No one wants to hear that their friend has been a victim of sexual assault. If this ever happens to you, will you know how to react? Will you simply recommend them to go to a sexual assault lawyer?
Here are 8 things you should do if one of your friends tells you they have been sexually assaulted.
1. Listen to what your friend has to say
The first thing you can do to help your friend is truly listen to what they have to say, without judging them. Victims of sexual assault often feel ashamed because of what happened to them, so it can be difficult for them to tell someone about their rape, and about their feelings.
2. Don’t blame your friend for what happened
It’s very important to not put the blame on your friend. Telling them that they should not have drank so much, or that they shouldn’t have been wearing these clothes, will not help them at all. It will only hurt them and make them feel like what happened was their fault.
3. Remind your friend that they are not responsible for what happened
If your friend is feeling responsible for their sexual assault, you will have to gently remind them that it isn’t the case. No one asks or deserves to be raped, and the only person responsible for a rape is the rapist.
4. Take your friend to the hospital if the assault was recent
If the sexual assault happened only a few hours or a few days ago, you should make sure your friend goes to the hospital, if they didn’t already go. The hospital staff will provide some help to your friend, and can also gather evidence against the assault perpetrator.
5. Ask your friend if they want to file a police report
Ask your friend if they want to file a police report, but don’t force them to do it if they refuse. If they want to file a report with the evidence gathered at the hospital, be there to support them through the process.
6. Ask your friend if they want to see a sexual assault lawyer
You should also ask your friend if they want to talk to a sexual assault lawyer. A sexual assault lawyer can help them seek a compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional disorders.
7. Be there for your friend if they need help
You shouldn’t force your friend to talk to the police or to a sexual assault lawyer if they don’t want to. However, you should offer them your help if they need it. Tell them that you are there for them if they want to talk, or if they don’t want to walk to work alone.
8. Understand that healing from a sexual assault takes time
Going from being a victim of sexual assault to becoming a sexual assault survivor can take a lot of time. No matter how your friend is feeling, you have to accept that their emotions are a normal part of their healing process.