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How You Can Help Survivors Of Sexual Assault


How You Can Help Survivors Of Sexual Assault

How You Can Help Survivors Of Sexual Assault

Be aware of ways in which your biases about sexual assault and victims may affect your ability to support and assist the victim. If you cannot be objective, refer the person to another support person.

Reassure the victim that you believe her/him (it is not your place to decide if she/he is telling the truth) and tell the victim that you will be supportive and help consider options.

Familiarize yourself with the usual emotional and physical reactions to victimization and help normalize these reactions for the victim.

REACTIONS TO VICTIMIZATION:

EMOTIONAL
  • Feelings of vulnerability,
  • Helplessness Self-blame and criticism
  • Loss of trusting relationships
  • Anxiety/phobias
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with anger and aggression
  • Fear of revictimization
PHYSICAL
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Generally feeling badly
  • Inability to concentrate and class work may suffer

The following list provides a brief summary of things that may need to be addressed:

  • Personal safety – call 911
  • Medical attention – Emergency Dept. at Ruby Memorial Hosp or Student Health Service.
  • Collection of evidence- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners @ either of the facilities above.
  • Test/treatment for sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy- see medical attention
  • Reporting to police – call 911 and share location of crime.
  • Legal support –
  • Financial support – there is no cost to the student/survivor for treatment and evidence collection
  • Academic consideration/excuse from classes-Student Affairs 304-293-5611
  • Counseling – Carruth Center 304-293-4431

Be aware of local resources for each of the options for medical, legal, and support services. Stop any rumors or discussions of the incident as you become aware of them. Be available to listen to the victim as much as you feel comfortable. Should you have questions or personal concerns about this role you can call Deb Beazley at 293-1377 or the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center at 292-5100.

Know that you may reach a point at which you feel uncomfortable in continuing to support the victim. Your feelings are important and should be acknowledged. You are encouraged to call Deb Beazley to request support for yourself as you work through the process of assisting the victim.