Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I do to help a survivor?
Seeing someone you care about in pain is difficult. After a sexual assault or sexual abuse, there are some important things you can do to help a survivor:
You can listen. Listening is one of the most important ways you can support a survivor of sexual assault. Not all survivors will want to talk about it right away; some will, and some will need more time. Try to resist the urge to ask questions, and let the person you care about know that you will be ready when he/she is.
You can believe. Survivors of sexual assault often worry that they will not be believed. If someone wants to talk with you about something as personal as sexual assault, it means that person trusts you. Try not to ask questions that sound like you don’t believe the story. In fact, tell the survivor directly, “I believe you.” When a survivor feels believed, you have helped begin his/her healing.
You can let them make choices. Assault takes away a person’s feelings of power and control. Respecting a survivor’s choices helps that person get those feelings back. Making decisions is an important way to feel powerful. You can help the survivor get information and understand options, but a survivor needs to make his/her own decisions. You can empower the person you care about by supporting his/her decisions, even if you may not agree with them.
You can get informed. Learn more about survivors’ common reactions to an assault. There are no “normal” reactions. If you know more, you can better understand and support the survivor.
You can take care of yourself. You are an important person in the survivor’s life if that person chooses to tell you about his/her assault. Take care of yourself and your feelings so that you will be better able to help them. All services at Crisis Center of Southeast Texas are free, confidential, and available to you.
The Crisis Center of Southeast Texas is here to help you. Our hotlines and counseling services are open to friends and family, and we can assist you with how to best support your loved ones.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.