Recognize that disclosure is extremely difficult and traumatic for a survivor. They have trusted you with very personal information and are NOT required to share any more than they feel comfortable doing so. This may be difficult to hear as well. Make sure to take care of yourself, in addition to supporting your friend. Below are some suggestions on responding to a friend:
1. Listen and Believe your friend.
2. Maintain Privacy, but realize your limits.
3. Show your friend where they can find resources.
4. Allow your friend to make decisions.
During a sexual assault, a person’s power and control is taken away. It is very important that a survivor is able to take back control of their experience by deciding the next step for them. This is a crucial part of healing. One way to do this is to allow them to decide whether to report (and how) or not. Respect whatever decision your friend chooses.
5. Take Care of yourself.
We are not lawyers, and the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss any complaints or suits.