Supporting a Rape Victim

Supporting a Rape Victim

As we all know, rape is terrible and serious crime and unfortunately, a good number of women will be raped in their lifetime. Many of these victims feel that it was their fault the assault occurred, because of some action on their part. Many victims will need the support and caring of friends or family, the proverbial “shoulder to cry on.” Facts show that many victims do not immediately want to report the crime to authorities — almost 60 percent, in fact. They want to talk to basically the first person who will listen who does not represent any future repercussions.

Develop a sense of trust with the victim. This will allow the person to talk about what happened and their feelings. However, be aware that it is very difficult for victims to talk about the crime so it may be difficult at first to develop this trust to help the person open up.

Once the person starts opening up, you must remember that whatever may be said is to be treated in a confidential manner. You don’t get to discuss what this person tells you with anyone, not your friends or family or even the police in these cases. You don’t want to destroy the trust you have developed.

Be available to the person. Because of the trust you’ve built up, the victim may reach out to you more than they would other people such as other friends or police. While it is not your place to baby-sit this person, you should be available to talk or provide needed support.

You should help the victim report the crime to the authorities if they have not already done so. Because this is an extremely difficult crime to report, many victims are very hesitant to contact the policy. Encourage, but don’t force the person. Emphasize the time is of the essence when reporting a rape.

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