Supporting a Rape Victim as a Friend

Supporting a Rape Victim as a Friend

Rape is a crime that happens far to often to both men and women. If someone you know has been raped your friendship can be a very important part of the healing and recovery for that person.

The first thing you need to do is believe the person. Unfortunately, rape is often not reported because, in addition to the shame, many victims do not feel that they are being believed. Recognize that your friend trusts you very much in order to tell you about the rape.

Do not ever, ever blame the victim. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. The victim did not “ask for it.” They did not make bad decisions about whom they chose to date. Do not judge the manner of dress, whether they were drinking or any other activity. They were violently assaulted against their will.

Find out everything you can about resources that can help your friend. Find counseling and legal resources that will help support the victim in the following days and months. There are many online resources that have lots of information. Get involved and volunteer at the local rape recovery center or women’s shelter.

If you are present immediately after the assault, refrain from telling the victim what to do. Your first instinct may be to take control and tell them that they have to go to the police, the hospital and so on. However, these are decisions that need to be made by the victim. For instance if your friend, against your advice, wants to shower; take the person’s clothing and put them in brown paper bags in case she decides to report the rape at a later time. And be prepared for your friend to change her mind and you need to be there to help support whatever decision is made.

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