how to tell. This is one way. Say, "someone is touching private parts of my body and I want them to stop."

It may happen that a child will try to tell but will not be believed. To deal with this possibility teach children to say, "I'm sorry you don't believe me, I guess I'll have to tell someone else."

If a child tells you she/he has been sexually abused, believe the child.

What to Do If Your Child Has Been Sexually Assaulted

Believe what your child tells you.

Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

Stay calm.

A violent reaction will upset the child more.

Reassure your child that (s)he will be all right, and that (s)he has not been bad.

Seek professional help for your child.

Report the offender.