How to Help a Survivor





“I’m sorry this has happened to you”

“It was your fault”


“It was not your fault”

“You could have avoided it had you….”


“You survived – you obviously did the right things”

“It’s been so long”! Get over it!”


“Thank you for telling me”

“You wanted it”


“I am always here for you if you want to talk”

“It’s not that big of a deal; it happens to lots of people”


“Can I do anything for you”

And the very worst thing you can say “I don’t believe you”.


Respect them and not pity them

Assume a hug or being physically close is helpful – let them make the decision. Some people might not want to be touched while others do


Make sure that physical injuries have been taken care of

Try to resolve all their problems for them – leave them to be in control – let them make their own decisions . Their control was taken away from them with the rape – this is the most fundamental right of any human being. Allowing them control will allow them to take back some of the power which was taken away from them.


Comfort them – make the atmosphere comfortable

Demand to know everything in detail of what has happened.


Accompany them to their first therapy session

Create an atmosphere of more violence by wanting to go after the rapist yourself. Your actions must be those of ending violence.


Allow them to tell you as much or as little as they want to – being silent and allowing them to talk is giving them the opportunity to claim back some power by being able to talk.



Remain consistent and patient. Recovery can take a long time. The survivor might go through lots of changes, good days, bad days – it is therefore important for you to remain consistent.