HOW YOU CAN HELP A FRIEND
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:
- Feelings of vulnerability,
- Helplessness, self-blame and criticism
- Loss of trusting relationships
- Difficulty with anger and aggression
- Fear of re-victimization
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Loss of appetite
- Generally feeling badly
- Inability to concentrate and class work may suffer
You can also assist your friend by assisting her/him locate resources and being there as a supportive friend.
Please be aware 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 able to access both the Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services and RDVIC to speak with someone also. Its important to take care of yourself also!