How You Can Help
How You Can Help Survivors Of Sexual Violence
Be aware of ways in which your biases about sexual violence and victims may affect your ability to support and assist the survivor. If you cannot be objective, refer the individual to another support person.
Reassure the survivor that you believe them (it is not your place to decide if they are telling the truth) and tell them that you will be supportive and help consider options. Do not pressure them to take steps that they are not comfortable with.
Familiarize yourself with the usual emotional and physical reactions to victimization and help normalize these reactions for the survivor.
Reactions To Victimization:
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 the Carruth Center at 304-293-4431 or the Rape and
Domestic Violence Information Center at 304-292-5100. Both of these numbers are active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Know that you may reach a point at which you feel uncomfortable in continuing to support the survivor. Your feelings are important and should be acknowledged. You are encouraged to call the Carruth Center to request support for yourself as you work through the process of assisting the survivor.